Saturday 31 January 2009

Thanet Earth Environmental Time Bomb

A mixture of factors has come together making an aspect of Thanet Earth very dangerous indeed.

When the planning application for Thanet Earth was approved there was no environmental study done, I don’t know if this was because it counted as an agricultural development or if it just slipped under the radar.

This means that the statuary consultation of the organisations to ensure that was environmentally ok just weren’t done, in fact the consultations to make sure it was safe environmentally weren’t even considered.

This means that the surface drainage of the car, lorry parks and loading areas have drains that run into soakaways not only are these on top of our underground water reservoir, but they are very close to where Thanet Earth is pumping out water from a borehole for its irrigation and crop washing.

The recent disparity between diesel prices in different countries mean that lorries are being fitted with larger fuel tanks 1,000 litres is not uncommon.

I doubt that the driver would even notice if while he was manoeuvring his lorry a bollard or something caught and ruptured his fuel tank.

Diesel fuel is a very complex substance and very harmful to underground water reservoirs, especially those made of porous chalk like ours is in Thanet the damaged caused by it can be irreversible.

Because this fuel is lighter than water it floats on top and rapidly spreads out and you can click here to read about another problem, do you think these guys care about us?

Friday 30 January 2009

Steve Ladyman on Manston expansion

I sent an email today to Roger Gale about Manston expansion I am not one of his constituents and he doesn’t have to reply to me, I forwarded it on to my own MP for comment, and to be honest Steve has always replied to me, here it is.

RE: Manston
1/30/2009 18:07:40 GMT Standard Time
Reply To:


As most people know I have always supported Manston so long as there are tight controls on night flying and the plans for it are kept within reason. I believe 'reasonable' is that we could eventually achieve 3m passenger movements a year (which would probably equate to about 80 plane movements a day (that is both landings and takeoffs and depending on the size of aircraft) of which, on average, about 25 would be over Ramsgate. This will take quite a while to achieve (probably more than 10 years) but would create about 3000 jobs. 3m is also inline with independent expert estimates of what could be achieved at manston and in line with the Governments estimate in the White Paper published a few years ago.

The idea of Manston being an 'Olympic' airport as Mr Gale suggests is nonsense. Equally I reject entirely Cllr Carters calls for Manston to be used instead of a 3rd runway at Heathrow. Generally, the Conservatives plans on aviation are contradictory and are aimed at winning votes in West London - you cannot at the same time argue that Heathrow should not expand to cap aircraft movements on environmental grounds but a new airport in the Estuary should be built or regional airports expanded in order to allow aviation to grow!

Infratil's plans that they could achieve 6m-10m movements at Manston are extremely optimistic in my view. They would also be unacceptable to people in Ramsgate unless they can guarantee that 80% of all these plane movements are away from the Town, that night time and weekend flying would be tightly limited and that average plane occupancy would be at least 200 in order to minimise plane movements.

I especially reject Mr Gales calls for a 'Manston Parkway' station on several grounds. First, why should the tax payer / rail passengers pay for a new station when they have perfectly good ones in Thanet now and I see no sign of the airport owner wanting to pay for it. Secondly, I don't see how it could be justified economically for less than 10m passenger movements and that level of activity is completely unacceptable. Thirdly, we are blessed in Thanet with sufficient rail stations that 80% of us can walk to the station so why would we want to threaten their viability by building a station primarily for the airport that we would all have to get in our cars and drive to? Fourthly, Ramsgate Station would be only a few minutes by bus from the airport if a few modifications were made to it and the local roads and can perfectly well serve the airport for the forseeable future. Finally, the fast train starts in December but it won't be fast if it has to stop at extra stations other than those planned - if we had a Parkway station it won't be long before the operators are saying the train can stop at Ramsgate OR the airport but not both and the future fortune of Ramsgate in my view is very closely tied to the new train.

I have been consistent in my views on the airport - unlike the Conservatives that campaigned in several council elections against its growth. One of their councillors was specifically elected on that basis and one even helped 'found' MAG! Now they have changed their position entirely and seem to be unwilling to negotiate effectively with the airport owner about airport activity whilst they do seem willing to contemplate unlimited airport growth at Manston. One of their councillors even told people on the Nethercourt recently ' You knew the airport was there when you bought your house so stop complaining.'

In my view Thanet's priorities remain creating jobs and pushing up incomes. The sort of airport I envisage would make a big contribution to those priorities without ruining the quality of local life. However, we need to be careful not to allow 'zealots' or people with a vested interest to push us further than we want to go and Mr Gale and his acolyte Ms Sandys now seem to have joined that camp.


From: []Sent: Fri 30/01/2009 16:33To: LADYMAN, SteveSubject: Fwd: Manston

Steve just sent this off to Roger Gale, he probably won't reply however I wondered what your stance on the issue is any thoughts either for publication or not would be interesting, I suspect it will be an election issue in Ramsgate.

Best regards Michael


From: Michael Child To: CC:, Sent: 30/01/2009 16:26:11 GMT Standard Time Subj: Manston

Hi Roger I wouldn't normally expect you to reply as I am not one of your constituents however as what you are supporting over Manston appears to have a direct effect on my families health here in Ramsgate I would appreciate some sort of explanation that I can publish for local people to read.

There seems to be some disparity between what the Conservatives are saying nationally about Airport expansion.

This is what the shadow transport secretary had to say about Heathrow's third runway.

"Theresa Villiers described it as "a bleak day for our environment and for those of us that care about safeguarding it" after Labour gave the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow.

The Shadow Transport Secretary warned, "A third runway at Heathrow would inflict devastating damage to the environment and to the quality of life of millions of people and the Conservatives will fight them every step of the way."

She highlighted the negative effects that will result from the third runway:

The Environment Agency have warned that pollution from a third runway would increase the risk of serious illness and early death around the airport

MPs as far apart as Reading and Greenwich have expressed concern about the impact of aircraft noise from Heathrow on their constituents

222,000 extra flights a year will massively boost Britain's carbon emissions"

Now I live right under the flight path and would put up with a fair amount of extra noise if I thought it would lead to serious economic regeneration, however if it's going to have a serious effect on my family's health well that's another matter altogether.

If you feel that airport expansion at the expense of local peoples health is OK I can only say to you that it's time you had a serious rethink, or perhaps you think Theresa Villiers is spreading scare mongering twaddle whatever the answer is you can't have it both ways.

Up till now my stance is that Southern Water, The Environment Agency and TDCs contaminated land officer need to get together and decide if it's safe and practical to expand the airport with it being situated on the drinking water aquifer.

The biggest problem with Manston airport is it's right in the middle of the underground water reservoir that we just can't do without and if we get a fuel spillage, caused by an air accident, on the green part of the airfield, the contaminated soil has to be dug out before it soaks down and permanently damages the aquifer.

The Airport has a digger standing by for this purpose, without prompt action it's no agriculture in Thanet and no Thanet Earth, lots of hosepipe bans in the summer and increased water bills.

The digger contingency plan isn't adequate for larger planes, in fact I doubt it is adequate for the current traffic. In the case of an air accident, which is though to be caused by criminal or terrorist activity, or where people are killed it seems very unlikely that the police or air accident authority would allow them to dig up the evidence on the site. With out an answer to this one I can't see how there can be any airport expansion.

Best regards Michael


Pleasurama update

Work has started to anchor the lose bit of the cliff façade behind where the new development is going, it took a few pictures down there yesterday click here to view.

I have had confirmation from the head of the planning department that as the road has been built, this is seen as the development having started, so although nothing has actually started on the building the planning permission doesn’t and will never expire click here to read the email and my reply to him in red.

I took some more pictures of the arches under the access road down there, some of the read house bricks that form part of the construction actually crumble between your fingers, these arches have a 40 tonne weight limit on them click here to look at the pictures.

