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RAMSGATE FIRST

putting the people of Ramsgate first


Ramsgate First is a non-partisan, non-party political organisation. If you are tolerant, inclusive and love Ramsgate you are welcome to join with us.  

                             
Contact us on 0781  399  5016 or email us at ramsgatefirst@btconnect.com 


See also

THE GREAT WALL OF RAMSGATE 

www.thegreatwalloframsgate.org.uk 


Ramsgate First Election Leaflet for District and Town Elections

April 2011

Ramsgate First is a local party, concerned with local issues. It is moderate and inclusive.
I’m sixty-five years young, a father of eight children and I run my own ice cream kiosk on the East Cliff. I am also chairman of the Great Wall of Ramsgate. I have been a children’s writer, a journalist, a cartoonist, a publisher, and the editor of the NSPCC’s national children’s magazine.

I’ve been an elected parent-governor of two junior schools and a youth leader. I’m passionate about children’s welfare and believe that a society is only as good as the children we raise within it. Children’s welfare and education are paramount in my view.

I am also passionate about Ramsgate. I was born here but had to leave to earn a living. I started, raised funds for and led the campaign for a Ramsgate Town Council and I shall always be proud of the fact that I helped restore Ramsgate’s pride and voice. I like to think that my Mum, who also loved Ramsgate, would be proud of me. If elected to the Town and District councils I shall work tirelessly to improve both. Having served you for the past two years as a Town councillor, I believe that I can better serve your interests by being on both councils. Thanet District Council policies still largely affect Ramsgate and I believe that there should be an independent voice there to ensure that Ramsgate really does come first when it ought to come first.

 

A Fair deal for Ramsgate Council Tax Payers
I have argued before that Ramsgate is the poor relation of Margate and Broadstairs. We pay our council tax but we seem to get a lot less than we have paid for.
Soon Ramsgate will lose its Age Concern Centre in Meeting Street and our elderly residents will instead have to go to Margate,Broadstairs or Sandwich. Pensioners will have to pay more for fares and meals. Yet we have a perfectly good building here that has been largely adapted for this very purpose. I haven’t space to go into the details except to say that the District Council put the rent up by 50%. If you want to get rid of something, first make it uneconomic. The District Council, which owns the property on our behalf, denies its complicity with KCC. It didn’t exactly help either. No bets, but I suspect a property deal is in the offing.

Public Toilets


This problem is still with us. The District Council seems determined to close our lavatories, especially those on the Main Sands. For some reason they seem to have developed an antipathy for these particular toilets and have ‘permanently’ closed them twice, once in July 2009 and again this year. On both occasions I have succeeded in getting them re-opened and can assure residents, having discussed this matter with the leader of TDC, that they will be open again for 2011. Expect another battle in 2012. If elected to the District Council I will ensure that Ramsgate residents get their fair share of this and other budgets.

TOWN CENTRE

We need to bring life back into our Town Centre. Too many businesses start up with little or no experience of cash flows, business plans or the market they are entering and close within months. This depresses the town centre, makes other people think it’s the fault of the town itself, and thus drives away inward investment. A lively and prosperous Town Centre could employ another 200 people, not just for our Ward, but across the whole town.
I would put in place an initiative that helps new businesses with plain, sensible advice.

As a District Councillor I will press for a Free Parking ‘Happy Hour’ in our Town Centre. What the District loses on parking revenue it will make up in extra business rates.

MORE PUBLIC SPACES IN THE EAST CLIFF WARD

We have a serious lack of play areas in Ramsgate. On the East Cliff we have only two recreation grounds in what is quite a large area. I will endeavour to press for a third recreation area in the inland area of the Ward.

TOURISM

In 2010 I set up a Tourism/Marketing Working Party for Ramsgate made up of some of the most experienced people in this field, both in Thanet and beyond. This no-cost initiative was offered to Ramsgate Town Council but was rejected by one of the national parties. Nonetheless it is my intention to pursue this policy. I believe Ramsgate is perfectly placed for a considerable increase in tourism income and with it jobs. We have some of the best transport links in the country. I cannot think of another seaside town that enjoys similar transport advantages. Yet I see little evidence that the District Councillors on Thanet or Ramsgate councils understand or appreciate this. Thanet District Council in a recent survey stated that Thanet earned £217 million from tourism in 2010, employing some 5,000 local people. Yet the District Council closed Ramsgate’s highly successful Visitor Information Centre in the same year. Does that make sense?
I have been trying to improve the facilities that visitors can enjoy, especially the beach. Yet the District Council has tried not once but twice to close the lavatories on the Main Sands. Does the District Council not understand that public loos are essential to any tourism strategy? I particularly want to see the Main Sands provided with a retreat for when it rains. Too often our visitors, with nowhere to shelter, simply go home. In addition I want to see a revitalisation of our town centre which should figure strongly in any tourism strategy.
If elected to the District Council I shall work to ensure that there is a coherent tourism strategy for Thanet. I believe that a positive and proactive tourism policy for Ramsgate and Thanet will restore and reinvigorate our town and island economy.

 

TOWN PRIDE


Since the creation of Ramsgate Town Council we have seen a renaissance in the cultural and social life of the town. Townsfolk are reasserting their ancient identity through various projects and initiatives. The success of the Great Wall of Ramsgate demonstrates the commitment of many local people to their town. If elected to the District Council I will ensure that Ramsgate’s unique heritage and identity is better appreciated and restored.

 

 THE AIRPORT

The issue of night flights generated so much heat in the last few months that Thanet District Council ran for the hills: a miserable abdication of responsibility. Calmer reflection will help to get the situation in perspective.

For me, closing the airport is not an option. With the loss of Pfizer this is not the time to lose even more jobs. Ramsgate is probably the best-placed town in the country. Within a year we will have a dual carriageway/motorway all the way from London; a fast train to London; an international sea port; and an international airport. These assets collectively give us a wonderful opportunity to make our town a lively and very prosperous place.

We need to negotiate a tough, environmentally sound 106 Agreement with Infratil - that much is obvious. The failure of the two national parties to take a similar responsible position over night flights was pusillanimous.

We ought to allow the airport some flexibility in their operations and that may mean allowing additional night flights. My family live under the flight path and I would never jeopardise their safety or health. Neither would I want to wreck our local economy. There will be precious few jobs left for our children if we close everything that inconveniences us.The new generation of aircraft already flying into Manston are quieter than passing vans and buses and, with the older, noisier aircraft now at the end of their working lives, the noise level will begin to reduce quite considerably.
Let’s be firm with Infratil but let’s not drive them away either.

 

THE GREAT WALL OF RAMSGATE

I am very proud of what I have achieved with the Great Wall around the former Pleasurama site. It has not cost the community a single penny but it has brought a growing number of visitors to the area. As chairman and general fundraiser I have led a talented and hard-working team of volunteers and artists.

 

If you would like to meet and talk about these or other issues telephone me on 0781 399 5016 - email me on ramsgatefirst@btconnect.com - visit our website ramsgatefirst.com or reach me on Facebook at Ramsgate First




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