Tuesday 30 September 2008

1928 Ramsgate Holiday

I have just bought a small holiday album it says on the front SNAPS: E. HODGKINS 1928 1929 the first section is Ramsgate 1928.

The pictures are Box Brownie contact prints, by this I mean that no photographic enlarger was used, once the roll of film was developed, it was chopped up put directly on top of the photographic paper, light was allowed to pass through the film on to the paper for a given period of time which was then developed, looking at them I would say this was done at home, probably in a blacked out kitchen or bathroom.

A few things of note the solid tyred charabanc had a top speed of 12 mph with friction shock absorbers it must have been an interesting ride.

The two pictures of the person in a deckchair show the eastern undercliff bathing station, later the marina swimming pool was built there, now a car park.

Please post any thoughts on the other locations as comments.

Pictures of Ramsgate

Over the last few months I have published various pictures of Ramsgate to illustrate blog articles, what I didn’t do however was link them all together as this adds considerably to the publishing time, as each page has to have links to all the other pages.

I have now done this there is a considerable amount of clicking and scrolling to do to view them and I am afraid the only way to explanations about some of them is to work back through the blog postings.

Click here to look at them

My various websites are a bit if a muddle I am afraid to say, I have been publishing local pictures since 1998 10 years of publishing various pictures means that I no longer know what I have published, or even if all of them have links leading to them,

A while ago I started making up a new web page with links to them on so if you want even more of this sort of thing click here and scroll down the page until you come to the picture links to other sets of pictures.

If you comment on any of the pictures please add its web address so I can find it, to do this right click on the picture and click on properties where it is shown.

Monday 29 September 2008

Whitfield Tower Revisited

I did a post about this tower earlier in the month and had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I had read something about it in one of my publications. It was in fact in the 1831 publication The Picturesque Pocket Companion To Margate Ramsgate Broadstairs & Parts Adjacent by William Kidd with woodcuts by G. W. Bonner, Woodcuts being favoured for this sort of guide as they can be printed with a platen press and therefore included in the text rather than having to be tipped in after the book is sewed.

Click here to see what Mr Kidd had to say about it and to look at Mr Bonners cut.
I have two copies of the original guide in stock as well as the cheap reprint.

A Tale of Two Planning Applications

Back in march 2006 a planning application was approved for one building at the Manston Business Park, as far as I know it was the last planning application there prior to China Gateway.

With China Gateway I have been saying that the planning application just doesn’t make sense as the architect first acknowledged the fact that it is on top of our underground drinking water reservoir and the went on to produce drainage plans that would only have been suitable for a site that was no where near an underground reservoir.

I have had a good look at the earlier plans, the architects produced proper surface drainage arrangements that were suitable and viable for a site on top of the drinking water reservoir. The plans that were just for one building are much more detailed than the China Gateway application, much of which goes into tremendous detail about drainage plans that wouldn’t possibly be allowed and provides a smoke screen of hundreds of pages of nonsense, that covers up the fact that the proper research and design for drainage just hasn’t been done.

What I am hoping is that the councillors that have to make a decision about the China Gateway on the 9th of next month, will take a little time to compare both applications.

For those of you in a hurry click here for the most pertinent document, for those of you prepared to struggle with the cranky planning site the China Gateway application reference is F/TH/08/0400 and the other submitted by Cummins Power Generation is TH/05/1410 click here to go to the planning site.

Saturday 27 September 2008


Another of Don Long’s local history articles this time on the old Ramsgate myth about the naming of Hereson and Holliconedane click here to read it

Friday 26 September 2008

Storm Warriors of the Goodwin Sands

I have just put some more pages of John Gilmore’s book about the work of the Ramsgate Lifeboat on the internet for you al to read click here to do so.