The latest Pleasurama plans still haven’t appeared on the government planning website, which makes a bit of a joke of the public consultation we were promised here in Ramsgate.

However what I find of the greatest concern was that the road layout continued to be built despite the environment agency’s strong recommendation for a flood risk assessment.


Thanet district Council press release

A convicted drink driver has had his licence to sell alcohol at a pub in Ramsgate forfeited by Magistrates, following action by Thanet District Council. Raj Singh, the designated premises supervisor responsible for the sale of alcohol at the Shakespeare in Margate Road, Ramsgate, appeared before Magistrates in Margate on 12 December, charged with drink driving.

He was sentenced to 300 hours of unpaid hours work and was disqualified from driving for three years, after the court was told that he was four and a half times over the legal limit. The council became aware of this case and wrote to the court, asking for the matter to be re-listed, as the council has no power to order either forfeiture or suspension of a personal licence to sell alcohol in these circumstances. It is a matter that the court must deal with.

At a hearing today (Thursday 29 January), the court ordered the forfeiture of Mr. Singh’s personal licence, with the Chairman commenting that “he was in a position of trust, responsible for other people.

He was not sending out the right message, was driving heavily intoxicated and should not have been driving.” Cllr. Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Culture and Economy, said: “We are pleased to see the courts taking action in this case, particularly as it is not something that the council is able to deal with. I think it sends out the right message that someone who is found to be four and a half times the legal drink drive limit should no longer be responsible for serving alcohol to customers in a pub.”

singer mary-bernadette

Thanks for offering to put my video and song entry on your site.
it is the Ramsgate entry so I hope that people like it!!

it is a peace song, so easy to listen to and with a homemade video of me with
my plastic gun!!! The best sort!!!!

the video is slow to start but really gets going a bit and is subtle how it reflects what I am saying
with the words.
You can vote for me : Mary-Bernadette Baker at:

Mary-Bernadette Baker:Demo

I would be very pleased to get the support of the Ramsgate people. I was not born here, but..
I chose here. My parents honeymooned in Broadstairs and we always had our family Caravan in Kent!
I have lived here since 2002, and am looking for friends. I am interested in peace, political development, and creative
arts, and of course, the Sea!
I am at number 30 today...and I have until the 13Th of February to get into the top ten to qualify to go through to the next round.
I hope you might consider my song and vote. You can award me 1 to 5 stars!
You log in to vote under the stars beside the video, give name address and email, and tick the box if you don't want any
further Kent TV adverts...echem.......and your info is private!!! Please try to spare a moment to give my song a chance.
Thank you Ramsgate

a local song bird

Ed You may have reservations about Kent TV but support this local girl by voting on the site.

Stephen Ladyman MP strikes a ‘whale tail’ pose for whales and urges constituents to do the same

Stephen Ladyman Press Release
(London - 28 January 2009) Stephen Ladyman, MP for South Thanet has shown his support for whales by striking a ‘whale tail’ pose with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Stephen is taking part in IFAW’s ‘Tails for Whales’ photo art project, which has been launched to raise awareness of the need for greater whale protection. IFAW is encouraging people from all walks of life to be photographed making the whale tail hands symbol. Model and presenter Twiggy and comedienne Jo Brand are among celebrities taking part and this week more than 70 MPs also struck a whale tail pose for whales.

IFAW works year-round to protect whales from the many threats they face including whaling, ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, pollution, climate change and man-made ocean noise.

Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said: “We are very grateful to insert name for showing their support for whales. IFAW opposes commercial or so-called ‘scientific’ whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary and we believe these magnificent and intelligent creatures should be protected for future generations to enjoy. Support for this project demonstrates that many people feel the same.”

Stephen Ladyman said: “We have to keep up the pressure on those countries that still allow whaling and do even more to raise awareness of the threats to these magnificent creatures. Taking part on this project is a little bit of fun with a serious purpose so I hope hundreds of people from our local community will upload their own pictures.”

Whale tail images can be uploaded to the website (JPEG format, minimum 1024x768pix). Please take part and email your friends and family asking them to do the same.

The aim is to collect as many of these positive images as possible on the website, particularly in the run-up to the next meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in June 2009, to urge all member countries to use their votes for whale conservation, rather than allowing any attempts to weaken or overturn the worldwide ban on commercial whaling.


Thanet district Council press release

Margate's Big Event has been shortlisted for two awards in a national competition for event organisers.

The event, which is Kent's leading land and air festival, takes place over the Father's Day weekend and has been shortlisted in two categories of the awards, organised by the National Outdoor Events Association.

Margate's Big Event is competing for top honours for the Best Outdoor Public Event of the Year Tribute Award and the Best Organised Outdoor Public Event of the Year.

The results are due to be announced at an awards ceremony in Oxford next month (February), with the presentations to the award winners being made by Ed Stewart, former Radio 1 and Radio 2 presenter.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel, said: "It's great to see Margate's Big Event being recognised at a national event. We know it's a superb event and last year's 65,000 visitors gave us great reviews but to have it's success endorsed by the Outside Events Industry is terrific. Congratulations to our team behind the event for being shortlisting. They put a huge amount of work into producing this event and I hope that will be acknowledged at the awards ceremony with a win."

Margate's Big Event is due to take place this year at Palm Bay on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 June and will once again offer free entry, thrilling flying displays and a full festival programme.


Thanet district Council press release

More than 50 basketball players from as far afield as Maidstone have been taken part in the year's first Street Hoops event at Ramsgate.

Held on Sunday (25 January), at the town's sports centre, Street Hoops is organised by Thanet District Council's Sport Matters team and supported by Pie Factory Music, Thanet Leisureforce, Thanet Rhinos and Ursuline College.

The event, which takes place on the last Sunday of every month, gives young people the opportunity to play competitive basketball in teams of three or five in two different age groups, either 11 to 13 year olds or 14 to 17 years old. Local DJ's from Pie Factory Music create a lively and vibrant atmosphere with new urban music.

Sunday's event attracted over 50 participants, with the team DRD the eventual winners in the 14 to 17 category, who had travelled all the way over from Canterbury. The winners in the 11 to 14 tournament were the Ducks.

Colin Rouse, who led on the event as part of the Sport Matters team, said: "Considering the weather was so poor, it was fantastic to see such a great turnout. This proves that basketball is getting more popular throughout the district. We also had players travel from Dover, Canterbury and Maidstone, so we must be getting something right! It's a fairly new concept for us, but we hope to make Street Hoops even bigger and better in the months ahead."

The next Street Hoops session will be taking place on Sunday 22 February from 5pm until 7pm at Ramsgate Sports Centre. For more information, contact the Sport Matters team on 01843 577032 or collect a flyer from your local leisure centre.


Thanet district Council press release

Five more Thanet residents have been fined for dropping litter or allowing their dogs to foul as part of the council's Drop It and Cop It campaign.

In the latest set of cases, heard before Margate magistrates, Darren Elliot from Ethelbert Terrace in Westgate was fined £80 for allowing his dog to foul on the grassed area near Ethelbert Square in Westgate.

Another £80 fine was handed out to John Walsh from Salt Drive, Broadstairs for dropping a cigarette end at the Broadway in Broadstairs.

Three other people were also hit with £60 fines, all for dropping cigarette ends. Stuart Evans from St. James Park Road in Margate and Kim Packman from Clifton Gardens in Cliftonville were both seen littering in Margate High Street, while Hannah Rich from Norfolk Road in Cliftonville was spotted dropping a cigarette butt in Northdown Road, Cliftonville.

As well as the fines, each of the five were given a £15 surcharge and ordered to pay £75 costs.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Commercial and Environmental Services, said: "These latest cases show that our Drop It and Cop It campaign is still very much in force and is achieving results. We don't want to be handing out fines to people, as we'd much rather they didn't drop litter or allow their dogs to foul in the first place, but for those who persist, if you're spotted, then we will take action against you. We're not prepared to tolerate people littering our beautiful area. Those that do get caught need to realise that if they pay the fine immediately, they will avoid the additional costs and surcharges that often get added on when these cases are taken to court."

