Wednesday 30 April 2008

Stables in Cecilia Road gone for a Burton

A chance conversation about an animal and a fire reminded me to post this. These pictures click here to view the rest of them all relate to Pc Jordan who rescued some horses from the sables in Cecilia Road when the caught fire in 1932. I am afraid that is the only information I have at the moment, so if anyone knows any more please post a comment or email me one to post.

What are you drinking the water or the wave?

Click on the picture to enlarge
Manston airfield, and the agricultural land around it doubles as our drinking water reservoir, you can’t see the water because of geology, the chalk underneath the ground acts as enormous sponge. Not only does this sponge collect the rain water that falls on the land above but our water is pumped there from other sources for storage.

In recent years there have been pollution problems both with oil and fuel from the airport and fertiliser used on the farmland, now the Chinese want to build a huge factory complex on top of this, our drinking water reservoir.

Understandably some people are unhappy about the idea and most of the comment blogwise is going on at Thanet Strife, link on the sidebar, however I thought that this was such an important issue that I should put up a post and add a few thoughts.

There is an added consideration that the Chinese, like any other large employer, take Nissan for example, can simply go elsewhere in the EU, whenever they wish, leaving much of the Western side of Thanet concreted over. If that happens, then it’s easy to imagine a rapid change from industrial to residential development.

So, perhaps we should “Beware of Chinese bearing gifts” as we look for a short term economic gain for Thanet without considering the longer term risks to our quality of life. Jobs at any cost may not be the best solution. What do you think?

Click here for some additional information

Tuesday 29 April 2008

Photographing Ramsgate Library

I was talking to a prominent local figure who has done a lot of work with the save Ramsgate Library group yesterday, he visited the library last week with other prominent local figures for a meeting and viewing of the restoration’s progress.

What he said beggars belief. “The developers and Kent County Council’s representatives said we were under no circumstances to take photographs, a lady journalist had already started photographing the work and they stopped her.”

“What reason did they give?” I asked.

“You’re not going to believe this one.” He said.

They said. “Because the library is next to Clarendon House School any photographs taken in or of the library have to be approved by the head teacher to ensure none of the pupils appear in them.”

“What even the pictures taken inside the library.” I asked.

“Yes,” he said, “and the funniest part of all was that the meeting was at 4 pm and all of the pupils hade gone home.”

I have published a few pictures of Ramsgate school children click here to view them and I await with interest to see if Kent Count Council, or anyone else asks me to remove them.

Monday 28 April 2008

The Grange

Oh yes and a few pictures of Pugin’s Grange taken at yesterdays open day, sorry if they are a bit strange the lens is old and came a bit unscrewed Click here to view


I've been abit tied up today but this might interest some people (especially those laying slabs on loose sand).

"A remarkable and dangerous high tide occurred in … August…about midday, when the bathing was at it’s height, a very rapid rise of the sea took place, not unlike the “bore” seen in some tidal rivers, accompanied by a succession of heavy waves rolling up the harbour with prodigious force. The rush of water was so enormous and sudden that the lives of a number of bathers were in great peril…thirty of the bathing machines were floated away…Fifteen of Gore’s machines were utterly wrecked…ladies and gentlemen were with the loss of their clothes…The tide rose over the sea wall and up the the level of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway.” 1870, Ramsgate. (A Gossiping Guide)

Sunday 27 April 2008

Another local blog gone

If there is one thing that most of the local blogging community don’t like it’s when one of us is forced to remove their blog. No this isn’t about Eastciff Richard, Thanet Life or One Voice this is about the vanishing of the only blog by a local journalist.

The only inference I can draw is that local politicians didn’t like what he was writing on it and told the bosses at out main local paper to stop him.

Were I living in a banana republic I would of course expect this sort of thing here in England though the home of political satire, if our politicians can no longer laugh at themselves, god help us.

Below a sample from the offending blog I shall be interested to see if I am asked to remove it and who by, you may wish to ponder who doesn’t want you to read it.