Ramsgate can boast one of the first lifeboats in England, we had a lifeboat before the formation of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. In the days before it was practical to build a boat that was both small enough to use in sea rescue, but with an engine powerful enough to resist storm and tide, the combination of a steam tug and rowed lifeboat was used in many rescues. Most of the rescues were of ships that had gone aground on the deadly Goodwin sands where it would be far too shallow for the steam tug to venture. Often the combination of storm and tide made it impossible for the lifeboat powered as it was by oars and sails to get to the vessel that had floundered. So the tug towed the lifeboat round the outside of the sand until it was upwind of the wreck and then let it go across the Goodwins. While the lifeboat was doing its work the tug would steam round to the other side of the Goodwins in the hope of picking up the lifeboat with those rescued aboard.

The picture is of the tug “Aid” towing the Ramsgate lifeboat.

Thursday 25 September 2008

China Gateway and lobbying your councillors

Full council will decide on October 9th what to do about the China Gateway planning application, as far as I understand they can either approve the application, reject the application or defer it.

If you wish to contact your councillors and express your opinion on the subject you should do so fairly soon, this is a planning issue so only valid planning concerns should be put forward.

If for instance you tell your councillor that you are against the application because of human rights issues in China or because you have concerns about the Chinese flooding the market with fake or dangerous goods, this is not a planning issue and your councillor cannot and must not take it into consideration.

If you tell your councillor that you are for the application because you wish to have greater cultural ties with the Chinese, this cannot be taken into account for the same reason.

On the other hand if you raise specific issues relating to the buildings, logistic infrastructure, environmental, drainage and pollution issues this can and must be taken into account, your ward councillors are elected representatives and as such they are duty bound to represent your views.

If for instance you are unhappy about the cramped layout of the site and lack of sufficient open spaces, (one of the things pointed out in the Kent Count Council strategy and planning document by their director of planning services), it is valid point and must be taken into account.

If you look on the councils planning website the application reference is F/TH/08/0400 and clicking on this link will take you there, you will find that document and others which may be helpful when forming an opinion on the subject, another useful document is the recommendation to approve click here to read it.

If there are aspects of the documents that you don’t understand, contact the councils planning department and they should help you and answer your questions.

Because they have been unable to answer some of my questions 1 to 5 below being some of the most important although I am not sure if 5 is a valid question, I feel that at the very least the decision should be deferred until some of them are answered satisfactorily.

In the case of the Pleasurama development the approval of unbuildable plans submitted by this same architect hasn’t been beneficial to this area and I don’t want us to go down a similar road with this huge development.

1 Is there any viable surface drainage plan or can anyone see how one could be devised?

2 Will the road infrastructure be able to cope with the extra Traffic, especially the thousands of HGV movements?

3 Will the light noise and air pollution so close to Acol be of an acceptable level?

4 With thousands of HGV cold starts adjacent to the borehole will the resultant air pollution falling on the ground above it contaminate the water supply?

5 As the developer has been trying to buy up farmland from Quex for phases 4 & 5 and the cabinet were asked last Thursday to allocate more agricultural land for commercial use, with plenty of disused industrial land in the area shouldn’t we have to use this up before prime farmland?

It has been implied that if the application was rejected and then subsequently appealed the development would go ahead totally unregulated, this is not true.

Wednesday 24 September 2008

The House of the Rising Sun Ramsgate again

Gerald has transcribed more of the documents relating to the Rising Sun in Ramsgate click here to read and view the originals.

When Gerald came into the shop with them we both speculated as to whether people are interested in this sort of thing, so we are both curious to know what people think, do you want more?

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Extra Problems

I notice that one of our local media firms is in trouble, Post on Eastcliff Richard (link on sidebar) articles on their own website and the BBCs so far.

I hope our Thanet Extra survives it’s a pretty good paper that I usually buy.

We used to get all of the free papers delivered something that petered out to the very sporadic, I am wondering if a lot of the fall in advertising revenue is due to the lack actual delivery as I used to advertise in them until they stopped coming through the letterbox regularly.

From an advertisers point of view I also think they could do much to improve advertising revenue by improving their internet sites. Your Thanet is the only paper to have an E-edition so the only one where the papers advertisements appear online.

None of the papers have feeds where they post our local stories, by this I mean that on this blog the latest stories by the other local bloggers appear on the sidebar soon after they are posted, but I can’t add the local papers new stories as their websites lack the technology.

