Tuesday 31 March 2009

Ramsgate Town Council Elections

As many of you will know the Ramsgate parish council election to select our 16 councillors are to be held on 4th June, it is most likely that once the parish council has been elected they will form themselves into a town council.

There is a briefing at the council offices on 20th April at 12.30 for anyone who is considering becoming a candidate. Application packs will be handed out at the meeting and then they have till 5th May to complete and return them.

I already know of two prominent local historians who will be standing as independents and of several of the existing councillors are also standing.

Thanet Coast Project Easter Events

Thanet district Council press release

Sea monsters, rockpool rambles and a journey back millions of years in time are just some of the events being put on by the Thanet Coast Project this Easter.

The Sea Monster Tale-Trail will discover some of the real sea monsters that live along Thanet’s coast, giving you the chance to create your own monstrous creature on a storytelling walk with Emily Parrish. Suitable for children, the walk takes you across Ramsgate Main Sands and the Sea Garden on Thursday 16 April. It starts outside the Maritime Museum building at 2pm and lasts for two hours.

Captain Crabby’s Rockpool Rambles will take you hunting for sealife in the rocks and pools, with the expert Captain Crabby as your guide. There are two Rockpool Rambles, one on Tuesday 14 April from 9am to 11am, exploring St. Mildred’s Bay and the following day, between 9.30am and 11.30am at Stone Bay.

You can also get stuck into a hands-on exploration of the rocks and fossils of our coast with the Rock Doc, with a two hour tour around Thanet’s shores on Thursday 16 April between 10.30am and 12.30pm at Minnis Bay.

Funded by the Big Lottery, all of the events are being run for free as part of the Thanet Coast Project’s Beach Play programme and are open to the whole family.

Naomi Biggs, Thanet Coast Project Education Officer, said: “The school holidays are the perfect time for the whole family to explore our unique coastline and find out more about the wonderful array of marine life that lives there. These events are fun ways of learning more about the area we live in and why the Thanet coastline is so special. It’s a great way of enjoying time together as a family, as these activities are suitable for all ages.”

For all events, make sure you dress appropriately for the weather with suitable footwear for the terrain.

Monday 30 March 2009

Extra Tesco Extra

I see the council have approved plans for an extra 2,842 sqm of retail sales and storage at the Margate Road Tesco.

The Agenda and Draft Minutes Planning Committee Meeting Wednesday, 18th March, 2009 7.00 pm, have just appeared on the TDC websiteclick on the link for them http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=1165

The planning application ref is F/TH/08/1468 click on the link to go to the planning site http://www.ukplanning.com/thanet

My own thoughts here is that the continued expansion of out of town shopping is destroying the fabric of our society, I also think that we ought to be addressing at national government level the problem that travelling for every shopping and leisure facility is becoming les and less environmentally sustainable.

Huge shops with huge car parks have to be a bad idea there must come a point where large companies have to take a more responsible attitude.

Football in Broadstairs

A nice bit of feedback from my post “Britton the Broadstairs Butcher
“Well - I got as far as the 4th pic on your site (Broadstairs Football Team 1937) - and found myself looking at my own father.

Ernest (Joe) Darby (1914 - 2007) is the last footballer on the right of the pic. Nick”

Nick also sent me the picture above of Broadstairs Football Team in 1906, click on it to enlarge and click here for the 1937 picture.

Sunday 29 March 2009

The Council the Press and the News.

I don’t know what people think about my posting the various press releases that I do, in the case of Thanet District Council I see no option as they just don’t seem to know how to handle news on their website.

Come to think of it some of the local papers don’t do as well as they could either particularly when it comes to feeds, what this is about is spreading the news so that people will come and read what you have written.

This is an area where blogger is streets ahead of what most newspapers seem to manage, the recent posts on other blogs on my sidebar is what I am getting at here, there is something ironic about the fact that I can include Bertie Biggles, Eastcliff Richard, Simon Moores et al on my sidebar and pretty much as soon as they post something new it appears there, but I can’t do this with the council’s news web pages or any of the local papers, I can’t even do it with The Times national newspaper.

With blogger one can even expand this to show the latest comments on other blogs as I have done on http://thanetblogs.blogspot.com/ joined up thinking is what it’s called.