These are some of the Smudgers that could not make it into the paper.IT was Easter Sunday and Sandy Ezekiel and his best friend OBE were tucking into creme eggs and dunking chocolate fingers into them when there was an almighty earthquake. Suddenly Jo Gideon appeared and told them not to be afraid and suddenly created a technical evaluation and public consultation. Residents flocked to their house at the news of the consultation but when they opened the front door they found the Thanet Tsar and OBE gone.“Don't be afraid,” said Jo, “I know that you have come to see Sandy and Rog. They are not here, for they have risen. Come inside and see the place where they were eating eggs.” The people went inside the house and found it empty, just as Jo had told them. “Go quickly and tell the others that Sandy and Rog have risen from their beds, and they are going to Margate where you will see them.” No one believed the constituents but later on at a full cabinet meeting Sandy and Rog were seen with strange brown markings on their mouths and suddenly everyone agreed that they both had been eating eggs. Just like they said they would.DID you know that the leader of Thanet council has his own cereal? As we all know Ezekiel was a prophet and priest in the Bible who prophesied for 22 years in the 6th century BC.Crafty church goers have turned a passage from Ezekiel (4:9) “Take also unto thee wheat and barley and beans and lentils and millet and spelt and put them in one vessel and make bread of it,” and turned it into a 100 per cent flourless sprouted grain cereal.The puff reads: “This biblical cereal is truly the staff of life. Yeast free, no added oil, no artificial flavours.” A bit like Sandy I suppose.THE winners of Thanet’s smokefree local business awards were presented on National No Smoking day last Wednesday.There were over 20 entries for the awards, set up by Thanet council, which recognise those local businesses that have followed the law since it came in last July.Smudger feels this is somewhat pointless and assumes that awards will be given out to those who haven’t stolen a car, robbed a bank and the top 10 people who paid their road tax.At a glittering ceremony hosted by Cllr Jo Gideon trophies will be given out to everyone who follows the law. It will be called “I didn’t break the law.” Smudger has been given a special trophy because he didn’t dump black bags in the middle of the road.THE council’s new yoof publication, Youth Matters, is back bulging with Easter details to keep kids entertained. However, what you may not realise is that if you haven’t received your copy you can ring 577050, and if you add 5, 7, 7, 0, 5 and 0 you get 24, which is exactly how many pages the magazine consists of. Smudger thinks that to really get the Yoof interested you have to have some animated adventures with the councillors. It would be a bit like the Fantastic Four. Financial mega-brain, Martin Wise, would become a giant talking calculator called Professor Wise who battles negative numbers and inverse ratios. Tourism legend Roger Latchford would become Corporal Bark, a talking dog who goes around imprisoning evil-doers in art galleries when they graffiti. Exalted leader Sandy Ezekiel would become Sandyman, clad in a tight PVC suit with utility belt containing high-speed consultations and sustainability appraisals that fly through the air at 132mph. The whole show would be called Cabinet Combats: The fight for freedom.Not surprising really.

Thomas Morris

Saturday 26 April 2008

Three men in a boat

The report of the Standards Board is now published
Click on the members names to read the findings.

Clive Heart

Doug Clark

Sandy Ezekiel

Killing Ramsgate’s café culture

As you will have noticed from the papers this week TDC have said that they intend to go ahead with the Pleasurama development without a flood risk assessment, against the advice of the environment agency.

This means that the building work will start soon and that heavy construction lorries will be bringing in the building materials through the heart of or café culture. Building dust on you cappuccino and all over your dinner.

I suggested that the building materials be brought in down the old mainline railway tunnel, which would mean that none of the heavy construction materials came into the town at all, I don’t believe that they bothered to look at the idea seriously.

That means that there are only two routes to the building site right through the café culture that is thriving and expanding, and appears to be what is stopping the towns economy collapsing in the way Margate’s has, or down the arched slope and along Marina Esplanade.

I had previously been lead to believe that the arches were not strong enough to take the weight of the lorries, however when I pointed out that the main sands car park had been removed for a roundabout for busses to turn and that busses were also heavy, I was assured by TDC that the slope was able to take 40 tones.

So they can’t have it both ways and although it may be a little unpleasant for the people in the few remaining buildings left on Marina Esplanade, when the alternative is damaging the whole towns economy it is obvious that the building material should come in that way provided it’s safe.