The Thanet Extra site is the only one of the local paper websites where you can’t comment on the stories, although I have noticed that there is much less comment than one would expect on the other local newspaper sites where you can comment.

I think this is partly because it is so cumbersome to comment on them, no one likes filling in forms but mostly here in Thanet they haven’t joined in with, connected properly to and contributed to the local blogging scene, which is where Thanet is most alive on the internet.

The local journalists I speak to understand these problems, however solutions don’t seem to get up the management line quickly enough, if they are solutions, what do you think?

Getting information out of the Environment Agency

Malcolm dropped in the shop to tell me that he has an unfulfilled freedom of information request dating back to February, makes one wonder what they mean by some time or due course.

Click here for their letter

Crime in the bookshop

I have just published pictures of the crime fiction on the shelf in the bookshop today, this is part of my ongoing task of letting people see what is on the shelves. I should point out that it is in alphabetical order of author’s surnames.

Prices vary from about 50p to £3.50 the average being about £2.50 I was surprised that most of the titles are legible, my initial idea was just to give people some idea of the range size and scope of the books in the shop, a sort of is it worth coming to have a look type of thing, if you do come and have a browse remember we close on Thursdays.

With this sort of ordinary secondhand stock the main aim is to try and encourage people to reuse where possible and recycle where not.

Click here should you wish to look at the crime fiction

Monday 22 September 2008

Pleasurama Update

Some of us interested in the Pleasurama development and the general lack of progress local consultation, feasible plans and temporary use during the summer have been tying to find out what if anything is going on.

We have so far been unable to find out if the property speculator SFP have deposited the financial bond required by the council before development starts.

A land registry search reveals that the land still belongs to TDC and has done since 1929.

Dave Green has posted on Eastcliff Matters (link on sidebar) that work will recommence on repairing the cliff façade in December.

Doug Brown the planning officer on the case, says he is still awaiting revised plans from the architects PRC which hopefully will address the concerns raised by the environment agency, both about flood and storm protection and emergency escapes for the people inside.

As the architect hasn’t as yet come up with plans for anything that could actually be built on the site and the property speculator doesn’t appear to have come up with any money, one wonders what is going on, particularly as the same architects appear to have produced plans China Gateway that also can’t actually be built due to the constraints of the site.

Back in September of last year I said that the cliff repair works would take about a year, I am afraid to say this is looking more like a year and a half, I must also apologise for saying painting it was jobs for the boys, this is in fact a coloured coating to protect it from future chloride and carbonation attack, however why this coating isn’t the same colour as the concrete is unclear.

Finally though the real problem with the development long term is, that the people involved don’t appear to be going to do a proper flood risk assessment and then building to its recommendations, this means that they are saying that they are going to engage in a multimillion pound project in a high risk flood zone and base its vulnerability to flood on guesswork. To me this just doesn’t add up as it means that all or part of it will probably be uninsurable and hence blighted.

Saturday 20 September 2008


Another of Don Long’s articles this one on the school he attended so it particularly relates to his memory click here to read

China Gateway again

The more questions I raise about China Gateway the more I am coming to the conclusion that the property company behind it CGP, the architects PRC and the technical consultants Scott Wilson, must have known that the plans that were submitted could never be built.

What I really need at this point is to find is someone who understands the plans and who will explain the aspects of them that don’t seem to make any sense, is there anyone who can explain how the existing plans could be built, without such radical changes to them that the architect would need to submit new plans?

I have had some email communication with Doug Brown the planning officer on the case, anyone interested will need to read it from the bottom email up click here to do so

To view the plans on the councils planning website copy the application reference F/TH/08/0400 click here to go to the planning site and paste the reference in the appropriate box and click search.

At the moment no one as adequately refuted my assertion that a full council meeting will be recommended to approve plans that couldn’t be built, something that would seem ridiculous.

Friday 19 September 2008

Museums to close

Having just read that the museums are to close imminently both on Eastcliff Matters and Eastcliff Richard’s blogs, links and feed on the sidebar, digesting this rather depressing news, I wonder if anything can be done.

