Very much a lazy Sunday today, I got up late and had a rather bleary look at the other local blogs over breakfast at lunchtime.
There is a little mild sparring going on between Tony Bignews and Simon Moores, I guess they would both rather be sparring with ECR, but is seems reading Simon’s latest post http://birchington.blogspot.com/2011/01/passing-trade.html that his capitalist friends have consigned ECR to a concrete overcoat.
This post for the most part seems to relate to last weeks council meeting, although what neither Simon, the council’s press release, or the Labour Group’s press release does is tell us what the redundancies mean, both in terms of the cost of the golden handshakes or what is happening to rest of the senior council officers.
Simon in true politician style evaded the question about this in my comment.
I am not trying to get at Simon here who is the most communicative of the TDC Cabinet, but the truth is that whether the ruling Tory group are doing a good job or a bad one is almost impossible to say because their publicity is so bad.
With the elections coming one would have expected them to at pains to tell us what they are doing in simple layman’s terms.
The minutes of the council meeting before that one took over a month to appear on the council’s website and only appeared just as the webcast of the meeting was being removed.
Tony Bignews has a post about local planning see http://bignewsmargate.blogspot.com/2011/01/thanet-planning-calamity.html further complicated as Tony has decided to put most of it on his other blog http://outsideturner.blogspot.com/2011/01/bleeping-bush-blighted.html anyway this tangled thread relates partly to the new localism bill, something that I think is intended to give more power back to local people, but seems to be giving more power to local government. Now this is all fine and dandy if local government intends to represent the views of local people, but after the leadership consultation fiasco it seems our local cabinet is more concerned about maintaining its own power base.
Another serious point in all of this is about the fragmentation of the ground floor shop areas of our town centres, something that I am suffering from the sharp end of.
The problem being is that once the areas that had shops, galleries and cafés on the ground floor is broken up with residential development on the ground floors, then there is less for people to go to there, so footfall decreases and the trade of the remaining business decreases. This used to be mitigated by people not wanting to live on the ground floor in the town centres due to the noise, but housing benefit means that some sort of residential tenant can always be found, regardless of how unpleasant it is to live there.
A new post on Ken’s new blog see http://in2thanet.blogspot.com/2011/01/open-for-business-closed-to-tourists.html still with the TDC and two problems here. One can be summed up as what is TDC? Thanet District Council, Thanet Council or Margate Council. And the other even if the council is putting most of its resources into Margate at the moment, would Margate be better off if the council left them alone, like they most seem to leave Ramsgate alone now.
Margate Architecture’s post on an estate agent’s view of Margate has to be seen to be believed, see http://margatearchitecture.blogspot.com/2011/01/talking-of-moving-to-margate-kallis.html
Thanet Star seems to have a technical problem at the moment so I can’t look there.
I was talking to a Scottish engineer who was staying in Ramsgate for a few days to conduct some business last week and he asked me some pretty difficult questions.
One being, what’s wrong with Thanet, why isn’t it prosperous? He had obviously seen that Ramsgate has a fantastic harbour, but being an engineer he could also see it was badly silted up. Fantastic architecture, much of which is badly converted to HMOs. Was there something wrong with local government? He asked. Why did local people seem so apathetic about what had happened to their area?
He also asked me some difficult questions about local business. Did Pfizer, Thanet Earth and so on help the local economy? Did China Gateway look as though it was a viable proposition and would it help the local economy?
Frankly what I had to say to this man, looking at my patch from the outside, was much more defensive than positively encouraging, in fact I found myself handing out the excuses that have been handed out to me.
He had just used the air service from Scotland to Manston and commented on the bizarre timings for anyone wanting to business in either place from the other and I have to say I wondered if many people would.
Two of my girls are Brownies and are engaged in a bedroom design project related to this organisation using the best free cut up and stick in resource, the Argos catalogue.
Something they both noticed however is how incredibly sexist it is, many of the things that they really liked, Formula 1 bedspreads, curtains with stars on were marked as for boys.
One of the things I do, that I hope is particularly beneficial to the local area, is my local history publications and one aspect of this is promoting them on the internet.
The idea being that I makes it easy for people to get started on our rich local history, an aspect of this is selling the books through an ebay shop, I mainly do this because I think a lot of people when thinking about Thanet history would only look on ebay.
If you are thinking of buying any of them online it is cheaper if you go directly to the bookshop website at http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/ where the postage is free.
Anyway I have just been looking at the figures for this ebay shop for last year, I should stress here that they don’t worry me as I am not looking for profit in my local history project and very much see it as something I do for the local community.
Here they are Total money received from my ebay shop £973.88, postage costs £187.15, Ebay fees £417.51, Paypal fees £76.54.
It certainly gives you some idea as to how big companies cash in on the internet.
I will probably ramble on.