Saturday 28 February 2009

Perfidious Albion House planning decision

Well the good news is that the shop front has gone as you see, however I have discovered something rather bizarre which is that English Heritage were not consulted before the plans were passed.

To view the plans you have to put the application numbers F/TH/08/1376 and L/TH/08/1377 into the search box on the TDC planning website click here to go there.

You also have to have a pdf viewing program installed on your computer.

Friday 27 February 2009

Thanet Earth. Aquam an undam? What are you drinking, the water or the wave?

I have been discussing the hard standing drainage for Thanet earth with TDC and the EA, normally I am inclined to modify these communications into short posts for you all, but I am putting up my communications between TDC and me, pretty much in full, my emails in black and TDCs in red. For once it looks like a satisfactory outcome and a job properly done!

The reason that I am doing this is that it serves to emphasise how important interceptors are and why I feel that Manston Airport shouldn’t be operating without one on the main runway, positioned as it is on our essential drinking water aquifer and currently discharging into an internationally acclaimed wetland:

Could you kindly look into this one for me, or tell me who can, could you also tell me how big the interceptors are if any are installed?

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

When the planning application for Thanet Earth was approved there was no environmental impact 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 surface drainage of the car, lorry parks and loading areas have drains that run into soakaways not only are these on the aquifer, 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 and as lorries often have two of these tanks it could be a considerable time before he noticed.

There is also a new crime spreading across Europe which is pertinent to lorry parks on the aquifer, below an extract from a news article.

On the 24th of June when the workmen arrived for a new day they found 3 lorries that have been filled up the last night with their tanks completely empty, having been pierced with a pickaxe. They didn't even take half of the diesel, with the remainder spilled on the ground. The company lost more than 4000 € that day from fuel theft in addition to the cost of repairing 3 fuel tanks.

One month later the smell of spilt diesel still engulfs the facility. Now the lorries are guarded during the night by a man with a licence to carry and use firearms. On the fence a sign warns: be wary of pitbull dogs.

Apologies for the delayed response, I have just returned from annual leave. The original consultation on this app predates my arrival, but I am chasing up the relevant info on this site and will get back to you once I am in possession of the facts. In the meantime, the Environment Agency may be a useful source of information regarding the history of this one.

I have from the EA, Lorry and loading areas do drain to soakaway but via Class 1 full retention interceptors with oil detector alarms and with pen-stop values up and down stream of the interceptor that can be used to stop any contaminated discharge to the interceptor or from the interceptor.

So the question I would like the answer to is; is the interceptor and surface containment area able to contain the spillage from these newly enlarged lorry tanks?

Chatting to a few lorry drivers that buy transport books from the shop I gather 2,000 litres isn’t an fuel unusual capacity.

I have now received a response from the RPS Principal Engineer working on the Thanet Earth project (vide infra) and visited the site to inspect progress of these works.

In answer to your question regarding a spill from a large tank on a lorry, the worst case scenario options have been calculated for the principal parking areas of the site as follows. I should add, that the site is also designed to restrict access to the buildings to designated areas, thus deterring lorries from parking anywhere else on the site (e.g. on the side of a roadway, where a spill could directly enter ground).

'The interceptors installed are Conder 'full retention' separators, are fitted with automatic closure devices that comprise a floating disc or ball and plate in a cylindrical shaft over the outlet duct. In major spillages, or when the maximum oil retention capacity is retained the
closure device is forced down over the aperture to prevent discharge.
Audio and visual alarms will action when the oil level is at 90% capacity.

With regard storage of accidental spills, I have calculated the storage volumes available at each of the separators based on a worst case of having 89.9% of the oil storage capacity full before the spillages i.e. just prior to alarm for emptying:

- Separator 1 (Pack house) = remaining capacity within the interceptor
of 400l + drainage system and above ground containment of 75,000l =

- Separator 2 (GH2/3)= remaining capacity within the interceptor of 80l
+ drainage system and above ground containment of 10,000l = 10,080l.

- Separator 3 (GH4) = remaining capacity within the interceptor of 40l +
drainage system and above ground containment of 4,000l = 4,040l.'

As you can see, the absolute worst case scenario would be for a lorry tank to be punctured in the vicinity of drainage running to separator 3, but this would still be able to offer protection commensurate with losing two entire large HGV tank loads of fuel, although the primary concern, should this ever occur, would obviously be the fire risk in the first instance

I will reply more coherently when I have discussed this with a friend who specialises in this area, sorry I can’t do it manu propria, initial thoughts have me wondering what happens with a fuel spillage in a rain storm round number 3, I will do some sums.


Thanet district Council press release

Thanet District Council has elected a new Chairman, following the resignation of the previous Chairman to take up a role on the council's Cabinet.

Cllr. John Kirby stood down prior to last night's (Thursday 26 February) to take up his new responsibility for a range of services on the Cabinet, including planning enforcement, planning applications, licensing and Ramsgate Royal Harbour Marina.

Cllr. Margaret Sheldrick, the previous Vice Chairman of the Council, was then formally elected as Chairman and will serve in this position until the Annual Council Meeting in May, when a further formal election will have to be held.

Cllr. Sheldrick said: "I'm very humbled to be elected as Chairman of Thanet District Council and I would like to thank my fellow councillors for the confidence they have shown in me. I'm very proud to be able to represent our wonderful area. Having been involved in voluntary political activity for more than 50 years now, I was delighted to be able to continue that service when I retired to Thanet and I am greatly looking forward to the next few months as Chairman."

Cllr. Sheldrick was first elected to the Council in 2003 and represents Birchington South. She was previously the Chairman of the Licensing Board, a position which she has now stood down from.

During her year in office, Cllr. Sheldrick will be escorted by her husband Ray Sheldrick. Cllr. Michael Roberts was elected as the Vice-Chairman of Thanet District Council until the Annual Council Meeting in May.


Thanet district Council press release

Thanet District Council’s budget has been set with one of the lowest Council Tax rises in Kent, combined with minimal increases in fees and charges.

At a meeting of Full Council last night (Thursday 26 February), a Council Tax rise of just 3.99% or 15p per week for the average household was agreed. It was also decided that car parking fees would remain the same for this year, following last year’s increase, with the majority of fees and charges only increasing by 2% in line with inflation, to minimise the impact on local people and businesses. Where increases are higher than this, this is generally to bring the council in line with the charges made by other providers.

Despite this, additional money is being put into local people’s priorities, with funding having been allocated to further improve street cleaning standards and to regenerate Margate. Additional cash will also go into extending the CCTV coverage across the area and monitoring this during night-time periods, while the development and improvement of play areas in Margate and Ramsgate will receive £25,000. The same amount of money will also be ploughed into supporting out of school activities for young people during the school holidays.

This has been made possible by a total of £2.3 million of savings, with more than £1 million being made through changes to staffing structures.

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said: “Our priority this year, in view of the tough economic climate that we all find ourselves in, has been to limit the impact on our residents and businesses in Thanet. That’s why we’ve delivered one of the lowest Council Tax rises in Kent and our lowest for five years. We are planning a Council Tax rise of 3.99% next year, and plan only 2.5% Council Tax for the year 2011/12. We’ve also done everything we can to limit the rises in the various fees we charge and have kept our commitment not to raise car parking prices for three years, following last year’s rise.

