Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A Few Bank Holiday Pictures and a Bad Technology Experience a ramble.


I wasn’t very active on the photography or art front over Sunday and Monday, a few pictures on the camera card here http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/512/id5.htm these were going online yesterday but I had some technological problem publishing them from my laptop.
Going through the pictures, the new Tesco at St Lawrence is evident, I have also been told that there is an intention to move the cash machine away from the church, this should prevent the groups attending weddings, funerals and the like getting mixed up with the groups trying to get their dosh out of the machine.

Lunch on Sunday at the boating pool café, this is a handy and not to expensive option if you have children as there is a free playground there.

Very good to see a heritage vessel on the heritage pontoon in Ramsgate, this is something that enhances the café culture.

The recent rain hasn’t improve the state of The Royal Sands cliff façade, the cracks make room for the plants to root which makes the cracks larger, so more plants root.


Broadstairs sailing club had sailed along the coast for a visit to Ramsgate the bright sails making a splash of colour on Ramsgate Sands.
Ramsgate has a new lifeguard station, not sure why or if there other new ones spouting up round the coast.
Pier Castle is looking much improved without the scaffolding.
 The new Sainsbury supermarket is taking shape at Westwood Cross.

We had to go to Westwood Cross for children’s clothes, shoes and backpacks, although we had manages some of this in Ramsgate, it is no longer possible to do it all here, so bank holiday Monday saw me hiding in Waterstone’s café with a cup of tea and trying to draw the bookshop below me.


I was going to colour the sketch in later, noting the colours with the camera on my mobile phone, the application camera failed. I was going to reply to comments there, the application failed, that sort of a day.

I was though pleased to learn that the apps I had bought for my Android phone, for the most part, can be downloaded for free after it has been reset to how it was when it left the factory.

Getting back home and finding most of the emails that had appeared on my phone hadn’t arrived on my laptop and the images I had published from the laptop hadn’t appeared on the internet I just gave up. 

Trying to field the comments on the previous post, I do wonder if some of the local politicians have grasped the fact that most people who live in Thanet want the whole of Thanet to be prosperous, park in all the Thanet town centres and are singularly unimpressed by spiting one town or another.     


44 comments:

  1. The new Lifeguard stations have appeared on all our beaches. It will be interesting to see if there is an increase in times that they are manned, as this seemed to be more sparse last year than in previous years.

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  2. I think the new building at Westwood Cross is Primark, not Sainsbury's - but I could be wrong. Anyone confirm one way or the other?

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    1. Primark or similar, Sainsbury's isn't planned to happen for some time yet and will be on the old Grupo Antolin site.

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    2. If it's Primark then that will be the final nail in the coffin for Margate High Street.

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    3. Any chance you have the planning ref?

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    4. I thought it was going to be a BHS.

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    5. F/TH/12/0238

      I've read it but I'm none the wiser. Ravenside Investments?

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    6. I believe this is referring to the site also.

      http://sainsburys-thanet.co.uk/Resources/Phase%201%20Habitat%20Survey.pdf

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  3. We are all unimpressed by the lack of equity in the new parking policy, introduced by your favoured socialist regime. Yet you continue to snipe at the messenger (me)not the policy (Clive Harts). Wonder why that is Michael - because it favours Ramsgate by any chance?

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    1. Chris the minor interparty wrangles over parking are of little significance to me.

      The main parking issue in Thanet is the one relating to The Turner Contemporary, the most significant aspect being fairly fast moving traffic being directed onto a pavement full of people.

      · Second to this is the parking issue along Marina Esplanade in Ramsgate, where a dead end road has a level of parking restriction one would associate with a busy through route in central London.

      As I said very few people are going to be interested in balancing a tenth of a penny of council tax either way, but would like the local parking managed in a way that means local business can survive and compete with the towns outside Thanet.

      You seem to have got it into your head that I am some sort of red activist, I will remind you once again that I am a local businessman and historian who would like a bit better out of local politicians than this fiddling while Rome burns.

      From the conservative group I would like to see a positive and strong opposition scrutinising Labour decisions, this weekend the cabinet are deciding the Pleasurama issue, a development some 3 times the size of Turner Contemporary, I put a couple of legal and economic questions to you.

      Is it legal to sell the freehold without going to asset disposal?

      How does the forward funding work if potential buyer can’t obtain a mortgage because there is no flood risk assessment?

