Sunday, 26 September 2010

Sunday Ramble

A bit of a drift around the local news and a few thoghts on a wet Sunday afternoon.

First the night flights see http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/thanet/Countdown-night-flights-consultation/article-2663551-detail/article.html

From a personal point of view and from a noise disturbance point of view the level of flights over Ramsgate at the moment isn’t giving me any grief, when a plane goes over I tend to wander outside and look at it. The people going past outside at night swearing and shouting is much more of a problem in this part of Ramsgate and I don’t think that the ongoing stream of obscenities, with the windows open or them playing in the garden this summer, is beneficial to my children.

I am not happy about Kent International Airport from a pollution point of view, nor am I happy that they don’t seem to comply with the existing overflying rules. Obviously the amount of overlying Ramsgate and the amount of night flights needs controlling, especially if the airport expands.

At the moment the amount of flights over Ramsgate has gone down see http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/business/57361/wellington-airport-passenger-numbers-up

I suppose the thing that really bugs me with the airport is that they just don’t seem to operate a common sense policy when it comes to overflying Ramsgate, quite simply they do so when they don’t need to and in doing so have got peoples backs up unnecessarily.

Low flights over the most densely populated part of the town and low training flights also over the town on calm and virtually windless days, seems pretty daft to me.

The council don’t seem to be taking the issue seriously too see http://www.yourthanet.co.uk/kent-news/Warning-to-council-and-Infratil-over-Manston---newsinkent40165.aspx in fact reading that article doesn’t inspire much confidence.

The business a bout the broken noise monitor and mending it so is can be put in the garden of someone who works at the airport sounds like some sort of joke, more like the sort of solution for a neighbour with a noisy lawnmower than the workings of an international company.

An airport operator with busted equipment and no backup is hardly likely to inspire confidence at any level.

A few thoughts on Pleasurama here and the press, well work has started on the Royal Sands Development, no great splash in the local press although the development is much larger than the Turner Contemporary, work at the moment on this £20m project seems to have mostly involve two men moving the piles of dirt on the site.

There hasn’t been any sign of the local information that the council and the developer promised that there would be when work started either.

Questions like is the roof still made of rubber, why are there weeds growing out of the cliff façade that £1m was spent on, is there any sort of flood risk assessment, has there been some sort of survey of the cliff after the repairs to the repairs? Well the list could go on and the councillors and council officers don’t seem to have much in the way of answers.

Ask a councillor? Try it and there is a sense of, how many councillors does it take to change a lightbulb? Sorry what do I mean here? It goes a bit like this: ask the town council and the answer is the district council don’t tell them what is going on; ask a cabinet member and they tell you to ask the town council, so you say – they say we don’t know nuffin – so the cabinet member say ask your district councillor, so you do and your district councillor says he hasn’t been told anything and to try a cabinet member.

Alternatively you can ask an officer, I won’t go on about this aspect but just say that 11 months is about how long a foi request on this subject can take.

How do I read the situation at the moment? Well I will do my best here although it is just speculation.

The flood risk, well everyone has ticked the right boxes here and I don’t think either the developer or the council wants rock the boat.

The sewers, at the moment I believe the plan is to use the existing system for over 1,000 people in the new development, the car park and road drainage into the system that runs along Harbour Parade. As this system floods in moderate rain (several times during the summer this year) diverting the sewage into the café culture there, you would think there would be some sort of plan.

Ask the district council and they will say that it is a county council problem, they will say it’s a Southern Water problem who will direct you to the planning authority, the district council.

I think the answer on this one is just no plan.

Then there is the dodgy cliff wall, in a sane world someone would get a professional civil engineer independent of the work that has already been done here to inspect it.

I suspect the developers stance is that it is the council’s wall they own it and say that it’s OK although I suspect the developer is a bit reluctant to disturb the ground near it or start the pile boring that will cause vibration near it.

Then there is the council, well they have already spent £1m on repairing it and a further £900 weeding and inspecting it after the repairs and then a further £10,700 repairing a small part of it that failed also after the repairs.

I am afraid that this £11,600 of council spending was probably my fault for telling them that when it was repaired the contractor had fudged up a great big crack that had opened up again and that the nice new pointing and sealing work was spouting weeds, well now it needs weeding again.

Suppose the council says to the developer, “our cliff wall is all dodgy and it looks as though it may fall on your nice new development,” then I suppose the developer is going to say, “I have spent over £2m so far on the road and the plumbing, can I have it back.”

We have a cautious history of building on the foreshore and in front of chalk cliffs, it has involved some structures being collapsed by cliff falls and some being collapsed by wave action.

With the developments close to cliffs the approach was to build a new cliff wall in some cases, but mostly it was to incorporate the structure into a new cliff support system.

Engineering hat now, the western end of the cliff wall behind the Pleasurama site looks to be Jerry built, the bit at the Eastern end has the look of reasonable civil engineering but the western end bit is a mess.

This link takes you to some pictures of it http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts110/id12.htm I think that part of it was probably constructed around the second world war as one of the lintel covered portals was the access for the tunnels related to HMS Fervent, whenever it was in civil engineering terms the bit you can see is a dog’s breakfast.

To build next to it seems a bit on the odd side however you look at it, I suppose some of our council offers and councillors will look at the pictures, considering that it will be Thanet Residents living right next to this thing I wonder if any of them will make any comments about it.

Now a bit of a look at the other local blogs, nearly all of the councillors who have blogs have posted about the Labour Party leadership election result, I suppose this is a pleasant diversion from problems nearer to home.

Oxbridge I suppose produces the finest minds and at least he doesn’t try and speak with a fake working class accent, I don’t really understand if he is supposed to be the next Labour prime minister, best bet as leader of the opposition or just a sort of accident.

I am not being unkind to the individual here, just vaguely speculating as to how it is that we end up with the leaders that we do, I was particularly thinking about how few Labour party members voted in this seemingly important decision, see http://eastclifframsgate.blogspot.com/2010/09/labour-leadership-election.html in all 231 Thanet people voted in this decision.

Local Conservative blogs seem pleased with this outcome see http://birchington.blogspot.com/2010/09/and-winner-is.html I wonder if the chap Ed makes it all the way to the top they will be so pleased, I suppose only time will tell.

An interesting press release from the council about Ramsgate’s shelters, see http://thanetpress.blogspot.com/2010/09/restoration-for-ramsgate-seafront.html it makes it only too clear why they need to get on with the lease for the Maritime Museum.

Another one here which concerns me a lot http://www.thanet.gov.uk/news/latest_press_releases/ramsgate_slipway.aspx does this mean that they have extended the time for commenting on the application to demolish, or are the misleading people into thinking that they have until the 15th instead of the 1st?

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