The pictures were taken last summer and I find it difficult to see how construction vehicles would fit in.

Women of Kent rally to the Cause

I have just received stock of a new local book that is now on sale in the bookshop.

Ever since Laura Probert met a real live suffragette on holiday in Guernsey when she was eight years old she has been interested in the lives of women in late Victorian and Edwardian times. A retired librarian, who now lives in an Edwardian house in Ramsgate, Laura cares passionately about the town and its history. When she joined the Ramsgate Society Laura realised that most of the illustrated talks were about sailors, soldiers and smugglers so she decided to tell the other half of the story and research the history of women in East Kent. Her first talk was about Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills, Ramsgate’s first lady mayor and the town’s very generous benefactress. Laura has set up Millicent Press named after her grand-daughter Millicent Grace, but also to honour Millicent Garrett Fawcett, one of the leading suffragettes. Click here to read on

Friday 25 April 2008

A different view of Thanet

This aerial film taken today of the area. makes a bit of a change from my usual fairly grounded pictures.

Thursday 24 April 2008

Pleasurama Richard Bertie Tom Joe

I should very much like to thank the local papers and bloggers (links on sidebar) for their support in publicising the Pleasurama issue. I should like to make it clear to any other bloggers or media, as I have to them, that any of the information or pictures about this issue on my websites or blog is free for them to use without permission or reference.

What is important to me is that we get a good safe, viable and insurable development there and soon.

The pictures that I took today are of where the developer has laid paving slabs on lose sand next to the concrete sea defence, you can see the damage that the sea has done to the concrete, frankly incompetence of this order is incredible and these people aim to build the whole development.

You may find the following helpful and and
Uk planning site
You have to search by street or application the No. is F/TH/03/1200 links don’t work as its some daft gov asp.

Wednesday 23 April 2008

The Open Grange

Just to remind you that Pugin’s old home, The Grange, is open to the public this coming weekend. Here are a few pictures I took of it sorry that many are pretty awful and the web pages are published sideways.

The politics of flowers

Here is another batch of old pictures of Ramsgate for your entertainment click here to view them

Oh and a mate of a mate sent me A new addition to Chemistry's Periodic Table

Tuesday 22 April 2008

Old postcards of Ramsgate

I have just posted another lot of postcards from the time when it really did snow at Christmas instead of Easter, what has gone wrong now? Ellington Park, Wintersoke Gardens they are still there and we all have a duty to look after them and teach our youth to look after and enjoy them.

Here may be the crux of the problem once we had a high diving board and in the summer we had people employed to ensure its safe use, now in the summer we have security guards employed to stop our youth from going up the harbour wall to dive off it.

Monday 21 April 2008

The Cry From the Sea and the Answer From the Shore

Rev. T Stanley Treanor wrote three books about the Goodwin Sands the first being “Heroes of the Goodwin sands” which is mainly about the work of the Deal, Walmer and Ramsgate Lifeboats, it is already in print published by another publisher. The next being “The Log of a Sky Pilot”. Seamen call clergymen sky pilots. That book is mainly about his work as the Missions to Seamen Chaplain for the Downs and is published by us in A4 format. This is his third and final book on the subjects covering as it does his work and that of the lifeboatmen. At this time Treanor's boat the lifeboats and all of the other small open boats were either powered by the wind or by the crew of the boat rowing it.

Treanor and his fellow crew members launched their open boat by sliding it down Deal beach on greased planks often jumping in at the last moment and getting the sail up before they were tossed back onto the beach by the waves. It is recorded that in one year he spent 250 days at sea, visited 400 homes and 890 ships. His work as a priest involved visiting the ships that were waiting off our coast for the weather to improve enough for them to continue on their voyages. For those of us interested in the lives of the people who provided goods and services to the shipping off our coast his books are invaluable as he was the only one of these seafarers to write of his life. In Deal where he lived, and the lives of the seamen there and in the other costal towns in this area, many of the local people had shares in a boat and made their living from the sea by a mixture of fishing, foying (taking out goods and offering services to the shipping) hoveling (salvaging wrecked vessels or their cargoes) carrying goods from abroad or other parts of this country, and smuggling.