Thursday 29 January 2009

Thanet District Council’s Flesh Filter

I these interesting economic times it is often useful to have some idea what local government is spending your money on.

In the course of my attempts to find out if TDC IT were censoring the mail I discovered that they run a program that detects emails with images containing high levels of flesh colour, these are quarantined.

This applies to outgoing emails as well as those sent to the council so presumably if a councillor sends you a fleshy picture, the IT department send you an email saying it’s been quarantined.

Click here to read the whole correspondence, my emails are in red and those from council in black to make it easier to follow.

I think in the circumstances I will leave it to the anonymous bloggers to post appropriate images.

deemed unsafe by officers from Thanet District Council

Yes that’s what it says, really. Picture Isle of Thanet Extra click here to read the whole article.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Pleasurama planning permission expired today

Where have we got with Pleasurama, half a million pounds of taxpayers money spent on repairing the cliff, an access road built below the floodline with no flood risk assessment, this is for adoption by the council so the resultant problems will be the taxpayer’s, an access road over Victorian arches built from house bricks some of which crumble between your fingers, the council has set a 40 tonne weight limit on this so that busses can access the bus stop down there click here to look at the pictures.

Whops now the planning permission has expired, yes it’s five years to the day since the plans were passed, with the condition that construction must start within five years or the permission would expire click here for the councils planning website the application ref is F/TH/03/1200 don’t expect the link to work though because of TDC IT.

Don’t let this excite you overly though, I expect there are special rules for Pleasurama, there always have been so far, one of the special rules is that the plans don’t have to obey the rules of nature click here to see what I mean.

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Thanet Blog Chart

Once again I am publishing the number of people who have come to this blog during the last month by clicking on a link on another blog, it’s the closest I can get to an indicator of the relative popularity of the Thanet blogs. I have only included those that have feeds on their sidebar. 855 200 179 108 103 82 36 33 25 23 20

I was surprised that came anywhere as I only published it for my own convenience and I didn’t think there were links to it anywhere.

Shakespeare gone 180

I have just received the following and wonder if anyone can help. The pictures are of the old Town Station.

“I've just discovered through the 1911 census that one of my ancestors ran the Shakespeare pub in Ramsgate just before WW1. His name was Edward Minter. He ran it with his wife Lucy and two sons Percy and Edward.I wondered if you had any old photos of the pub or any other info that I might find interesting.”
My reply below, Ed.

I don’t think I have any old pictures of the Shakespeare Pub it used to be opposite the old Ramsgate Town Station that was demolished in 1926 I will put up a post on my blog and perhaps someone will read it and come up with something.

To be honest with you I now have so many pictures on my various websites that I have rather lost track of what’s there.

The pub was built in about 1859 and named after the class of locomotive that pulled the first train into Ramsgate on the 13th April 1846.

This was a very important occasion for a tourist town that’s economy was reliant on the ease with which people could get here from London.

Around the period you are talking about the pub was famed for its collection of stuffed birds.

It ahs recently been renamed the One Hundred and Eighty in honour of its darts team.

There are two Minters listed in the 1849 directory I publish Major George, 4 Gilford Lawn and James lodging house 3 Mount Pleasant, the street numbering would have changed since then but you can usually work it out by using the other directories I publish up to 1900 where it stabilises.


Laura Sandys press release

Daniel Hannan MEP was in Sandwich on Saturday evening to discuss with Laura Sandys the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate the ridiculous proposal by Brussels to regulate recreational anglers.

“I was appalled to hear that Brussels is going to require licences and apply fish quotas to every angler who goes out on a boat to catch a couple of fish on a Sunday, ” said Laura Sandys, Sandwich and Thanet’s Conservative candidate.

“In essence, the EU wants to extend the Common Fisheries Policy to recreational anglers. Sporting fishermen, who go out in small boats or fish from piers, will be required to purchase licences and to log every fish. At present, while they keep the odd fish for personal consumption, most sea anglers return their catches to the water. In some cases, they tag them first, contributing to conservation programmes. If the European Commission gets its way, they will be forced to land every tiddler they catch, and to count their quota against the national one. “said Daniel Hannan MEP for the South East Region, at a meeting in Sandwich on Saturday.

“Can you imagine the impact on leisure fishing from Sandwich or even those fishing off the pier in Ramsgate. We are going to fight this as we have fought against the current Common Fisheries Policy.” Said Laura.

Monday 26 January 2009

Thanet District Council’s Censorship Department

In these stark economic times we appear to be paying for council officers to censor email sent to other council officers and councillors.

I couldn’t believe this at first and have read the correspondence through several times click here to read it, it’s a bit drawn out as it shows the way things came about my emails in red those from the council in black.

If any of the councillors I communicate with would like to send me a personal email address please do so, please indicate whether you would like me to publish it on the councillors contact details page on my website.

I any of the council officers I communicate with would like to send me a personal email address please do so obviously this is something I will treat with the strictest of confidence.

One to go at Westwood Cross ?

With Barretts shoe shops in administration, it looks like we will see the closure of their Westwood Cross shop.

I know that there has been a lot of concern over shops closing in the towns recently and I wonder how Westwood cross will fare in what looks like being an 18 month long recession.

I am wondering with there being so much spare retail capacity in Thanet, how the cards are going to fall on this one. Particularly I think how much of the out of town shopping expansion was reliant on credit will be a big factor.

Sunday 25 January 2009

Sunday Rant

Wood thoughts

1 Any of the wood washed up on our shores is a potential hazard to small craft in particular, one balk of timber allowed to wash back into the sea could cause and accident resulting in loss of life.

2 People should check with the Receiver of Wreck’s website for the rules governing this any wood recovered should be reported to the Receiver of Wreck.

3 Historically it has not been the case that owners of wood washed ashore have bothered to recover it from the people that collected it, so if you follow the law to the letter you are safe from prosecution and likely to be able to keep the wood.

Mayor of Thanet Thoughts

1 There seems to be some confusion about an elected mayor of Thanet.

2 An elected mayor is not like the existing ceremonial mayors, this is a completely different ball game.

3 First a mayoral referendum has to sought by petitioning the electorate, if 5% of the electorate in Thanet sign a petition for a referendum the council has to hold a mayoral referendum.

4 In a mayoral referendum the electorate is asked to decide if they wish to elect the leader of TDC or if they want the councillors to elect their own leader. Effectively it asks voters if they if they want to vote in the next stage of the process.

5 An elected mayor, who becomes leader, of the council has the power to choose councillors portfolios and to choose chief executive from the council officers. He can then either chooses to use the cabinet system or not.

Malcolm Kirkcaldy

1 The idea of petitioning for an elected mayor was mooted back in May of last year, since that time various people have said they would organise it but so far nothing has happened.

2 Malcolm has come forward due to the absence of anyone else doing so, although many people seem be for the idea no one else seems to have the time and drive to make it happen.

3 I have contacted Malcolm who says that it isn’t his intention to become mayor, he says that it is his intention to get the ball rolling both in terms of getting different people in different parts of Thanet to organise petitions and to try and get different people to stand as candidates for mayor. He says that in a last resort he will stand for office.

4 There was some suggestion by anonymous comment that Malcolm is insane, from my own experience I would say unconventional, enthusiastic and prepared to go to almost any lengths, without personal gain, to resolve Thanet issues more fits the bill. It is possible that he could be the right man for Thanet during these difficult times, in the past his family have served the local community, which is always a good sign.

5 I have asked around a bit to see what other people think of him, I certainly don’t want to make out that he is anything like Saint Malcolm, but I have heard mention of him raising money for charities and helping local people when conventional means have failed them.

