Friday, 29 June 2012

Friday Ramble, starting with the Councillors Moores Scobie web hack, going on to Manston Airport and stuff.


I am feeling distinctly frail today, a victim of yesterday afternoon and evenings activities brought on by the very hot and humid weather and combined with the aging process.

Anyway before my day off there was a lot of excitement on Thanet Life, see http://birchington.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/facebook-fuddles.html the most controversial aspect of which Simon Moores has now changed with an image editing program.

It is this change that has caused me to mention the post here more than anything else. When Simon first put up the post it had only one image showing a screenshot from Will Scobie’s personal FaceBook wall, promoting his partner as an election candidate.

As Simon was saying that she was also being promoted by Will on the Mayor Margate FaceBook wall I commented:

Michael Child said...
Simon if it was part of a screenshot of http://www.facebook.com/mayor.margate it would say Mayor Margate next to the picture, this is the name of that facebook account.

Part of a screenshot of http://www.facebook.com/willscobie13 which is what you appear to be showing in the picture of will show William Scobie next to the photo.

Of course a full screenshot would show the url anyway.


It would be helpful all round if you could publish a full screenshot to clarify the issue.
2:20 PM   

After this Simon then published part of another screenshot from the Mayor Margate FaceBook wall, what was really unusual about this was it showed the page signed on by the FaceBook account holder.

Now I guess most of us have various internet accounts and know when we are signed on to them we see things that no one else is supposed to be able to see, this could be our bank balance, or it could be pictures of an erotic nature where the participants have moved from using the feather to using the whole chicken, well it could be any number of things, but the point here is that when you sign on to a website to view your private account, you should be the only person who can view the secure pages.

If you came across a screenshot of one of your signed on pages being publicly displayed on someone else’s website I guess you would call this cause for concern.

Accessing the private parts of other people’s websites, is generally called hacking and can occur in a number of different ways including totally by accident.

There are two sides to this coin, one where the hacker deliberately or accidentally hacks someone else’s secure page, whether they recognise that they have hacked the secure pages or not and what they do with the results.

The other side of the coin is the person being hacked, whether by accident or design they caused their private pages to be hacked and what they do with the results.

The simplest way that computers get hacked is that someone leaves a computer that is accessed by more than one person without signing out of their account. Following this, another person may come along and use this computer sometimes not even realising they are signed on to a different account than the one they are usually signed on to.

Another way this can happen is if, as sometimes happens the account holder sets the password and username the same, with something like FaceBook combined with a mobile device and a bit of sunlight it would be quite easy to sign onto someone’s account without even realising that you had. 

Continuing down this particular line of thought, having become signed on to FaceBook you see completely different things depending on who you are signed on as.

It is very difficult to explain this sort of complicated thing to people who either don’t understand sites like FaceBook or worse of all think they do but don’t.

I will try here by going back to my activities yesterday afternoon and evening, the youf of today decided that it would be interesting to take up dingy sailing and as I can sail a dingy, or at least could when I was a youf I tried to explain aspects of sailing an inexpensive dingy (old) in the sea without joining a club (expensive).

For those of you who haven’t taken this particular route in the game of life, the most prevalent disease in Graduate Lane is acute skintitus.

Anyway I managed to borrow a sailing dingy of 1970s vintage and took the youf out for a little sail off Ramsgate yesterday, until weary with the experience, hence my frailty today.

The difficulty with dingy sailing off Ramsgate is basically the current, you need to be certain that you have enough wind so you can sail fast enough to avoid going to Holland, Broadstairs or some other foreign place and the only other dingy I have sailed off of Ramsgate was a different design so with the wind increasing yesterday seemed like a good day.

As a rule of thumb here with the wind blowing sufficiently to cause waves about as high as the sides of the dingy it sails very well indeed.

Having taken all sorts of advice I decided that I did after all warrant the banana and donned my Velvet Underground T-shirt, sorry about the photo.


Anyway back to the hacking business, I think it fair to say that at some point around Wednesday Simon acquired a screenshot of Will’s signed on FaceBook page and published it on his blog.


Thinking of the last post where at least one anonymous commentator seems to be so virulently against Manston airport that he or she is generating more support for the airport than any of the normal pro airport commentators, I did wonder a bit about this hacked screenshot.