Sunday 20 April 2008

Thanet Ground Water Quality

Is Thanet’s drinking water safe? The following rather disquieting document was obtained through the freedom of information act.

You would have received the documents that where sent regarding the area of the runway and the chemicals/compounds found in the underground aquifer

This application whilst welcome - does not address some of the issues/concerns.

What is not helpful is that this planning application is the wrong way round in that no discharge consent is in place to direct other matters of the application in more detail. For clarity when the discharge application is live then I believe a four month public consultation applies? You could say that we have a cart before the horse arrangement with this application. Click here to read on

Murder and arson mar resort's bid to become a coastal artists' haven

A 'hit' and the torching of a roller-coaster have rekindled memories of a violent past, even as the seaside town tries to become Bohemian writes Jamie Doward, home affairs editor in todays

To the local council, Margate has the potential to become Hoxton-on-Sea, a coastal haven for young British artists who will spearhead its renaissance.
But following a murder and two high-profile arson attacks in the past month, the Kent town has been the subject of a series of lurid headlines that suggest it may take more than a cultural revolution for Margate to escape its seedy past. click here to read on

Saturday 19 April 2008

Bricks and Stones

There has been some suggestion that the sea wouldn’t be able to lift the cobbles in a storm so here is a picture of what it did in 1978 this is, was the harbour wall at about 7 meters above the standard for measuring sea level (oddly enough low tide at Newlyn) the cobles and slabs that they are putting down are next to the same sea with no beach there at high tide and are 5.8 meters above ODN or more than a meter lower than the damage shown.

Friday 18 April 2008

Ramsgate’s Nightmare Roundabout

As a local businessman the removal of Ramsgate’s main sands car park for an ill-conceived roundabout is one of the most irritating things that has happened in town this year. As you see the people building it down there are taking up concrete surface and replacing it with cobbles and slabs sitting on loose sand, even right next to the edge of the sea defence, what do they think will happen in a big storm, which would turn them into dangerous projectiles? These people just don’t seem to have any experience of the problems associated with building on a sea defence, how do they think rescue vehicles would get through in a tidal surge storm at night with waves full of their cobbles. It effectively prevents any chance of the residents getting out via Augusta stairs without being stoned to death.

Well it was on the approved plans but so are people’s heads are shown embedded in the concrete ceiling and vehicles are shown concreted into the roof of the car park, I am beginning to wonder if it is intended that these should be real features of the competed building.
Incidentally I notice the Isle of Thanet Gazette have done an article on some of the Titanic aspects of the Pleasurama development.

More pictures of Margate

In view of Margate’s own Tracy, who has just written so poignantly about the town I am continuing to publish up the old pictures of Margate so here are some more, I was going to switch back to Ramsgate.

Click here to look at the pictures

Tall ships

After yesterdays disappointment when the tall ships cancelled I found some more pictures of last years visit click here to look at them and yes the ones at the end where a minor collision and rather a large scale parking error seems to have occurred your eyes are not deceiving you.

Thursday 17 April 2008

Tall Ships cancelled due to bad weather

Sad news I’m afraid, the tall ships have cancelled their visit to Ramsgate harbour today, as the rising winds would have made their final leg to the celebrations at Ostende uncertain.

All I can do is point you to my photographs of last year click here and commiserate.

Wednesday 16 April 2008

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Pleasurama update

I have just sent the following email out to all of the councillors and other interested parties.

Best wishes to you all.

You may as yet be unaware that the environment agency has now commented on the Pleasurama development.

I have been writing to local politicians and government officers about this issue since early in 2003 when Thanet District Council turned down the developer Westcliff Park Ltd that developed Belmont House on the westcliff on the grounds that they were financially unsound. The council chose instead SFP Ventures Partners Ltd an offshore company that never seem to have developed anything, they are a Virgin Islands Company and as such completely unaccountable in the UK.

Westcliff Park Ltd tendered to build a development on the Pleasurama site in the style of the red brick arches behind the harbour and as part of the development would have included a swimming pool that was to have been donated to the town for free.