6 I think the picture helps to sum up the situation, its entitled Malcolm doing what he is best at, uncovering the naked truth. He has stripped off to raise money for Macmillan cancer relief.

Manston Airport Expansion

1 As we know the biggest problem with Manston airport is that if we get a fuel spillage on the green part of the airfield, the contaminated soil has to be dug out before it soaks down and damages the aquifer. The Airport has a digger standing by for this purpose, without prompt action it’s no agriculture in Thanet and no Thanet Earth.

2 A new consideration has arisen which is, in the case of an air accident, which is though to be caused by criminal or terrorist activity, or where people are killed it seems very unlikely that the police or air accident authority would allow them to dig up the evidence on the site. With out an answer to this one I can’t see how there can be any airport expansion.

General Water Supply Considerations

The Environment Agency is stepping up measures to protect our drinking water supplies, especially in the southeast where demand is set to exceed supply. One aspect of this will we tighter controls to restrict development on the aquifers because developing on top of them is preventing the water in them from being replenished.

Marina Esplanade Incline Arches

1 I have had assurances from the council that 40 tonnes is an appropriate weight limit for this structure click on the link to see if you agree with them. What do you think would happen if three or four loaded HGVs following one another down the hill were all to apply their emergency air brakes at the same time?

2 It is important to remember that engineering bricks were not used in this structure, part of it is made from red house bricks and you can see in the pictures that some of them have softened and are crumbling.

3 I made some measurements and have done some calculations on the main arches, those with two barrels and I would assume a flexible lime based mortar. Things seem to go awry with a load of about 150kN/m or about 15 tonnes maximum on each of the rear wheels of an HGV which. Of course I am only a shop assistant however I am sure some of the brighter bloggers will have a go I have probably got it all wrong.

Saturday 24 January 2009

Tony Bignews Margate and Kent TV

I am adding my support to Tony and his problems with KCC. I have to admit to not understanding what KCC are up to with this one, both in terms of not responding to Tony and the enormous amount of money that they are ploughing into the Kent TV project, relative to the amount of people using the site.

I will write to some of the KCC councillors next week in the hope that they can enlighten me.

In many ways I think the whole thing is synonymous with this country’s problems at the moment, by that I mean we are just spending too much in the public sector.

It also seems that when the public sector becomes involved computer related projects, common sense goes out of the window, often the most complicated and expensive methods are used and often the results are at best poor.

You only have to look at my previous post, I can neither create a link to the plans for Albion House, nor can anyone view them without pdf software installed on their computer. Worse of all there is no scale on the plan so I can’t work out if the door is wide enough for a wheelchair. The planning department that has paper plans which are drawn to scale, measurements being derived by multiplying the length shown on the paper by the scale, haven’t made the fundamental step of realising that you can’t do this on a computer screen, without a reference scale that shows the actual real dimensions, because the plans appear different sizes in different monitors.

Now at the moment if you have any doubts about how this country is faring in the recession, look at the value of the pound against other currencies, it would seem that sooner or later we are going to have to have a good look at the relationship between our GDP and public sector spending.

My only dealings with Kent TV was when I asked TDCs chief executive why the videos of TDC council meetings, that are already produced couldn’t be posted to Kent TV, so they could host them and publish them on the site so we could all see them.

The answer I received was that Kent TV would charge TDC to host them, the site is paid for, the staff are already there and happy to host public submissions for nothing, but we would be asked to pay twice to see our on council meetings.

Surly if Kent TV should have any priority it ought to be to promote transparency in Kent’s local government and to show the electorate local democracy in action.

Links below to Kent TV, Tony’s blog and other blog posts supporting Tony, several of which have published the email Tony sent to the prominent local bloggers.

Friday 23 January 2009

Albion House Plans

A friend of mine pointed out to me some problems with the plans for Albion House, they relate to putting a shop front on the side of it for access to the part of the building on the ground floor that is to be used for public functions and the Mayors parlour.

This means that when it is used for public occasions, wedding receptions or even something like a royal visit, entrance would be through a small door in a shop front on the side.

I am afraid this one rather slipped under the radar while I was involved with having the flue and Christmas, so I am uncertain if it is to late to object or not.

The planning application reference is L/TH/08/1377 click here to go to the council planning website.

Below are some thoughts that may be useful when framing an objection.

The building is a residence and is and always has been in a residential area.
Planning permission would not be given for a shop or a shop front in this position.

A shop front is not only inappropriate for the area but also as an indication of what it is: the entry to the Mayor’s Parlour, the Secretary’s Office and Assembly Rooms of the town of Ramsgate. It detracts from the purpose of the building and from its architectural and historic integrity.

If this is to be used for special civic occasions or for private hire such as a wedding or for a fund raising event, functions which would raise money for the upkeep of the premises, entry through a shop front is not a very strong selling point nor good marketing strategy in selling the building as a block of expensive, top line apartments.

However, the plans for the installation of new access and shop front within side elevation have failed to take into account the heavy use of this entry to the Council Chamber by the general public.

Large numbers of people of all ages attend functions in the Council Chamber.

The building stands in a prominent position in a residential area overlooking Ramsgate Sands. It is clearly seen in the picture of that name by W.P. Frith and bought by Queen Victoria; it is still in the Royal collection.

Albion House was used as a holiday residence by the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria and later for Royal visitors such as Leopold of Belgium on their way to or from the continent via the Port of Ramsgate.

It has more recently been used as Council offices; the Ballroom has long been used as the Council Chamber. The mayor of Ramsgate’s parlour is still there.

There was a public outcry when the Council tried to turn the whole building into apartments. A compromise was reached with the town retaining the Mayor’s Parlour and Council Chamber for communal use. Meetings are held there regularly.

The application to make the entrance to the public parts via a shop front degrades this building. The proposals are lacking in any sensitivity for the area, the purpose of the building, or its architectural and historic significance.

Ramsgate Library Update.

Jocelyn McCarthy has just dropped in the latest library update click here to view it

Council removes timber washed ashore

Thanet district Council press release

The council has mobilised teams to begin removal of the timber, which is washing up on beaches around Thanet. The council is working closely with the police and coastguard, who are also on scene. We would advise people to stay away from the areas where the timber is being washed up.

Street Hoops back in Ramsgate

Thanet district Council press release

Basketball sessions will give people the chance to talk to the council’s Sports Matters team about future events, as Street Hoops returns to Ramsgate later this month. (January)

The monthly freestyle basketball event, which is supported by the Ursuline Sports College, Thanet Leisureforce, Thanet Rhinos and Pie Factory Music, is taking place on Sunday 25 January at the Ramsgate Sports Centre. It’s been running since October and has been attracting around 30 players to each sessions.

Street Hoops combines music and sport to create a fun urban feel, with a chance for players to show off their skills.

All ages are welcome, and the cost is £1.50 per player. Everyone attending can also talk to the Sport Matters team about future events for 2009.

To find out more about Street Hoops, contact Colin Rouse on 01843 577032 or you can pick up a flyer from local leisure centres for more information.

Thursday 22 January 2009

Elected Mayor of Thanet

As some of you will know I have been promoting the idea of an elected mayor of Thanet click here to read my previous posts about it.

Now Malcolm Kirkcaldy who is a well know and respected member of the community is going to get on with this as it needs a person to make it happen and coordinate people in various parts of Thanet to organise petitions.

My reasons for wanting an elected mayor are mainly to do with the way democracy works locally, at the moment we have to core groups one Labour and one Conservative all with safe seats.

One of these two core groups form the council cabinet, depending on which party is elected and the new able and enthusiastic councillors are for the most part ignored and their specialist abilities shunned.

Ramsgate has suffered badly under both administrations, as have other parts of Thanet, in Ramsgate the previous Labour administration used a substantial grant to reorganise the seafront to suit Mr Godden’s plans for a factory outlet in the old Pleasurama building, the net effect of this was to remove nearly all of the car parking, effectively bringing the towns tourist industry to its knees.