Obviously publishing it and the information suggesting that Will has broken rules that he doesn’t appear to have broken, isn’t doing Simon’s credibility much good. So I did wonder if the picture and the information had been sent to Simon with malicious intent towards Simon.   


More likely I think this is likely to have originated from someone ill intent towards Will, who rather like my anti airport anonymous commentator became a bit blinded towards reality by a fanatical approach that they went ott.   


Onto some airport reality, as an interested party in the purchase of the airport myself, I gather that there is now yet another interested purchaser, this time it’s London Oxford Airport Owners, The Reuben Brothers. 


With Balfour Beatty this makes two experienced UK airport operators in the frame.


Of course you will understand that these are just the wild rumours of an ageing shop assistant so you will presumably give them little credence.   



For me the main worry about the airport just now is that the airport operator has applied to The Environment Agency to reduce the environmental controls that were set out and the subject of a major consultation exercise.



These environmental controls were mainly designed to protect Thanet’s drinking water supply and Pegwell Bay with its international wildlife accreditation.

Any airport operator that wishes to make cuts to the safety issues relating to both these issues in order to make the airport more attractive to a potential purchaser, is to my mind hoping to attract the sort of potential purchaser that may be undesirable, so I am glad that these two operators that are already familiar with the stringent UK environmental controls are in the frame.  

I will ramble on here later if I get time and when I have solved certain technical problems that seem to preventing me from publishing pictures from this computer.        

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Royal Sands Development on the Pleasurama Site in Ramsgate, another update.


The months and years roll by with this one and my updates are now so numerous that I am not entirely sure just what I have already covered.


I guess most people in Ramsgate will have noticed that around the beginning of this year all work stopped on the site, this happened very suddenly in the middle of half completed work, giving all the signs of the money running out.


My understanding of the situation at the moment is that the developer is seeking a new and different agreement with the council in the hope of attracting some funding, so the development can be completed.


The idea being that the council sell the freehold to the developer for about one and a half million now and about the same, as a proportion, as the different parts of the development are completed and sold.


What this would mean is that the developer would own the freehold to the site and could use it as security to attract funding.


Over the last few months the council and the developer’s lawyer have been thrashing out the phrasing of a new development agreement that will be put to the council’s cabinet, and they will either approve it or not.


From the point of view of the ordinary person, who has Ramsgate’s interests in mind, the main problem here is one of transparency, as everything about this development seems to happen in a shroud of secrecy, it is very difficult for local people to have any input until it is too late and the delays start again.


In practical terms there are aspects of the plans for the development that don’t make any sense at all and in terms of the work completed I would say this is the case too.


I will leave out the more technical aspects like flooding and the cliff that I have covered before and stick to something that most people should be able to grapple with, the roundabouts at each end of the site, I will even leave out the obvious issue of laying the blocks that form their surfaces on lose sand in an area subject to wave overtopping. 

These have both been built at considerable expense to the developer, so a reasonable question seems to be, what are they for?

At the pavilion end the roundabout is so big that it now has parking spaces all round it and even the largest vehicles don’t seem to have any difficulty turning with all the cars parked round it, at the other end of the site is another huge roundabout that seems to have been designed with the turning of juggernauts in mind, yet at the top of the access hill are signs saying no big vehicles.

Anyway while the council have been participating in the generating his new agreement I have been asking them some questions and after some time am getting their answers. This process started in the middle of April, you have to appreciate the council don’t answer questions quickly. 

I guess there are two aspects to asking these questions, one being, to try and find out what is going on and the other being to try and make officers think about some of the pitfalls that may lead us into further delays. 

So first of all I will try putting up the questions and answers in differed colours so it is easier to follow, mine in blue and the council’s in red.

Question 1 16.4.2012

1 Do you consider the changes in the plans since the initial application was granted to constitute material change? Examples would be the removal of the gull winged roof and the moving of the road from through the building to between the cliff and the building.

Answer from Corporate & Regulatory Services Manager 21.5.2012

1.This is a request for an opinion,  not a request for  information. You should refer this question to the Planners.