Now over 50% of the people that visit this site come because they have clicked on a link on another site and nearly of the links that they click on are the live links generated by feeds, I can give you an example of how important this is by comparing two popular Thanet blogs. Eastcliff Richard has a live link and in the last month 903 unique visitors came here via it, Thanet Life has a static link (in other words it doesn’t move the websites that are in any sense alive to the top of the list) in the last month 2 unique visitors came via this link.

Now I can only infer from this that both the council news pages and the local papers are missing out on half their web traffic because of this lack of understanding about the way the internet has developed recently.

The other big problem is that neither the council nor the papers seem to have grasped is that nowadays ordinary people with virtually no technical expertise can publish to the internet so to a greater or lesser extent they are turning their news into olds.

To give you an example of what I mean Thanet District Council have only just managed to get their Easter Back in Thanet story on to their main news page that I published on this blog on 24th March and sometimes their press releases take as much as a week to appear.

Having been fairly critical of TDCIT I should point out something that they have improved greatly is the part of their website where they publish council documents http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/ieDocHome.aspx?bcr=1 they have even got a part showing what they put up most recently http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/mgWhatsNew.aspx?bcr=1 what is unfortunate is that once again there are no feeds, so I can’t just add it to the recent posts but have to do a post linking to the documents when something important is published.

The trouble with the newspapers however is that in these harsh economic times is that they have to grasp the nettle of the internet properly or they won’t survive, my feelings are that much of this is to do with retaining unnecessary jobs in IT departments.

There really is no discernable reason why the council couldn’t use blogger and the person writing a press release or the minutes of a meeting could publish it as soon as they have typed it.

Saturday 28 March 2009

Bad News for Ramsgate Summer Leisure

With all the talk of people having to holiday more in the UK this year, the prospect of the fast ferry bringing European tourists and Preston Steam Museum revitalising the presentation of our maritime heritage, I have been trying extra hard to get temporary leisure use for the Pleasurama site this year.

The developers confirmed that work wouldn’t start on the development until the end of the summer, at the moment they seem to be using it as a temporary builders yard.

I have had a letter from Richard Samuel the chief executive of TDC saying that temporary leisure use of the site this summer will not be allowed.

One would have though that the developers would benefit greatly from Ramsgate being busier and more successful and be 100% for making as much temporary leisure use of the site as possible both before and while the development progresses.

I have had several constructive conversations with the developer’s agent, I was rather stupid in not contacting him earlier, I an afraid we had both assumed the other was some sort of unreasonable fool.

I believe that he is definitely coming round to my way of thinking i.e. without a flood risk assessment the building will be uninsurable and that the work on the access road has been done wrongly, the money wasted, and that it will have to be done again.

However in view of the letter which seems to be unreasonable and suggests that there may be further unreasonableness around the corner I have put further pressure onto TDC with regard to the legality of the planning application.

Below is the relevant part of my email to them.

“I have been told that as work has started on the access road work is deemed to have started on the development and therefore the consent didn’t expire after five years.

1 Does this mean that planning consent is granted in perpetuity for this development?

I have been told that before work can start on the development a bond has to be placed in a bank account, last time I asked about a month ago and after the five years had expired the bond had not been placed.

2 Does this mean that work has not officially started on the development and therefore planning consent has expired?

3 I gather that SFP as a company would need to have supplied you with a certificate of authenticity for prevention of money laundering purposes does such a certificate exist?

I am copying this to the LGO officer who dealt with my complaint about this before that resulted in the environment agency’s letter strongly recommending a FRA and emergency escapes.”

I have added the video, which is of an ordinary spring tide with an average sea running as I think five years of pursuing Pleasurama often makes me feel like the person walking along the harbour wall.

I think that much of the problem here is trying to get people to understand that they have to act somewhat differently in the present economic climate otherwise when we do finally get to the end of the recession there are not going to be many pieces left to pick up.

Over the previous five years I only managed to get temporary leisure use for one on all the other occasions I was told that building work would be going on, on the site during the summer months making leisure use impossible.

No building work actually took place during any of the other summers and I see very little likelihood of the contractor needing the entire site this summer.

Your Thanet on youtube

I have just noticed that Your Thanet has started posting on youtube only 2 videos so far here they are.

