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Ramsgate: Thanet council remove Vale Square gardens from auction lot following campaign

A much loved community garden put up for auction by Thanet council has sensationally been withdrawn from the market following a public backlash.

Vale Square Residents' Association has maintained the east garden in Ramsgate for more than 30 years - spending thousands on its upkeep.

The group regularly holds community events and as part of the terms of the lease with the authority paid for fencing.

Jocelyn McCarthy of the Vale Square Residents' Group next to the floral tribute to former residents (3689386)
Jocelyn McCarthy of the Vale Square Residents' Group next to the floral tribute to former residents (3689386)

Jocelyn McCarthy, chairman of the resident’s association, says they are negotiating a new lease with the council but have not been offered the chance to buy the freehold.

"They (TDC) wants us are to take on all responsibility and liabilities for the garden's upkeep but of course we have been doing this already. We are going over some details and hope to come to some agreement.

"We have been offered the land and I suppose there is nothing at the moment to stop the council from putting it up for sale again in the future."

The freehold for the land, owned by Thanet District Council, was due to be sold at auction on September 13 provoking a petition and campaign to stop the sale.

Tended to by close-knit neighbours and registered as an asset of community value (ACV) in 2014 the Vale Square Residents' Association have spent tens of thousands of pounds on maintenance, including railings for the garden which were erected at the behest of TDC.

Council bosses told residents that even though the land was ACV registered they could not offer the land to the group due to 'legal reasons.'

They did not clarify this further when requested to by KentOnline's sister paper, Thanet Extra.

The square is one of Ramsgate's most sought after locations and residents include Blur guitarist, Graham Coxon but the communal space is regularly opened to the public for summer parties and Christmas events.

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