Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sunday ramble

I haven’t had a lot of spare time this week, the post on Wednesday about the plans to demolish the harbour slipways pretty much finished off any spare time that I have for blogging.

I have tried to avoid coming down on one side or another over this one, partly because the information is still coming in, there were two significant factors that cropped up on Friday, these are just examples.

One was the planning application to build the new development appeared on the council’s planning website, distinct from the application that I posted about on Wednesday that was to demolish the slipways.

The main difference being that there is a flood risk assessment published with this application.

At the moment I can’t say much about this as I don’t understand aspects of the assessment, which seems to be supporting my hypothesis that part of the development that is indoors and supposed to be used by people, will be under water at high tide.

The other was a question from one of the council officers, who is trying to work out the pros and cons of these applications, about the Roman harbour underneath where the new development would be built.

Both if these things need considerable research on my part, hence not much time for blogging.

One thing that I have realised since I started to think about this development is that the harbour is much more boring than it used to be. Without my really noticing that much it has moved a considerable distance, from being a place where interesting vessels appeared often and interesting work always seemed to be happening to vessels there, to a static parking area for boats that have literally come out of a limited number of moulds.

I would say that we are in danger of turning Ramsgate’s main tourist attraction, the harbour, into something like a static boat park.

Another thing that I have been involved in over the last few weeks is trying to get the council to sort out how they promote leisure events on their website.

The problem here is that they have set themselves up as a publicly funded web resource to promote local events, so that their websites have become the main place on the internet where people look to find out what’s on here.

This means that people assume that if an event isn’t on the council’s websites then the event just isn’t happening. To expand on this, if say they promote Margate Carnival on the council’s main website homepage but don’t promote Ramsgate Carnival there too, then most people from out of the area who look on the web, would assume that there is no Ramsgate Carnival.

This seems to be a difficult concept for the councillors, council officers and some bloggers to grasp, frustratingly it makes me feel that I am either in some high country of the mind that they just can’t get to, or I am just insane.

Now for a quick look at the other local blogs:

Eastcliff Richard seems to have vanished at the moment, but then he does that sometimes, so no news there.

Simon Moores on Thanet Life, seems to have come back to life. After hardly posting at all for some months, he has suddenly started posting nearly every day. I have been too busy to comment there this week, it used to be very easy but now is just a pain. I can understand a councillor needing to set some sort of comment moderation, but word verification as well is just the pits and leaves you wondering if you have commented or not.

One post that interested me there was where Simon is understandably annoyed that the local press don’t seem to have much in the way of local news.

Simon reckons that he is finding more local news on the other local blogs than he is in the local papers, I have been looking and frankly there isn’t that much, that I can find.

I wonder if this is partly down to the council cabinet, as since I started my local press release blog in May of last year, I have only received one press release from them.

There was a local story on Tony’s Bignews Margate blog last week about the council locking people both in and out of the council offices, Tony is as bad as me at adding links and as there are several posts about this you have to go to his blog and scroll back to last week to read them.

This week apart from having a bit of fun with something I said, everything on Bignews is well big, i.e. based on national news stories, so no local news there this week.

Matt on Thanet Star hasn’t got any news but has put up a post asking if anything has happened in Thanet this week so no news there.

Tim Garbutt has posted saying that the plans for the slipways have been provisionally approved see he doesn’t say who by or what the provisions are.

An interesting article on We Make Margate not however local news.

The local history blogs based in Margate have the sad news that Mr Mick Twyman founder member and Secretary of the Margate Historical Society has died.

Thanet Newswire, now there is a blog name to conjure with when looking for news, sadly not much in the way of news there though really just the spat that the local councillors seem to having over the development in Dalby Square, Cliftonville.

With so many contentious developments in Thanet it is a bit hard to figure out why so much interest in this one that seems more sensible than most.

I do wonder if it is that like me they have the material to produce more news but not the time, of if they genuinely think that there isn’t that much going on that could do with some investigation.

The decontamination or whatever they are doing to Margate Gasworks looks interesting enough for starters, as these old gasworks sites tend to be some of the most contaminated places in the UK.

I will continue rambling along later in the day if I can think of anything else to say.

In fact I have continued although I don’t really have anything to say, don’t say you weren’t warned.

I have tried Facebook over the last few days, but have to admit to not being able to get on with it, I think I could manage it better if you could have enemies and acquaintances rather than just friends.

I even tried putting a joke there, as it seemed a sort of frivolous type of place on the web, here’s the joke: Have you heard the one about the man who disguises himself with glasses and a false beard to get past his wife. She mistakes him for her lover.

Anyone able to guess the book I am reading that it comes from?

Bit of a long ramble here today, we had friends round last night and were fairly late to bed anyway, then a very loud alarm went off from 2am to 2.20 and then 2.30 until whenever it stopped and I went back to sleep.

This type of thing combined with the sounds of Ramsgate town centre Saturday nightlife that continually drifts through our windows until about 4am, isn’t necessarily conducive to a good nights sleep.

I have to admit to speculating about the way people talk now, and I am not certain that this is particularly unique to Fanit. Apart from the whole business of punctuating every sentence with obscenities, something that must leave people a bit lost for words when they hit themselves on the thumb with the hammer. There is the whole business of, what I can only assume is deliberately trying to sound, well, I would say working class, this is something that I suppose I associate with working in a shop and with actually physically manufacturing something. I do both of these things and have reservations about how many other people actually make something on a regular basis that people buy. This business seems to be associated with what the late great Ronnie Barker would call something like having trouble getting ones worms out.

But, yes, we do seem to reaching a point where even the people I hear in the media, acting lines that have been written for them, do indeed seem to increasingly be having difficulty expressing themselves in some sort of fluid way.