My Follow up questions/ comments 29.5.12

1 My understanding is that The Royal Sands was the responsibility of the major projects officer and when he left the council I wasn’t directed to another officer, could you please direct this question to the correct officer? Please further note that it is my understanding from discussion with the previous major projects officer that the council acted illegally in not requiring resubmission due to material change, which as the council’s solicitor may require your further opinion.    

Answer from Director of Operational Services 20.6.2012

1. Changes that are submitted in the future relating to the Royal Sands site will be assigned to a planning officer at that stage, but at present with no current outstanding variations there is not a specific officer dedicated to the site.

Any previous variations have been agreed and these are all published on the UKPlanning website. The treatment of these variations was in accordance with the requirements in place at that stage. Any further variations that are submitted will be processed using the current requirements.

Question 2 16.4.2012

2 Do you consider the sale of the site freehold to be  subject to the asset
disposal process and associated consultation process? I  understand it is the council’s intention that the leases be surrendered and the  development
agreement be revoked prior to the completion of a new development agreement and freehold land transfer.   

Answer from Corporate & Regulatory Services Manager 21.5.2012 

2. This is also a request for an opinion,  not a request for  information.  However my opinion is that the proposed  sale of the Council's reversionary freehold  interest of the Royal Sands development site is not subject to the Council's Asset Disposal process. 

My Follow up questions/ comments 29.5.12

2 When I discussed this issue with you, you assured me that the reason there was no need for this sale to go to asset disposal was that the eventual freehold sale was part of the existing and previous development agreement and variation. I have subsequently read both documents and can find no reference to any predetermined sale of the asset, could you kindly give me the details of where this information appears in either the development agreement, variation or leases?  

Answer from Director of Operational Services 20.6.2012

2. The provisions for the transfer of the asset lie within the Freehold Transfer Provisions under Schedule 4 of the current development agreement, and are referenced from clause 7 within the main agreement.

There was no question 3.

Question 4 16.4.2012

4 Do you consider it would be possible to obtain borrowing based on the security of residential building land or new build residential dwellings, on land that is designated as high risk flood zone by The Environment Agency? This is both in respect of the developer obtaining finance  using the freehold as security, in the immediate future and at the point when  prospective buyers attempt to obtain mortgages to buy apartments and the monies  obtained from the sale of apartments is required for further funding of the  development. 

Answer from Corporate & Regulatory Services Manager 21.5.2012 

4. This is another request for an opinion. In any event, as a lawyer I am not a competent person to answer this question.

My Follow up questions/ comments 29.5.12

4Obviously the whole viability of this project depends on how the forward funding functions, and I am concerned that the council may be intent on proceeding once again on a fundamentally unviable project. I am particularly concerned that you say you don’t know the answer to this question, the only inference I can draw from your answer is that you are happy to proceed with the project regardless of its viability. Can you please confirm that you are supporting this project without ensuring that the apartments will be mortgageable? 

Answer from Director of Operational Services 20.6.2012

The viability of the project is a key issue for the council as its completion is primarily dependant on funding from a significant third party to add to the £5 million already spent by the developer. The issue for third party funders has been the specific previsions of the current development agreement, but the practical viability of the project and its ability to provide a return for the external investment has does not seem to have been a significant issue.

From the council’s perspective the aim has been to try and reconcile the position of external funders, but do this in a way that does not compromise the original aims of the development agreement (different route same result). As such any change to the current development agreement will not take place without a clear commitment that an external lender will be funding the developer to complete the development, and this in turn is dependant on their due diligence processes about the achievability of the correct return on their lending. Clearly the key component of this is driven by the saleability of the residential units, but this element does not appear to be a problem given the amount of interest the units have already generated with the developer from prospective purchasers.

Question 5 16.4.2012

5 What provision do the council have in place both in terms of the monies they have received from SFP to date and the payment they would receive for the freehold, with respect to those monies being legitimately sourced particularly with regard to money laundering legislation? I note here that at the previous cabinet meeting to determine the development agreement 16th June 2009 agenda item 17, documents were produced showing the sources of legitimate funding at that time, Cardy Construction and Wetmore Investments. At the moment SFP Ventures UK Limited, have Total Current Liabilities of £1,982,199, Total Current Assets of £1,981,340, Cash at Bank of £4,656, which gives a negative net worth of £-859.