In Ramsgate we have lost the motor museum, the museum in the library and now the maritime museum makes a full set, one would have thought the maritime museum and the Cervia would be eligible for some sort of funding.

From a local history publishers point of view I have lost four of my outlets now two museums and two Albion Bookshops with the Broadstairs Albion Bookshop due to close soon that will make five.

I have cheated with the picture above by joining two pictures from the 1817 book Picturesque Views of Ramsgate together. It says a lot for the accuracy of the artist Henry Moses that this was possible click here for more from the book

The Picture shows what is now Harbour Parade, the buildings on the right were demolished in 1890.

Thursday 18 September 2008


I noticed this week that the advertising hording on the site of the church has gone and has been replaced with a fence, so it occurred to me to put up something about St Paul’s.

It’s another one of Don Long’s articles click here to read it

Wednesday 17 September 2008

China Gateway the developers point of view

Reading through today’s Your Thanet (link on sidebar) I noticed that there was a fair amount about China Gateway, the lead article by Tom Betts being about the explosives company presently on the site.

Tom had obviously tried and failed to get some sort of comment from CGP (the developer), however as the issue was covered at the planning committee meeting CGP have responded to it and some other issues in their letter to Doug Brown click here to read it

Oddly enough they seem to have omitted to comment on the main issue that means that the whole site will have to be redesigned, the surface drainage for the lorry and car parks.

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Red Arrows to be banned from 2012 Olympics as they are too British

The world-famous Red Arrows have been banned from appearing at the 2012 London Olympics because they are deemed 'too British'. Organisers of the event say that the Arrows military background might be 'offensive' to other countries taking part in the Games. The display team have performed at more than 4000 events worldwide, but the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have deemed the display team 'too militaristically British.' Red Arrows pilots were said to be 'outraged', as they had hoped to put on a truly world class display for the Games, something which had never been seen before. Being axed from a British-based event for being 'too British' is an insult - the Arrows are a symbol of Britain. The Red Arrows have been excellent ambassadors for British overseas trade, as they display their British-built Hawk aircraft all over the world. The Arrows performed a short flypast in 2005 when the winning bid was announced, but their flypast at the Games was to have been truly spectacular. It is to be hoped that common sense prevails. If you disagree with this decision, to sign the petition click on this link. What the hell is this country coming to? Thanks to for Jocelyn for sending this for me to post.

The picture comes from the book Twilight of Pistons that I publish, Red Arrows, Russian Roulette, Manston Summer 1968

Monkton Nature reserve and Thanet Earth

We went to Monkton nature reserve again on Sunday this time I remembered to take the camera click here for the pictures

There is much concern there about Thanet Earth, both because it is turning out much bigger and more intrusive than people expected and because the water extraction that it will carry out is expected to dry out the nature reserve.

This morning I woke up thinking about the it and it occurred to me that no where does it say where the nitrate rich water it has used drains to, could it be into the aquifer?

Truth is I just don’t know, maybe all the water is lost in evaporation, I will endeavour to find out about that and the drainage relating to the loading bays and power station.

Monday 15 September 2008

China Gateway Update

One of the main obstacles to China Gateway has been that the plans submitted are for a huge 3 phase development and only phase one (the phase that has gone to full council for approval or rejection) is on land designated for industrial use.

Although the developer has bought the land for phases 2 and 3 it is still designated as prime farmland.

Up for discussion at TDCs Cabinet Meeting to be held on 18 September is a report from Colin Fitt arguing that this prime farmland should be re-designated industrial.

Looking at the size of the land that they want to develop it really does mean losing a very large proportion of the existing farmland in Thanet, perhaps we should be looking at the land that is already disused industrial land.

Sunday 14 September 2008


Though not a building of great architectural merit. Mount Albion House has a history of considerable interest spanning almost two hundred years.
It was built in 1798 by a local miller, John Marshall, whose mill stood a little way from the house, at what is now the top of Albion Road. For the first load of wheat purchased from a Mr Blackburn of St Peter's, the owners paid nearly 120 guineas (£126). But the price left so little profit margin after its manufacture into flour that they decided to pull the mill down in 1810. It was re-erected on the West Cliff and it is very likely that the mill which stood in Grange Road until 1930 was the one removed. The site is now called Windmill Parade.