The Iaido club in Broadstairs show off their skills. The club is looking for new members to ensure the future of the martial art in Thanet. Full story: http://www.yourthanet.co.uk

YourThanet reporter Tom Betts answers a few questions from DJ Amy Burridge as the KIng Ethelbert School in Birchington launches its new radio station, ElectroFusion. He was one of the first guests ...

Roger Gale re-affirmed as GE Candidate

Roger Gale press release

North Thanet's sitting Conservative MP has this week been re-affirmed as the party's parliamentary candidate for the next General Election which must, by law, be held before July, 2010.

The North Thanet's Association Annual General Meeting, held on Friday at the Hampton Church Hall in Herne Bay, unanimously endorsed the decision taken before an anticipated 2007 General Election, to adopt Roger Gale as the candidate.
Speaking at the meeting Roger Gale said:

" I regard it as a continuing privilege and honour that I have been once again chosen to carry my party's banner forward.

We know that the next Government will be faced with a situation that is tantamount to a scorched earth economy and we know that there will be hard decisions that will have to be taken in the interests of our Country.

The Conservative Party came to the rescue of the United Kingdom in 1979 and we stand ready, willing and able to do so again. We will have to act, first, in the interests of Great Britain and to put all party advantage and doctrine aside if we are to pull our nation back from the brink of bankruptcy but it can be done and we have shown before that we can do it.
We shall commence the process by delivering success in the County and European Elections on June 4th when we will need the support of every patriotic citizen to send a clear message to the present failed administration that it is past its sell-by date. We shall then present a clear vision, in the context of the circumstances that we face when the election is called, of the way forward.
None of us should take electoral success for granted. We know that we have to win a huge number of additional seats in order to be in a position to form a government. We are working hard in areas like South Thanet, where Laura Sandys is preparing the ground to serve her constituents, in Dover, where Charlie Elphicke is determined to bring about change for the future, and in the Medway towns where, again, we have a team of candidates ready to play their part in restoring the faith and pride in our nation that has in recent years been squandered. In the interests of our Country we have to succeed - and with hard work and determination we will".

At the meeting James ("Jim") Nock, OBE, former Lord Mayor of Canterbury and Reculver resident, was elected Chairman, with County Councillor Robert Burgess (Westgate) as his political Vice-chairman and Paul Addis, OBE as President. Additionally present at the meeting were Roger Gale's wife and Office Director, Suzy, the Leader of Thanet District Council, Sandy Ezekiel, The Chairman of the South Thanet Conservative Association, Lynne Connolly, many County, City and District Councillors and members of the Association.

An Open Letter from David Cameron

Laura Sandys press release

believe this week has marked a defining moment in this economic crisis. For Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, to come out and say Gordon Brown is wrong to be pursuing a second fiscal stimulus - because the country simply cannot afford it - is an exceptional turn of events. Gordon Brown harangued us for being isolated when we repeatedly said the country could not afford this extra debt. Now it turns out we were right.

I kicked off the week by replying to Gordon Brown's statement on Europe - which brings me on to Dan Hannan's brilliant response

to Gordon Brown in the European Parliament. It was so effective and shows the growing power of the internet over TV.

On Tuesday I was at the London Stock Exchange to make the point that the Conservative Party will be the party of law and order in the City. I then completed my 26th Cameron Direct in Milton Keynes, and the 27th in Fleetwood, Lancashire. I love doing these events: they are an essential reminder that what goes on in the Westminster bubble is rarely what is on the minds of ordinary people.

Getting out of Westminster has been a key theme to the week. Gordon Brown's approach to this may be getting on a plane and heading for Chile - but mine is to send the Shadow Cabinet round the country to launch our petition calling on Gordon Brown to implement our tax cut for savers and pensioners.

Have a good weekend


Thanet district Council press release

New family disabled swim sessions are being held each week in Margate.

The sessions start next Saturday (4 April) at Hartsdown Leisure Centre and are aimed at families with disabled children. Taking place between 2.30pm and 4.30pm every Saturday, the sessions organised by Thanet Disability Sports Project are supported by Thanet Leisureforce, Eastern and Coastal Kent Primary Care Trust, the government and the local Thanet Can-Do organisation.

Those aged 16 and under can swim for free in these sessions, but they will need to join the free swimming scheme by filling out a simple registration form. They will need to show proof of their age and will then receive their "free swim card". There will also be one concessionary adult swim per disabled person.