So that now I find in term of speech communication the world is split in to three groups, one group who seem to be having increasingly more difficulty getting any meaning into the words between the obscenities. One group who seem to be generating a new English accent, as if they want to show that they don’t belong to the first group, many of these people I believe attend meetings, but still they seem to be, or at least started out trying to show that, yes they too are emphasising having difficulty expressing themselves, in the way they express themselves. Then just recently it is as though many of them really are having difficulty expressing themselves, even when they want to.

In our family one of my uncles, not a real uncle and now dead, used to affect unusual mannerisms of the people we knew at the time and a much older family friend of ours, who was also for some time one of my teachers, had a random facial twitch. This uncle, who I suppose was fairly young, or at least I suppose though us, when we were children, saw him as fairly young, used to pretend to have this facial twitch, to amuse us children.

It is difficult to remember what it was that amused one, when one was a child, I don’t think the teachers twitch did for some reason, but the uncle’s acting of I think did and I suppose there was something of a conspiracy there also. Anyway much later in time, when I had become an adult, I met this uncle again and he had indeed developed the facial twitch, that he once pretended to have.

I digress, there is the third group, these just appear to have the regional and class accents one so prevalent in England and as far as I can tell, seem to be expressing themselves as best they can and, yes doing quite well at it.

One way or another we are all a bit lethargic today and building up to a late and large Sunday roast.
Anyway this affected “not being able to get ones worms out” doesn’t seem to be easy to do in print. Very few people commenting here start by calling me “mate” unless of cause they are a mate of mine. Very few comments start um er, this er wasisname um fing (inert your own expletives).

Back to some sense of reality here, I have also had back from the council some of the answers I to some of the questions I asked them through the district auditor.

Here as an example are some of the questions I put and the answers I have received in red.

- how much money did the Council spend on the Pleasurama development in 2009/10?

The Council spent £11,600 on
the ‘Pleasurama’ site in 2009-

- how much of this money related to repairs to the cliff facade?

Of the figure in answer to
question one, £10,700 was
spent on the cliff wall adjacent
to the ‘Pleasurama’ site.
Incidentally, the difference of
£900 was spent on cliff façade
inspection and maintenance;
removal of weeds.

- how much compensation has the Council claimed re repairs to the cliff facade in 2009/10?

No compensation was claimed
by the Council regarding repairs
to the cliff façade in 2009/10.

- how much compensation has the Council received re the cliff facade in 2009/10?

Therefore no compensation
was received as at the end of
2009/10 regarding the cliff

- how much compensation did it expect to receive, as at the end of 2009/10?

- what does the Council estimate its potential liability to be in respect of the Pleasurama development, in respect of not determining the development agreement?

The Council has no estimate for
its potential liability in respect of
not determining the
development agreement. Last
year Cabinet, and Council,
decided not to determine the
development agreement. The
reports considered were public
domain, though certain
annexes were not public

- what does the Council estimate its potential liability to be re the risk of a tidal surge storm or cliff collapse results in injury or loss of life?

Within the context of the Isle of
Grain to S. Foreland Shoreline
Management Plan, the former
Pleasurama site is “hold the
line”. There are no current
proposals to improve resilience
against flooding on the basis of
current information. By
comparison, elsewhere in
Thanet there is a statistical
need to improve sea defence.
With a major scheme pending
in central Margate. And a small
scheme planned at Pegwell

- How much has the Council spent in respect of the Clock House building (including surveys, legal fees and maintenance) in 2009/10?

i) nil spent 2009/10
on the building

- How much has the Council spent on running the Maritime Museum (including staff maintenance, conservation, storage, security etc) in 2009/10?

ii) Museum support
in 2009/10 £7224.38

- How much has the Council spent on running the Margate Museum (including staff maintenance, conservation, storage, security etc) in 2009/10?

- How much depreciation has the Council charged in respect of the Clock House, Maritime Museum and Margate Museum in 2009/10

iii) Depreciation of
; Revalued in
asset register as
£204k from
£153k, on the
mechanism of
capital cost

- Has the Council recorded any loss of assets in the Clock House building, Maritime Museum or Margate Museum in its accounts for 2009/10? If so, how much?
Interesting perhaps are the questions that they didn’t answer and I suppose there will be some material both in the answers and absence thereof for some future blog posts.

I am assuming that anyone who has got this far in this somewhat convoluted and potentially rather boring post, is genuinely interested in this sort of thing.

Anyway for those of you still here, I wonder why the council are so reluctant to discuss, Margate Museum and potential liabilities elating to Pleasurama.

I also wondered what the reports considered when deciding to determine the Pleasurama Development Agreement were that were in the public domain:

All the ones that I have got are on pink paper and look like something out of 007 “For Their Eyes Only” there is something rather sad about the councillors holding a secret developers ball, or whatever they do, so that a development can proceed that the environment agency say may be dangerous.
I am afraid when the cabinet decided to go ahead, against the recommendations of their director of finance, this was when I started to really be concerned about the council’s liabilities here.


  1. Michael

    I've turned word verification off to keep you happy!

    I simply blog when I either have the time or inclination or both, which isn't that often these days I'm sad to say!

  2. Thanks Simon I appreciate that, I hope you didn’t feel obliged to struggle through the entire ramble.

  3. did you hear the one about the night noise consultation, TDC's insistence they knew nothing about a night flight number Infratil had in mind, then a noise assesment document turns up with TDC's name on it, a noise quota count number number on it, and projected night flight numbers until 2018?

  4. Yep I should have stopped when you warned me. No news over here in Margate either other than the Bishop promoting 'Back to Church Sunday' but never bothered to tell Vicar of Saint Paul's he was coming but he did tell the local Papers. Imagine how impressed said vicar was?


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