Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Minor ramble

Sorry about the lack of posts I have been having printer problems and have had to move the offending machine somewhere warmer, this meant the end of the road for conventional photography for me, all of the contents of my darkroom has been boxed up to make room for the printer.

I did get a walk this morning although the quality of light can best be expressed as gloomy so the photographs are not that great see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts110/id3.htm

The main thing of note being that work has resumed on repairing the Wellington Crescent cliff façade, the saga of trying to build to close to this and too low on the foreshore goes on, with the council pretending that there isn’t a problem.

I am still at the stage of having sent them photographs of the bulge in the façade and the lack of foundations because they wouldn’t inspect it, and have been told the bulge is a minor problem that they are fixing but there is no problem with the foundations.

The trouble is when one has to deal with this sort of nonsensical situation it is hard to have much confidence that they are making proper repairs instead of just covering up the defects.

Here in King Street Ramsgate another shop has closed, this time it is the huge carpet shop that once formed the main part of the Co-Op, with the cycle shop next door to it failing so quickly it isn’t an encouraging sign.

The whole eastcliff area of Ramsgate is in a bit of a state really, from Pleasurama, the pavilion and Granville Marina site on the front extending back into the town.

There are reasonable successful things within this area like the Granville Theatre a few shops and some residential areas that are reasonably pleasant but the area is dominated by houses of multiple occupation and social problems.

I am also working on my response to TDCs core strategy, something that has to be submitted by the 18th of this month, apart form concluding that this part of Ramsgate is going to need some sort of special approach over the coming years if it isn’t going to move further into being a rundown area, I am coming up against the councils lack of facing some of the realities that transcend what they would like with what is possible.

Pleasurama is a small example of what I mean and here the main problem is the council just not being able to face the physical limitations of the site, contractors come and go but the fundamental problem is that any firm large enough to take on building something so big will not be prepared to ignore the flood risk and cliff safety problems, so in the end they just walk away from it.

Now we have a similar problem with what is being mooted in the core strategy as policy 25 that on the face of it appears to a special exception to the rules on building on greenfield sites but really the problem is fundamentally much simpler.

It comes back to our water supply, even the developments in the pipeline, as far as I have been able to find out from The Environment Agency and Southern Water, and it isn’t easy getting clear responses from large organisations, the combined effects of Thanet Earth, China Gateway’s first phase and the airport expansion take us beyond the point where there is sufficient greenfield area to replenish our essential water supply.

Now it strikes me that before huge amounts of public and private money are wasted we need a definite figure on the area of farmland we need to retain to get enough water.

I do wonder if it is only here in Thanet and perhaps some third world dictatorships that the governing powers put so much of their resources into producing documents about plans to revitalise the area, without first looking at the physical restrictions of the area and deciding what is actually possible.

China Gateway is a case in point here, forget for a moment the implications of building on a greenfield site, forget even the questions about would local people be employed in sufficient numbers there to make the project beneficial.

The point here is that a business wanted to invest here in Thanet, but the council were so unrealistic about their approach to what would be possible in terms of site drainage that a year after the application being approved there still appears to be no planning agreement.

The trouble now is that we are coming to the end of large government funded projects and we now need the council to set out a storefront to attract investment that is in some way realistic.

Projects that look good on paper but are impossible in practice are not in any way going to help our credibility in the real world.

1 comment:

  1. Looks as cold over your side of the Island as it does over here Michael.


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