The Thanet Disability Sports Project, which is part of Thanet District Council, aims to improve sporting opportunities for people with a disability in Thanet through specific disability clubs and sessions, raising awareness, recognising achievements and helping clubs to welcome disabled people.

The project has already created the Thanet Galaxy Pan Disability Football Club, improved beach play facilities and successfully re-launched the disability cycling scheme in Minnis Bay.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: "These sessions will be a great opportunity for families with disabled children to enjoy time together at the pool. The council's Disability Sports Project has already had some great successes in organising activities and events for those with disabilities and I'm sure this will prove to be another popular session."

For more information about the Thanet Disability Sport Project, contact the team on 01843 577673 or visit www.thanet.gov.uk/sport


Thanet district Council press release

There's been success for a community safety campaign in Cliftonville, which has been cracking down on riding bikes on the pavement, as it is illegal and dangerous.

Five Fixed Penalty Notices were handed out to people seen cycling on the pavement during the "You Wheel Be Fined" campaign. In addition, another 20 warnings were issued to other people.

The campaign was produced by the Thanet Community Safety Partnership's Cliftonville Task and Finish Group. The 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. As a result, new posters were distributed to shops in Northdown Road and the surrounding areas, with the slogan "ride on the pavement. you wheel be fined".

During the campaign, five Fixed Penalty Notices were also handed out to people who failed to pick up after their dogs, while two Fixed Penalty Notices were handed out for littering.

Although the campaign was focused in Cliftonville, it has now been extended throughout Thanet. It is illegal to cycle on the pavements anywhere in Thanet and anyone seen littering or failing to pick up after their dog fouls may be handed a Fixed Penalty Notice.

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

Friday 27 March 2009


Thanet district Council press release

Thanet has been recognised as one of the best in local government at a set of coveted national awards.

The council was a finalist in the efficiency and modernisation category of the Local Government Chronicle awards, which aim to reward excellent service by councils to their residents. Thanet was competing against Westminster City Council, who won the award, the Somerset Waste Partnership, Manchester City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. The council was one of just eight District Councils in the UK to make it to the finals.

The council was shortlisted for the achievements of Thanet's Gateway Plus, a partnership between Thanet District Council and Kent County Council, which opened in Margate library in January 2008.

Since then, waiting times for council services have reduced dramatically, with the library seeing an increase in the number of new borrowers and the number of items issued. Surveys have shown the vast majority of people using the Gateway are satisfied with the service they receive.

The opening of Thanet's Gateway Plus, is also part of the council's accommodation strategy, which will save the council around £170,000 each year.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel, said: "To be shortlisted for these awards, which are essentially the Oscars of the local government world was a great honour and shows just how far Thanet has come in improving the services it offers. When you look at the councils that we were up against, it's amazing to see Thanet's name up there, competing with some huge county councils and London authorities. Everyone involved in Thanet's Gateway Plus can feel extremely proud of our achievements in making it through to the finals. It's excellent recognition for their hard work, dedication and the results they've achieved for our residents."

Ferry peculiar story

I don’t quite understand the story click here to read that the Bonanza Express will not fit in the harbour the Gardenia one of the ferries already using the port has dimensions of Length x Breadth: 118m X 20m Bonanza Express dimensions are Length x Breadth: 96m X 26m does this mean that she is too wide?

It really is very odd ship dimensions are hardly secret and one would expect the port authorities to know what size of vessel they can accommodate.

Update, I have discovered that this is due to modifications that need to be made to the roll on roll off bridge for the cars to get on and off the ferry.

Thursday 26 March 2009

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing shop 2

The minutes of the standards committee meeting are now published on the council website click here to read them.

My own thoughts on this one are that we have still got the leader and deputy leader and if like me you feel obliged to take up local issues, then like it or not they are the people you have to deal with.

Personally they have both always been courteous to me, my problem with them has always been that they appear to be too easily swayed by council officers, however with the standards issue I see the only option being to draw a line under it.

Governance and Audit Committee Agenda and Draft Minutes 17.3.09

These have just appeared on the councils website click here to read them.


Thanet's historic Viking connections will be celebrated with the opening of a one of a kind coastal play area in Cliftonville next week (Thursday 2 April).

