Thanet District

Coordinates: 51°22′N 1°23′E / 51.367°N 1.383°E / 51.367; 1.383
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

51°22′N 1°23′E / 51.367°N 1.383°E / 51.367; 1.383

Thanet District
Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate, the district's largest town and administrative centre.
Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate, the district's largest town and administrative centre.
Thanet shown within Kent
Thanet shown within Kent
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionSouth East England
Non-metropolitan countyKent
StatusNon-metropolitan district
Admin HQMargate
Incorporated1 April 1974
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodyThanet District Council
 • MPsRoger Gale (C)
Craig Mackinlay (C)
 • Total39.88 sq mi (103.30 km2)
 • Rank194th (of 296)
 • Total140,678
 • Rank162nd (of 296)
 • Density3,500/sq mi (1,400/km2)
 • Ethnicity
95.4% White
1.5% S.Asian
1.1% Black
1.1% Mixed Race
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code29UN (ONS)
E07000114 (GSS)
OS grid referenceTR355705 +

Thanet /ˈθænɪt/ is a local government district in Kent, England. The council is based in Margate and the district also contains the towns of Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Westgate-on-Sea, along with several villages. It takes its name from the Isle of Thanet, a former island which gradually became connected to the mainland between the 12th and 16th centuries.

The district lies on the north-eastern tip of Kent, bordering the City of Canterbury to the west and Dover District to the south. It is predominantly coastal, with north, east and southeast-facing coastlines.


The Isle of Thanet is the major part of the district. This was formerly an island separated from the mainland by the Wantsum Channel. The channel gradually closed between the 12th and 16th centuries through a combination of natural silting and artificial land reclamation. An Isle of Thanet Rural District covering the rural parts of the isle had existed from 1894 until it was abolished in 1935 to form part of Eastry Rural District.[1]

The modern district was created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972 covering the whole area of three former districts and part of a fourth, which were all abolished at the same time:[2]

The new district was named Thanet, after the isle which covered approximately the same area.[3]


Thanet District Council
Founded1 April 1974
John Edwards,
since 18 May 2023[4]
Rick Everitt,
since 18 May 2023
Colin Carmichael
since 20 July 2022[5]
Political groups
Administration (30)
  Labour (30)
Other parties (26)
  Conservative (17)
  Green (5)
  Thanet Independents (3)
  Independent (1)
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
6 May 2027
Meeting place
Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate, CT9 1XZ

Thanet District Council provides district-level services. County-level services are provided by Kent County Council. Much of the district is also covered by civil parishes, which form a third tier of local government.[6][7]

Political control[edit]

The council has been under Labour majority control since the [[2023 Thanet District Council election|2023 election.[8][9]

The first election to the council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities before coming into its powers on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[10] [11]

Party in control Years
Conservative 1974–1987
No overall control 1987–1991
Conservative 1991–1995
Labour 1995–2003
Conservative 2003–2011
No overall control 2011–2015
UK Independence Party 2015–2015
No overall control 2015–2016
UK Independence Party 2016–2017
No overall control 2017–2023
Labour 2023–present


The leaders of the council since 1999 have been:[12]

Councillor Party From To
Richard Nicholson Labour pre-1999 22 May 2003
Sandy Ezekiel[13] Conservative 22 May 2003 13 May 2010
Bob Bayford Conservative 13 May 2010 8 Dec 2011
Clive Hart[14] Labour 8 Dec 2011 12 May 2014
Iris Johnston Labour 15 May 2014 21 May 2015
Chris Wells[15] UKIP 21 May 2015 28 Feb 2018
Bob Bayford Conservative 1 Mar 2018 10 Oct 2019
Rick Everitt[16] Labour 10 Oct 2019 22 Apr 2021
Ash Ashbee Conservative 3 Jun 2021 7 May 2023
Rick Everitt Labour 18 May 2023


Following the 2023 election the composition of the council was:[17]

Party Councillors
Labour 30
Conservative 17
Green 5
Thanet Independents 3
Independent 1
Total 56

The independent councillor and the Greens sit together as the "Green and Independent Group".[18] The next elections are due in 2027.


