As some of you will have noticed on Mark Nottingham’s blog see http://marknottingham.blogspot.com/2009/11/albion-house-to-be-sold-off-ramsgate.html Thanet District Council appear to be selling Albion house off.
I wonder what the new owner would do with the listed status of the ground floor, the mayor is in his parlour and all that, I wonder if the mayor is protected in all this, a stately ornament to Ramsgate, his office or something of that type.
But it does bring sharply into focus what we voted to pay extra for a town council for, was it to have a largely ceremonial function based around an historic building that we couldn’t afford to maintain, something we already had, or was it to have a more accessible elected body to represent the interests of Ramsgate to a district council more focused on Margate?
Would we be perhaps be better off with our town council based in a shop building in the town centre, where they would be much more readily accessible to local people, perhaps sharing a building with the tourist information office, now situated where a tourist would be unlikely to find it.
Window displays featuring major projects that are of concern to local people spring to mind, with information one would expect in this modern climate of open government.
Artists impressions of the new Pleasurama project, samples of the building materials on display, information about progress with the new ferry service, information about the councils support for the maritime museum and Cervia restoration project are examples of the sort of thing I mean.
There is a time and a place for grand buildings and ceremonial and to my mind that comes when local government can say it has achieved something.
Don’t misunderstand me I am not being critical of the town council here it’s too new to have achievements, good or bad, these are just thoughts on the sorts of direction it could consider going in.