Situated on the cliff top green along Ethelbert Crescent, the play area features timber equipment with a large unique Viking play ship, thought to be the only one in England, which boasts panoramic views out to sea.

Aimed at children up to the age of 14 years old, it also features a giant balancing snake in the grass, maze, double width slide, hard carved Viking figure roundabout, sand play area, King’s throne and basket swing.

Funded by £240,000 from the Margate Renewal Partnership and Safer Stronger Communities Fund, the project has been undertaken by Thanet District Council’s leisure services and regeneration teams and is the first dedicated play area in Cliftonville West.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “This promises to be a wonderful adventure for young Vikings, providing hours of active play in a wonderfully designed and landscaped setting. It celebrates our historic links with the Vikings and that’s especially appropriate as it’s now 60 years since the Hugin Viking replica ship arrived on the beach in Broadstairs. I’m sure children are going to love this area and, in particular, I can see Viking ship being a huge attraction, especially as we think it’s the only one of its kind in the country. I have no doubt that this will be well used, especially over the upcoming Easter holidays, and hopefully it will be well looked after by everyone.”

The play area will be open to children from Friday 3 April, in time for the Easter school holidays.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Roger Gale Steve Ladyman the drains and Manston Airport

The front page article in The Isle of Thanet Extra today is about ground water pollution here in Thanet, with comment from our two MPs.

Reading the article it was obvious that although both MPs had attended a meeting with the environment agency about ground water quality but didn’t really understand the problems properly.

This is essentially about five different types of drain and understanding the differences between them.

1 Foul sewers these lead to a waste treatment plant, the water and effluent from these is treated and the treated water then goes into the sea.

2 Soakaways, these are often roadside drains the water from these soaks into the chalk, which also forms our drinking and agricultural water reservoir, some of these have interceptors that remove any fuel or oil spillage (how effective they are depends on their size relative to the size of the spillage and how well they are maintained) some of the don’t have interceptors.

3 Direct discharge into the sea, once again these are mostly roadside drains some with and some without interceptors.

4 Septic tanks these are mostly attached to rural properties and are emptied by the council the effluent being taken by tanker lorry to the treatment plant, the problem with these is that many of them leak, either by accident or design. Having them emptied is expensive so people sometimes make a hole in them so they don’t have to be emptied so often.

5 Private treatment plants such as Pfizer has and China Gateway wanted to have, these use bacteria and sedimentation to process the effluent the processed water is then either discharged into the sea or soakaways. Where China Gateway came unstuck is that discharge into soakaways on the water source protection zones is not allowed.

Roger Gale appears to think that industrial developers and the airport don’t play a significant part in the ground water problem, he is quoted in the article thus: “…it isn’t necessary to fault big business or the airport; it’s all down to us.”

The pollution problem that the environment agency faces is that the quality of the ground water is low and this is mostly caused by a great many small leaks and spillages.

The other problem that they face is that we are around the point where any more concreting over the source protection zones means that there will not be enough surface area for the rain to soak into to provide us with sufficient water supply.

Because of the various large pollution incidents like Thor and Sericol the amount of underground water that we can use has become greatly reduced and is concentrated around Manston.

This leads to the problem of what we can get away with at Manston both in terms of airport and industrial expansion, which poses the question how much more dare we concrete over? And the question of how much risk is acceptable in terms of a pollution incident there?

As far as the concreting, the environment agency needs to set defined limits to how much more there can be so that the airport and the industrial developers there know where they stand in terms of expansion.

Most importantly though is the problem of how the risk management is assessed for a fuel spillage caused by an aviation accident, having spoken to a lot of people that understand aviation a worst case scenario would be something akin to the recent air accident at Narita international airport, near Tokyo.

By this I mean an air crash on the grass part of the airfield where the fuselage of the aircraft runs over the wing that contains the fuel tanks rupturing them. The 747s flying to and from Manston can carry 50,000 gallons of fuel so a spillage of 20,000 gallons would not seem out of the bounds of probability.

Although there are many variables we need a clear cut answer from the environment agency as to what quantity, for both types of aviation fuel, would cause irredeemable damage to our essential water supply and to restrict the airports operations accordingly.

