Friday, 16 March 2012

Thanet District Council stop Minnis Bay windsurfing championship and thoughts on the local media.

 Having read the bulk of today’s Isle of Thanet Gazette online, see although this is a pretty wafty website the bulk of the paper’s news articles are there, I went out and bought a copy.

The lead article is about another parking, pr and leisure disaster for the council, the geniuses at Cecil Square have found a bylaw that prevents the competitors sleeping in their campervans, in the council car park there, so the event and the associated tourist money has gone to Herne Bay.
 The pictures in this post are all from the book I publish about Herne Bay, see and I guess if you are a tourist you would probably be better off going there than coming to Thanet.

Herne Bay is in the Canterbury area when it comes to local government, something which does beg the question, do the TDC officers who found the red tape to stop the windsurfing event live in Canterbury district or Thanet district? Perhaps they have friends and relations with jobs and businesses there. 
 Frankly I had hoped that the Labour administration in Thanet would be able to curb the officer’s zeal when it came to leisure.

Note the Canterbury Council leisure website whereas Thanet has Three council run what’s on sites, including and I would particularly like to draw your attention this month’s Thanet and Easter events on both sites and the way we in Thanet are cashing in on the Easter holidays this year.
 I guess when one looks at this sort of thing, in the end one comes to suspect a motive, it seems difficult to imagine that this sort of nonsense could be due to a series of unhappy accidents.

Perhaps all of the councillors in the Minnis Bay area are Conservative and this is an act of spite by the Labour administration, we certainly lost pretty much everything in Ramsgate where the majority of Councillors are Labour, during the last eight years of Conservative administration.

One can just imagine all the council owned seafront property in Herne Bay derelict abandoned and empty because the councillors in Canterbury were of a different political persuasion, can’t we?  

Anyway here is an open question to any councillors of whatever political persuasion, you all have one thing in common and that is that you live in Thanet, how about dropping the pointless arguments, petty infighting and doing what you are supposed to be doing, which is making the officers act in a way that benefits Thanet district and not Canterbury or Dover district?

I suppose so much of the problem with our councillors and council can be can be summed up with the parking issue, where the fight is on between the cost of parking in Westgate Compared to parking in Birchington.

Twenty years  ago I used to take my children to beach in Ramsgate and park next to I also used to do this in Herne Bay, today with my younger children I still do the same in Herne Bay.

 In Ramsgate however the road behind the beach leads to the ten year, mostly deserted building site and nothing much else, the council has taken advantage of this deserted road to produce parking facilities that are the envy of traffic wardens across the land.

I would say that where our councillors have got the parking issue wrong is to think of this as an issue of competition between parking availability and cost within Thanet.

What they ought to be engaging in is competing with parking in Dover, Deal, Herne Bay and Canterbury. I guess anyone who has tried to visit The Turner Contemporary knows where I am coming from here. 

At the moment the only nearby car park available to handle the visitor numbers at the gallery is the Dreamland one, however nearly every new visitor's car first arrives among the pedestrians on what appears to be the pavement outside the gallery.  
Anyway sorry it was a bit of a rant, busy day in the bookshop today and the bits of the blog post went inbetween things, so I doubt it was that coherent either. 


  1. Well said Michael. This has the ring of the absurd about it. I don't understand how this could have happened when there was a UKWA event in May last year at Minnis Bay. What changed in that time that meant that this was a no go?

    This is becoming a worrying trend after the Broadstairs fireworks mess. Officers need to look at the events schedule and see what problems might emerge.

    1. James as you commented before I finished the post, which did turn into a bit of a rant I should point out that you necessarily agree with all of it as it wasn’t all there then.

      I will make a foi request asking if the senior officers who made the decision live in the Canterbury district and have family or friends who would benefit from the increase to the Canterbury district economy.

      Although I expect this was just a case of incompetence, I think it only fair to assume that those responsible were acting in some way that both made sense and benefited someone.

    2. Not sure about the Canterbury thing but its quite possible. I dont mind the rantier parts of the blog. Ive complained often enough about the tribalism and division in the Council. Ive no problem with anything you posted after I commented. Its fair comment.

    3. Of course I could be being cynical but these disasters have come about since the change of Administration at TDC. As Officers deal with these things and Members only find out when things have gone wrong could it be that there is a back office agenda to undermine the Labour Administration?

    4. Since local government officers are facing what they perceive as an attack on their pay and pensions by the current Tory led coalition, unlikely they they would conspire against the very people locally who think money grows on trees, especially when elections are nearing. More likely too busy posturing and tarting up the barnet now in high office to keep an eye on the ball.

  2. It is beyond belief
    . I no longer promote Thanet events in the way I used to and that is due to tdc'S INCOMPETENCE yes I meant to shout. Untill TDC changes its attitude to attracting touristsI can see no reason to change.

