Monday, 12 May 2014

Clive Hart Thanet District Council’s Leader Resigns, some further thoughts about this one.

First the why did he resign question. Well the last great fuss has been over the 1,000 houses planed on the disused bit of Manston Airport, as reported by the Gazette http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/Plans-1-000-homes-Manston-airport-discussed/story-21083143-detail/story.html

My take here is that it really can’t have been this, it’s an old story and has been on the airport’s website since last July, see http://www.manstonairport.com/userfiles/files/planning/Airport-Commission/Manston-Airport-Response---Long-Term-Proposals-190713.pdf the relevant bit being:

“An Airport ‘Campus’ development sitting outside but adjacent to the Airport, potentially comprising: a mix of B1, B2 and B8 development of 1.0-1.5m sq ft, tertiary education facilities including an aviation/aerospace training academy, 2-3 hotels and possibly a modest conference/trade-hall/exhibition space and PFS; an integrated airport village incorporating a small village/campus centre of convenience shop units, a small ‘express’ style supermarket, pub, crèche, GP surgery/dentist and a combination of student accommodation – 500 units, 300 low cost houses for rent and 700 houses for sale; a factory outlet park offering up to 250,000 sq ft of units;”

I expect it has also been on the council website for all this time, but how anyone finds anything there is a mystery to me.


I guess it may be the EKO enquiry, cover-up attempt and so on.

I guess it could be all Ian Driver’s fault, which seem to be what Clive was saying on FaceBook.

It could the peer review.

It could be the independent standards committee.

I guess the next question is who next?

So what would I do if I was a member of either of the two main political groups.


Let’s start with the Conservatives, frankly I don’t think they have a cat in hells chance of getting one of their own elected as leader as the figures don’t stack up: There are 56 Councillors in total.   The political composition is:  26, Labour Group; 23 Conservative Group; 3, Independent Group; 2, Thanet Independent Group; and 2, UKIP.

This leaves something tactical, but what?

I think the answer here is for the Conservative Group to put up Will Scobie and vote for him, after all it would put Labour in a very difficult position and after Will had been leading TDC for a year I would guess that the Conservatives would have a reasonable chance of getting their candidate in at the general election.

Who will labour put up? Well the cabinet is made up of Clive Hart, Rick Everitt, Michelle Fenner, David Green, Iris Johnston and Alan Poole, Clive won’t be standing, so there are the probables.



I guess a big problem would be is there anyone who would either accept the existing chief executive or who would survive for any length of time if they did. I should point out here that the council’s leader doesn’t have to accept the chief executive and can select one from the other council officers.  

All this does really beg the question is there really any councillor at the council who is up to being leader and could get us out of this mess?

It further begs the question is there really any officer at the council who is up to being chief executive and could get us out of this mess?

Can the office for local government put a council into special measures and bring in some experts to sort the problem out.

There is of course the elected leader option, the council did hold a public consultation about this although they held it very secretly the few voters and local taxpayers who found it said unanimously that they would prefer to elect the leader themselves.

The pictures illustrating the post show what happens when someone opens the sluice gates too far.

Webwise the council seem to have just noticed that their leader has resigned and have put up a page on their website http://thanet.gov.uk/the-thanet-magazine/news-articles/2014/may/cllr-hart/ their communications team tweeted the resignation information at 4.50 pm, which seems to show how on the ball they are.    


I suppose that while on one hand the council goes on with the ordinary tasks of emptying the rubbish, sweeping the streets looking after the parks and public gardens and so on, on the other some peculiar detachment from reality has occurred.

It’s only about a week since the council’s solicitor and monitoring officer left under somewhat unusual circumstances, there has been no press release explaining this or how his replacement has been managed.

Then today the leader of the council resigns and the only press release the council issues is about an award they have won for Margate sea defence http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/flood-defence-steps-capture-town-pride.html

It is as though at some level up the council officer ladder the officers have lost all sense of reality, all desire to communicate with the population they are supposed to serve and have gone into a clandestine conclave where they work out how they can maintain some sense of purpose divorced from normal reality.

I will endeavour to add to this post given time and a few more ideas.   

