As a parent on the end of the phone with the youf of today on the other end trying to deal with a departure from Heathrow, Heath Row as it used to be called, one does wonder at the way large companies use the internet. Something clear informative and decisive on their website wouldn’t go amiss.
Put your flight number in the box and the answer “no flights found” don’t exactly help.
Kent International Airport – Manston
Since we have had a relatively small amount of snow here in Thanet, one would have expected some flights to be diverted there, it is supposed have considerable capacity, who knows?
There appear to have been no less than four Manston flights recently where the safety of the aircraft has been dubious, not so funny with Ramsgate directly under the flight path.
Manston has a bit of a history of operators going out with a crash.
Then there is the business of the night flights and the Bureau Veritas report commissioned by the council see http://www.thanetonline.com/nightflights/id7.htm reading this is seems that the airport was asking for unreasonable noise levels.
Safety and pollution issues are not something one expects to be related to a modern airport in this way.
Democracy and Thanet District Council
In recent years I have had a few run-ins with the council, mostly about public safety issues, pollution and the way they look after iconic assets put in their trust.
I think often people view this as a direct confrontation between me and the council, truth is that in many cases it is a council officer who asks me to make the fuss, in the first place.
This latest business of changing what happens in the May elections is another matter altogether and effects our basic human rights of living in a democracy, in this case the right to vote.
The indicators are pretty thin on the ground due to the mishandling of the consultation, but everything there points to the electorate wanting to vote for a leader and the council wanting to chose one.
It is absolutely clear that the previous government and their legislation intended the voters to make this choice, it is also absolutely clear that the new coalition government have the same intention and when their new localism bill passed, the legislation will also say that it is the electorate who should make this choice.
Once the council have started down the slippery slope of trying to bend democracy to do what they think is good for local people, instead of allowing local people to vote for what they want, in this case preventing a valid election, then they have passed a line beyond which there is no easy return.
I think the main aspect of this won’t be to do with their going outside of the law of the land, but more the slow grind of publicity and public opinion. Because of the way the council tried to hide that the public consultation was happening, I think that it is only now that the local press are starting to realise the enormity of what has happened.
The excuses coming from the council about this seem to have totally missed the point, and range from what other councils have done to what they think is best for us, the point here and the only salient one is that they were supposed invoke the will of the electors and instead they did what they wanted.
Ramsgate Maritime Museum
I have had a verbal assurance from a senior council officer that the council have prepared a lease for both The Clock House and Smeaton’s Dry Dock and that the council cabinet have approved this lease.
The main criteria for the lease, as I understand them, being that the museum has to be able to pay the rent out of the proceeds of the museum and that the lease is long enough to enable the charitable trust, running the museum, to obtain grant funding.
The King George IV Maritime Heritage Pontoon
The picture above is illustrative of what happens when the council throws common sense out of the window and tries to apply cost cutting measures.
A few notes about the costs of mooring in the harbour here, the last vessel I had anything much to do with that was moored in Ramsgate Harbour, was a historic vessel called The Peggy, I think she was about 11 metres long, about 35 feet on old money, and I suppose now mooring her in the inner harbour would cost around £2,500 per year about £50 per week.
We had about four historic vessels usually moored on the historic vessel pontoon and for ease of calculation we will say that their full mooring fees on an ordinary mooring in the inner harbour would have been about £2,000 per year each.
What they had were concessionary mooring fees i.e. a discount between a half and a quarter off the full mooring fees, so they were bringing in the council and annual income of about £5,500 per year.
The council’s argument here was pretty roughly that the people who owned the boats had plenty of money and so they shouldn’t get the discount.
This all sounds fine and dandy, until you take into account the reality of the situation, first and foremost the historic vessel pontoon is the worst mooring in the inner harbour, right next to all the problems associated with late night drunks, worn out and without proper services. The historic vessels enhanced the café culture and this part of the town. As no one else would choose to moor there, reduced mooring fees are the only option.
So now we don’t have the historic vessels to look at, the council is out of pocket by about five thousand a year and all of the rules have been properly applied.
Ramsgate Harbour Slipways
With one thing and another we now have a difficult situation here, half the slipways site is leased to the slipway operator and half to the developer who wanted to build a bar complex there and paid £90,000 for the leasehold interest.
The main working part of his bit of the site was slipways 2 and 3, I have now heard that the slipway cables have been cut, this is unconfirmed information and I am not sure if this means the electrical cables or the steel with cables that pull up the cradles.
Pleasurama, Royal Sands Development
The development has now appeared on the contractors website, under their executive developments section, see http://www.cardygroup.co.uk/projects/projects.php?cat_id=4 so it may be that these condominiums will eventually be known as Cardy’s Condoms.
This has happened twice before, (appearing on their website that is – not Featherstone’s ticklers, Knight’s Amor or Robert Leonard Group Plc, no I had better not go on) with different contractors who have subsequently removed it, so it doesn’t mean that much.
Before the inclement weather, sporadic activity peaking at about four men on site had been occurring, this consisted of digging holes and filling them back in, sounds funny if you don’t know what they were up to, which was looking for the various pipes and wires under the site.
At the moment my main concern there is the stability of the cliff wall and since the lump fell off I have been getting a small amount of cooperation from the HSE, they are obviously very cautious about criticising another part of the great government machine, but lumps falling off that could have killed people seems to have put some sort of pressure on in the other direction.
Blogs with local news and debate from the top of my sidebar.
Bignews Margate has two local articles that are worth a gander http://bignewsmargate.blogspot.com/2010/12/margate-museum-its-mystery-tdc.html and http://bignewsmargate.blogspot.com/2010/12/local-democracy-we-deserve-better.html about Thursdays council meeting with masses of comments.
Thanet Life http://birchington.blogspot.com/2010/12/through-looking-glass.html about Thursdays council meeting with comments disabled http://birchington.blogspot.com/2010/12/kapital-performance.html and http://birchington.blogspot.com/2010/12/thanks-andy.html
Sorry if I missed anything but these seemed to be the most lively posts, apart from the one where the comments were disabled of course, couldn’t be asked or something like that I suppose.
Councillors who actually engaged in the debates on the local blogs this week.
Simon Moores, Chris Wells and David Green.
Especial thanks here to Simon and Chris, they are both cabinet members of an administration that has been in power for nearly eight years, politically positions don’t usually get much more difficult than this and yet they did attempt to explain some difficult issues.
You may not be Conservative, you may not like them personally but they did make an attempt to communicate in this difficult public forum, and in view of the large number of councillors who never bother to reply to anything from both sides of the political spectrum, out leader included, I would say that I f they stood in my ward I would vote for them as I will vote for Dave this year if he stands.
I will ramble on between children and anything else that occurs today.