“We’re doing everything we can to support Thanet’s economy and everyone who lives and works here and I’m delighted that, even in the current conditions we all find ourselves in, we’ve still been able to allocate more money to our residents’ priorities, with additional funding for regeneration work in Margate and improving the cleanliness of our streets. Of course, we will keeping a close eye on the economic situation and will be reacting wherever necessary.”

He added: “This has been the toughest budget that I’ve had to deal with while looking after the council’s finances and it’s not over yet. We’ve already found more than £2 million worth of savings for the coming year, but we still need to find another £2 million for the next two years, so we continue to have major challenges ahead of us. I’d like to thank all of our staff for helping us to meet these difficult challenges and, in particular, the finance team for the sterling work they’ve done over the past few months. It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve delivered a balanced budget with minimal impact on our residents and businesses and have still managed to find additional money for what matters to local people.”
Ed last of the Ramsgate scout picts for a bit.

Thursday 26 February 2009


Thanet district Council press release,

An eleventh hour deal has succeeded in the planned waste and recycling strikes being called off.

Meetings between senior managers at Thanet District Council were held this lunchtime (Thursday 26 February) with the small number of GMB union members, who work in the waste and recycling team as HGV drivers, who had been threatening to go out on strike over their pay grades.
As a result of these discussions and a commitment by the council to independently assess the HGV drivers’ post and to undertake a review of the council’s job evaluation system by the end of the year, the strikes, planned for tomorrow (Friday 27 February) and Monday (2 March) have been called off.

Local residents are now being advised to put their waste or recycling out as normal for collection on these days.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Commercial and Environmental Services, said: “The council never wanted to see a strike, as we have exceptionally good relations with our staff. Although this is literally at the last minute, I’m delighted that we’ve been able to come to an agreement to avert the planned strike. Our thanks go out to the drivers for their help in coming to this solution. I’m sure everyone is in agreement that the last thing we wanted in Thanet was a strike that left our residents without waste and recycling collections.

“We’re aware that residents will obviously be receiving different messages, as they have been told all week not to put their rubbish out for collection on the strike days, but now that the strike has been called off, the message for our residents is that it’s business as usual. Please put your rubbish or recycling out for collection as normal and it will be taken. We appreciate that some people may not get this message, but obviously an agreement has only just been reached and we’re doing our best to advise people as quickly as possible and through as many different ways as we can.”


Thanet district Council press release

Free styling basketball skills and tricks have been showcased in Ramsgate at the latest Street Hoops event.

Organised by Thanet District Council’s Sport Matters team and supported by Pie Factory Music, Thanet Leisureforce, Thanet Rhinos and Ursuline College, Street Hoops combines basketball and music on the last Sunday of every month at the Ramsgate Sports Centre.

This month’s event, held on Sunday 22 February, included a guest appearance from the ‘Street ball extreme team’, who were on hand to provide the evening entertainment of free styling skills and tricks. It gives young people the opportunity to play competitive basketball in teams of three or five in three different age groups, either 11 to 13 year 14 to 17 years and 18 over. Local DJs from Pie Factory Music create a lively and vibrant atmosphere with new urban music.

Sunday’s event attracted a variety of mixed ages, with the teams battling it out with organised 3 v 3 and the chance to showcase their skills against the UK’s leading free styling basketball team with Big Fen and Con Man, two of the biggest names in extreme basketball (is this right?) topping the bill.

Colin Rouse, who led on the event as part of the Sport Matters team, said: “Once again, the event proved how basketball is developing across the district. It was great to have the street ball extreme team here for the event, to showcase their skills in front of the crowd, and to give the young people of Thanet the opportunity to play against them’ We are looking for more teams to enjoy this session and take part in these fun, organised games.

The next Street Hoops session will be taking place on Sunday 29 March. Registration takes place from 4.45pm, with the event running 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. goes live

Thanet district Council press release

A new way of viewing all committee documents has today been launched.

The new system,, will include items such as online agendas, meetings, reports, minutes and decisions, making committee items much more user friendly for members of the public.

The system will also help allow the council to achieve corporate plan objectives of saving paper, as it will reduce the number of paper of agenda packs that will be required, as all documents can be accessed online. also allows users to sign up for email alerts, choosing items in specific wards or particular committee meetings. When a new item selected is published, the user will receive an email alert. In the future, users will be able to select keywords.

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Finance said: “This new system is an innovative way of making our committee documents are as user friendly as possible. All committee information will be available instantly on the website.

Choosing to receive email alerts will enable residents to be kept fully up to date with council business. This system will enable residents to see all of the items previous history, as well notifying about new specific items that the user has signed up for, including items in relevant wards or committee meetings of interest.“

Roger Gale MP to help “Save our Supplements”

Roger Gale press release

Roger Gale MP has received many letters from worried consumers pleading with him to help prevent thousands of vitamin and mineral supplements from being wiped from the shelves of health food shops.

The threat comes in the form of the EU Food Supplements Directive, which will deny millions of consumers across England and Wales their right to buy safe and effective higher dose food supplements. With maximum dose levels due to emerge from the EU in the next few weeks, it is already clear that these pernicious regulations risk damaging consumer health and putting many small businesses in jeopardy.

Roger has now called upon Prime Minister Brown to personally intervene and take up the matter with the President of the European Commission to block the likely decimation of the specialist supplements market.

Local retailers have stressed the importance of all MPs backing the Save-Our-Supplements campaign to keep the products available and allow consumers the freedom to use products of their choice. Juliet Brazil of ‘Herbs, Gardens & Health’ said “Our Government should be fighting our corner, not blindly following the EU. Why should we lose our valuable supplements just to tick another harmonization box?”

Sue Croft, Director of the campaigning group Consumers for Health Choice said “we are enormously grateful to Roger Gale for taking this matter directly to the Prime Minister. Gordon Brown really needs to understand how important this issue is and take action now. The clock is ticking. The European elections are looming, with a General Election possibly just around the corner. If they want to secure our votes, perhaps it is in the interests of all MPs and MEPs to listen to the voices of those 21 million supplement users”.

Contact: Roger Gale
Sue Croft – Consumers for Health Choice – 01769 581612
Juliet Brazil – 01843 600201

Ed pic is mayor’s parade 1947 High st Ramsgate Goulden and Wind

Ladyman wins savings concession for carers

Stephen Ladyman Press Release

A campaign by South Thanet MP Stephen Ladyman to give working age carers access to a new Government saving scheme has paid off. Treasury Minister Ian Pearson agreed in the Commons today (25th February) to introduce a Government amendment in the House of Lords that will make working age people who receive carers allowance eligible for Gateway Savings Accounts.

"As a former Minister for Carers I couldn't stand by and see carers excluded, even unintentionally, from a great opportunity for them to save for a rainy day. It took a bit of doing but I'm delighted to say the Minister agreed in the end and has said he will amend the Bill" said Dr Ladyman.

Gateway Savings Accounts will allow people to save up to £600 and after two years the Government will match those savings with 50p for every £1 saved. Savers will be able to get a windfall of up to £300 in the accounts that are aimed at low income workers and people on eligible benefits.

"Carers allowance can be paid to carers of all ages and these accounts are only aimed at people of working age which is why Carers Allowance was not originally one of the benefits that made people eligible. After placing my own amendment down in Committee and after a lot of discussion behind the scenes I'm delighted to say that I succeeded in getting the Minister to agree that not all working age carers would be eligible through some other route and he has today confirmed in the Commons that the Bill will be changed."