This is a from series of local history articles written by Don Long who died recently I shall be putting up more, to celebrate the memory of this well known Ramsgate historian.

Canterbury pictures

We went to Canterbury last Thursday as usual quite a lot of the time was spent looking in the bookshops and charity shops for books to sell in the bookshop. This is often just to top up things we are short of, for instance at the moment we are completely out of P G Woodhouse books. This wasn’t a very successful mission mainly because the books in Canterbury, even in the charity shops, were pretty much all more expensive than we would sell them for.

I find it odd in the current economic downturn that prices there seem to be rising. I also noticed that Canterbury has more empty shops than usual, as with most places now I am finding that a lot of what I would call proper shops are closing to be replaced by cafés and shops offering services rather than actual goods.

Saturday 13 September 2008

Ships The Westminster and Claudine ashore near Margate

A rather nice old print from 1841 although it’s quite a common print the hand colouring on this one is better than most.

Friday 12 September 2008

An Explosive Problem for China Gateway?

Now that the statutory consultees documents are available for us all to view I intend to highlight some of the aspects of the development that are of concern.

This first one concerns Theatrical Pyrotechnics, this is a viable existing business right in the middle of the site where the developer wants to build, they provide about 30 real jobs, their lease is until 2013 and I have been told that Malcom Armstrong (proprietor) has no intention of moving until as least then.

The outline of their compound is shown in red with the purple boundary as the safety zone for glass buildings that the developer wants to build.

Not only is Pyrotechnics sitting on where they want to build but also the safety zone around site means any building in that zone cannot happen unless they close down.

Theatrical Pyrotechnics became tenants of the developer when they bought the land in 2006

Click here to read the what HM inspector of health and safety (explosives) has to say about it.

Thursday 11 September 2008

Jewish Catholic Historical Errata

My apologies I posted that Montefiore was presented at court to Queen Victoria by Duke of Norfolk on Semper eadem Father Fisher’s blog. The Duke of Norfolk actually presented Sir Moses Montefiore to William IV. For those of you interested in Montefiore’s work towards multi-culturalism click here

The picture is of the clock in the synagogue

Wednesday 10 September 2008

China Gateway update

After two helpful and constructive conversations with Richard Samuel, he agreed to have the statutory consultees documents published on the UKPlaning website and they are appearing there as I write. Many thanks to him for his cooperation in this matter that exceeds the legal requirements imposed on the council.

To view the documents copy the planning reference TH/08/0400 click here to go to the planning site and paste the reference into the application number search box and click the search button.

I envisage that these documents will be very helpful to those wishing to understand the environmental implications of the proposed development.

Ramsgate West Pier Lighthouse

This unusual print of the lighthouse the base of which doesn’t to my mind look quite right, I believe it is supposed to be the original lighthouse however the base doesn’t look big enough. The original lighthouse built like the harbour in the late 1700s was placed too near the end of the pier so that ships yardarms hit it when negotiating the harbour entrance. Anyone who has sailed from Ramsgate will tell you that the deep water is next to the west pier so you have to sail close to it. In 1843 this lighthouse was replaced with the one we still have now and obviously it was set well back from the end of the pier.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

Will Transcribed

Gerald has done a superb job on the will I posted the other day click here to read it


Copy of will transcription attached, as promised.

There were one or two places that were hard to follow and I've highlighted these in italic to show that this is my best effort at reading the text.

Interestingly, I notice (in the will) that William Spencer left a house to Elizabeth Tomson that was on the corner of Brick Street and the South End - this looks like it was either next to or almost opposite the Rising Sun.


Reflections from the book trade

Something that most secondhand bookshops have traditionally had is a section of very cheap books, in these days when people seem to have forgotten the meaning of very cheap and many are now extremely hard up ours sometimes produces unusual reactions.

All the hardbacks in ours are 10p and all the paperbacks 5p each click here so see the pictures of it today

One of the more amusing bookselling incidents this week was pricing a copy of Flemish Drawings at Windsor Castle and noticing someone had crossed out the bookplate of Orson Wells (very tasteful copper plate Orson Wells on hand made paper) and written in a scrawl happy Christmas from Owen.