71 comments:

  1. I believe that the Manston / Housing thing was the final straw for Clive. You keep claiming that this was common knowledge Michael, but how do you explain that Ian Driver didn't seem to know anything about it until a few days ago? Maybe you should ask him to comment or email you on this?

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    1. Another thought: When the airport closes in a couple of days time there will be NO leader to comment to the press! Rather convenient for them...

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    2. The housing Michaael mentions was from the days of Chinagate and massive warehouses etc at Manston. Westwood Cross was part of that to some extent as a 4th town. That said the secret deal with Gloag on housing and meetings with Buchanan have done for Clive.

      Housing at Manston is as pointless as housing at Discovery Park. Jobs are needed before yet more crappy housing estates and empty roads. Staffing up at the councils is only viable so far especially when TDC is one of the worst councils in UK.

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    3. Peter it isn’t really a claim, it was just part of Infratil’s plan to revitalise the airport and has been for some time. The documents are in the public domain and have been for over a year and I can see no reason on earth why the new owner of Manston shouldn’t have been discussing it with the council.

      I guess it is very easy to wind up the save Manston airport group at the moment and that appears to be what happened. It isn’t an issue that I think either the press or the politicians should capitalise on at the moment. My sympathy is with those losing their jobs.

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    4. The issue Michael as with the Port is the secrecy around all this - add in secret council meetings, refusal of FOI etc and it just perpetuates the incompetence and waste at TDC. Other councils don't do it.

      Sympathy with Mansotners losing their jobs? Not really, they had plenty of public finds and should have ensured Manston was operating legally. Pfizer is much more of a concern.

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    5. You obviously knew a lot more about this than Ian did then...

      I disagree, it IS something campaigners should "capitalise on", whether they be the public, other politicians or the press. With the imminent closure we need to bring these things up NOW, not in 6 months time.

      Glad your sympathy is with the Manston workers losing their jobs, and not Clive Hart losing his job...

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    6. With 12 months until the District elections TDC is broken anyway and we do need to understand what policies are in place for the future. Dreamland and Discivery Park are far more importnat than Manston.

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    7. Bayford will be too busy to be TDC Leader after winning Eurovision.

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    4. Michael's censorship means the 0% fraud at TDC cannot be discussed here.

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    5. Look anon if you want to accuse people of crimes like fraud and corruption you just can’t do it here, continued abuse of the comment policy will result in my spaming your comments and Google blocking your ip address.

      I recommend that you get your own website and if you have sufficient funds to cover the legal fees then you can make unsubstantiated and libellous claims there.

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    6. A slightly different point as it;s not corruption but Worrow was driven out of TDC by abuse yet the people doing are still there and funded by us. Which other organisation would allow that? Where is the 13 page EKO letter by Harvey? TDC is rotten.

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    7. Sorry anon while I sympathise that you have difficulty understanding what I am saying I have started spamming your comments.

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    8. Anon Councillor John Worrow is still a TDC councillor he still receives allowances was supposed to turn up to 8 meetings in the last year he actually turned up to 4 and sent apologies on three occasions.

      The letter was published on the internet so obviously it remains there as a cached page if you lack the computing skills to find it I suggest you go on an ITC course.

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    9. I was confused about that comment too. Worrow was never driven out... however he has chosen to walk out at least once, and even resigned at one point (and then changed his mind).

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    10. 7:06 you obviously are becoming forgetful in your old age: Worrow made it clear he would attend the minimum number of meetings and announced his resignation (has this been reversed?) because of the Aids Gregory insults etc. Not unreasonable?

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    11. Yes, it IS unreasonable... he was voted to respresent the people of Birchington, and gets paid an allowance to do so. Either resign or do not resign, but don't give the people of Thanet half-measures.

      And what's with the 7:06? Michael's name and ID are clear enough (unlike yours!).

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    12. Michael's name is censored!

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  4. The betting odds on Macgonigal lasting the week? 3 candidates for TDC Leader?

    Next resignations? Councillors standing down before next year's elections?

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  5. I didn't think the housing scandal related to the plans for the Northern Grass. I thought we were talking about the plans for housing on the land next to Haine Road near the Eastern end of the runway. These plans are far more recent and far more controversial.

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  6. Anon 8.21

    Like "The man is a conspiracy theorist therefore what he describes is conspiracy theory" ?