As their development was integrated with the cliff façade it would also have saved the council £450,000 on cliff repairs.

Now from the Environment Agency’s report it is obvious that SFP Ventures Partners Ltd lack of experience has lead us into a situation where the town has suffered a building site where our prime leisure site should be for the last 5 years.

Having studied the Flood Risk Assessment conducted by H R Wallingford for the Turner Centre, and mentioned in the Environment Agency’s report on the Pleasurama development, it is obvious that any development on the site will have to be set on and well behind, a concrete sea defence at least 1 meter higher that the existing one.

This of course means that the proposed 5 story development will not fit in the space available between the sea defence and the cliff top, at best I would expect another years delay and consider it highly unlikely that the development will go ahead without a new planning application being submitted and approved.

Any of your views or comments are always welcome, please indicate if you want any reply kept confidential other wise I will assume that it is for publication.

Best regards Michael.

My Weblog where you can comment anonymously should you wish

Westcliff Park

Belmont House

Virgin Islands companies

Environment Agency Report

Monday 14 April 2008

Old Margate

I have been a bit tied up today communicating with various people about the Pleasurama development and hope soon to be able to report some progress. Here are some more old pictures of Margate in the meantime click here to view them

Sunday 13 April 2008

Pleasurama where do we go from here

Pleasurama is the largest development in the Thanet towns at a Quarter of a kilometre in length it dwarfs projects like the Turner Centre. Now my fears over the safety of the project needing thorough investigation have been confirmed by The Environment Agency, I have to consider what action to take next.

Obviously to stand back while the equivalent of the Titanic without lifeboats is built on my doorstep is not an option. It would seem highly likely that a flood risk assessment will recommend that the building will need to be on a higher sea defence, set well back from the seaward edge with pedestrian escapes to the cliff top.

There are two obvious factors here, the first being that there is no space between a higher sea defence and the cliff top for the proposed 5 story building, second that if there are going to be escapes to the cliff top that go through the cliff these ought to be made as part of the work that is being undertaken on the cliff at the moment.

I consider it highly unlikely that the builder Knight Developments a subsidiary of the Knight Group both companies of good track record will ignore the recommendations of the Environment Agency report, however they are at the moment building a roundabout for busses to turn at the end of a road where it appears very dangerous to take a bus.

Now at the moment money is being poured into the project, much of which is coming from TDC however because there doesn’t appear to be anyone in overall charge of the project, it is likely that much of this money is not being wisely spent.

It would seem that the whole project will have to be reconsidered and in all probability the building redesigned and yet at the moment the infrastructure is still being built at what is almost certainly the wrong height above sea level.

Saturday 12 April 2008

Pleasurama Environment Agency report

During my ongoing discussions about Pleasurama I have today received the Environment Agency’s report to Thanet District Council from the Local Government Ombudsman.

From the rest of the correspondence I gather that this report is now in the public domain, so I have run it through the OCR removed the officer’s names and published it for you all to read.

It would seem to me to be unlikely in view of the report that the builder will be prepared to go ahead with the development without a Flood Risk Assessment.

I quote from the report, “if we were to receive a similar application under the current guidelines, we would require a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) to identify the risk, look at flood resilient construction and address the issue of safe, dry access. Without this information it is difficult to determine whether the development can be considered “safe” (PPS25 09 The Exception Test).”

Click here to read the rest of it

Old Margate

The picture above is of Trinity Church Margate, you may wonder where it went. Was it a listed building, demolished for health and safety reasons? Was it a victim of an arson attack from the rival parish of St Johns in Margate? Perhaps it was demolished a surplus to requirements and the site used to build flats St Paul’s in Ramsgate was click here to see the pictures of the demolition (courtesy Terry Wheeler) it is as they say a funny old world. No Trinity Church was bombed in the war, which up until recently I thought was the main cause of damage to our historic towns.