Answer from Corporate & Regulatory Services Manager 21.5.2012


5. We have already advised you that all funds received by the Council have been  received through a UK Clearing Bank so the Council is satsified that all such monies have been legitimately sourced.

Question 6 16.4.2012

6 With respect to the hotel, which would be in front of the part of the cliff facade investigated by the developer and reported as defective, what investigative work has the council undertaken and what associated documentation do the council hold, to prevent the developer using the facade condition and their associated report relating to this part of the facade, as a reason for being unable to construct the hotel. 


Answer from Corporate and Regulatory Services Manager 21.5.2012


6. You have asked this question on a number of previous occasions and I would confirm the replies previously given.

My Follow up questions/ comments 29.5.12

6 I think you may have missed my point here, which relates to the new heads of terms where the hotel no longer has to be constructed first. I have concerns that the developer failed to pursue or continue the survey they started on this part of the cliff, see Cardy’s cliff facing and condition report 19th March 2010, and am concerned that the developer could at the point of completing the apartments use this as an excuse not to build the hotel. So what have the council done to ensure this doesn’t happen? 


Answer from Director of Operational Services 20.6.2012



The issues raised by Cardy’s report dated 19th March 2010 was addressed through a subsequent site visit which included council officers and Jacobs Babtie. The council has covered all the issues in the report, and except for some minor issues that were dealt with there are no outstanding problems to resolve.

We keep all our significant structures under observation and undertake repairs and refurbishments where these are required. This wall is no different.

On this basis it is considered by the council that this matter was resolved in 2010 and cannot be used as a way to prevent the construction of the hotel.

Question 7 16.4.2012

7 Do the council hold any track record for SFP Ventures UK Limited, or their directors, showing that they have satisfactorily completed any substantial development? My investigations show that this company was formed in 2006, no accounting activity since that time suggests an active development company, the director has a number of other dormant UK companies with no positive net worth. My understanding is that SFP UK was formed after complaints were made that the council were dealing with an exclusively offshore Virgin Islands company.


Answer from Corporate and Regulatory Services Manager 21.5.2012


7.The Council hold no relevant information.


Question 8 16.4.2012



8 With respect to the current contractor, Cardy Construction, has the council received any recent letter of intention to proceed as main contractor, or a re affirmation to invest financially in the development? The site at the moment has the appearance of work stopping suddenly in the middle of the stage, which is constructing the support pillars for the transfer slab. There are partly completed pillars, open holes awaiting concrete and so on. The only inference I can draw from this is worked stopped with unpaid money owing


Answer from Corporate and Regulatory Services Manager 21.5.2012

8. The Council confirms that it holds relevant information which is subject to an obligation of confidentiality. The information is therefore withheld  pursuant to Section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This is an absolute exemption so I am  not required  to apply a public interest test  in  making the decision to withhold the information.


Question 9 16.4.2012



9 Are you reasonably convinced that the council are covered properly in terms of both, duty of care, and viable insurance cover with respect to an incident involving failure of the cliff façade or sea defences? We have discussed the condition of both on several occasions, most recently the unfortunate combination of shallow foundations on sand and the 1860 sea defence that the council has no record of inspecting, maintenance or even holds plans for.


Answer from Corporate and Regulatory Services Manager 21.5.2012  



9. This is a further request for an opinion,  not a request for  information.  However my opinion is yes.

Question 9 16.4.2012


10 Has the council made any estimate of the ongoing costs related to maintaining both the sea defence and the cliff to a standard suitable to their proximity to a major residential development? I have tried to find a similar situation in the UK where a large modern residential development has been built between an unsupported chalk cliff and the foreshore, for comparison purposes and haven’t managed to. If the council have found anything similar it would be helpful. 

Answer from Corporate and Regulatory Services Manager 21.5.2012
       


10. The Council holds no relevanyt information.



That’s the end of the questions and answers for now, obviously some of the answers are fairly inadequate so there will be more questions.

An example of this may help, so I will try and chose one that isn’t in any way controversial, take the end of the last answer to question 4 “Clearly the key component of this is driven by the saleability of the residential units, but this element does not appear to be a problem given the amount of interest the units have already generated with the developer from prospective purchasers.”