      I asked you this because you have training in economics and law, if I though your training was as a parking attendant then I would ask you about parking issues.

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    2. You may or may not be a red activist, Michael, but you have certainly become Labour's trumpeter in chief of their alleged achievements whilst seemingly knocking the Conservatives at every opportunity. How does highlighting the lack of Conservatives at the museum opening equate with trying to get them to form an effective opposition? If your real concern is as a businessman can I suggest that it really is not that clever potentially alienating the biggest block of voters.

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    3. Tom, but you have certainly become the Conservatives's trumpeter in chief of their alleged achievements whilst seemingly knocking Labour at every opportunity.

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    4. Whatever, Peter, but I am not trying to run a business dependent on the goodwill of my customers of all political shades. Does not bother me in the slightest if I antagonise the left. Mind you, I do not so much trumpet Conservative achievements, but attack the constant flow of bias eminating on this blog.

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    5. Do you really believe that a shopkeeper's political bias is going to put customers off? Rather unlikely...

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    6. Look Tom this post and thread is about the pictures I have from the weekend, Chris seems to want to introduce the parking issue into it and I have done my best to answer him. He seems to have the bit between his teeth on this one and frankly with all of the major Thanet problems it seems a bit potty to me.

      We have another three years of this no overall majority thing and I reckon a very good chance that at the end of it there will be a swing to Labour.

      Now I would like to see the Conservative group trying make a reasonable opposition, an obsession with minor issues isn’t going to be either effective or sustainable.

      Frankly your suggestions that people will suddenly stop buying books or lose interest in local history mystifies me, are you suggesting here that you only use businesses where the people working in them adhere to your political ideology?

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    7. I am amazed at the comments which cannot get past petty party politics and discuss a very relevant issue such as the duty of care a council as a whole should be giving to a development three times the size of the Turner Contemporary.

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    8. Michael, I did not say people would stop buying books or lose interest in local history, but I am simply suggesting that it is probably unwise for a local businessman to display political bias so openly. Whilst the politics of local businessmen is their own choice, I would certainly not use a shop openly displaying a Labour poster. At times, because of your blog, you get very close to that in effect and now we have your prediction that there will be a swing to Labour at the next election. If that is wishful thinking did you learn nothing at all from the disaster of the Brown years.

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    9. Tom perhaps you are on to something here that could halt the demise of the high street, certainly where I am the Labour ban on smoking in pubs has had an adverse effect on my business as my customers often have to negotiate their way through the groups of smoking inebriates to get to the bookshop.

      Perhaps a sign in the window, do you think, or even politically significant books, any titles you can think of, I know of one Conservative Councillor who recently read, The Communist Party Manifesto, perhaps I could put that in the window.

      As far as the swing goes, for the most part a long period of Conservative government at national level usually means a swing to Labour at local level as evidenced in the recent elections. So I reckon it may be nine years or more, before we see a working Conservative majority at TDC.

      Of course anything may happen in politics, but I am sticking with the most likely prediction and would be interested in your prediction of the most likely results of the next elections.

      I wonder where we would be now if Brown had got elected, there was a sort of dreadful sincerity in the man towards the end that may have made him a good prime minister, hard to say really.

      I can’t say that I am keen on any of the party leaders at the moment and am very suspicious of all the talk of the UKs economic disaster as we have one of the highest GDPs for the county’s size and population in the world.

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    10. At least we share a common aversion to the current crop of party leaders, none of whom really inspire. On the so called swing to Labour, if you check it out, they did not actuaally gain in numbers of votes, but got a better share than the other parties of a poor turnout. If anything, Conservative traditional voters stayed at home, largely disillusioned, as I am, with the lack of proper Conservative policies.

      As to 2015, really anybody's guess and too far away to call at present. Much will depend on performance between now and then and even Scottish independence progress could play a part. It would be a brave man who predicted the result at this time.

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    11. Tom I guess you are beginning to see where I am coming from in terms of trying to get the TDC Conservative group to review how they perform in opposition.

      It really is too early to take a swipe at the Labour group, the just haven’t been at it long enough, I guess how they handle the Pleasurama decision will be an interesting one, as they do have some options there.

      Certainly if the tables were turned I would expect to get some sort of response about the issue from a Labour shadow cabinet, but apart from Chris Wells on the blog I haven’t heard anything about it from them at all.

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    12. You are not likely to hear from the SFP directors either.

