Friday, 8 October 2010

Bit of a ramble about the art police and the HSE

It transpires that the picture above is sort of half legal according to the Gazette and to avoid any confusion here it is going to be painted over by order of the Ramsgate Town Council Great Wall Arts Committee.

Apparently the Ramsgate Town Council Great Wall Arts Committee asked local Graffiti artist Garff to do an artwork for the Great Wall and he did.

The Ramsgate Town Council Great Wall Arts Committee appear to like the work but will have to have it painted over because it’s graffiti, they will have it photographed and turned into art.

Sounds like they are catching some sort of virus from the Turner Contemporary, perhaps the three local councils could use their combined funding to publish regulations for artists and architects working in Thanet.

I have had the most bizarre missive from the HSE yet:

“Mr Child,

After visiting site, the construction inspector consulted the Principal Inspector for Kent and it has been decided that your concern does not really fall within the realm of construction because there was no work activity on site and the facade is outside the site fencing. Your concerns have therefore been passed to the Kent Group who shall receive the input of one of our Specialist Inspectors in Civil Engineering.

I or whoever the investigating inspector, will get back to you once our investigations are complete.


**** ****
Complaints Team E&SE

I really am a bit lost for words replying to this one, the chaps in the picture above are trying to remove a suborn tree from the cliff façade above the Pleasurama building site. This is proving difficult and masonry is showering into the building site below, the cherry picker is parked on the building site. The rest of the pictures are at

Last week when I complained to the HSE that the façade above the building site appeared dangerous the contractors were working on site.

The HSE then phoned the contractor, who they said also had reservations about the safety of the façade, after this the contractor left the site. I wonder if the HSE have considered that phoning a building firm up and saying that someone thinks the 70 foot high cliff that they are working under may not be safe, could be a reason for them leaving the site while the HSE resolve the issue.

It would seem that the HSE are only prepared to look into a dangerous practice while it continues to go on, perhaps they should publish instructions for building firms to do dangerous things so that they can investigate them.

It looks like the Pavilion roof is going to be battleship grey, I thought this was just grey undercoat, but as the scaffolding is coming down it looks like this is what we are going to get.
You would think that this was something to do with Ramsgate Town Council Great Wall Arts Committee. Rumour has it though that there isn’t much love lost between the council and the owners of the pavilion.

The town council are putting on a quad bike event and asked the owners of the pavilion for some cooperation and sponsorship, I don’t believe these people were very helpful.
Back to graffiti it would seem Thanet District Council have taken new approach with the boarding on their empty buildings and are now painting it with blackboard paint.

You don’t even have to bring your own chalk because of our geology.

As the IOTG would say. “Welcome to Smudger’s spot the difference competition”

The Isle of Thanet Gazette has tweeted rather an unusual spelling mistake see lets just hope that they haven’t spelt John Gibson Lockhart’s name wrong on the blue plaque too.

I wonder if you can untweet something, paint out the heart and make it art, oh well I suppose time will tell.
Back to the town council, I have to admit that I am beginning to have certain reservations here, the picture above is at the entrance to their offices and the NO ENTRY, their caps is a permanent feature.

I am beginning to wonder if this is what we all had in mind when we voted to spend extra money on a town council.

One thing I was particularly looking for in this venture was accessible local government.

I was speaking to one of my older customers today who has been a resident of Ramsgate for over seventy years and he asked me about last weeks IOTG story about auctioning of the town’s antiques.

Here it is  I also covered this recently  and have asked a few questions.

The messages coming out of the council are that the only things that are going to be sold are those that are not much use and don’t have Ramsgate connections.

The impression I got from the town council was that they felt the issue had been misrepresented so I asked them to send me the true information and pictures of the items, well they haven’t turned up, perhaps they will eventually.

Anyway one thing that came out of this was that the council said that many of the more important items are now on display in the Custom House.

Back to my long term Ramsgate resident, I suggested that he go and have a look, he said he had already been to the Custom House and spotted the no entry signs, that was enough for him, I don’t think he will go back again.

Next the continuing restoration work on 1 Granville Marina

the links are for anyone who has got lost.

At the moment they appear to be pile boring, something that I had assumed involved plant that was more industrial and less agricultural than the stuff in the picture.

I think what happened here is that before the Granville Marina was constructed the sea went up to the cliffs, then the incline viaduct and 1 Granville Marina was built into the cliffs as part of the cliff support system.

This was all founded on solid chalk with the sea defence well in front of this and then the void in between the cliff and the sea defences filled in with the chalk waste and the promenade laid on top of this.