They then compounded this disaster, when the building burnt down, by passing plans for a development that was in no sense buildable as it was too large to fit in the available space, work on constructing a road layout, which was done with no flood risk assessment and appears to be highly dangerous, has removed nearly all the remaining parking.

Among their many other failings they allowed the predestination scheme that was carefully designed to stop unfinished.

The Conservative administration has been no better they seem to have a hopeless attitude to leisure facilities, nearly all of which have now closed.

Their handling of the China Gateway development was just plain embarrassing and appears to have left us once again with plans passed that are unbuildable, in both cases the same architect was involved, which suggests a total lack of learning from experience.

My conclusion here is that both cabinets form deferential and far to close relationships with developers and other wealthy people, they also appear to have a naive approach to dealing with senior council officers following their wishes rather than those of the electorate.

A new elected leader would have no safe seat, owe no favours to other councillors and would have an incentive to chose the most able councillors to form his governing team.

As far as Malcolm goes he is prepared to go as far as standing for mayor if necessary, however who we get for a leader will be in the hands of the people of Thanet.

The latest piece of folly makes me ashamed, Ramsgate is a seafaring town with a long tradition of sea rescue, there are tons of wood, a serious shipping hazard that could easily result in loss of life on our main sands and it looks to me as though this wood is going to be allowed to float out to sea again on the next tide.

Click here for the pictures.

Broken Dreams

I have had a response from the council to my suggestion for Dreamland click here to read my post about it.

Apparently the leader deputy leader chief exec asked Mr Godden and Waterbridge to discuss the matter but they were rejected out of hand.

Due to an administrative error Sandy Ezekiel’s text message about it wasn’t passed on by TDC until today.

“Dear Michael We met with the owners of the site to arrange for temp fair
They turned us down flat This was just B 4 xmas
We are talking with an operator and kcc to see if it is poss to bringa touring F/ground to Margate We will have an idea as to the viability early next week
If any positive news will contact u Best regards Sandy”

I am hoping that the local press will take this one up with the developer.

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Going in style

Rather a splendid hearse drawn by four horses opposite the bookshop today click here for some more pictures.

Ramsgate landmarks smashed

Thanet district Council press release

A well-known landmark in Ramsgate, designed by one of the town’s most famous architects, has been smashed in a hit and run incident.

One of a pair of stone lions, sited on the south side of Victoria Parade, close to the Granville, was damaged by a vehicle earlier this month (January). It was hit with such force that the lion toppled to the ground and smashed.

The lions, which are both grade II listed, date from Edward Welby Pugin’s general redevelopment of the area in the late 1860s. They each hold a scroll that is the same as that held by the lions on the Granville Hotel, bearing the Pugin motto “En Avant”. EW Pugin was the eldest son of the renowned architect Augustus Welby Pugin and he designed and built The Granville Hotel.

The costs of repairing the vandalism is estimated to be in the region of £1,500. The latest incident comes after one of the lions had to be repaired in 2007, also following vandalism. As a result, the council is now looking at placing the lions in an alternative site, where they will be less vulnerable to vandalism in the future.

Cllr. Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Culture and Economy, said: “It’s a great shame that the council is having to carry out repair work yet again to these lions, as a result of vandalism. We want to ensure their conservation for future generations, which is why we’re now looking at where else we can site them to give them better protection.”

More information on pioneering work

Thanet district Council press release

More details on what Thanet’s status as the only neighbourhood crime and justice pioneer area in Kent should mean for local people have been announced.

Information from the government, who are running the scheme, sets out a number of aims for the initiative, which was announced in November. The scheme aims to help neighbourhoods take control of what happens in their local communities and Thanet is one of just six pioneer areas in the country. That’s in recognition of the Thanet Community Safety Partnership’s excellent work in cutting crime and finding new ways of tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. This has included setting up a Facebook group, regular features in the council’s magazine Thanet Matters and extensive press coverage of the partnership’s work on tackling problems in Marine Terrace and dealing with graffiti and domestic abuse.

Representatives from the Partnership have visited the Home Office to discuss ideas for the future, meeting with Louise Casey, the Neighbourhood Crime and Justice Advisor to the Prime Minister.

As part of the scheme, each pioneer area will be allocated a minimum number of community payback hours, thought to be around 3,000, to high profile projects that matter to local people. More focus will also be put into reporting successes back to people in individual neighbourhoods, so that they are aware of action taken to deal with crime and anti-social behaviour in their areas.

A new Community Crime Fighters scheme is also being proposed, which will give people already active in their communities training, information and support to work with neighbourhood policing teams and councils to help make their communities safer.

Mark Richardson, the council’s Community Safety Manager, is the Neighbourhood Crime and Justice Coordinator for Thanet and will be taking the proposals forward. He said: “Being a pioneer area provides Thanet with some really exciting opportunities and allows us to look at new ways to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. Part of this work is all about communicating the Partnership’s successes, as it’s important to ensure that people feel safe in the area that they live and work in.”

Chief Inspector Rob Vinson said: "Being one of sixty pioneer areas in the country and the only one in Kent is proof that we are on the right track with regards to cutting crime and improving the area. The additional resources, such as community payback and additional funds for PACT panels, can only be a good thing for our neighbourhoods."

Election date set for Ramsgate Parish Council

Thanet district Council press release

Elections for the new Parish Council in Ramsgate are to be held on Thursday 4 June.

The order to create the parish council for Ramsgate was agreed by Thanet District Council in October and will come into effect from 1 April 2009. Thanet will be one of the first places in the country to establish such a council, under new government legislation.

Originally, it had been thought that the election would not take place until September 2009, but information from the government showed that elections had to be held on the next scheduled election date following 1 April 2009. This is Thursday 4 June 2009, when the Kent County Council and European Parliament elections are also taking place.

The polls will be open from 7am until 10pm on Thursday 4 June, with the last date for the council to receive applications for postal votes being Tuesday 19 May. For people to be eligible to vote in the elections on 4 June, they must be included in the Register of Electors by Tuesday 19 May.

The new Parish Council for Ramsgate will have a total of 16 seats, with Central Harbour, Eastcliff and Northwood each having three seats, Nethercourt, Newington and Sir Moses Montefiore having two seats each and Pegwell having one seat.

Head of Legal and Democratic Services, Miles Smith, said: “Establishing the new parish council for Ramsgate has been a long and complex process, as we have been one of the first councils to undertake this process under the new government legislation. Holding the Ramsgate Parish Council elections at the same time as the Kent County Council and European Parliament elections will be a huge workload for our staff, but we are confident we can rise to the challenge.”

Clean Sweep in Millmead and Dane Valley

Thanet district Council press release

Operation Clean Sweep is moving into new parts of Thanet today (Monday 19 January) to tackle anti-social issues in Millmead and Dane Valley.

The Thanet District Council led operation involves officers from Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and the UK Border Agency, who will be looking at a range of problems in each of the areas and will run until Friday 23 January.

The latest crackdown will focus on checking for any damage to council housing in the area and looking at housing conditions in the private sector. Officers will also be looking at the use of buildings and seeing whether commercial properties have the licences they require, with officers from the UK Border Agency checking for illegal immigrants. Clean up squads will be deployed to tackle dumped rubbish and graffiti, with the help of volunteers from Pipeline.

This is the sixth time the operation has run, with the most recent one in central Margate in November 2008 identifying planning issues, unlicensed Houses in Multiple Occupation and suspected illegal immigrants.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Commercial and Environmental Services, said: “Operation Clean Sweep is gradually spreading out to tackle problems in different parts of Thanet, with Millmead and Dane Valley the latest areas to now be targeted. It continues to deliver some excellent results and people can expect to see the operations continuing throughout 2009, with new areas being tackled and a return to some of the areas that have been previously targeted.”