With the number of reserved apartments going up and down and drifting around 15 out of 109, some could interpret this as the problem.


For me one of the most significant questions that I didn’t ask directly was, why when the officers were against continuing with this three years ago are they now recommending it to cabinet for approval?


I have hints at answers to this one, mostly relating to the developer possibly taking them to court to recover the £5m he says he has spent to date, if the council should decide to take the site back and either have a go with another developer, or just tarmack it over and use it for leisure and parking. 

I will complete this later as am having technical problems

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Dover Castle Today, a Ramble.

This is a sketch from one of the cafés there where I had my lunch, English heritage sites tend to be fairly pricey on food and drink and I recommend taking your own, we didn’t know where we were going today so messed this one up.

I am in the kitchen cooking a roast dinner at the moment so I may or may not add to this post depending on how things go.
With the Tracey Emin, Stephen fry interview at The Turner Contemporary being available as an on demand video from tomorrow I was gong to sketch Stephen Fry to illustrate the post about this. I am finding it very difficult to draw a likeness of for some reason as you see. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Visit to Margate and The Turner Contemporary, with some thoughts on erotic influences in art, a ramble with pictures.


With the inclement forecast and a day off giving the desire to go somewhere and do something, I decided that that any good weather would probably be in Thanet and if it rained hard The Turner Contemporary would provide shelter and some pictures to look at.

I started with tea at Puffins Café and did the sketch above while drinking it, don’t count the windows this was a quick sketch and I didn’t, in fact I missed at least one building completely.
The sketch was done by using a fine Pit pen, type S, black India ink, for the sky line and then mixing up some likely watercolours and splodging things in.
Puffins Café  on Margate harbour arm comes highly recommended the civilised pot of tea for the three of us cost £2.50.

We then meandered off into Margate capturing a supermarket sarni en passant but with a storm brewing it was too hot and oppressive for shopping so headed back to the harbour arm, on reaching The turner Contemporary two things happened. The first was it started to rain and the second was I received the press release saying the gallery has won an architectural prize, see http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/21-june-2012-turner-contemporary.html

Shedding any thoughts of sheds and feeling somewhat inconvenient after all that tea I made for the vicinity of the Charles Webb, where I relived myself and then started refilling my paintbox’s waterbottle which someone took as a possibly subversive act and I had to assure them that I was a watercolourist and not a terrorist.

Now of course we come to the rude bit, which I will add later when less people are reading this post.

     I wandered around looking at blue sketches of a blue woman who was evidently having some difficulty inserting a blue tampon the artist had eventually resorted to scrawling messages along the lines of “life sucks” and so I wound up looking at the Rodin and Turner sketches which put one in mind of erotic art.

By this time I wanted to sketch something and sought a seat, the only one facing an art work, is a very hard one facing Rodin’s “The Kiss”

I don’t suppose anyone considering drawing this sculpture can do so without thinking of the Marcel Duchamp etching pictured above where the hand has been moved into a more suggestive position. 
My seat viewed Rodin’s The Kiss from a different angle (behind) and as you see I managed after the second attempt to very nearly get the other hand into a suggestive position, perhaps I will return and have another go. 
I forgot to take a photo from where I was sitting when I sketched The Kiss but this is one I took recently from about there, for anyone who isn’t familiar with the sculpture in situ. As you see the hands really are big. 


I managed to change my webhosting firm and can now publish batches of photos again, here are today’s http://michaelsbookshop.com/laptop612/
I acquired two painting implements today, pictured above, I wonder if any readers can identify them, the picture will enlarge if you click on it compulsively. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

British screw schooner Amazon and Ramsgate Maritime Museum.


The beautiful 1885 steam yacht “Amazon” is currently visiting Ramsgate Royal Harbour as the guest of the Maritime Museum.

“Amazon”, once the property of Arthur Lowe of Dad’s Army fame used to be a regular visitor to Ramsgate in the 1970’s, when many riotous parties were held onboard with other members of the cast, including local resident John Le Mesurier.

On Sunday (17th June) the Museum played host to a visitation from a large group of Kent mayors, all of whom spent an entertaining morning looking at the fascinating displays of maritime history and the famous ocean-going steam tug which is on display in Smeaton’s drydock. 