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  7. What a great shame it is to find out that whereas the majority of people living in the Thanet Area believed in the future of our " Island" being inexplorably linked to the expansion and development of Manston Airport as a going concern ( whether Cargo or passenger) only to find that the District Council,( in spite of apparently supporting the "Save Manston " campaign) has all the while been meeting with the new owners of the Airport to discuss the possibility of 900 homes plus on the Northern Grass section of the Airfield.
    Does anybody have any in formation on who from the council or otherwise attended these meetings with the new Airport owners when the housing element for Manston was discussed. Where any warm assurances given to the Gloag empire about future possible planning applications and if so , who gave them?
    If TDC really supports the continuation of Manston as a viable airport then they could quite simply refuse planning permission for housing development.

    Get Boris down here as a local MP. Laura Sandys is going anyway.

    Sod Boris Island.

    We've got a part soloution to the Heathrow problem here.

    Roger Gale is right.

    Bring Heathrow freight to Thanet.


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    1. 8:47 this is the most incoherent nonsense from a Manstoner yet. There is no problem with Heathrow as capacity is being shared with Gatwick and Stansted both of which are under-capacity. Gale is wrong and has been wrong on Manston for years and desperate now to be seen to do something before no doubt resigning like Sandys.

      Boris Island is not happening either. And who said Boris would be elected here?

      Clive attended the Gloag meetings no doubt with others he can clarify exactly who and what was discussed.

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    2. SIR Roger Gale isn't resigning.

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    3. I take it then you are in favour of a new housing estate at Manston.

      Question for you then.

      900 houses and the people that go with them.

      Jobs where?

      Infrastructure to support, where?

      What percentage will be social housing and who will pay for the people living there?

      As regards Boris being elected here, I take your point, however at least the people living here could make a choice on that.

      People living here now do not appear to have a say on how a possible new major housing development for the area would impact upon their lives as regards the provision of the essential services like Social Care, Hospital and Policing.

      Well actually I suppose they do.

      Change should be through the Ballot box.

      Time to rid ourselves then of the imbedded and recycled "stale air" personalities that make up TDC.

      I hope everybody that has a vote will use it wisely very soon.







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    5. So disastrous that he's won EVERY election for 31 years. The people must really hate him........

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    6. Anon 9.42 Manston is 700 acres, so if you were building new houses there it would be between about 9,000 and 14,000 dwellings. Manston is a brownfield site so there is very little local government could do to stop the owners of the site building houses on it. If the plans were reasonable and the council refused them then the planning inspectorate would overrule the decision.

      Realistically building land sells for around £1m per acre, so the site value would be around £700m.

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    7. Well Michael I guess that's it then.

      What a shame.

      Still think TDC needs a good purgative though.

      Not really a political animal but currently thinking a heady mix of 5 parts Bicarbonate Soda, 2 parts Oil of
      Gloags, 3 parts Essence of Farage.

      Mixture is a little bilious at first, however eventually it appears you have no choice but to accept the situation and in any case you can always go down the pub.

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    8. Hard to say really the TDC election coincides with electing MPs so there is less likely to be protest voting like there was with UKIP at the KCC elections.

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  8. Iris is the new leader

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    1. God help us All

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    2. Is that confirmed anon or just guess work?

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    3. Fact. Heard it from someone who was at the meeting. Alan Poole as Deputy

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    4. I thought they weren't deciding until thursday?

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    5. It was the Labour meeting tonight. Thursday is when they vote on it as a council

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    6. The leader has to be elected by the council at Thursday’s meeting, all the two major parties can do is decide who they will put up for election, if they all vote for their own the choice is on the hands of the independents and UKIP councillors. The councillors breakdown by party is detailed in the post.

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    7. So as long as Jack and John vote, its going to happen

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    8. Duncan as I said in the post there is potential for the Conservative group to do something tactical, I don’t really think that they are capable of doing anything beyond selecting a candidate who can’t win, but you never know.

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    9. I saw and thought it was a very interesting idea. But I suspect that Labour will pull together and will be powerless to stop this. We will see on Thursday I guess!

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    10. Worrow has already stated on twitter than he wouldn't vote for Bob Bayford (no surprise there then).