“The idea of Gateway Savings Accounts is to encourage people who, perhaps, have never saved before to see the benefits of putting something away for a rainy day or for a treat. I hope lots of people on low incomes will take advantage of them when they start and I’m pleased a lot more carers will now be among them.”

Note to editors:

Stephen Ladyman was the Minister for Community in the Department of Health from 2003-2005, a portfolio that included carers.

About 8m people will be eligible for Gateway Savings Accounts including people on certain benefits and tax credits. They are due to start from 2010.

More information about the Bill and a link to a transcript is available at:

Dr Stephen Ladyman
MP for South Thanet
House of Commons

Tel: 01843 852696
Fax: 01843 852689

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Have a glass of Thanet's benzene, toluene and Aromasol (a mixture of aromatic hydrocarbons).

Bit embarrassing today, I know in a while someone will come along and say big Boeings don’t crash on the field near airports, ever.

pic nov 13 1921 scouts mayors day church parade st Geo church


Thanet district Council press release

Ramsgate’s new town council has been officially created, with the sealing of the statutory order by Thanet District Council.

For legal reasons, the order refers to a parish council, but the new parish council can decide to call itself a town council with a town mayor, if it wishes to do so.

The new council will be made up of 16 members, with seven wards, which will be the same as the existing district wards and with the same name. Central Harbour, Eastcliff and Northwood wards will be represented by three members each, while Newington, Nethercourt and Sir Moses Montefiore will have two members each and Pegwell will have one.

The new council will be elected on Thursday 4 June, which is the same day as the Kent County Council and European Elections, with the new council taking office on Monday 8 June. The Charter Trustees for Ramsgate, who have represented the town’s civic dignity since the dissolution of the old Borough in 1974, will themselves be dissolved on 8 June. Under the statutory order, the Town Mayor will continue in office until the new council appoints a successor.

Thanet District Council officers will manage the transition to the new council and also statutory allotments at Chilton Lane and Jackey Bakers Recreation Ground, until such time as the new council decides how it wishes them to be managed.

Chief Executive Richard Samuel said: “All the arrangements are now in place, ahead of the elections taking place at the beginning of June. It’s taken a long time to get to this stage, particularly as we have had new government legislation to negotiate during the time we’ve been working towards this, but now the order for the town council has been sealed and we now look forward to seeing a good turnout in June’s elections.”

Ed. picture is oct 14 1923 scouts outside rtyc

Pleasurama more on the new plans

Although my main concern over this development is one of safety, other aspects of the design are very bad.

I have the 2 senior TDC planning officers who are involved coming round to see me and discuss the new plans fairly soon, so I have been studying the plans in some detail.

Because of the safety concerns I raised about the development considerable changes have been made to the building design, including 20mm glass shop fronts and built in shutters.

One of the most curious aspects of the new plans is the road that has been added between the rear of the building and the base of the cliff, which I have suggested on numerous occasions, should be one way.

As you can see from the pictures click here to view, it’s only wide enough to be one way, god alone knows how emergency vehicles could cope in this confined space with two way traffic, or what they would do if a lorry caught fire down there.

All those cars parked down there sooner or later one of them is bound to catch fire.

What happens when they have to do maintenance work on the cliff façade?

The problem here has always been that this is a very demanding site, on the foreshore between the cliff and the sea, at the confluence of two tidal systems and prone to tidal surge storms. The architects approach seems to be to make every endeavour to ignore the limitations of the site.

The building is obviously too close to the cliff one broken down lorry closes the road, it either needs to have a ground floor ceiling high enough for lorries and fire engines, or it needs to be far enough from the cliff for them to pass, both of these options mean making the building smaller.

As of course any consultees won’t be on the planning website, I have to write to the council one again and ask if the fire service have been consulted on these changes


Thanet district Council press release

Latest attempts by Thanet District Council to prevent two one day strikes have been rejected by a small number of GMB union members, who work in the waste and recycling team as HGV drivers.

The action is still set to go ahead, leaving residents without waste and recycling collections on both Friday 27 February and Monday 2 March. A meeting this morning (Wednesday 25 February) rejected the council’s latest moves to end the dispute, but the council remains willing to resolve the dispute.

The action is being taken over the HGV drivers’ pay, although research carried out by the council has shown that they are paid fairly, compared to other HGV drivers in Kent.

The council has been working hard to try and resolve the issue with the GMB and the conciliation service ACAS has been called in to try and solve this dispute without the need for strike action.

All roles within the council are evaluated using the nationally recognised Hay Job Evaluation scheme. This formed part of the council’s modernisation project for waste and recycling when they were brought back in house, which has significantly improved the terms and conditions of employment of many staff in the team.

A number of grading evaluations have been undertaken, but each time with the same result. The council has given a commitment to review the Hay grading scheme and has considered the issue of additional payments, but this could not be justified.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Commercial and Environmental Services, said: “We’re exceptionally disappointed that strike action is still looming for our residents, despite our best attempts to avert it. The council has done everything it can to resolve this – and we’re still willing to talk. It’s very frustrating that this is still going ahead, particularly as our research has shown that our HGV drivers are fairly paid, compared to the rest of Kent. This is why we have been unable to justify additional payments.”

“Let’s remember we aim to treat all our staff fairly and equally and that’s why we introduced the job evaluation scheme in the first place. If we were to offer additional payments to one group, as in this case, that could leave the council open to claims from other members of staff. I’m sure if we did that, it wouldn’t be appreciated by the rest of our staff or our residents, many of whom are no doubt going through their own financial issues right now.”

Residents are being advised not to put anything out for collection on the strike days, Friday 27 February and Monday 2 March, as there is unlikely to be any collection of household waste or recycling on these days.

If you are on a black bag collection, residents are asked to keep their waste until the following week and then put it out as normal on their usual day of collection. Black sacks should not be left outside if they have not been collected. Those on a wheeled bin scheme are being asked to put both bins out for collection the following week on their usual day of collection. Priority will be given to emptying the black lidded waste bins during that collection.

Cllr. Tomlinson added: “I hope residents will bear with us during this time and will help us by not putting their rubbish out for collection on strike days. We apologise for any inconvenience and I’m sure they will understand the difficult position that the council finds itself in in this dispute.”

Ed picture is, Chatham House 1913 Coleman’s house winners of work and cricket cup champion house.


Thanet district Council press release

Three Margate residents have all been handed fines by Magistrates for throwing litter on to the ground, as part of the council’s “Drop It and Cop It” campaign.

Matthew Gore from Northdown Road, Cliftonville failed to respond to a summons and was fined £100, plus £100 costs and a £15 surcharge, after he dropped food on to the ground outside St. Paul’s Church in Northdown Road.

Lorraine Philpott, also from Northdown Road, pleaded guilty to throwing litter on to the ground outside McDonald’s in Margate High Street and was fined £60 and ordered to pay £40 costs and a £15 surcharge.

The same punishment has handed out to Leigh Vial from Addington Road, Margate, who pleaded guilty by post to dropping litter in Margate High Street.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Commercial and Environmental Services, said: “It’s so sad that we’re still seeing littering cases like this coming to court. It’s clear that we have a small minority in Thanet who are intent on spoiling our beautiful area for everyone else. They need to start understanding that if they drop litter and they’re spotted, the council will be taking action against them. If that happens, it’s far cheaper to pay up on the spot, rather than having the case go to court, as these cases show.”