Since the last boundary changes in 2003 the council has comprised 56 councillors representing 23 wards, with each ward electing one, two or three councillors. Elections are held every four years.[19]

The district straddles two constituencies, both of which extend beyond the district boundary to include parts of neighbouring districts:[7]


The council is based at the Council Offices on Cecil Street in the centre of Margate. The building was originally designed in the early 1970s to be a new headquarters for Margate Borough Council, but by the time the building was finished in 1974 that council had been abolished and absorbed into the larger Thanet District Council. The building was formally opened on 9 April 1975.[20][21]

Towns and parishes[edit]

The district contains 11 civil parishes, covering most of the area. The parish councils for Broadstairs and St Peter's, Ramsgate, and Westgate-on-Sea have declared their parishes to be towns, allowing them to take the title "town council". The two parishes of Sarre and St Nicholas-at-Wade share a grouped parish council.[22]

The town of Margate comprises an unparished area. The Thanet councillors representing the wards covering Margate act as charter trustees, choosing one of their number to be the mayor of Margate each year.[23]


According to the 2011 census, the population of Thanet was 134,186, an increase of about 6000 in the ten years since the previous census.[24]


The whole district suffers from seasonal unemployment, in spite of its proximity to London, because of various factors, among them being inward migration, high numbers of old people, and low numbers of affluent people. It is not helped by poor overall indicators for health.[25] In a study of resilience to economic downturns, Thanet was poorly rated at 295th out of 324 districts.[26] Unemployment levels are nearly twice the South East of England as a whole, and as a result a great deal of planning is being done to encourage more businesses to relocate to the District.[27] The Thanet & East Kent Chamber produces a weekly business digest, the Thanet & East Kent Insider, which reports on economic activity in the private and public sectors.

New projects underway include: A new community centre for Broadstairs. Redevelopment and renovations are to be undertaken at Margate's Dreamland (a Heritage Amusement Park); Cliftonville (Lido site); and a Holiday Inn (hotel), now open. A large retail and residential development on Ramsgate seafront, known as Royal Sands, started construction in 2011 but was quickly halted. A multimillion-pound art gallery The Turner Contemporary (opened by Tracey Emin in April 2011) in Margate and this has created the opening of many new shops in the Margate old town and visitor numbers have far exceeded expectation. Margate has been chosen as a Mary Portas retail town. Large investment and building work is taking place in schools across the island.[citation needed]

In addition, the District Council has introduced an empty property initiative and has compulsory purchased empty and derelict buildings with the objective of bringing them back into use.

The Thanet Offshore Wind Project, near North Foreland, began operating in September 2010. The project is expected to have a total capacity of up to 300 MW which, on average, is sufficient to supply approximately 240,000 homes with green energy. The project will thus make a significant contribution to the government's national and regional renewable energy targets. Thanet Earth is the largest greenhouse development in the UK, covering an area of 91 hectares with 7 greenhouses each the size of 10 football pitches producing cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers all year.[28]

Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs each have shopping centres with a mix of local and national retailers complemented by Northdown Road, Cliftonville, Westgate and Birchington-on-Sea. Westwood at the centre of Thanet has seen much major development in recent years with the building of Westwood Cross shopping centre which is the home of national retailers and several restaurant chains including a Travelodge hotel. Associated development has taken place around the shopping centre spawning other retail parks. National retailer Primark opened a new superstore in October 2012, the largest Primark store in Kent.[citation needed]


Thanet is now linked to London by high-speed "Javelin" trains.

The rail connections are via the Chatham Main Line through Margate to Ramsgate, and the Ashford to Ramsgate (via Canterbury West) line. New high-speed rail links from London to Thanet began in December 2009, and it is now possible to travel from Margate to St Pancras railway station at an average speed of 96 kmh (around 60 mph); maximum speed of 225 km/h (around 140 mph). This will form part of the UK's first true high-speed commuter service, according to the South Eastern Railway Company.[29] Main road links are the A28 which brings traffic from Canterbury and Ashford; and the A299, north coast route. The Saxon Shore Way Long distance footpath skirts the coast.

There is an airport, now closed, at Manston,[30] formerly RAF Manston, but later renamed by its commercial operators as Kent International Airport. The airport closed permanently on 15 May 2014. Because it was used as a U.S. airbase during the Second World War it has one of the longest runways in the UK, and while open it was designated by the United Nations as an emergency landing site for aircraft in trouble.[citation needed]

Ferry services are no longer running from the Port of Ramsgate, and the council is currently in dispute with the former operators over the payment of £3.3 million[31]


Thanet has a large hospital: the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, known as the QEQM.[32] Extension work which started in 2007 has made the QEQM a major hospital site.

As of July 2010, overall indicators of health were poor for Thanet:[33][needs update]

  • Health is worse in Thanet than in England on average
  • Life expectancy is lower than for England
  • There are health inequalities: in deprived areas life expectancy is 5 years lower for women and 10 years lower for men
  • Teenage pregnancies are high compared to the England average
  • Estimated smoking rates are average but death rates from smoking are significantly higher
  • Binge drinking is around the national average
  • Children are significantly less active than average
  • Significantly higher than average number of people admitted to hospital for alcohol-specific conditions
  • Significantly higher than average rate of diabetes
  • Significantly higher than average rate of mental health problems


Local newspapers are the Thanet Extra, part of the KM Group; Isle of Thanet Gazette and Thanet Times (merged with Adscene, October 2009), (the Thanet Times was withdrawn in October 2012) all owned by Northcliffe Media; and the midweek Your Thanet published online by KOS Media. The county-wide newspaper Kent on Saturday also serves the district.