Amazon (1885)

This distinctively British screw schooner was built at Southampton in 1885 from designs by the renowned Dixon Kemp. Kemp intended her to be 'fast and a good seaboat' and her successful sea trials were recorded in his definitive Yacht Architecture (First Edition, 1885).
Carvel planked in teak and pitch pine on oak frames, with alternate wrought iron strap floor reinforcement, bronze fastenings, lead keel and copper sheathing, Amazon's survival reflects the high quality insisted upon at build - her hull is still largely original.  She has not had a ‘restoration’, just necessary repairs.  She is the real thing.
Her builder and first owner, Tankerville Chamberlayne, Esq., a gentleman of local standing, personally superintended her construction by his own 'Arrow Yard' at Northam on the River Itchen.  Amazon's original engine and boiler were supplied by the adjacent works of Day, Summers and Company.
Amazon was used for summer cruising, to attend sailing regattas along the south coast of England, and to visit France. Having been prepared appropriately for the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Royal Fleet Review in 1897, she was shortly after sold to a prominent French yachtsman and was based at St. Malo as Armoricain until 1900, when she returned to British ownership.
Already too old (and with a coal-fired compound engine no doubt thought to be rather too old-fashioned) for the First World War, she remained in south coast ports as a private yacht.  A new owner took her to London and after 52 years of service her original engine and boiler were removed on her conversion to diesel in 1937.
During the Second World War she became an unpowered houseboat lying in a west London Yacht Basin.  Encouraged by his surveyor's positive report, the actor Arthur Lowe, who bought her as a houseboat in 1968, fitted her out for sea again.  At first his private yacht, she pursued a successful charter business in family ownership after his death in 1982, before migrating to the north of Scotland in 1990. She was sold to the current owners at the end of 1996.
Amazon is today used as a family yacht, from 1997 to 2009 based at Malta in the Mediterranean.

In February 2009, at 124 years of age, Amazon departed Malta, motor sailing via Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, the Cape Verde Islands, Barbados, St Vincent & the Grenadines, St Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda and Bermuda to New England.
In 2011, at 126 years of age, Amazon re-crossed the North Atlantic Ocean, taking the rougher ‘northern route’ from St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada to Bantry Bay in Ireland in August.
On 4 June 2012, Amazon was the only vessel attending the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames that had also been present at Spithead on 26 June 1897 to witness the Royal Fleet Review for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee – a truly unique ‘double’!

Amazon’s dimensions are:
  • 83 ft waterline, 102 ft hull, 114 ft over spar (c.25m / 30m / 34m)
  • Beam - 15 ft 6 ins (c.4.6m)
  • Draught - maximum 8 ft 3 ins (aft) (c.2.5m)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

BBC gearing up to go live in Ramsgate, a ramble.


As you see from the picture the BBC were getting ready for their live radio economics broadcast in Ramsgate when I went out for a walk earlier, the timings are in the previous post.

There is a bit of an irony here as they are doing this right in the middle of Ramsgate’s most significant council induced economic disaster.

Outside the Royal Victoria Pavillion, next to the Pleasurama site and opposite the newly closed amusement arcade that has apparently been acquired to sell the apartments of The Royal Sands Development.

I guess there is a bit of a game of Monopoly or something going on here, I will ramble on I suppose, but I guess these subjects get tedious for us all.      


On a much more cheerful note there was a painting in progress on my walk, which is always interesting to me.        



Both the photos were taken with my phone so apologies if the quality isn’t up to much.



With The Royal Sands, I don’t want anyone to think I have dropped the issue, correspondence with the council about it is something of an uphill struggle, with the council wriggling very hard to avoid answering pertinent questions.


Officers seem to think it quite ok to sell the site to SFP without going through the asset disposal process, although I think some of the cabinet members may have reservations about this.  


I guess it is now much harder for the council to get out of this particular mess than it was three years ago when the developer came to them asking for concessions and more delays.


Of course then the officers recommended taking the site back, but the then cabinet decided not to follow the officers advice. 


Was this an act of spite by the then Conservative administration towards Ramsgate, or did the have some sort of good indentations (sorry Simon I must have meant intentions, typo, happens to some of us)? They wouldn’t and won’t say, so I don’t know.