I think the chaps in the picture may be drilling through the chalk waste looking for a firm foundation.

It will certainly be interesting if the new development subsides at a different rate to the existing part of the old one.

It is a very demanding feat of civil engineering to build against cliff face on the foreshore and doing this with what looks like a farming implement must add to the challenge.

I will ramble on as I absorb local events after a very busy day in the bookshop.


  1. I thought, given its backdrop, the "graffiti" artwork was quite in proportion and very diminutise it will spoil the visual effect.
    All very small minded...

  2. Invite HSE to sit on that fence.

  3. Like so many of your posts, you collect a small portion of the truth, complain because busy people do not jump to answer your questions immediately and then publish a half cocked story.

    Correction 1 - The great wall of Ramsgate is not the responsibilty of Ramsgate Town Council. As I understand, it was the idea of the Eastcliff Residents Association, and the driving force behind it is Mike Samson, one of the artists.

    Correction 2 - Ramsgate Town Council has a reception desk on the ground floor of the Custom House available 6 days a week. We only employ 1.5 staff and they are very busy, but will always respond if called from the reception desk.
    We are also available through our web site
    either by email, or through the "message centre" feature.

    Correction 3

    With regard to the sale of artifacts. We are only disposing of furniture that we physically cannot accomodate in the Custonm House and which either we or through request to the public cannot identify any significant civic relevence.

    I know, its your personal blog, but if you wish to be taken seriously, and I assume you do, you really should check before you publish.

  4. Thanks for the clarification Dave, there are a few points that I didn’t understand and I am sure you will be able to sort them out for me.

    Correction 1 I had assumed from the IOTG article that Gerry was speaking as a town councillor, rather in the same way that when any other councillor, county, distinct or town is quoted in the paper, they are usually speaking as a councillor.

    Strangely the Great Wall project is perceived in the town as a town council initiative, in fact it is perceived as the only visible and tangible positive result of having a town council and people are both very pleased with and proud of what has been achieved.

    Are you saying that the council has nothing to do with this project?

    Correction 2 I have just been down to the Custom House, there is no signage inside relating to accessing the town council, the only desk being the tourist information one which says nothing to suggest that it is related to the council in some way.

    All the indicators are that the council is upstairs and that there is no public entry.

    Are saying that the tourist information desk is also the council reception desk, if so how is the council contributing to staffing it and why isn’t there anything to say it is?

    Correction 3 With the sale of artefacts, all you or any other member of the council has to do is to tell us what it is you are actually doing, the problem here is not so much what the council is doing, but people’s perceptions of what the council is doing.

    The last minuets I can find published on the council’s website are dated June as is the last news. You can send me the information and I will publish it as I did when the council first started, you can publish the information yourself, but if you don’t tell local people what the council is actually doing then you are bound to get misunderstandings.

  5. Keep up the great work Michael! With pretty much every other Thanet blog now either dormant or (perhaps worse) obsessed with party politics & ignoring Thanet, yours is one of the very few worthwhile local blogs remaining.

  6. To Cllr David Green,

    I have just read your post to Michael Child. It was gratuitously rude.

    I spent 40 years in Government service. If I had replied to a member of the public in such a rude tone then I would have got my backside kicked. But then it may be that things are different in Local Government.

    It is wise never to tell a member of the public that you are too busy to deal with them. It can make you appear pompous, which I am sure you are not.

    All that aside, I am are grateful for your advice and guidance on the subject under discussion.

  7. To Cllr David Green,

    I have just read your post to Michael Child. At the risk of being frank, I found it gratuitously rude.

    I spent 40 years in Government service. If I had replied to a member of the public in such a rude tone then I would have got my backside kicked. But then may be things are different in Local Government.

    It is wise never to tell a member of the public that you are too busy to deal with them. It can make you appear pompous, which I am sure you are not.

    All that aside, I am are grateful for your advice and guidance on the subject under discussion.

  8. Thinks, how did both my versions get in? Must have hit the wrong button.

  9. To Cllr David Green,

    Most of us do take make Michael seriously and I have evidence that suggests this includes TDC.

  10. Peter I have to admit that I don’t like the situation, I would also say that we are badly lacking in interesting blogs, I can’t think why as it doesn’t take much time or effort to write one.

    As far as the local politicians blogs go, I don’t really know why they are so dull, the people writing them must know much more about what is going on locally than I do and with the elections coming along you would think they would want to show that they were interested in local matters.


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