Local radio stations are;

  • KMFM Thanet (previously known as Thanet Local Radio) owned by the KM Group. (All Programmes are networked with other KM Kent stations).
  • Community non-commercial station Academy FM Thanet on 107.8FM and online and via mobile app it broadcasts from within Marlowe Academy, Ramsgate.
  • The county-wide Heart Kent
  • BBC Radio Kent

National TV stations carry regional news: The ITV1 service is provided currently by Meridian Broadcasting; and the BBC South East Today.

Thanet also has a local online radio and podcasting service currently operating online only known as 'Thanet Community Radio' (TCR). The station works closely with Dover-based 'Dover Community Radio' (DCR) which operates in a similar way.


Margate Adult Education Centre, built in 1928 as Thanet School of Art.

Thanet has a wide variety of local schools including approximately 41 primary schools such as Drapers Mills, Palm Bay, and Upton. Outstanding secondary schools include Dane Court Grammar, and Chatham and Clarendon Grammar. The community learning within the district is varied and wide, including charitable training organisations such as East Kent ITeC Ltd, and organisations such as Margate Adult Education Centre, Thanet Skills Studio and Thanet Stage School. East Kent College is a provider of further education in Thanet and a Training Provider that works with local businesses to raise the level of education across the region. Canterbury Christ Church University currently has a campus in Broadstairs, serving Media, Art and Design subjects.


Thanet enjoys a maritime climate, being surrounded on three sides by the sea. This generally results in mild winters and warm, dry summers.


  1. ^ "Isle of Thanet Rural District". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  2. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972",, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 27 September 2023
  3. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973",, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 31 May 2023
  4. ^ "Council minutes, 18 May 2023". Thanet District Council. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  5. ^ Harper, Brad (15 July 2022). "Former Canterbury City Council chief executive appointed as new interim boss of Thanet District Council". Kent Online. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  6. ^ "Local Government Act 1972",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 31 May 2023
  7. ^ a b "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 29 September 2023.
  8. ^ Bailes, Kathy (4 May 2023). "Labour Takes Overall Control of Thanet Council Following Election Success". Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  9. ^ "Thanet result - Local Elections 2023". BBC News.
  10. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2023.
  11. ^ "Thanet". BBC News Online. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  12. ^ "Council minutes". Thanet District Council. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  13. ^ "Former council leader jailed". ITV News. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  14. ^ "Thanet District Council leader Clive Hart quits over 'toxic behaviour'". BBC News. 12 May 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  15. ^ "Thanet council's UKIP leader Chris Wells to step down". BBC News. 19 February 2018. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  16. ^ Bailes, Kathy (22 April 2021). "Thanet council leader quits post amid Tory bid to oust him". The Isle of Thanet News. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  17. ^ "Local elections 2023: live council results for England". The Guardian.
  18. ^ "Your Councillors by Political Grouping". Thanet District Council. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  19. ^ "The Statutory Instruments Regulations 1947",, The National Archives, SI 2001/3556, retrieved 1 October 2023
  20. ^ "New council offices will be tight squeeze". Thanet Times. Margate. 14 August 1973. p. 3. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  21. ^ "Library and offices opened". Thanet Times. Margate. 15 April 1975. p. 4. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  22. ^ "Parish Council contact details". Thanet District Council. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  23. ^ "Mayor and Charter Trustees of Margate". Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  24. ^ "Table 2 2011 Census: Usual resident population and population density, local authorities in the United Kingdom (Excel sheet 212Kb)". Office for National Statistics.
  25. ^ Association of Public Health Observatories - Health Profiles APHO Health Profiles Archived 9 June 2008 at the UK Government Web Archive
  26. ^ "Thanet least resilient to economic woe, research finds". BBC News. 9 September 2010.
  27. ^ "Thanet District Corporate Plan 2007". Archived from the original on 24 September 2008.
  28. ^ "Thanet Earth".
  29. ^ "Southeastern 2009 - your journey starts here: Home".
  30. ^ "Kent's Manston Airport to close on 15 May". BBC. 6 May 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  31. ^ "TransEuropa Ferries Thanet District Council". BBC News. 21 May 2013.
  32. ^ "Overview - Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital - NHS Choices".
  33. ^ Association of Public Health Observatories, Thanet Health Profile Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, July 2010