Dreamland in Engineering and Technology magazine

Many thanks to reader Keith who sent me the link to this article click here to read it.

The pictures above are of the inside of Dreamland Cinema when it first opened.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Ramsgate Racism and Aircraft Noise

Back in 1957 when the American Air Force was at Manston all of the American officers found accommodation in Margate to avoid the aircraft noise over Ramsgate.

This meant that black American air force men that formed most of the support and maintenance crews frequented Ramsgate and the council tried to get them banned from the town.

With an American man who also just happens to be black as president and a Ramsgate man who also just happens to be black as chairperson of the Ramsgate Society this now seems quite incredible.

Click here to read it, my apologies for the condition of the paper.

Incidentally I believe at the time it would have been pretty much standard practice in USAF for Margate where the white officers were living to be off limits to all black American personnel.

Chief Executive to share master plan for Kent International Airport

The Chief Executive of Kent International Airport, Matt Clarke, will give a public lecture at Canterbury Christ Church University's Broadstairs Campus on Thursday 5th March at 6pm.

Matt Clarke, Chief Executive of Kent International Airport.
The lecture is entitled: ‘Flying into the future: the master plan for Kent International Airport.’ It is open to all members of the public and is free of charge. The event forms part of the University’s Spring public lecture series.

Speaking before the lecture, Matt Clarke said: “This lecture will touch on several key issues as they relate to Kent International Airport. These include: the airport’s history, current operations, economic contribution and the exciting plans for the future as outlined in the recently released draft airport master plan.”
The lecture will take place at the University’s Broadstairs Campus, Northwood Road, Broadstairs, Kent and no advance reservation is required.
If you are a member of the press and would like to attend this event, please contact Canterbury Christ Church University’s Media Relations Officer, Claire Draper, on 01227 782391 .

Notes to Editor

Matt Clarke is a specialist Airport Manager from New Zealand. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rotorua Regional Airport in his home country in 2005. On his appointment, Airports International Magazine featured Mr Clarke as the youngest Airport CEO in the world. Matt now works for Infratil, the New Zealand listed infrastructure investor, as CEO of Kent International Airport and is a member of the Infratil Airports Europe Senior

Management Team.

Mr Clarke has a Degree in Commerce from the University of Canterbury and a private pilot’s licence. He has experience in commercial, operational and regulatory roles at four different airports in New Zealand, England, Scotland and Germany.

Monday 23 February 2009

ECR has gone

I am always making peace with my children, any thoughts on this one?


Thanet district Council press release

Local residents are facing the prospect of two one day strikes (Friday 27 February and Monday 2 March), which would leave them without waste and recycling collections.

The action will see a small number of GMB union members, who work in the waste and recycling team, go out on strike on the two days in a dispute over salary grades and the council’s job evaluation process. Thanet District Council has called in the conciliation service ACAS to try and intervene to solve this dispute without the need for strike action.

The two one day strikes are planned for Friday 27 February and Monday 2 March. Residents are being advised not to put anything out for collection on strike days, as there is unlikely to be any collection of household waste or recycling on these days.

If you are on a black bag collection, residents are asked to keep their waste until the following week and then put it out as normal on their usual day of collection. Black sacks should not be left outside if they have not been collected.

Those on a wheeled bin scheme are being asked to put both bins out for collection the following week on their usual day of collection. Priority will be given to emptying the black lidded waste bins during that collection.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Commercial and Environmental Services, said: “The Council is committed to trying to resolve this dispute without the need for industrial action. We are exceptionally disappointed that the possibility of strike action is looming for our residents, as it will affect one of the council’s key frontline services. We have met with ACAS to try and resolve this dispute, but so far we’ve been unable to reach an agreement. The dispute is over salary grades and the council’s job evaluation process. It’s something we’ve been working to try and solve for some months now, but sadly, there is no simple solution that we can put in place in this situation.”

“We would like to apologise to residents for the inconvenience that this action will undoubtedly cause and we will continue to work to resolve this before the first strike. However, if the strike goes ahead, then the message to our residents is not to put anything out for collection on a strike day.”


Thanet district Council press release

New sharps boxes have been placed in a number of toilets across Thanet for the safe disposal of safety pins, razors, diabetic needles, syringes and other sharp objects.

One box has been installed in the male toilets and one in the female toilets at the following locations:
Buenos Ayres, Margate
College Walk shopping centre, Margate
The Centre, Margate
Harold Road car park, Cliftonville
St. George’s Lawn, Cliftonville
Cavendish Street car park, Ramsgate
Harbour Parade, Ramsgate

Community Safety Officer Jess Bailey said: “Every week, sharp objects are found unsafely discarded in public places, with the council’s Waste and Recycling team responding to any calls where needles or dangerous sharp objects have been found. It’s hoped that by installing these community boxes, it will help to reduce the amount of discarded sharps.”

Helpline numbers have also been put on the sharp boxes for the Kent Centre for Addiction (KCA) Thanet for anyone with a drug problem who wants help. They can be contacted on 01843 298355 ext. 201.


Thanet district Council press release

A Ramsgate woman has been fined £650 and ordered to pay £320 costs, after pleading guilty to selling alcohol and providing unlicensed live music and dancing at a club in the town.

Pauline Terry of London Road, licence holder at Club Compass in Ramsgate High Street, pleaded guilty to five different offences, with the first four relating to December 2008 and the fifth relating to an additional offence on 23 January 2009. Her personal licence to sell alcohol was also forfeited and she agreed to surrender her premises licence. The Magistrates stated that “there were serious aggravating features in this case, with advice given in no uncertain terms, but this carried on.”

The court heard that the premises were originally licensed by the Magistrates’ Court and that licence had a condition attached to it, that alcohol would not be sold, supplied or consumed on the premises and that functions would not be held, unless the police were given 48 hours notice in writing.

When licences were transferred to the council in 2005, an application was submitted for the existing licence to be converted into a premises licence, with the same licence and conditions applied for.

After receiving complaints from members of the public in November 2008 about live music being played at the premises, a letter was sent to Ms. Terry, advising her that her licence did not include live music and of the possible penalties and about how to make an application.

Further complaints were received and council and police officers visited the premises in December 2008. They saw people drinking alcohol outside and inside the premises, with a band packing away inside the premises and alcohol being served at the bar. The police confirmed that they had received no advance notification of the function.

As a result, four summonses were sent to Ms. Terry and hand delivered to the premises on 23 January 2009. That night, as a result of a noise complaint, an environmental health officer from the council went to Club Compass and could hear a live band playing in the premises. This led to the issuing of the fifth summons.

Cllr. Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Culture and Economy, said: “This case sends out a strong warning to people that they cannot flout the law and continue to do so. The comments from the magistrates clearly show that the fact that summonses had already been served, but the problems carried on, were unacceptable. I think that’s something the council would fully endorse. We don’t expect to issue summonses and for people to ignore them.”

Sunday 22 February 2009

Fashion conscious council officer changes name again

Night flights British Airways say no decision has been made yet about moving part of their operation. The CAA are still looking into my concerns about some safety issues at Manston, so no more there yet.

Marina Restaurant the new plans Ref L/TH/09/0052 click on the link for the TDC planning website to look at them the application is for 5, 2 bedroom and 1, 1 bedroom flats, none affordable housing. It includes an extension on the side in the similar style to the rest of the building. It has no car parking.