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    13. No, Michael, I am not starting to see where you are coming from, for you are talking about TDC whereas I was on central government. As far as I can see at TDC it usually degenerates into something of a dictatorship where any opposition, organised or otherwise, is largely shouted down. I also find it appalling that the people of Thanet seem to have governance courtesy of the Thanet Independent Group who are playing kingmakers whilst beating their own self interest drums. Why don't you seek the views of the TIG group on Pleasurama for one of them, at least, is a Ramsgate district councillor.

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    14. To be honest Tom I think it more realistic to deal with the situation we actually have, which is no overall control, and trying to get a bit of a rethink, than rushing around moaning about the independents who are going to hold the balance of power for the next three years.

      With the Pleasurama issue being a 10 year failure under both administrations and only cabinet and shadow cabinet members at the meeting I think it is important that they all understand that there are aspects of the refinancing plan that are likely to fail.

      Either they want to carry on with the existing developer, in which case negotiating something that stands the best chance of viability is the way to go, or they decide they are going to stop the thing, in which case some provision needs to be made so the site can be used.

      Of course if it goes to full council for decision then I will write to all the councillors.

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  4. Yes, I noticed a new lifeguard station on Westbrook beach this morning.

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    1. Peter do you think they are to keep the lifeguards dry?

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    2. Haha, maybe! I'm sure it will be easier to spot people getting into trouble now though, & therefore save lives.

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    3. My sense of humour Peter, always getting me into trouble, you may be amused to know that I am thinking of setting up a content warning blog for when we have the Emin, Turner, Rodin erotic art exhibition on at the turner Contemporary as I keep thinking of parody sketches. I was minded to go one further than the Duchamp drawing with The Kiss, where the sun don’t shine as it were, as an example.

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  5. lifeguard station in Broadstairs at Joss Bay too... building is Primark.

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    1. Primark selling swimwear direct on all the beaches, that will be competition for WC :-)

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  6. Now Michael how tetchy you do become when challenged, eh? If you believe the parking issue is of no relevance to business then perhaps you should avoid sniping about it in your post and therefore inviting comment. I should think businesses in Broadstairs, Northdown Road, and Margate, whose customers are paying heavy increases for the privilege of seeing commercial advantage to those in Birchington and Ramsgate may hold a different view. But as ever, if michael wishes to hide his head in the sand and pretend £50,000 is a derisory sum of money then so be it. I am sure many traders will be intrigued that second hand book selling is such a lucrative business that you can take that attitude; others may observe if it is so you can afford to permit others the commercial advantage reserved for Ramsgate and Birchington.

    On Pleasurama, if I may be so bold as to correct you, the decision is due to be discussed on thursday at Cabinet on pink (confidential) terms; this is not a weekend; nor something which can be discussed in public. In terms of your questions I have done my best to answer them previously on your own blog. You did not like the answer to the first because it meant admitting Labour involvement in the decision; the second because I am not a mortgage expert.

    I do not believe you are anything particularly in political terms - just reflect your own clear lack of balance in presenting 'facts' in a fantasy format. In other words your political beliefs are your own business; how you present 'facts' on your blog in a clearly biased way is always going to be subject to comment and should be. For example, your analogy of fiddling while Rome burns could equally apply to an administration using parking fee income for political advantage whilst quietly promoting an increase in their own allowances, in spite of all their manifesto promises to the contrary. But as you say its just chicken feed in financial terms then you can safely ignore it and pretend it does not exist. Or perhaps its simply because it does not fit your preconcieved conspiracy theories about Ramsgate.

    I repeat, third or fourth time I think, it is good to see the maritime museum open; what is not so good is the hiding of the terms and conditions, and thus cost of doing so, permitting any real calculation of cost benefit analysis. The comment therefore in general is mere emotional spasm rather than reasoned debate. As ever Michael. you support transparency when it suits you. and obfuscation when it suits you; I merely point to your constant inconsistencies is all.

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    1. Why is the Pleasurama discussion confidential and not something that can be discussed in public ?

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  7. Replies
    1. More sniping one liners Peter?

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    2. Don't know why I am subject of a negative rejection from you, Peter, but whatever it was, I probably did not want it anyway. You have a nice day and keep taking the tablets.

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    3. You generally accuse me of sniping one-liners, so I presumked it was you... but thinking about it, it can't be: you only say that if I comment negatively on Tories.