Fourteen years of the main leisure site in the town a derelict and deserted mess is certainly something of an achievement and as it is council owned it does seem hard to imagine this could have happened entirely by accident.   


With the Pavillion, back in 2010 the council issued the following press release

“Repair work has been completed on one of Ramsgate’s most familiar seafront buildings.

Work has been carried out over the last four months to the Royal Victoria Pavilion on Harbour Parade by the Rank Organisation. It follows lengthy discussions with the council, which owns the building. It is Rank’s responsibility, as the tenants, to ensure that the building is kept in good repair.

Since work started in the summer, the roof of the pavilion has been repaired, partly recovered and redecorated. The external rendering was fractured and in poor condition in a large number of places, which was allowing weather penetration to occur in some of these areas. To avoid deterioration of the structure, these areas have been repaired, re-rendered and redecorated.

Cllr. Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Most people in Ramsgate know the pavilion building and have wanted to see something happening with it, as has the council. We’re delighted that finally work has been completed on the exterior of the building to bring it back into good repair. Hopefully, now that this work has been undertaken, we can look forward to it being re-occupied.””

As I guess most people know I then went and took a look and the Pavillion was in fact totally derelict inside. 

Monday, 18 June 2012

Southeast economy on the BBC this week


From Monday, Radio Kent is running three days of programmes looking at the area's economy, including debates with politicians, business leaders and residents, with special outside broadcasts on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Tuesday, John Warnett and Clare McDonnell present the breakfast show live from the Walpole Bay Hotel in Margate from 06:00 to 09:00 BST and Julia George takes her mid-morning programme to Dover's Market Square from 09:00 to midday.
Steve Ladner broadcasts from Ramsgate Harbour from midday to 14:00 BST and Pat Marsh is at Turner Contemporary in Margate from 14:00 BST to 16:00 BST.
The day rounds off with Dominic King back in Ramsgate from 16:00 BST to 19:00 BST. Listen to highlights from a special debate with a panel of business experts from 16:00 BST, or the full debate which is being broadcast from 18:00 BST.
Wednesday's breakfast show comes live from Deal Railway Station from 06:00 BST.



Here is the link to the BBC’s webpage where I copied the bumph from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-18484491

Sorry this wasn’t very original, Clive Hart sent out the link, I think to everyone he sends his press releases to and I realised that as I would want to hear tomorrow mornings program, then presumably other blog readers would too.

The sketch is one of the ones I did yesterday at Dickens Week. 


And another sketch, people now come and stand in front of me when I am sketching which is a lot less unnerving. 

Monday ramble and some of a picture of Broadstairs.


The options on Sunday were either to go to the Turner Contemporary to see the picture of the queen, which I guessed would be over packed, or The Dickens Festival in Broadstairs.

I am having various picture problems at the moment, on the photography front I have had various problems with the firm that provides the webhosting for my photos, so I am going through the process of moving my michaelsbookshop.com website.

This means that at the moment the photos I took of The Dickens Festival will have to wait until later in week.

On the painting front I have had to cheat a bit due to just not having enough time, the picture above I at least managed to draw in situe but I didn’t have time to put any paint on it, so some aspects of the colouration and positioning of things may be a bit strange.

With a bit of luck I will get time to add some people later, at least I am fairly certain I can remember what people look like.

I will ramble on here and hopefully add some more pictures if I get the time, my bookshop is unaccountably busy today.  

Friday, 15 June 2012

Ramble, Canterbury pictures and so on.


Yesterday my bookshop being closed we headed off, for a day off, starting with a boot fair where I bought some oil paints, I don’t know if this will come to anything as I have only ever tried watercolour, as I mostly endeavour to paint what’s in front of me and don’t like painting from photographs.

I have rather an unpleasant mental image of standing in a very public place with an easel in front of me, daubing paint on a canvas with everything going wrong.   

On to Canterbury for lunch at La Trappiste, which is an offshoot of Ramsgate’s Belgian Café, burger, pot of tea, Coke and cheese sarni came to about £18 which was both better and cheaper than most lunches in Canterbury.
 They seem to have managed to transport the relaxed atmosphere, so we were in the right frame of mind to tackle Canterbury.