My thoughts the building floods regularly and in the past the occupants had to rescued regularly, it’s in the EA high risk flood zone. My understanding is that residential accommodation isn’t allowed on the ground floor and a flood risk assessment is mandatory.

My question here is why have they submitted plans without a flood risk assessment and with residential accommodation on the ground floor?

Fashion one of the most amusing news items this week was the models falling off their high heels on the catwalk, click on the link to view if you want more catwalk after this click on this link I don’t know how long it will work for though as I think you are supposed to pay to view. It says it will only work with pc and Internet Explorer but it works fine for me on Linux with Firefox.

Another run in with TDCIT this week when trying to discuss Pleasurama with the council officer ultimately in charge of this, one aspect of Parkinson’s Law is that a lot of time and money is spent changing the names of departments while their function remains the same. As Pleasurama has been going on for over 5 years now that means that the chap in charge’s has changed 3 times while staying the same, the problem with TDCIT though is when the job title changes and they make up a new email address for him they delete the old one.

So I started a dialogue HES@ I never did discover what this stood for, this then changed to HDS@ The Head of Development Services, and has now metamorphosised into, DRS@ Director of Regeneration Services all the same chap running the planning department, I believe.

Anyway from my point of view, when having an email dialogue with someone it is a little difficult when their email address vanishes with no notification and the replies stop coming. If you are lucky you get a cryptic undeliverable form TDCIT if not as was the case with HDS@ nothing, so you don’t know if the chap is failing to reply to reasonable questions or has just been cut off again.

What serious investors in this area make of this sort of nonsense, TDCIT even deleted Leader@ (perhaps thy were worried about aliens emails getting through their flesh filter) god alone knows.

Yes they really do have a flesh filter to insure that no one at TDC gets any emails that could offend their sensibilities, I have now had it confirmed that this is based on pinkish skin shades, so I am tempted to complain that this is institutional racism.

Saturday 21 February 2009

Steve Ladyman’s Planes and boring Volvos

Steve Ladyman by email

Michael,While I'm on line with you - your blog readers may be interested that I've just had an update from the Environment Agency about plane dismantling at the Airport. After discussions between the Environment Management team and the airport operator it has been agreed that aircraft dismantling will be done in future in accordance with a new mobile treatment permit and the EA are content that aircraft dismantling is now being carried out with all necessary safeguards in place.Steve

Having finally got back to the blog after a difficult day yesterday which included, delivery of a replacement second hand car, changing insurance, road tax I realised that I hadn’t posted the comment Steve had sent me for the previous post and the email the sent me to post above I had used as the comment instead.

Most of my adult life I have had various toys, boat, motor home, motorbike, sports car, limousine. Pretty much all of this has gone now, partly because of global warming and partly because of the restrictions imposed by having a young family.

I am afraid I consider being reduced to one Volvo 7 seater estate, something I consider to be one of the most boring forms of transport invented, pretty poor.

I bought the replacement Volvo estate unseen over the phone from Dane Valley Volvos and they delivered it while the shop was open yesterday, so I didn’t get a chance for a proper look or a test drive until late afternoon.

I only ever get as cheap one as I don’t do a lot of mileage and they get minor scrapes and vandalism parked in the town centre all the time.

Anyway I thought I had better test out another boring Volvo before it got dark, I don’t think I have ever had such a shock in terms of unexpected vehicle experiences, this it transpired is the turbo charged version delivering 220 horse power with the hardened suspension.

A wheel spin handbrake turn adrenalin flowing half hour later I returned to mess up the posts and celebrate.

The picture is of my last toy sold to save the planet due to its 5.7 litre engine and nothing like as fun to drive as the Volvo.

Friday 20 February 2009


I have had a response to some of my questions about Pleasurama from TDC below in red.

Thanks for the comments. My understanding is that the applicants have been in discussion with the EA. As a result they have made changes to the design of the shopfronts, including built in shutters and 20mm glass. I agree with a need to relook at access arrangements and I intend to do so as part of a wider consideration of the area. The raising of the road at the back was partly in recognition of the point you drew to our attention, the lack of footings on the cliff protection structure.

In terms of the changes to plans, I do not recall this proposal ever including access to the cliff top from the apartments. The changes made do not have a significant impact on the external appearance of the building and the mix of uses and number of apartments stays the same, While the layout of the parking area and access has altered I do not feel this has a material impact and therefore consider that the plans do not need to be the subject of reconsultation.

Below my reply to them.

Does this mean you will deal with the bit where they have laid lose slabs and cobles on sand even directly on top of the sea defence?

Does it mean there will escapes to the cliff top? I believe that the EA meant the steps at the western end that went to the cliff top, I suppose no one could consider that any architect could build corridors 1m wide and 250m long for any other reason than emergency escape, they were hardly likely to reduce social problems and crime in the building.

Does this mean that the unnecessary roundabout that wiped out the seafront car park will go?

Does this mean that the road will be made one way again?

Does this mean that the herringbone parking will be reinstated?

After all this time have you forgotten that what passed the planning committee was a gull winged deco style building? The only problem was it was to high to fit in the space available, so having its gull wings flattened could constitute a significant impact on the external appearance of the building.

Does this mean that the promised local consultations will now occur?

Incidentally you may be interested to know that I emailed The chaps in charge of repairing the cliff, about the lack of footings and they emailed me back, saying that it was on 1m thick concrete foundations on solid chalk, so I hopped over the fence and took photos of me poking a stick under the base of the cliff façade, I still have their apologetic reply.

I believe they were ultimately behind the survey that says the incline is safe for 40 tonne down hill traffic, you can crumble some of the Victorian bricks down there between your fingers, so I couldn’t calculate its strength accurately how did they?

I also suggested to them that before they started on the façade repairs they considered putting cliff top escapes in, to save future expense.

I also emailed the previous contractor as soon as I saw that the new eastern road design was wrong, they went ahead anyway, I am trying to hold my cool here and use no expletives, the plan at the moment is for people to escape via Augusta Stairs through a sea full of cobbles, if the western escape is blocked during the storm.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Complaint to the council about webcatsing council meetings

I have just made the following complaint using TDCs online complaints form.

“This complaint is that TDC are both failing in transparency of government and failing to use facilities to enable transparency in government, which have already paid for by the taxpayer and installed. By this I mean the failure to webcast council meetings.

I brought this matter to Richard Samuels’s attention back in October of last year and apart from vague promises to address the issue, there has been no actual discernable progress.

I also pointed out that Kent TV paid for by the taxpayer, hosts webcasts for nothing, and as the council meetings are already filmed and put onto dvd, the dvds could be sent to Kent TV by post for hosting at a negligible cost to the taxpayer.

I will forward this to the LGO with any comment you have made tomorrow.”

Ed. I should point out that I am very reluctant to make official complaints and try to explore every other avenue first, I should also like to point out that I have discussed this matter with several councillors of both parties and that all of those who replied were for the idea.

Wednesday 18 February 2009


Thanet district Council press release

New figures show Thanet is top in Kent for improvements in tackling a range of different crimes.
The figures look at the work of each of the different Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships between April and December 2008, compared to the same period a year before, with Thanet seeing improvements in ten different types of crime.

That’s better than any other area of the county, with Tonbridge and Malling in second place with improvements in nine different categories.

The areas that seen improvement are all crime, violent crime, burglary, serious gun crime, vehicle crime, theft of and theft from vehicles, criminal damage, crime in the night-time economy and the results from the Kent Crime and Victimisation Survey.