The New Baths at Margate in 1828

This plate was engraved for the 4 volume book: England’s Topographer. A New & Complete History of Of Kent from The Earliest Records to The Present Time. Including Every Modern Improvement. Embellished with a Series of Views From Original Drawings. With Historical Topographical Critical & Biographical Delineations……. by W H Ireland.

Ireland is most famous for producing fake Shakespeare’s of his own authorship and trying to sell them for large amounts of money. Known at the time as Shakespeare Ireland, his history of Kent was slated by the critics when first published. “Irelands history of Kent is a miserable performance, with pretensions to being a county history……….he does not appear to have visited the county…….” In those days before modern libel laws literary criticism was somewhat more robust than it is today.

I publish a cheap reprint of the Isle of Thanet section in the book and one day, given time, I hope to reprint more sections on the other parts of Kent.

As this book contains a great many engraved plates sad to say it is often broken up and the plates hand coloured and framed.

Monday 8 September 2008

1816 picture of the tower that was near St Peters

If memory serves me right this tower was supposed to mark the highest point on the Isle of Thanet, the fact that it wasn’t actually on the highest point in Thanet only goes to show.

I thought it was one of the most attractive of the old prints that I bought today.

Mystery of the 'couple' buried arm in arm 1,000 years ago: Not husband and wife but Saxon warriors

For a thousand years they have lain side by side in a rough earth grave, one throwing a skeletal arm across the other.

Believed to be Saxon warriors, they are thought to have died together and been buried together as brothers in arms.

Their return to the limelight after so many centuries comes as archaeologists work on a 90-acre site near Ramsgate in Kent before it is developed into a salad-growing complex.

Click to Read article in todays Daily Mail

The House of the rising Sun Effingham Street Ramsgate

Another old document for your amusement or not as the case may be, I found this one fairly difficult to read in the original.

Sunday 7 September 2008

Ramsgate in the clockwork of the synagogue

Last time I visited the Montefiore Synagogue in Ramsgate I rather stupidly failed to find the works and the bells of the clock, so this time I was determined to photograph them.


This is something of an experiment in trying to share some of the larger format historical document that relate to Ramsgate, not perfect but just about legible. The questions are does anybody find this sort of document interesting? If so I can probably improve the quality. Can people manage to read it as it is?

Click on the image to enlarge

Saturday 6 September 2008

Thanet Earth

I went to Monkton nature reserve the other day where some of the volunteers there were expressing concern about Thanet Earth, you have to appreciate here that the nature reserve is in a disused chalk pit and that there is now a huge mountain of chalk towering above it, on which the massive greenhouses will eventually be built.

It seemed pretty obvious that many of the people in the vicinity of Thanet Earth had no idea of the colossal scale of this structure, especially in terms of the height of the earth works, it would seem that local consultation was abysmally inadequate.

One thing I noticed that made me chuckle, was the stupid comments by the supporters of Thanet Earth to the effect that much less of our underground water supply would consumed, because the water from its roofs would be used to irrigate the crops inside. What they failed to notice was that as the thing is on top of the drinking water reservoir, the water landing on the roofs would previously have soaked though the ground and into the reservoir.

Friday 5 September 2008

Ramsgate Parish Council Elections.

Thanet District Council have announced that Ramsgate Parish Council Elections will be held early in 2009. I have just telephoned them to confirm this as there appears to be some confusion about this both in the press and on the blogs, what will happen is that a date will be set, candidates will apply, we will vote for them, those elected will become parish councillors and we get a parish council.

The parish council can then decide to turn itself into a town council, take over the charter trustees and elect a Mayor.

Thursday 4 September 2008

Montefiore Synagogue

As it’s European Day of Jewish Culture & Heritage this coming Sunday the Montefiore Synagogue will be open from 9.30am to 12.30pm click here for last years pictures

Wednesday 3 September 2008

Maritime books

The other day I published some pictures of books on the shelves in the shop and several people said they found books they were looking for because of this, so I have photographed the maritime section today and will do the others as I get round to it, sorry the stock in it is a bit depleted, there have been a lot of boats visiting the harbour this summer and their crews have made off with much of it.