New campaign launched on dangers of drugs

Thanet district Council press release

The Thanet Community Safety Partnership has launched a new campaign to highlight the dangers of substance misuse.

The Partnership is tying in with work already underway to educate people on the penalties from drug misuse, both in terms of potential jail terms and the threat to their health.

Working in partnership with drugs support agencies, Kent Police and Thanet District Council, the new campaign uses a line-up on posters to get across the various ways that drug misuse or addiction can impact on people’s lives. They illustrate different people, highlighting the penalties for drug possession and supplying drugs, the impact on people’s families and how drug misuse can even impair your recollection of events on a night out.

Inspector Terry Chuter said: ''Substance misuse effects not only those who are addicted to drugs or misuse them, but it also affect their families and friends of the people who care for them. Thanet police, under the government strategy, is committed to protecting communities through tackling drug supply, drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour. We also want to prevent harm to children, young people and families affected by drug misuse as well. We are aiming to achieve that with the help of various agencies and partners delivering new approaches to drug treatment and social re-integration.''

Jess Bailey, Community Safety Officer with the Thanet Community Safety Partnership, said: “Thanet already has effective substance support services. Now we are keen to dispel common myths around drug use and ensure the public has the correct information. We plan to also engage with youth agencies and ensure correct messages are going out to schools and young people.”

Should anyone require support, counselling or information, they should contact the Kent Centre for Addiction on 01843 298355 ext. 201. To report any drug activity call Kent Police on: 01843 231055

Cubit collects another 60 cars

Thanet district Council press release

Another 60 untaxed or abandoned cars have been removed from the streets of Thanet in the latest Operation Cubit.

The most recent operation, which is led by the Thanet Community Safety Partnership and involves Thanet District Council, Kent Police, Kent County Council, the DVLA and Kent Fire and Rescue Service, took place during the week of Monday 5 January.

The hotspots for untaxed or abandoned cars were Ramsgate and Cliftonville, which both had 23 vehicles removed from each area, while another nine were taken from Margate and five from Westgate and Birchington.

Since April 2008, a total of 232 cars have been removed through Operation Cubit.

Owners can pay £260 (plus storage costs) to reclaim their vehicles and, of this money, £160 is refundable if they tax their vehicles within two weeks. If they fail to either tax the vehicles or declare that they are off the road, then a follow-up visit is made to see if the vehicle is still being driven illegally and, if it is, it will be removed. If owners do not claim and pay for their vehicles, then they will either be crushed or sold.

Abandoned vehicles can be reported by calling 01843 577888.

Stephen Ladyman MP asks constituents

Stephen Ladyman Press Release
Stephen Ladyman, MP for South Thanet has showed his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day by signing a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons to honour those who perished in the Holocaust.

As in previous years, Holocaust Educational Trust placed the Book of Commitment in the House of Commons to give MPs the opportunity to pledge that they will uphold the memory of the Holocaust and oppose hatred today.

In doing so, he paid tribute to those individuals who had the courage to ‘Stand up to Hatred’ in many different ways; by joining resistance movements such as The White Rose at the University of Munich; by speaking out to challenge the hatred being that surrounded them; or by risking their own life to rescue others in danger.

January 27th marks the anniversary of the liberation in 1945 of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous concentration and extermination camp.

On and around Holocaust Memorial Day, schools, local communities and faith groups from across the UK will join together to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Thousands of events are being held across the country to commemorate all those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust and in more recent genocides. Ultimately the aim of the day is to motivate people – individually and collectively, to ensure that the horrendous crimes, racism and victimization committed during the Holocaust and subsequent genocides are neither forgotten nor repeated again.

This year is the ninth year that the anniversary of the liberation of the camp has been officially commemorated in the UK. In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the day passing the Holocaust Memorial Day resolution.

Stephen Ladyman MP said:

“It is all too easy to forget the lessons of the Holocaust and the millions who died and suffered. If we don’t ‘Stand Up to Hatred’ in all its forms and remember those that died in the storm of hatred that was the 2nd World War then sooner or later we will see another Holocaust.”

“At this time we should also spare a thought for what is happening in today in Southern Israel and Gaza and use Holocaust Memorial Day to motivate us to do what we must to bring peace to the Middle East, both for Palestinians and Israelis.”

Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said:

“We are delighted that Stephen is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. Holocaust Memorial Day and Holocaust education is more important now than ever. This year’s topic, “Stand Up to Hatred” highlights the importance of joining forces against hatred, prejudice and intolerance. Sadly antisemitism, Islamaphobia, Holocaust denial, racism, prejudice and even genocide still continue to pollute our world today.

At the Holocaust Educational Trust we endeavour to impart the history of the Holocaust to young people, across all communities so they can see where hate and racism can ultimately lead.

It is the participation of all communities and the support of schools, local groups and local government that give this day the impact it has around the country and we applaud their commitment to ensuring the lessons of the past are learnt, acted upon and disseminated.”

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Old Pictures of Pegwell Ramsgate

A few old pictures of Pegwell today they from the 1920s after the Conyngham Café was demolished according to Adventures in Shrimpville, at that time the ground was being used as a bowling green and I believe those must be bowls that you can see in the second picture from the bottom.

Devil Crab Velvet Crab Dead Crab

Just noticed this article click here to read on the IOTG website, is says that the dead crabs that have been washed up on our shores may have been killed by a virus and warns against picking them up.

As people on the blogs have been talking about them being killed by cold and even suggested eating them, I thought I should spread this warning, don’t hesitate to pass it on.

School Supremo with Laura in Thanet

Laura Sandys press release

Michael Gove, the Shadow secretary of State for Education, came down to see Laura to discuss Thanet and Sandwich’s education. “While Thanet and Sandwich have some of the best schools, we are committed to ensure that the many young people who are leaving school without the skills for work achieve much more,” said Michael.

We have a clear action plan for education:

· Discipline: Power needs to be given back to our head teachers

· Devolution: Whitehall should not be controlling everything in schools. It does not work!

· Dumbing Up: We need to put standards at the heart of our education system – no more dumbing down

It is important that our young people come out of school with skills that matter to local businesses – that reading, writing and maths are the heart of our education system. We have many talented young people who are not academic but have a huge amount to offer society. However without the basic skills their opportunities are reduced!

“I think that Laura has a vision for East Kent – the hub for green collar work – green technology companies; new businesses with a bright future. We need to ensure that our young people have the work skills to take up these great opportunities, “said Michael.

Brown’s Britain: Education has let down our young people: Report by OECD

Monday 19 January 2009

Sewage leak in Ramsgate

As some of you will probably remember I have been expressing concern about the safety of the Marina Esplanade incline viaduct arches for some time. My main concern is that there is no weight limit on this fragile Victorian structure that is in a poor state of repair.

Click here to view the pictures that graphically illustrate what I mean.

Earlier today I was talking to one of the property owners down there who said that when we have heavy rain the manhole cover, in the picture above, which is under one of the arches is blown off by the pressure and a mixture of water and sewage is spread over the area.

He also told me that when he had a survey done the professional surveyor said he thought that there should be a weight limit of no more than seven or eight tonnes on the incline road.

I think my greatest concern here is that as there is obviously a problem with the drain that runs under the arches, any leakage may be undercutting the arches foundations.

During the Second World War maintenance wasn’t carried out on the Victorian arches on the Westcliffe in Ramsgate click here to see what happened when two of them collapsed in 1947.

I have tried alerting several members of the council to this problem, the only answer I have had is that it is safe for busses and any weight of heavy goods vehicle, you only have to look at the pictures to see that it isn’t, does anyone have any idea what to next, before there is an accident?

