Let's make it happen in Newington

About Newington


Ramsgate is 78 miles from central London, at one of the most easterly points of the UK. It was originally two settlements; a fishing community on the coast and an inland farming community. Its past includes landings by Anglo-Saxons, Romans and Saints – and it is part of the historic Confederation of Cinque Ports; Ramsgate is England's only Royal Harbour. It has a rich heritage of fishing, shipbuilding and shipwrecks.

In the Second World War, fighter pilots reached for the skies from RAF Manston. North Foreland regularly features in the BBC’s shipping forecasts. Charles Dickens’ Bleak House is on the north side of Broadstairs, in the far north-east of Thanet, where you can find John Buchan’s 39 steps. Thanet has been home to other famous names. The Marchioness Conyngham – whose family name was given to the first school on the site of the Marlowe Academy – was George IV’s favourite mistress.


Ramsgate's main industries are tourism and fishing, and although the fishing industry is in decline it does have a thriving marina with over 800 moorings and a range of marine-related businesses, cafes and restaurants.

The area has lost many of its traditional sources of employment. The shell fish industry has all but disappeared, and the coal mines have all closed. The oil-fired power station at Richborough, has been decommissioned and its cooling towers demolished. From 1988, Pegwell Bay housed the once famous Hovercraft port, which closed for lack of business after five years. The port of Ramsgate has found it hard to flourish in competition with Folkestone and Dover only 20 kilometres south and Eurotunnel has taken away passenger and freight business. The huge Pfizer’s pharmaceutical plant, which once employed 7,500 in the Thanet area, has downsized considerably; the site is now used by small businesses.

One of the few lasting industries in the area is the market gardening and vegetable business. Thanet Earth has opened alongside the A253 that brings traffic into Thanet from the west. Its advertising literature describes the largest greenhouse development in the UK with enough glass to cover 80 football pitches! It was hoped that Manston would become a Chinese business centre for warehousing but it has now closed.

The built environment

Newington, built mostly in the 1950s is full of solidly constructed, cream-painted houses and is typical of many developments of this time. The homes are generally well laid out, with a mix of mostly semis or maisonettes, with one tower block, Staner Court, which is a local landmark. There is a really good sense of space, with lots of communal green spaces, ‘boulevards’ and private gardens. Three bedroom houses typically sell for £120,000 (2011 prices) and in the whole estate approximately 55% are owner-occupied.

A local pub closed in 2009. There was a small parade of shops, but these have closed as part of recent developments. There are now two local shops, a Spar on The Centre and a Co-Op on the outskirts of the estate. There are a couple of cafes and fast food shops.

A Children’s Centre and three large primary schools serve the estate. Newington Community Primary and the Newington Sure Start Centre have both recently received ‘outstanding’ Ofsted reports. The school is currently doubling in size; seven new classrooms are being built. One of the other primary schools has recently come out of special measures. The area is served by the Marlowe Academy, situated on the outskirts of the estate. It was built in 2005 and offers some excellent community facilities, such as meeting spaces, an athletics track and a theatre. The school also houses the local radio station, Academy FM. It opened its doors to students in September 2006.


Although Newington scores ‘highly’ on local and national statistics in relation factors such as poor health, crime and anti-social behaviour and qualifications there is a strong sense of community spirit. Many residents have lived on the estate for years, if not generations and there is a wealth of local knowledge alongside a tangible desire amongst local people to change misconceptions of the area.

Through the process of the early phase of Big Local, we have identified a number of local leaders who are capable and willing to ensure that the Newington of the future reflects the strengths and opportunities so clearly present. This has been one of the most exciting things for us.

Since we have started engaging through Newington Big Local we have noticed a reduction in anti-social behaviour and vandalism; we know that there are still some problems with drugs and alcohol misuse on the estate and we are continuing to address these.

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