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    11. Bayford vs. Iris? Bayford is contaminated with Pleasurama. Iris is yet another Margater. What are their policies?

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    12. BBC South East have confirmed it

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  9. Apparently Clive said on Meridian that the new leader will be chosen at a meeting tonight!

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  10. I have put comment moderation on for the night and I think future playground stuff like calling real people by their time stamp or surname alone goes in the bin.

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  11. "Can the office for local government put a council into special measures and bring in some experts to sort the problem out."

    I feel this is the step that needs to be taken - the problem is far wider than Clive Hart and extends to Councillors from both main political groups. How some became elected defies the imagination. That apart, the Council as a whole needs to be remedied, which could well include administering a strong emetic.

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    1. Of course a council can be scrapped/reorganised. What are Iris' policies if she has any at all.

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  12. Houses before jobs for the occupants somewhat like railway stations before passengers perhaps my brain is not energised like our decision makers,
    Stargazer.

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    1. Grand white elephant schemes by our civil servants- a new town here, a road there, a housing estate, an international airport etc

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    2. "Build it and they will come" (Field Of Dreams, 1989)

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    3. ...unless it's the big new Masnton car park. "Build it and it will remain empty" (KCC 2005 onwards).

      Are there any flights into Mansotn now?

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  13. The problem we have is that all the councillors have been involved in the toxic behaviours or a the very least said nothing. And none of them are upto scratch otherwise TDC wouldn't be in the mess it is in. Changing one or two of them in a quick shuffle and rejigging a few job titles is irrelevant.

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    1. You can get away with an accusation against the whole group. If you went into specifics Michael would moderate your comment off. Even if you make your comment a public question. There are circumstances in law where saying nothing is a criminal offence. Michael doesn't like discussion of those.

      It would take a brave person now to stand for council. In the past cllrs have got away with walking away from personal liability such as trustees of East Kent Maritime Trust.

      On the bright side it looks as if Wetherspoons has a good track record on restorations. Thanet South may get a UKIP MP. Manston could get grants into TDC and create a lot of building work.

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    2. Wetherspoons are awful and UKIP worse. What has Latchford and his crew of ex-Tories done in the last year? Grants for Manston would be rarer than flights from Manston...

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    3. I can't think of one thing Latchford and KCC UKIP have done. Nor the UKIP two at RTC. There was a brief mention of a possible flood of Romanians a few months ago but then nothing. What have they done?

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    4. Give me Roger Latchford over Iris Johnson any day!

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  14. Replies
    1. Because I like the guy.

      People keep complaining that Nigel Farage is always on TV or in the press these days, but they're overlooking the fact that (like Boris Johnson) the guy has charisma! The leaders of all the main parties are a very dull bunch indeed. Now, if anyone on here has ever met Clive Hart, Bob Bayford and Roger Latchford, I'm sure they'll tell you which encounter was the most memorable, as Roger Latchford has charisma too (& lots of charm when he tries).

      I've no idea whether or not Iris Johnson will make a good leader (though I'm worried about her silence over Manston's imminent closure so far), but she's NOT a popular person, even amongst other Labour members. On the rare occasions I've briefly met her I've found her totally without charm.

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    2. Charm aside what do you think of Latchfords policies

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    3. Don't know much about them, say as Iris's.

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    4. Eh?

      If you're asking whether I support UKIP's policies, my honest answer is SOME of them, but I could probably say the same for every political party.

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    5. Take away some of their more loony policies and UKIP are really just old traditional Conservatives... and I think that's the big problem with the main parties today. Back in the 80s there was a BIG difference between Labour and Tory, but as "New Labour" moved to the right and Conservatives have moved towards the left (with their gay marriage nonsense etc), they're both much the same. This is why there's a bigger need for far left and far right parties from a voter's point of view.

      Anyway, back to the TDC Leader's vote. How does this work exactly? Is it just a show of hands? If it was a secret ballot then I'm doubful whether some Labour cllrs would vote for Iris.

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  15. Must say, Dr Simon Moores has gone up in my estimation after his (possibly slightly biased) efforts to save the airport. He'd get my vote over Iris too!

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  16. Now that would be interesting - Simon Moores leads the Labour party.....

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    1. Whatever, Clive Hart has lost Labour the next local election thanks to his views on Manston Airport!

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