Published: 00:00, 02 September 2014
| Updated: 08:56, 02 September 2014
Former Thanet council leader Clive Hart will not be seeking re-election as a Labour councillor in Cliftonville West in next May’s district elections.
He said: “Representing and working for the area where I was born, where I grew up and where I have lived all my life has been a huge honour and privilege. “Teamwork has been the key to each and every success. Several years working with some excellent leaders of local voluntary and community groups in Cliftonville led to my local political career and I could not have had a better team of ward councillors to work with at TDC than colleagues Linda Aldred and Doug Clark at ward level. At KCC I was also fortunate to be part of a then 20-strong Kent Labour Group and four years on the county Cabinet Scrutiny committee was yet another fascinating experience.
“Looking back, taking control at Thanet Council with a group of only 23 out of the 56 councillors was an incredible achievement, but once we formed the administration we consolidated our position with further wins at by-elections and by working cross-party to form informal but very strong alliances. Yet again it was great teamwork, a diverse group of councillors and an excellent cabinet team.
“Holding together a hung council for two and a half years really was an incredibly challenging job and I am delighted that my long-standing close friend and colleague Iris Johnston took charge when I stepped down. It’s good to know the TDC leadership is in good hands”.
For several years Cllr Hart was secretary of Cliftonville Residents Association. During that time the Cliftonville Farmers Markets were started and he also worked with the group’s chairman to raise the £130,000 for a new bandstand at the Oval arena. With Margate Civic Society he led the negotiations to rebuild Newgate Gap Bridge and with Thanet Community Development Trust he helped set up several of the first Cliftonville Street schemes.
He was also an executive committee member of Thanet Arts Council and Chair of Governors at Laleham Gap Special School, both for five-year periods. At one point he also served on the Management Board of the Royal School for Deaf Children and he was the Chair of the Cheerful Sparrows Thanet charity for two years.
He was elected to Thanet District Council in 2003 with Cllrs Linda Aldred and Doug Clark as the first members for the newly-created Cliftonville West ward and they have been returned as councillors at two further district elections.
In 2005 he was further elected to Kent County Council as a councillor for Margate and Cliftonville division, where he also graduated through the Improvement and Developments Agency Leadership Academy.
He went on to become Leader of the Opposition at TDC in 2010 and was Council Leader from 2011 until May this year when he decided to stand down.
After what he calls a ‘three month semi-sabatical’ focused mainly on his garden in Cliftonville, Cllr Hart says he is “now up and fighting for further ward improvements in Cliftonville” before he stands down next May.
He added: “I’ve enjoyed attending our joint ward surgeries and been dealing with ward casework in Cliftonville since the very day I was elected in 2003 and that will continue right up to election day next May.”
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