You may notice that some of the books are not actually secondhand, these are things like reps samples, publishers returns, review copies and remainders, however most are much cheaper their cover prices. I should also remind anyone who sees a book that the want that tomorrow being Thursday we will be closed.

Tuesday 2 September 2008

Complaining to Thanet District Council update

When communicating with council officers one is sometimes reminded of surrealism, perhaps it’s me, what do you think?

Re: Complaint against Thanet District Council
02/09/2008 13:21:54 GMT Standard Time
Michael Child
Reply To:

Hi Richard

Thanks for your letter (below) received today, unfortunately it doesn't actually address my complaint.

Can I reiterate that my complaint is: Thanet District Council has chosen to restrict access to comments on the UKPlanning website, that is on the public facing part of the website only.

As I have pointed out before I can't complain about which documents are missing until the public access restrictions are lifted, as I can't see what is missing.

I have just looked at the planning website and public access is still restricted, why?

Mr M Child
72 King Street
0Th 8NY
Our ref: RS/vwYour ref:Date: 29 August 2008Call Direct (01843) 577002

Richard Samuel
Chief Executive

Direct line:
01843 577002
district council

Thank you for your email of 15th August indicating that you wished me to review the Councils responses to your complaint.

Your complaint was that the Council had in the past chosen to not provide full functionality on the UK planning portal in that certain documents are not automatically available on line.

I regret that the senior officers who took the original decision some 6 or 7 years ago are no longer employed by the Council so it has not been possible to verify the precise details of the discussions and options considered at the time. I am therefore unable to determine whether the decision was taken for financial or technical reasons. However I can concede that access to the UK planning portal on Thanet planning applications is limited to some degree. I believe that better on line facilities are possible to achieve and we are working towards that objective. I have instructed all services to move towards full electronic data management of their activities and a programme of work is in development to achieve this aim. I am pleased to say that the planning service is at the forefront of the programme as we recognise the importance of this service to the public.

Having made my comments above I must point out that full public access is and always has been available on all planning records at all times and the Council fully complies with the law in this regard. There is no legal requirement to provide electronic access to planning records although it is of course good practice to do so. I do not consider therefore that the Council’s approach is created any disadvantage to you or any other resident as the records you were interested in have always been open to inspection by you. I do accept however that you may have been inconvenienced.

I have confirmed to you that it is my intention to ensure in due course that members of the public should be able to view all planning documents whether current or historic via the Council’s web site. The Council will however offer a service to residents who do not have access to the internet and a facility to view electronic files will be available at Thanet Gateway Plus.

I am grateful to you for highlighting this matter and I hope you now understand that it was already the Council’s intention to move in the direction you have suggested to improve our service.

Yours sincerely

Richard Samuel Chief Executive

Click here for some of the previous correspondence

Monday 1 September 2008

Busman’s holiday

When we go out anywhere one of the things we pretty much always do is to buy books for shop stock and ourselves, yesterday was no exception and here is yesterdays haul click here to look at them see it as rough reflection of local people taste in reading.

A pinch and a punch for the first day of the month

It’s effectively the end of the summer season such as it was this year, one struggle I had with the council that failed, was to try and get some temporary use for the Pleasurama site this year.

Despite the efforts of myself and various councillors including Sandy Ezekiel nothing happened, we were assured that the work on the site would make it too dangerous for people to be allowed to use it. In fact no work was carried out on the site during the summer months and once again Ramsgate lost out.

Last I heard the work on the design for anchoring the cliff façade to the cliff (the unpainted bit with the big cracks in it) was nearing completion and the architects had submitted various plans to the planning department, in an attempt to resolve the issues raised by the environment agency, however none of these plans has been acceptable.

Now it appears that there is some doubt about whether the bond that the developer SFP, or their bankers, or any other associate company was supposed to give Thanet District Council before final permission to advance the development was given, has in fact been received.