Friday 11 April 2008

Sandbags at the Royal Victoria Pavilion

Any of you got any idea what they are collecting the sand for? Click on the picture to enlarge. Perhaps they are expecting an exceptionally high tide or perhaps preparing sandbags for war defences. As you don’t often see photographs of this sort of thing I would imagine that it relates to some fairly important event. Tea at 2d less than 1p per cup suggests the early 1900s and they do all look very happy with their lot in life so if they are working for the council that also suggests quite a long time ago

Old Margate Postcards

Working under the principle that Margate’s need for solace is greatest at the moment, here are some more old pictures of the town click here to see them Once again too old to be copyright so do please use them to decorate any posting about Margate or anything else you want. I notice from the counter that has been on this blog for just under 2 weeks that about 100 visits a day seems to be about the norm, so best wishes too you all.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

Old pictures of Margate

Another batch of old pictures of Margate click here to look at them I am an still mulling over ideas about what could realistically done to stop the decline and still don’t think much could be achieved without some sort of national legislation to protect out towns.

More old pictures of Margate

Some more old pictures that I hope may offer a little cheer in these rather depressing times click here to look at them

I worked for Dreamland in the 70s as an engineer, in those days it was owned by Associated Leisure, they also owned the Lido and most of the amusement arcades in the town.

At that time everyone was aware of a steady decline both in Margate and in Ramsgate, mostly caused by cheap foreign holidays. The Lido and Cliftonville were already in a state of considerable decline, frankly I don’t think at the time anyone ever really thought that the decline could be prevented, so no one ever got as far as looking for realistic solutions, frankly now it’s all but too late and some realistic solutions must be found.

Now it would seem that the cheap foreign holiday might soon become a thing of the past and air travel an environmentally expensive luxury, so the tourists may return again if there is anything for them to return to.

Ariel pictures of the remains of Dreamlands rollercoaster

Some shots of the devastation from the air click here to see the rest.

Picture courtesy of Simon Moores

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Dreamland the only solution I can see

The crux of the problem here though is to find a solution to the problem that property developers and big chain retailers stand to gain enormous sums of money from the destruction of our towns.

Had Dreamland Pleasurama our shops the protection afforded to any field of cabbages i.e. whatever the owner would like to build on it, it stays a field of cabbages or some other crop, there would be no problem.

As it is our towns, the human environment, are turning to architecturally attractive housing estates, with all the social problems of housing estates.

At the moment the value of residential accommodation is much greater than that of the same space being used for shops and leisure facilities and car parking, the only solution is government legislation protecting the non residential parts of our towns.

I urge you all to write to your MPs asking for legislation to protect what we have left, at the moment if a local authority turns down plans to turn any of our facilities into more residential accommodation, the developer can go on appealing until the local authority runs out of money to defend the appeals.

However the legislation needs to be strong enough and so heavily weighted towards the maintenance of such facilities that still exist as to overcome the problem where corruption exists at a local level.

The dreamland site as an amusement park and car park, is probably worth about £1,000,000 with 400 apartments on it at £200,000 each this figure rises to £80,000,000 it’s a game of Monopoly and we are all losing.

Monday 7 April 2008

Margate the end

Well that’s it the scenic railways gone any thoughts anyone, like guess who gets the insurance money? we are in a war zone without a war, either we do something or we don’t

Sunday 6 April 2008

Photographing another Chapter.

The right to photograph freely what one can normally see in a public place is a very important one. So much of what I publish both online and on paper are photographs of this area old and modern. Photographs like the one above say something about us here in Thanet no amount of words can convey, the modern picture of some of Thanet’s civic leaders above, like the picture below of some of our civic leaders 70 years ago brings history to life.

Thanks to Fred’s comments on my posting about being prevented from photographing Ramsgate Public Library from a public footpath, I have voted on a parliamentary petition about this, if you enjoy the photographs that I and others publish I would like to encourage you to do so as well click here to do so

Fred also drew my attention to Mitchell Austin’s early day motion on the subject click here to view it

Photo top courtesy Simon Moores

Old photographs of Ramsgate

After my altercation during my attempt to photograph Ramsgate library I went through the photographs on the computer looking for old pictures of the library. I have found 3 so far click here to look at them I also have put a few other ones up that may interest you all. I am sorry to say that I have rather lost track of which photographs I have published so apologies for any repetitions. The sailing ship leaving the harbour is the Bounty, built in Sunderland in 1875 and originally named Alastor she arrived in Ramsgate in 1946. the buildings by the west pier are part of Moses shipyard. You will also note in the two pictures of the inside of the library that the people shown are reading, something I hope we will still be able to there when the council and tourist information office move in.