Even the part of the road surface above is sinking so it is very obvious that the chalk infill is on the move, to me the whole thing is a stupid justification for removing our seafront car park to make way for a huge roundabout for busses and large goods vehicles to turn.
The fact that this roundabout and the associated roadworks were done in a high flood risk area without a flood risk assessment and that their construction is of lose cobbles and paving stones laid on sand doesn’t make me any happier either.

MPs to be exempt from publishing expenses

One of my readers has just sent me the following email.

“On Thursday MPs will vote to hide details of their expenses[1].MySociety are very much against this move[2][3] and want people tohelp them get the word out. I think the easiest way is for people tojoin the facebook group[4] (assuming you agree, of course). I'm noton facebook but have just written to my MP (Stephen Ladyman) to askhim to vote against the order.Anyway, that's all for now.Cheers,Chris”

I have to admit to not having heard about this one, but on the face of it, it doesn’t sound good, below the links he sent.





Computer maintenance

Having just had a chat to a friend who is even more computer illiterate than I am, he had just been through worm worry and done his windows updates, it is obvious that all is not well and he asked me what else he could do click here for this information, this may also be of help to Peter as well.

For those of us who know these things it may serve as a reminder to do what we should be doing.

Gardening books on the shelf

Ken this is particularly for you click here to view our stock of gardening books on the shelf, as promised.

Sunday 18 January 2009

The worm that turned, Conficker, Downadup, or Kido

A worm that spreads through low security networks, memory sticks, and PCs without the latest security updates is posing a growing threat to users.

Doesn’t sound very nice does it, well it isn’t.

You may have noticed the news story about the computer worm that has affected 3 million peoples computers click here to read the story.

This problem was been caused because people didn’t do their windows updates, if you haven’t follow the instructions below, Microsoft has produced the patch and the people whose computers were damaged were the ones that didn’t install it.

Click on start programs widows update or if it doesn’t appear there start windows update or if you cant find it at all go to it may ask if you want to install widows update software, ok all of this. Once it has installed the new update software that checks for updates you then get the option to turn on automatic updates do this if you think you are going to forget to keep your computer up to date. Don’t forget to set a time when your computer is likely to be turned on.

Then select custom this allows you to get all of the optional updates. Once it’s grunged away for a bit working out what updates you haven’t had, you get a page come up that says customise your results, all the high priority updates will be selected, you can add any software or hardware optional updates by clicking on the links on the left. You will need to tick the boxes on these. Then click on review updates and make sure all of the boxes are ticked. Then click on install updates and accept the licence terms.

If you have been naughty and forgotten to do your updates for some time this will take quite a while.

After you have done all this it will grunge away for a bit and eventually say the updates are complete and ask you if you want to restart your computer.

Watch the screen when you do this as it will tell you if any of the updates failed, if you are in any doubt that all of this has been successful, go back and do it again.

The picture is from an early albumen is of a Victorian Ramsgate fly tipper.

Saturday 17 January 2009

Margate shops

Having just got round to yesterdays Isle of Thanet Gazette one of the articles to interest me the most as a small shopkeeper was the one about the closure of Peter Newman’s shoe shop in Margate click here to read the article online.

I notice that they are not closing their shops in Ramsgate of Birchington and this does rather beg the question, why are things so much worse in Margate than in the other Thanet towns.

Sandy Ezekiel says in the article. "I am extremely sad to hear the news. The company is a friendly, family-run business. I and extend my sympathy to the staff. You only have to walk down to the Old Town to see how Margate is improving but because of the credit crunch and the lack of support from central government we can’t make the things we want to happen, happen."

We went shopping in Margate last in 2007 I took some pictures then and frankly they were so depressing that I didn’t publish them, I have now click here to view them, we found the town centre very depressing and it was after this experience that we decided to boycott out of town shopping.

I think now we have reached the point where we need to look at why Margate town centre has suffered so much more than the other Thanet towns, Ramsgate in particular has similar problems but doesn’t seem to have suffered so many closures.

It is evident looking at the pictures taken a year before the credit crunch that this isn’t what was responsible for the dire situation, one also wonders what support central government could give that would alleviate the situation.

Obviously considerable investment is being made in Margate especially in the direction of modern art, so far it doesn’t seem to be working.

Friday 16 January 2009

Manston Heathrow and Conservative policy

There seems to be some disparity between what KCC, TDC and what the Conservatives are saying nationally about Airport expansion, our two local Conservative administrations seem to be right behind Manston expansion.

This is what the shadow transport secretary had to say about Heathrow’s third runway.

“Theresa Villiers described it as “a bleak day for our environment and for those of us that care about safeguarding it” after Labour gave the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow.

The Shadow Transport Secretary warned, “A third runway at Heathrow would inflict devastating damage to the environment and to the quality of life of millions of people and the Conservatives will fight them every step of the way.”

She highlighted the negative effects that will result from the third runway:
The Environment Agency have warned that pollution from a third runway would increase the risk of serious illness and early death around the airport

MPs as far apart as Reading and Greenwich have expressed concern about the impact of aircraft noise from Heathrow on their constituents

222,000 extra flights a year will massively boost Britain’s carbon emissions”

click here to read the rest of it

Now I live right under the flight path and would put up with a fair amount of extra noise if I thought it would lead to serious economic regeneration, however if it’s going to have a serious effect on my family’s health well that’s another matter altogether.

If you people at KCC and TDC feel that airport expansion at the expense of local peoples health is OK I can only say to you that it’s time you had a serious rethink, or perhaps you think Theresa Villiers is spreading scare mongering twaddle whatever the answer is you can’t have it both ways.

Up till now my stance is that Southern Water, The Environment Agency and TDCs contaminated land officer need to get together and decide if it’s safe and practical to expand the airport with it being situated on the drinking water aquifer.
There is another Environment Agency report stressing the serious situation we are in with regard to water resources click here to read it I am sorry that it’s in the pdf format that government departments seem to favour, if anyone has trouble getting the pages to open email me and I will send it to you in plain text.

Poetry, retail and the recession

Since Christmas I have noticed increased poetry sales in the bookshop and wonder if this is anything to do with the recession and all the gloomy news of job cuts.

Poetry is not a large section in the shop and frankly it doesn’t need to be as sales are for the most part anthologies of poetry written by the traditional well-known poets, modern poetry that one needs special training to understand like visual art’s equivalent, hardly sells at all.

Despite the general level of retail gloom sales in the bookshop are keeping up fairly well and I think there are a number of factors contributing to this.

The first being that with the museum closures and all three branches of Albion bookshops closing (although not the secondhand one in the old chapel in Broadstairs) I have lost pretty much all of my outlets for the local books I publish, meaning that those people in Thanet that want them have to come here or buy them from us online.

The second being that the majority of our stock in modern high quality stock that competes with the new full price bookshops more than other secondhand bookshops, as two on these have closed in the Thanet towns we are seeing increased sales.

The third being that people are being much more careful with their money so are coming to us first in the hope that they will find the book they want secondhand.

The fourth being the large numbers of bankruptcies at the moment means we have more than the usual amount of new books at secondhand prices.

Sorry the pictures of the poetry books didn’t come out very well click here to look at them.

A further bright note is that several of the empty shops in Ramsgate now have “let” signs on them and I notice a cycle shop is opening over the road from us here in King Street.

Thursday 15 January 2009

Lost Lion

I have just been along the Eastcliff and noticed one of the lions has gone, the one pictured above, anyone got any idea what happened?

Asset management update

Thanet district Council press release

The council has received over 300 letters and e-mails from members of the public as part of its latest asset management consultation.

Local people were asked to comment on 17 sites across Thanet which have been identified as suitable for possible sale with the proceeds re-invested into building new facilities.

A large number of responses were received regarding the Ramsgate Maritime Museum and a petition of over 2,500 signatures was submitted regarding the proposals for the Margate Caves.