Chief Inspector for Thanet, Rob Vinson, said: “This is excellent news. The Partnership has done a huge amount of work over the last year to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in Thanet and these figures show that this work is making a real difference.”

Community Safety Manager Mark Richardson from the Thanet Community Safety Partnership said: “It’s particularly pleasing to see areas that we’ve targeted a lot of resources into appearing on this list. The reduction in violence in the night-time economy can only have been helped by our campaign to improve safety along Marine Terrace in Margate, for example, while the decrease in criminal damage has no doubt been partially due to the measures we’ve taken to tackle the problem of graffiti.”


Thanet district Council press release

A new campaign called “you said, we did” has been launched to highlight how local people’s views are being used to shape council services.

The first results being focused on as part of “you said, we did” are from the recent Gateway customer satisfaction surveys. These are carried out every quarter to see how people feel about the service they receive in Thanet’s Gateway Plus, to see which services they’re using and how much they know about the services on offer.

Some of the improvements made in response to the comments that have been received include additional poster boards to promote the different services available in the Gateway, after people said they wanted to know more about other services available there. They also said they wanted quicker service and, in response, reception staff have been trained to serve all customers, whether they are there for library or council services.

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Finance, Improvement and Customer Services, said: “We’re very much a listening council and this new campaign demonstrates that. A great deal of what we do as a council is shaped by the views and the priorities of our residents through the many consultations that we carry out. It’s really important to us that our residents know that and can see exactly how their views have been used by their council.”

As part of the “you said, we did” campaign, the results from the council’s consultation campaigns will be widely promoted through displays in public places, reports in Thanet Matters and with updates on the council’s website at


Thanet district Council press release

Thousands of pounds worth of damage has been caused by vandals at Jackey Baker’s in Ramsgate, which has also led to disruption for local groups hoping to use the synthetic pitch at the site.

On Saturday night / Sunday morning (14 – 15 February), one of the floodlight columns was unbolted from its ground fixings and then smashed into the ground, damaging both the column and the light head.

Following checks, it has been confirmed that the only option is to replace them, which is likely to cost between £7,000 and £12,000. As a result of the vandalism, all floodlit bookings at the synthetic pitch have been cancelled for this week.

The synthetic pitch was installed approximately 15 years ago at Jackey Baker’s and it has only suffered from very small levels of vandalism over the years.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Commercial Services, said: “This is just mindless vandalism and the people responsible have cost taxpayers dear and impacted on local groups, planning to use the pitch this week. Perhaps more worryingly, this type of vandalism puts their own lives – and the lives of others - in danger. It’s the first time that we’ve seen such extreme vandalism and obviously that’s of great concern to us. In this case, the electrics were left exposed and a column like this crashing to the ground would have been lethal, had anyone been in the way at the time. This vandalism also diverts money away from providing sports facilities at a time when finding funding is exceptionally difficult. If anyone has information about this incident, we’d urge them to contact the police.”

Inspector Terry Chuter, Neighbourhood Inspector for Ramsgate and Broadstairs, said: "This vandalism is likely to affect the groups using the site during half term, which makes it really disappointing for the whole community. Patrols and neighbourhood teams are a regular presence in this part of Thanet. Just this week, residents would also have seen East Kent's motorcycle unit in the vicinity, as a result of members of the public telling us young riders have been making a nuisance of themselves. Two vehicles have subsequently been seized this week.”

He added: "We would urge anyone with any information about this damage, or any other incidents they are concerned about, to speak to their neighbourhood officers and register it as part of their local PACT (Partners and Communities Together). Some significant differences have been made across the Isle through this process."


Thanet district Council press release

That’s the name of a new campaign that’s been launched in Cliftonville, warning people that riding bikes on the pavement is illegal and dangerous.

The campaign was produced by the Thanet Community Safety Partnership’s Cliftonville Task and Finish Group. This group, made up of a number of different organisations, works to reduce crime in the area and tackle the issues that have been identified there.

Feedback from local people through the PACT (partners and communities together) panels and street briefings highlighted cycling on pavements as an issue that needed to be addressed.

A new poster has now been designed and distributed to shops in Northdown Road and the surrounding areas, which reminds people through the slogan “ride on the pavement… you wheel be fined” that, as well as being illegal, they risk being fined by the police. Anyone who is seen by police officers cycling on pavements will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £30.

Although the campaign is focused on Cliftonville, it is illegal to cycle on the pavements anywhere in Thanet.

To find out more, call the Thanet Community Safety Partnership on 01843 577608.

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Kent County Council and the dodgy drains.

I have been a bit reluctant to post this one as in some ways as it really is an appalling reflection on the duty of care by the council.

First two quotes from the environment agency, both of which I can substantiate as I have them in writing.

“There is thought to be some control over the quality of water used for irrigation and crop washing, although this is not regulated by the Environment Agency.”

“With regard to the Highways Agency - that was a quirk of the original Water Resources Act 1991. It does cause us problems to have soakaways from roads draining to the chalk. We are hoping to address this in the more vulnerable areas in the future. Any new roads built since 1992 (when the Groundwater Protection Policy came out) have been required to install interceptors and to drain the water to outside SPZ1. This has been followed on Thanet resulting in significant improvement in some areas.

We are aware that the Highways Agency is currently connected to the airport drainage system and that this drainage system does discharge direct to the Pegwell Bay. However, we have seen the planning application for the East Kent Access Road. In the plans it appeared that the section of the road currently connected into the Manston Airport drainage would be removed. We believe that the new road would be drained to ground via soakaways in areas where the groundwater is slightly less sensitive and to Pegwell Bay in areas where the groundwater is very sensitive.”

Ed. This means that some of our roadside drains lead to soakaways right next to the unmonitored boreholes. Concerned or not about local water issues I will leave you to draw your one conclusions about the safety aspect of this situation, say compared to pumping raw sewage into the sea next to a beach.

The Pull It Surprise For Literature

I am offering any of my blog readers that care to take me up on it a £1 book voucher to spend in my bookshop, the voucher will expire at the end of this week (reminder that the shop is closed on Thursdays here) and can only be spent by visiting the shop all you need to do is email me I promise not add you to my spam list, although if you are a local politician you will already be on it.

It may not sound much but in terms of, never mind the quality feel the width this could be 20 paperbacks or 10 hardbacks from my austerity section.

The picture comes from my copy of the Kentish Tourist 1822, which is in the early stages of becoming available as a cheap reprint. Is says on the title page that this is an edition with very superior plates, but then most editions do, the vignette on the half title says that it’s volume 1, not the title page though, my understanding is that volume 2 was never published, somewhat frustrating for the collector that doesn’t know this.

Volume 1 is fairly scarce as it contains 48 engravings and a map of the county, one would expect to pay at least £20 for an individual engraving and £30 for the map, the poor old thing became a bit of a sitting duck for the picture framing industry, during the last 150 years or so.

I paid £45 for the engraving I put in the post I did yesterday to give you some idea.

Monday 16 February 2009

Pritchard’s History of Deal

I have managed to purchase a plate (above) for the back cover so am finishing off the book today.

I have got thus far with the intro, something I always find very difficult because I deliberately haven’t read it yet. I always wait now until I have the finished reprint as you can only read a book for the first time once, and are much more likely to spot errors on the first reading, any help from someone who has read it would be appreciated.