Saturday 5 April 2008

Naked in Thanet

As you can see from the picture of Ramsgate in the 1700s Ramsgate has a long history of naturism that dates back to when the human species discovered the beach.

It has come to my attention that Thanet District Council are discriminating against Thanet’s naturists. If like me, you are older or fatter than you would like to be, then like me your first reaction may be to laugh, or is that snigger.

But there is a very serious point here, our naturists Thanetoneons who pay their taxes like you and me, need a beach where they can pursue naturism legitimately, and most importantly where they are protected by the law of the land so that should anyone go there and engage in an indecent or obscene act they can call the police and be protected like anyone else.

Friday 4 April 2008

The cost of bread and butter soar

This press releases from Laura Sandys, the Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for South Thanet (will contest South Thanet seat at the next election).

New research exposes soaring cost of living across East Kent

“The cost of living in East Kent is rising faster than many families’ incomes,” said South Thanet’s Laura Sandys and hitting out at the Government’s measure of ‘inflation’.

Although Gordon Brown claims that official inflation is running at 2.5%, new research reveals how anyone who does a weekly household shop, pays energy bills and receives a council tax bill is experiencing a far higher cost of living.

It reveals that since Gordon became Prime Minister nine months ago:
· The price of butter has increased by 37%
· The price of a dozen eggs increased by 34%
· The price of a loaf of bread increased by 28%
· The price of flour increased by 22%
· The price of a pint of milk increased by 17%
· The price of cheese increased by 17%
· The price of a sack of potatoes increased by 11%
· Gas and fuel prices have increased by 10%
· Petrol prices have increased by 8%.

The new research shows that the prices of goods and services which are bought frequently have tended to increase far more rapidly than the ‘official’ consumer inflation rate. The prices of many basic household items – bread, butter and eggs – have seen double digit rises in recent months. Petrol prices have been rising rapidly. Gas and electricity prices have jumped by 10 per cent in the last month alone. And tax changes in the Budget will push up families’ costs yet further.

Laura said:
“In a modern economy, a government can’t control the cost of living directly. But it can avoid making it worse. Sadly, Labour now seem so out of touch with the lives of working people that they keep on piling on the misery, with an extra £110 of taxes a year in the Budget for the average family.

“A new Conservative Government will be on the side of working people, with a long-term plan to fix the country’s finances and make sure public money is spent properly. That way, over time, we can cut taxes and the cost of living.”

Steve's campaign for a mobile post office for Woodnesborough

I get a fair few political press releases, Thanet Life used to publish some and I thought perhaps I should publish the ones I get so here we go first one from Steve Ladyman.

Following the news that the Woodnesborough Post Office is to close, South Thanet MP Steve Ladyman is campaigning for Woodnesborough to be served by a Mobile Post Office.

Steve said,
"I'm very disappointed that Woodnesborough is closing as that closure will mean real hardship for some people, especially older people, in the village. Perhaps it was inevitable since the Post Mistress was keen to let the office go and you have to respect her desire to move on with her life even if it will be a sad day for the village when the Office closes."
'However, I intend to write to the Post Office to see if there is any possibility of a peripatetic service attending the village. If there was a visiting mobile service every week that would certainly allow older people and people with difficulty using public transport to get their pension."
This news follows Steves welcoming the decision by the Post Office not to close Cliffsend Post Office.
"The decision means that a much needed village resource has been saved and the village hall has a chance to prosper. I am grateful to everyone who responded to my survey and helped me give the Post Office the constructive feedback they needed to arrive at this decision. As I said at the time, crude petitions make little or no difference in this process but the detailed responses I was able to feed to the Post Office thanks to the efforts of everyone who responded to me have won the day."
On the other hand, Dr.Ladyman professed himself disappointed that two Ramsgate Post Offices are still to close.
"We gave the Post Office good feedback about the two Ramsgate offices but in the end I think the Post Office have decided there were good enough alternatives at St Lawrence and in the Town Centre. It's a disappointment."
The Government has put a great deal of money into the Post Office and no other political party has even said they would match it. The Liberal Democrats say they would privatise Royal Mail to pay to keep some branches open and the Tories have done no more than shed crocodile tears over closing branches without offering one penny more to save them. Thanks to the Government the remaining branches will provide a wide ranging and sustainable service into the future. Cliffsend and the many other branches currently operating in South Thanet will be part of that service; it's a great shame that these two Ramsgate branches and Woodnesborough will not be."

