Stephen Darrer was the community representative on the Margate Town Deal Board, the following is his resignation letter, dated 19th June 2023.
Dear Mr. Horton,
I am writing to formally tender my resignation from the Margate Town Deal Board, effective immediately. While it is with regret that I take this step, I can no longer maintain my position as Community Representative on the board due to a loss of confidence in its effectiveness and the actions of the regeneration officers.
As a community representative and a project holder, I have had the opportunity to witness both sides of the workings within the board and the project team at Thanet District Council, and I must express my grave concerns. Our role as a board is to provide oversight and ensure transparency, openness, and the equitable distribution of resources to benefit our community. However, I have observed a troubling lack of effectiveness and openness for the Thanet Council officers, which raises serious doubts about the transparency and integrity of the decision-making process.
Moreover, the recent request for our organisation, GRASS Cliftonville CIC, to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and be subjected to gag orders significantly impacts my own ability to participate on the board and contribute meaningfully. This limitation on expressing my opinions and concerns is contrary to the principles of transparency, accountability, and open dialogue that should underpin our collective efforts. It further undermines the trust and confidence necessary for effective governance.
Additionally, I have reached out to other community projects and discovered that they too have faced significant challenges in securing revenue funding and receiving adequate support. It is disheartening to witness fellow projects struggling under similar circumstances, especially when the board is entrusted with the responsibility to ensure fairness and the best interests of the community. The current state of affairs indicates a lack of effective action and accountability on the part of the Margate Town Deal Board.
We all committed to upholding the seven principles of public life, including integrity, accountability, and openness. Regrettably, the board’s recent actions and its ineffectiveness in addressing the concerns of community projects do not align with these principles. Therefore, I am compelled to resign from my position, as I can no longer fulfil my responsibilities in a manner that upholds these fundamental values.
I hope that my resignation will serve as a catalyst for much-needed introspection and improvement within the board and its associated departments. I implore you to take my concerns seriously and work towards rectifying the shortcomings that have eroded the community’s confidence in the Margate Town Deal Board and the Thanet District Council regeneration officers.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve on the Margate Town Deal Board. I sincerely hope that the necessary changes will be made to ensure the successful regeneration of our community and the fair and equitable distribution of resources.