Feedback from the consultation is now being analysed and the results will be presented to councillors at an extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet. This meeting, which is currently being scheduled, will also allow those who have already written in with their comments to appear in person to give their views on the proposals and details of this meeting will be circulated to everyone who responded to the consultation. The final decision will then be made at a further Cabinet meeting.

Cllr. Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took the time and trouble to have their say in this consultation. Feedback from residents is vital in determining the future use of the council’s assets and following the comments from local people last year a number of amendments were made to our proposals. I’m pleased that even more people decided to comment on the plans this year and I’m confident that their views will again prove invaluable in helping to shape the decisions made on the sale of council land.”

Conditional discharge for benefit fraud

Thanet district Council press release

A Margate man has been given a two year conditional discharge, after pleading guilty to benefit fraud.

David Machin (48) of Manston Court Road appeared before Magistrates in Margate on Monday (12 January) and pleaded guilty to two charges of making false representations to the Department of Work and Pensions and Thanet District Council.

He had savings, which at times, reached over £28,000, which he failed to declare, while receiving Income Support and Council Tax Benefit. The total overpayment between Janaury 2005 and November 2005 was £6,711.81 for Income Support and £174.24 for Council Tax Benefit.

The Council Tax Benefit overpayment has been repaid and Mr. Machin is in the process of clearing the Income Support overpayment, with around £4,000 now owing.

Due to health problems, the court decided that a Community Punishment Order would be inappropriate and he was given a conditional discharge for two years on each count to run concurrently.

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Finance, Improvement and Customer Services, said: “This is sadly yet another reminder to people that they need to be completely honest when claiming benefits. All too often we see cases where people have failed to declare that they are working or living with someone, but this reminds people that if they have savings, these also have to be declared, as they can have an impact on the amount of benefits people receive.”

Arson attacks lead to recycling removal

Thanet district Council press release

A series of arson attacks and abuse of recycling facilities has led to paper and bottle banks being removed from a site in Cliftonville.

Problems at the Northumberland Avenue site have been worse than anywhere else in Thanet, with around five fires during the past eighteen months. In total, 10 paper banks have had to be replaced following the fires, at a cost of around £3,000.

The fires have also damaged the fencing on the site, which has had to be repaired at an additional cost of £1,000.

The site has been the victim of dumped trade waste, with a large number of cardboard boxes left there over the last year.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Commercial and Environmental Services, said: “It’s a great shame that the council has had to take this action, but the extent of the vandalism and arson at this site is on a scale that we simply don’t experience elsewhere in Thanet. The last thing we want is to give in to vandals, but we have to look at how much we are spending in constantly replacing recycling banks at this site and there does come a point where it is sadly not economic to continue doing this. That’s the point we’ve now reached and I hope local residents will understand why we have had to take this action.”

The nearest alternative sites for recycling are located at Palm Bay Avenue in Palm Bay and Park Crescent Road in Dane Park.

Wednesday 14 January 2009

St Mary's Convalescent Home Broadstairs

I received the comments below with regard to Tony Euden’s book The Childrens Convalescent Homes of Broadstairs click here for sample pages. I have a particular interest as much of my childhood was spent in long-term hospitals and convalescent homes in the 50s and 60s. Pretty much all of the institutional food I encountered was appalling and for the most part we were forced to eat it.

Another aspect of Convalescent Homes that I really didn’t like was that one was forced to spend much of the daytime in bed and well remember as a Cub sitting in bed in pyjama bottoms and the top half of a cub uniform doing my dib dib dib and dob dobbing.

I will try to get around to getting permission to publish David Welsh's article from the book on the internet so you can read it if you haven’t got a copy of the book.

“Many thanks for the copy of the book received today (13th January 2009). I read with great interest the pages on St Mary's Convalescent Home in Stone Road, I also read David Welsh's article.
I stayed at St Mary's Convalescent Home in the 50's and my experience of staying there is very different.

I can remember saying goodbye to my mum at Victoria Station and being handed over to a nun, which as a little girl never being away from home before, was very frightening.

I can remember handing over a ration book to the nuns, having to eat porridge every morning for breakfast and even today I hate porridge.

I can remember when I went there I had all new clothes bought for me, I had a little green shoulder bag that my dad bought me, I had a new "liberty bodice" on and a spare one in my case with those terrible rubber buttons - most people of my age will remember the dreaded "liberty bodice". When I returned home my mum went mad, I apparently had everyone else's clothes on but my own, never saw my little green bag again.

I can remember the sleeping quarters (your picture bought memories flooding back). We had a few toys under the bed in a cardboard box. There was a little girl next to me who cried and cried. In the morning she had wet the bed as she did most mornings, the nuns were not very kind to her, those memories have stayed with me all these years

I can remember having lessons out in the fields overlooking the sea. I can also remember going down to the beach. We went down a dark tunnel, on the walls were seaweed, slime, limpets, and smelling of damp, for a little girl this was not good.

Unfortunately my time there was not as pleasant as David Welsh's but I thought you may like to hear a different aspect of St. Mary's.

I went back to Broadstairs about 10-15 years ago, all that was left of the Convalescent Home was a plaque of Mary and child with a lit candle embedded in the cliff.
Anyway, many thanks and thank you for keeping all the memories of Convalescent Homes alive.”

Pfizer Job Losses

As far as I can see from the various media reports Pfizer at Sandwich which at its peak employed 5,000 and now employs 3,500 now say there will be further job losses, expected losses are to be between 200 and 500 jobs.

This is a particularly bad problem locally as the losses will be of research staff who will be unlikely to be able to get work locally, so they will probably have to relocate out of the area.

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Ramsgate Westcliff Before the Red Brick Arches

One of the results of the Ramsgate improvement act was the road that connects the Paragon with the harbour that was known for some time as New Road and later as Royal parade, this road is supported by a series of arches built from engineering bricks, these house various harbour related businesses and stores.

The rather fine picture above is a fairly modern large size card and is a copy of a hand coloured engraving from about 1850, as you can see the perspective makes the layout of the path up the cliff to the Paragon and Military Road that skirts the harbour below the westcliff somewhat confusing.

Military Road was built for the embarkation of troops during the Napoleonic wars (1792 1802) when Ramsgate was a troop depot, prior to that time the only access to the west pier was via Jacobs Ladder, wooden steps from the cliff top.

Indeed it was the availability of the houses to rent, which had been built for the officers, which gave Ramsgate its initial boost as a rather salubrious holiday destination when the steamboats first arrived in the early 1800s.

I have published a few other pictures to illustrate this post click here to view

New Ramsgate Councillor’s Blog

Click on the link for latest local blog I will add it to the recent posts thingy on the sidebar, I am always impressed when our local politicians make an effort to have an open dialogue with us and feel internet presence and being seen to visibly wish to communicate will be a major factor both in the local and national elections.

Conservatives commit to cut taxes for South Thanet’s savers and pensioners

Laura Sandys press release

Laura Sandys says “We must cut taxes for savers and pensioners. Conservatives have called for special help for these “innocent victims” of Labour’s recession, who are suffering as the income from their savings falls. Over the long term, cutting taxes on savings would help build a savings culture and end Britain’s addiction to debt under Gordon Brown”.­­

Under the Conservative plans:
· Basic rate taxpayers would pay no tax at all on their income from savings, making them up to £7,200 a year better off.
· The income tax allowance for pensioners would be increased, with age-related personal allowances rising by £2,000, helping them by up to £400 a year.
· The package would be paid for by reducing the growth in government spending by £5 billion. Instead of rising by £30 billion next year, the increase would be £25 billion. Spending on the NHS, schools, defence and international development would all be protected.

“South Thanet and Sandwich savers and pensioners are the innocent victims of Gordon Brown’s recession. They are being punished for putting aside money. We need to cut taxes for them and help turn Britain from a spend, spend, spend society into a save, save, save society.

“We need change to deliver a culture of thrift at the heart of government and a culture of saving at the heart of our economy.”