Reflections from the book trade.

I was saddened to hear that Albion Bookshops in Broadstairs and Cliftonville are to close, this doesn’t effect Albion secondhand bookshop in Broadstairs which will remain open.

It has been said that for a town to be a proper town it has to have a bookshop, for me theatre, library, butcher, baker, grocer, green grocer, fishmonger and so on are all essential, however with the interminable yellow lines and the rising value of real estate and hence shop rents, the future doesn’t look very promising.

With bookshops there is another factor, it’s fairly complicated but I will bore you all with it anyway. In the UK we had a thing called the net book agreement, this meant that the publisher fixed the price of a book and it was illegal to sell the book new under that price. What this meant was that a supermarket couldn’t buy huge quantities of the new Harry Potter and sell it cheaper than the bookshops. This meant that the bookshops, an arts facility, didn’t need to be subsidised like other arts facilities because of the profits from mass-market bestsellers.

The overheads of bookshops were relatively low and the discounts to bookshops about 35% off of retail so that in the case of a book selling for £10 the bookseller got £3.50 the author £1 and the publisher £5.50 the overall effect of this was that books in the UK were the cheapest in the world.

The supermarkets and the big chain bookshops managed to end the net book agreement by saying that price fixing was unfair to the customer, so now most books are bought from publishers by a few very powerful retail chains that expect a minimum discount of 60% so with the same £10 book selling through Amazon Waterstones Tesco and so on the bookseller gets £6 The author £1 and the publisher £3.
Publishers have resolved this by increasing the price of books in real terms so that now apart from the promotional titles where the big chain retailer reduces their profit cut, books in the UK are now amongst the most expensive in the world.

Thursday 3 April 2008

The Pictures of Ramsgate Library That KCC Don’t Want You to See

I just couldn’t believe this, I went round the town today taking pictures as I often do, when I started taking pictures of the progress rebuilding the library out came the site foreman and told me to stop taking pictures. Why I asked incredulously, he said that their client Kent Count Council didn’t want people taking pictures of the building work. Click here to see the pictures I took before I was stopped, any ideas anyone, can you see something I can’t?

Click here to see rest of the pictures I have taken this week sorry about the ones that aren’t much good I’ll go through and delete them some time, frankly it’s a bit of a chore, much easier to bung the whole lot up in one go.

Wednesday 2 April 2008

Tall Ships Come to Ramsgate

An early reminder that the tall ships are due back in Ramsgate in about a fortnights time. They are due to arrive here on the morning of Thursday April 17th this however, as always, is subject to weather conditions.

I took a few pictures of this event last year, sorry about the bits in the camera I used an old mirror lens to take the long distance shots of the ships at sea and it had some bits in it that fell into the camera. Click here to look at the pictures.

Ramsgate library

This Friday April 4th 2008 from 9am to 5pm in Waitrose supermarket, there is to be a consultation to seek local peoples views on the rebuilt Ramsgate library, due to open in the autumn.

My greatest concern has been that we would get a “Thanet Gateway” like Margate library, so we would have to struggle through people doing their council business in order to get to the books. I have been assured by the library staff that this won’t happen and that there will only one TDC enquiry desk staffed by one person.

Tuesday 1 April 2008

Ramsgate town council

Where is the town council that we voted for? Click here for the answer

What can it do when we finally get it? Click here for the answer

I have been snooping around trying to get some answers please post any further information. We had similar problems wresting power form the decayed government of Sandwich in the 1800s and as not much has happened wresting power from Thanet District Council you may wish to read about what happened last time. Click here read about what happened.