On a clear day Deal is visible from Ramsgate as you can see from the back cover picture, which comes from the Naval Chronicle for July 31st 1817.

With this in mind it thought iIapposite to do this reprint for our maritime neighbour.

Deal and Ramsgate both have a long history much of which relates to the shipping in the downs, many a sailor owes his life to the seafaring skills of the people of both towns.

I couldn’t find a coloured picture of the right period that was recognisably Deal, so that one based on the frontispiece I commissioned especially for this book.

Original copies of this book sell for about £150 making it out of reach of may who would like to read it, a mixture of this and my high regard for the people of Deal made me think to produce this reprint, a small token for deal.

Michael Child 16th February mmix

Sunday 15 February 2009

All cows at the vanishing point

Several different things this week and as it’s Sunday I will just rant away a bit, personal, political all of it really.

First the no smoking law, I have said before that if a big chain bar eatery was to commission a panel of experts to find a way to lobby the government, that would close down the opposition (the traditional English pub) then the no smoking ban is perfect, and totally justifiable.

So being in a traditional English pub at around midnight with snow falling heavily outside, a group of law abiding 30s to 80ish, not a pub much frequented by the youf of today, the landlord eventually looked out, it was hardly deep and crisp and even, but very unpleasant. The types sipping their beer at this time of day, are well of a type, and the landlord looked in, and said, “is their anyone in here who actually doesn’t smoke?” The law abiding broke the law, the discussion meandering around which party one could vote for to get it repealed.

Funny tragic I don’t know, the landlord, local man who had a good business is less concerned about the law in Major, Blair, Brown’s Britain as he is going bankrupt because of this law, no excuse for the rest of them though.

But it does beg some questions about legislation that makes a group of law abiding adults break the law of the land.
I have just commissioned an artist to paint a cover for the Deal book, this involved getting one of my teens who is doing sciences, out of Faraday’s cage for a bit, he recently sold a painting to The Powel Cotton museum. I am not big on freedom of expression when it comes to children, but yes a bed sheet was involved, one of mine as it happens, being the only thing big enough to stretch over the home made stretcher, I won’t bother with a photo of it as its so big you can hardly miss it next time you go.

The Deal picture, based on frontis from the book, which as you will immediately note if you are of the artistic persuasion has something wrong with its forward vanishing point (the right side of the roof is a dead giveaway if you aren’t following this) so much work was done with the protractor and several bits of paper stuck together, before painting could commence.
Still with freedom of expression I am teaching my youngest to play guitar at the moment and told her to choose one of mine that she liked believe me, with that combination of that guitar and amp, when I say it has to be in tune and playing a tune, to be bearable, I really mean it.

I should point out that I am not much of a musician, I never moved from mumbling every god boy…… to all cows eat grass and have virtually no sense of rhythm or pitch, but with an electronic tuner and guitar tablature anyone can learn almost any riff fairly quickly.
The youf of today the towns two grammar 6th formers in this case were a bit miffed, having been spammed relentlessly by the legalised vampires to go and give blood again, as if they needed reminding as a whole group of them go together, when they turned up and there weren’t enough beds and equipment for them all to donate.

The Dover book is all scanned in, was anyone interested in improving their Latin in this way, do you want me to put the rest on the web?

Usury now, any of the other stakeholders in Lloyds TSB fancy picking up 43% of the tab for £120m in staff bonuses?
Jews next, in view of the anti-Semitic attack in this country, this week, the local Anglo Jewish community goes back to the 1700s with Montefiore being the best known here in Ramsgate, his lady produced a cookery book in 1846 and I am conspiring with some of them on reprint. As you can imagine there is much talk of related subjects Gaza for one, the key phrase here is, Anglo Jewish and essentially as much Anglo an Jewish, rather in the way that I am Anglican, St George’s being the church I religiously don’t go to and I wouldn’t not go any where else, so it’s only that I am conspiring on this project that I know that these Ramsgateoneons are also Jews. Their views are as far as I can see the same as the rest of the population, varied yes like all of us, but mostly that it was a stupid over reaction that serves no cause well and what can we do to help the relief fund. Incidentally it would appear, from the book, that the Anglo Jews invented fish and chips.

Pleasurama I have had a good look at the new plans now and I don’t think they can be built, two main reasons, first by putting the raised road at the back it means that the architect has admitted that both the front and the new existing road system are too low and second the EA and now TDC because of the EA seem to be in a position to insist on cliff top escapes.

Our car broke down rather spectacularly this week, gears Speedo fuel gauge electric windows and finally the engine stopped, before we could coax it back with all the shopping in it. The Sky TV box also conked out and no one can face the, if you want to press 4 press 9 extended telephone call to have it put it right.

The new greenhouse gas figures look very bad indeed, my prognosis on this is if the whole world acts promptly and properly on this one we could just about extend the habitable life of this planet from, 50 to 150 years, to, 100 to 300, years. Not a happy thought, and what does it matter if the experts who are predicting the melting of the ice caps and the burning of the rain forests are wrong, if they are right and we don’t act now, we will be no more.
Update the painting is now complete so I will be able to get the book into print this week.

Saturday 14 February 2009

Britton the Broadstairs Butcher

The picture above shows Albert Brett, Mr Shepard and Bert Toop standing outside Brittons the butchers in Broadstairs where they worked, now Rook’s butchers.

I have published the rest of the collection of photos click here to view them.

I have added the names where they were on the back of the pictures.
Please add any more information you have.

Friday 13 February 2009

Manston decision upside-down

Kent International Airport Consultative Committee was set up so that proper public consultation could occur locally, I can’t say that I am entirely happy that KIA appear to ignore their valid requests for proper mediation from Consultative Committee, but let that pass.

I have seen the documentation showing 10 years of 106 breaches and unpaid fines, but let that pass.

I am concerned about the health implications for the people living under the flight path, I have seen the documentation showing people living under airport approaches are less healthy and die younger, but let that pass.

Living in King Street Ramsgate it is so noisy anyway that the current level of aircraft noise and low flying doesn’t bother me, however the majority of people I talk to in the shop don’t like it, but let that pass.

I don’t have a problem with aircraft using the airport, providing they comply with the safety and environmental regulations and provided that the CAA, EA Southern Water and TDCs contaminated land officer, consider that operating with lots large planes, without an interceptor on the main runway and the contingency plans for a fuel spillage are within the parameters of reasonable risk.

The problem I do have is that expansion decisions are being made before these factors have been properly considered.

Sitting on the desk in front of me are the plans for the vital interceptor Application No: F/TH/07/1777 on the link for the Thanet planning site it’s nearly a year since they were approved, but when will work start?

Picture from Twilight Of Pistons click on the link for more about this book

Kent International Airport - variation of S106 agreement

Thanet district Council press release

An extraordinary meeting of full council has agreed to vary the Section 106 agreement to enable some night-time flying at Kent International Airport.

Members last night (Thursday 12 February) agreed to the request, which had come from the airport owners Infratil, who are in discussions with a major European airline that wishes to locate its long haul international aircraft at the airport. The existing 106 agreement, put in place in 2000, defines night-time flying hours as being between 11pm and 7am every day.

The variation, which will last 18 months, will allow aircraft movements between 11pm and 11.30pm and also between 6am and 7am.