Apologies here to Chris Wells who has previously complained about the photos of my lunch.
As you see a bus got into the maze of narrow streets in the middle of Canterbury and had some difficulty getting out.

I will ramble on here as and if I get time, hopefully adding some pictures on the way.

I have had some difficulties over my mass publication of pictures to the internet and am in the process of changing my web hosting provider, so the several hundred pictures on the camera card will have to wait until I get this sorted out.
In a way Canterbury lived up to expectations, there were as you see Canterbury Bells in flower, what concerns me though is the ongoing decline of the proper shop.

As you see Hawkin’s Bazaar has gone, presumably a victim of the internet, where most things are cheaper, I think aren’t they?

From my point of view as a retailer, I now use the simple expedient of looking books up online before I price them, in order to make sure the prices in my bookshop are competitive, although I think there is also a problem here with perceptions.
 At one point I retired into Grey Friars for a while, this is useful to know about if you visit Canterbury and can provide a respite from shopping.
 The photos are more representative than meant to be particularly good, but should give you some idea of this calm haven in the middle of the city.






Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Westgate-on-Sea election special



I have incorporated the Westgate bits from the book I publish “Margate and Westgate With Birchington 1903-04”  in order to try and make this post a bit more interesting than the average local political post, the link to the page to buy the book is http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/margate_and_westgate_with_birchington_1903_04.htm
The following is a statement of the persons nominated for election as a District Councillor for Westgate-on-Sea
*Decision of the Returning Officer that the nomination is invalid or other reason why a person nominated no longer stands nominated.
Name of Candidate
Home Address
Description (if any)
Reason why no longer nominated*
ASHBEE Ash
20 Canute Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9QJ
Independent

ELENOR Jeffrey
30 Ramsgate Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 5RU
UK Independence Party

FURNESS Bill
25 Cross Road, Birchington­on-Sea, CT7 9HN
Liberal Democrat

HIBBERT Jodie Sharon
65 Grosvenor Place, Margate, CT9 1UX
The Labour Party Candidate

MASKELL James Kelvin
32 Hawley Sq, Margate, Kent, CT9 1PH
The Conservative Party Candidate

MENDELSOHN Claire
38 Royal Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 9LE
Independent

 Extracting the table of persons nominated from the council’s pdf file, so I could publish it above was a computing test that I don’t recommend trying.

I am aiming to come up with some politically impartial post there, but having already been slated as a Labour supporter today, see http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/britains-no1-coming-to-broadstairs.html I guess it’s going to be an uphill struggle.
 Here are the Westgate-on-Sea Ward results for the election in May 2011.
           
 Thomas George King            Independent    853            17%            Elected
 Simon Moores            The Conservative Party Candidate            793            16%            Elected
 Brian Goodwin            The Conservative Party Candidate            751            15%            Elected
 Richard Chapman            The Conservative Party Candidate            675            14%            Not elected
 David Michael Bull      The Labour Party Candidate            555            11%            Not elected
 Lynda Diane Robinson            The Labour Party Candidate            528            11%            Not elected
 Meg Harvey            The Labour Party Candidate            444            9%            Not elected
 Rosamund Mary Parker            UK Independence Party    283            6%            Not elected
 One way or another it looks as though this is going to be a pretty close run thing, with the most like result being either the Labour candidate or the Conservative candidate getting elected. I will ramble on about this once I see that this rather complicated post of tables and images looks ok published, the bookshop is pretty quiet today due to the weather so I should get time.


Both the Labour and Conservative candidates are young people and I would say the young people of Thanet are very under represented when it comes to councillors.

I guess we all know James Maskell as a sensible local blogger http://villeviews.blogspot.co.uk/ who goes to considerable efforts to record council meetings.

I also guess a lot of us have met Jodie Hibbert, who I first met when she was getting signatures for the Save Dreamland campaign here in Ramsgate.   

Assuming that a large proportion of the electorate would vote for a hat stand if it was Labour or Conservative this leaves the actual decision down to the floating voters like me. Usually voting in Thanet seems to be more about keeping one party out than getting the party with the best ideas in.

Interesting in this case where I would think either Jodie or James would make good councillors, certainly much better than some of the existing councillors, some of which fall into the bracket of being both so offensive and so stupid that I would consider them to be unemployable.