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    4. Peter, as a regular visitor to the blogs I see many anonymous contributors who accuse you of sniping or one liners although they could, of course, be one and the same person for all I know. When I accuse you, at least I put a name to it. You have a nice day.

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  8. Morning Chris, I think you missed my Pleasurama questions in my reply to you:

    Is it legal to sell the freehold without going to asset disposal?

    How does the forward funding work if potential buyer can’t obtain a mortgage because there is no flood risk assessment?

    Coming back this parking issue that appears to be your main field of interest.

    In terms of the council budget £50K isn’t much money, and I doubt it has quite the effect you suggest.

    From a shop keepers point of view, the main parking issues for me are the large increase in double yellow lines around the area I trade, often in quiet dead end streets and competing with the free parking at Westwood Cross.

    From a parking shoppers point of view, I shop and park in all of the Thanet shopping centres so I guess this sort of evens out, what is irritating, particularly in Margate is the two hour limit on a lot of the car parks, which means that once I have done the TC and had a bite to eat there isn’t much time for shopping in Margate.

    I guess it would be a good idea to have a look at the whole issue of parking for the TC from the point of view of extracting the maximum commercial benefit from the many affluent visitors there. Perhaps making better use of the promenade accessed where the access to the Winter Gardens is. Possibly making the access to the harbour arm that way so that the area around the gallery entrance would be safer.

    On to the maritime museum, you did mention that the agreement was available on the council’s website, but I can’t find it, could you let me know where it is please?

    You have also talked about the cost to the council, i.e. about £40k, is this a one off cost to get the museum open or are you saying that this will be an ongoing annual cost?

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  9. Thank you all. I've had a thoroughly entertaining 10 minutes or so reading through all the posts.

    Michael - I love the photo displayed at the top, it was its colour that drew me in to read on. Would like to state that all day parking in Margate can be had for £2.70 at the lower level of Morrisons. It's infuriating that signage to it for visitors is still lacking.

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  10. Michael,

    Main page Thanet District Council website; tag Council and Democracy (left hand side menu); Select Councillors, Democracy and Elections; from left side dropdown menu Decisions.
    Enter 13/04/12 - 27/04/12; any; and published.

    The leases are in the accompanying documents to the decision notice.

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    1. Thanks Chris, I don’t think I would ever have found it without your help, this part of the council’s website doesn’t seem to figure in their search facility.

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  11. Michael

    Somewhere in the region of £40 - £45,000 per year is my estimate of what I can see from the published leases; but does not include officer time in helping the museum fundraise which I believe has been promised but remains unquantified and uncosted.

    There are several other lease related questions which will probably have to be answered over time, in terms of their meaning and implication. I am particularly interested in the VAT exemption clause, and what that may mean for who controls pace and costs of repair.

    Your argument about the benefit to the town of the weekend closures takes no account of the reparking of regular paying reserved spaces; nor the fascinating fact that the Leopold Street car park now being free on saturdays - remember the £16680 of free parking you claim is so irrelevant to anything? -reduces any potential additional benefit to TDC coffers to compensate for the £9,000 parking loss under the Museum lease. The fact some of that is hidden in a non parking budget does not mean it can be ignored; tho probably will be by you. Leopold street car park is exactly where the maximum commercial benefit from visitors can be acquired. Take it up with your local councillors, who demand it on behalf of traders, but ignore tha fact that onstreet parking elsewhere, to the dtriment of other traders in other towns, is paying for their joy. This is the policy of the current Labour administration so you need to challenge them. I wont hold my breath however. I wil however state that an effective opposition should highlight the inconsistencies and unfairness of policy decisions; something you claim you want to happen.


    The freehold of the Pleasurama site was always part of the deal as I understand it, and if so, should have gone through any asset disposal procedures back when it first started under the previous Labour administration as I have said before. If there are changes to that arrangement, then the lawyers will have to tell us if a new disposal decision may be required.

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    1. Chris I can’t see where you are coming from with your £40 to £45k pa, I guess I am pretty dense so could you expand on this a bit.

      I guess you would like me to take up the parking issues in Thanet and I will endeavour to do so, though I will obviously start at the top with parking for The Turner Contemporary and Marina Esplanade, I guess there is plenty of potential for the council to profit from fees in both cases.

      I have read the Pleasurama leases and can find no reference to eventual freehold transfer, any chance you could point me in the right direction here?

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  12. I hear Pleasurama is off the agenda for tonight; dont know why. Perhaps we will be told in due course.

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