A total of 11 movements a week of 747-400 aircraft has been proposed, with only a portion of these scheduled during these times. The arrangements will be reviewed every six months and, as part of the decision, an independent environmental consultant will be commissioned to carry out an assessment of the flights taking place during night-time hours. Infratil has also committed to improving noise monitoring and reporting.

Cllr. Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Culture and Economy, said: “Proposals relating to the airport will always spark debate, with members having to strike a careful balance between the environmental impacts on our residents, such as night-time noise, against the potential of creating new jobs. That’s always a difficult decision to make. Having said that, these proposals are for a total of 18 months, with reviews built in during that time, and will see a relatively modest increase in the number of total aircraft movements. Coupled with that, there will also be an increase in monitoring to keep a close eye on the impact on our residents.”
The variation of the Section 106 agreement is subject to the contract being signed with the aircraft operator. It is expected that, if the contract is signed, the new flights would then begin sometime before October 2009.

Ed. another picture from my 10p book

Council Tax increase of 3.99% approved by Cabinet

Council Tax increases for Thanet District Council’s share of the tax will be the lowest for five years, with a rise of just 3.99% increase being proposed.

That would mean an increase for the average household of just £7.83 a year, despite an increase in funding from central government of just 1.1%, which is well below the current level of the consumer price increase, which is the government’s measure of inflation.

As the vast majority of homes fall into bands A * C for Council Tax, that means most people will see a weekly increase in Thanet’s share of the bill of less than 15p per week.

During the course of 2008/09, the council has had to find savings of more than £500,000, after soaring utility and fuel costs and other price rises left the council facing a budget shortfall. A number of posts were held vacant to save costs, while a number of items in the council’s Corporate Plan, which sets out the council’s work plan until 2011, were also removed.

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Finance, Improvement and Customer Service, said: “Full credit should go to our officers, who have had to work exceptionally hard this year to balance the council’s budget. They’ve done an exceptional job in an extremely difficult environment. Not only have we had to cope with rising costs, but we’ve also seen income drop as a result of the economic downturn. The fact that we’re able to deliver a lower increase in the Council Tax than has been possible over the last five years even in such difficult circumstances, just highlights how closely the council has been monitoring spending. We’ve taken action when it was needed and delivered savings without affecting front line services, but sadly it’s the same story every year. Councils across the country are continually having to deliver better services for less money and we are no exception to that rule.”

The budget will now go forward to a meeting of Full Council on Thursday 26 February.

Thor Chemical Leak Update

We have been informed that Thor group Ltd, located in Margate (“the Site”), is no longer operational and materials are no longer used for chemical manufacture at the Site. Any work taking place on the Site now is related to testing, remediation and the de-commissioning of the Site.

In recent years the Company has been working with the Environment Agency to establish the extent of its chemical footprint on the environment after 35 years of Site activity. Substances, such at solvents and compounds of mercury, from production activities that were carried out on Site from 1973, have been found to be present in certain areas of soil within the Site boundary. Investigations are on-going at present.

We have endeavoured to answer your questions to the extent we are able pursuant to our responsibility under the Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and hopefully the information set out above answers your queries. However, in the event that you require more focused information, to assist us in processing your request, we would be grateful if you could please provide us with clarification of the information you require (e.g. whether you are seeking information about historic activities at the Site by the Company whilst it was still in operation, and/or regarding the current environmental status of the Site) as we do not wish to make assumptions.

Should you have any queries in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact this office.

External Relations OfficerKent & East SussexThe Environment AgencyGuildbourne HouseChatsworth RoadWorthingWest Sussex BN11 1LDDirect Dial 01903 703831Internal Ext 7.23.3831

Ed. Many thanks to Tim for doing the FOIA request.

Thursday 12 February 2009

Manston Night Flights decision day

Our councillors meet today to decide if the time aeroplanes land and takeoff from Manston can be extend, both morning and night time extensions are being requested.

The decision on this has been requested at such short notice that there hasn’t been time for me to satisfactory complete my correspondence with the various organisations involved, most notably the civil aviation authority and the environment agency.

My main concerns are about the environmental and safety issues and the lack of public consultation.

There is an agreement between the airport operator and the council called a 106 agreement to enforce some of these issues, but the airport operator hasn’t complied with the agreement and the council hasn’t enforced it.

The noise issue particularly in Ramsgate hasn’t been addressed properly, back in July 2007 The Airport Consultative Committee put in a request to the airport operator for mediation over noise complaints and the 106 agreement, with the National Mediation Service. The airport operator still hasn’t replied to this.

Because the airport was built as a military airport it doesn’t have the normal infrastructure to protect the environment, nor did it ever have to obtain planning permission.

A further thought is who is going to pay for the enormous expense of making the airport compliant with the 106 because if it is us the taxpayer it puts another interesting slant on the issue.

Click her for my previous posts on the subject.

Enquiry about WW1 Jewish soldier from Canterbury

Post request by email

We have had a request via from Brigadier Parrot ­ who is researching information about a Jewish soldier from WW1. Mr Cecil Goldfarb, he resided at 5 Stour Street Canterbury. In 1918 Cecil Goldfarb was awarded the Military Medal.

If you have any knowledge about Cecil Goldfarb would you please send any information to Ian Smiler at He will pass this to Brig Parrot.

Margate Blaze

Two have lucky escape from building blaze

One person has been rescued and another escaped a building fire in Margate.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Jobs for the boys but charity begins at home.

Having spent most of the morning learning about vortex damage caused by aircraft which is somewhat tedious but has to be done, I recall someone once compared flying to, falling but missing the ground.

It would seem that quite a few aviation accidents do not in fact involve falling and hitting the ground.

As I am writing this news of two aircraft colliding over Wales is coming in and I can only think in terms of vortexes.

British Airways have replied saying they can find no information about BAWC moving to Manston, which seems a bit odd.

At one time all of the books that were in any sense saleable or interesting, that we had too many copies of or were damaged or wouldn’t sell at price that was economic for us, I donated to charity shops.

I am a person who is inclined to check up on things and I found that some of what I was donating didn’t seem to be appearing, quite a bit was going onto landfill but worse than any of this they were pricing them far to expensively, there were exceptions to this where some charity shops did some things ok.

Anyway some time ago, when I could see the recession coming, I decided that it was poorer local people that should benefit from these cheap books and so I set up a recession section at back of the shop with all the hardbacks priced at 10p and all the paperbacks priced at 5p.

I was idly looking through this recession section and came across a couple of things that amused me, the first being the bit of text about British workers which seemed rather appropriate at the moment.

The British jobs for British thing does have connotations of a Labour government in a bit of an Animal Farm situation, I am not for a moment suggesting that labour MPs are fattening up the workers for consumption, but here in Thanet, some Jobs at Thanet Earth are being exclusively advertised abroad.

The other book was an odd volume of Pictorial Knowledge with some unusual transport pictures, this I acquired for myself a snip a 10p.

Some times with books it’s what you notice more than what you know and it’s always worth a second look at books, my wife once found a play that I had priced at 80p had been signed by all of the cast of the first production, she sold it for £80.

Do you Qualify for Business Rate Relief?

Laura Sandys press release

Too many businesses are not claiming the Business Rate Relief due to them.

We have put on the web a simple online checker for SMEs who may be eligible for business rate relief. Its worth up to £1,100 per annum and details can be found at

Log on and see if you can claim some money for your small business.

If you have any problems then please do be in touch with me
Ed. The picture is of a Thanet shop anyone hazard a guess where it is?