  3. Well it might not be all down to poor old Clive but it is not an auspious start. Broadstairs fireworks, the Pierremont Community Centre, the Travel Lodge, Arlington Tesco, Infrantil waving goodbye and now no windsurfing event all on Clive's watch. Wouldn't he just love to still be in opposition with all that lot to shout about. On the other hand, at least he gave us a Diversity Champion so grateful for small mercies.

    1. Tom I have my doubts that the combined efforts of the councillors of all the parties could sort out the problems facing Thanet. Most of them have developed under both administrations and some are either insoluble or beyond the control of the council.

      We have had eight years of a Conservative administration with a good working majority and frankly a dated approach leaving a legacy of uncertainty and mess.

      We now have a situation where we face about three years of no overall, or weak control, and I don’t think the problem lies so much with whoever is in control, but if the two main parties can find a way to achieve anything at all under these circumstances.

      I guess the judgment here can only be on how both the parties are managing the lack of an overall majority, in terms of leaders at the moment, gaffs bad decisions, you can keep your own score between Clive and Bob. I am lucky I have no political elegancies, however I guess you do have.

    2. True, Michael, but how the left would crow had this catalogue of disasters followed a short spell of Tory leadership. Sadly, that is the world of politics and those in charge have to accept the buck stops with them. Mind you, I doubt the council could have done much about any of these happenings except the Minnis Bay wind surfing disaster where one might feel some swift and positive leadership might have averted this nonsense. Such qualities have, however, long deserted our once green and pleasant land.

      As to my allegiance, I am afraid it is to an England long gone, a time when boys at assembly sang rousing non PC school songs about the marching feet of Englishmen and a pregnant teenage girl was a cause for maiden aunts in the country to come to the rescue whilst the offending youth was sent to sea. Now it goes not much beyond an intense irritation with Nick Clegg and Vince Cable, two inadequates with over inflated views of their own self importance, whilst an almost disbelief that either Cameron or Milliband can be regarded as the leaders of anything let alone the parties most likely to form a government.

    3. Given that we live on an island and are now almost totally dependent on foreign owned companies for our very existence maybe a return to the old days of sending the "offending youth" to sea wouldn't be such a bad idea. At least then we wouldn't be at the mercy of other, not always friendly nations for our basic needs.

  4. I suspect that few of the officials possess sufficient brainpower to turn corrupt. It will simply be a case of TDC incompetence coupled with a congenital desire to show us whose boss.

  5. Michael. The chap who runs the shoe repair shop off Ramsgates main drag is heavily involved in the windsurfing club. A decent man who I believe has put a lot of effort into raising the profile of Minnis Bay as a teaching centre. What has happened beggars belief!

  6. Utterly incompetent, words fail me, and that doesn't happen often.

  7. The irony of TDC- I seem to remember a few years ago the carpark at Ramsgate harbour full of campervans for the power boat racing. I guess it depends who is looking after things and who wants what to go ahead, I see after the commercial quay being closed because it is unsafe for even a motor car,someone waves a magic wand and suddenly a large crane is allowed up there to unload a vessel, another case of do as i say not do as I do, or health and safety is ok as long as it is not inconvenient.
    The final irony for you Michael must be the nice booklet about council tax that TDC has just posted out shows the historic ships pontoon full of yes you have guessed it "historic ships" { well 1 anyway}

  8. Mr. Harrison says that officers are doing things at TDC and the elected councillors only find out about it later. This has been going on for years. But Mr. Harrison's Labour group had many years in office to put in place a system to stop this from happening. This was followed by many years of Tory administration under Sandy Ezekiel. If it's still happening, I am forced to conclude that councillors (including Mr. Harrison) have just been inept and ineffective. There are 54 councillors at TDC. If they aren't able to keep track of what's going on, and aren't running the council, what purpose do they serve?

    1. This has always been the case throughout the Civil Service and Local Government. If a Minister or Councillor is weak, uninterested or just plain lazy then the Officials will do as they wish. The fault does not lie with the Party but with the man.

  9. And these are meant to be intelligent adults running this council, more like a group of monkeys aimlesly banging away at the typewriter trying to get it right.

    Sheer incompetence of monolithic proportions, TDC you are no more than an utter disgrace.

  10. Replies
    1. I see for once John is lost for words and is it any surprise. Clearly council incompetence goes from bad to worse, but is it any surprise when one of the most experienced councillors then tries to suggest that it is a plot against the Labour leadership by the officers. Mind you, they can find time to debate the issue of same sex marriage even, it has been suggested, inviting Peter Tatchell, presumably for expert opinion!

      TDC has not basked in glory for some time, but now it seems to be reaching new depths of incompetence and losing the plot. Do they not know what they are supposed to be there for or do they see themselves as being on some higher platform engaged in issues totally irrelevant to most people in Thanet. At least Christine Tongue is supporting their campaign through Thanet Watch so they have at least one (make that two with her sidekick)fan.

    2. The leadership of tdc, councillors and especially officers is frankly appalling.


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