I noticed in the article Steve Ladyman said that the risks at the airport were being managed properly, however at the moment the main runway has no fuel interceptor, the contingency plan being to turn off the valves from the drains and contain a fuel spillage on the runway.

In reality with a plane on fire with people inside I wonder would they really stop the fuel from running away? So we really need an assessment of the maximum amount of fuel that should be carried by aircraft using Manston, until the interceptor is installed.

Of course there will always be a risk that our underground water supply will be irreversibly damaged by an air crash and I am afraid it would probably be the end of most of the agriculture in Thanet including Thanet Earth, it would also lead to greatly increased water bill for us. What this is about though is acceptable risk management and in the current economic climate with a doubling of unemployment in Thanet during the last year local industry badly needs to know exactly where it stands in terms of future expansion and future limitations on existing levels of operation.

Inquiry into the South East England Development Agency and the Regional Economic Strategy - Call for Evidence

The South East Regional Select Committee of the House of Commons is seeking written evidence for its first inquiry on the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and the Regional Economic Strategy (RES).

The Committee is interested in receiving evidence on:

• the role, responsibilities and accountability of SEEDA,

• the process by which the RES was drawn up and the level of involvement of regional stakeholders,

• the effectiveness of the RES for the South East in delivering against its targets including the degree to which the regeneration of areas of deprivation and the former coalfield areas has been successful,

• the effect of the financial and economic situation on businesses in the region including the effect on different sectors such as manufacturing, service industries etc,

• the changes to regional policy proposed in the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill and the potential effect on the work of SEEDA,

• the role of other Government agencies such as the Government Office for the South East, and of partnerships between Government agencies, local government and the private sector, in delivering the aims of the RES, and

• how effective initiatives such as Business Link are being in assisting businesses in the current climate, including helping them to gain access to funding both from Government funding streams and through the banking system.
The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines stated below by noon on Monday 20th April 2009, although submissions received after that date will be accepted.

Please note
A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to regionalcommittees@parliament.uk and marked "South East Regional Committee Inquiry". The Committee's strong preference is for submissions in electronic form, although hard copy originals will be accepted and should be sent to Emma Sawyer, Senior Committee Assistant, at:

Regional Committees
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

Each submission should:
be no more than 3,000 words in length;
begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
have numbered paragraphs; and

(if in electronic form) be in Word format or a rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

For Data Protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so that a copy of the Committee's report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Please also note that once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee will normally, although not always, choose to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

Regional Committees: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/regional.cfm
On the 12 November 2008 the House resolved: “that this House welcomes the Third Report from the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons on Regional Accountability (House of Commons Paper No. 282); approves the proposals for regional select and grand committees for each of the English regions set out in the response from the Government in the White Paper, Regional Accountability (Cm. 7376), except that Chairmen of regional select committees shall not be paid; accordingly endorses the clear expectation that the regional select committees should meet significantly less frequently than departmental select committees; and considers that the combination of select committees providing opportunities for inquiries and reports into regional policy and administration together with opportunities for debate involving all honourable Members from the relevant region will provide a major step forward in the scrutiny of regional policy.”
Debate on 12 November 2008 Hansard (with motion) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm081112/debtext/81112-0010.htm#08111228000899

Committee Information:
Emma Sawyer, e:mail sawyere@parliament.uk Tel: 020 7219 0654
Sian Woodward (Committee Clerk) e:mail woodwardsm@parliament.uk
Media Information: Laura Kibby, e:mail kibbyl@parliament.uk Tel: 020 7219 0718
Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/
Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on file://www.parliament.uk/


Thanet district Council press release

Leaflets are being distributed to some parts of Ramsgate, detailing the nine interim ASBOs in force against people believed to be responsible for numerous acts of anti-social behaviour in Newington.

It comes after dates were fixed for their trial, which will be taking place over five days on Thursday 21, Thursday 28 and Friday 29 May and Thursday 4 and Friday 5 June in Folkestone. Solicitor, Ms Esther Pounder will be representing the council and eight of the respondents, who all live in Ramsgate, have legal representation.

The interim ASBOs were granted in December 2008, following a civil case brought by the Thanet District Council and supported by Kent Police, on behalf of the Thanet Community Safety Partnership. These orders, which carry the same weight as full orders, remain in force until Sunday 7 June and will become a criminal offence if they are breached.

The orders mean that they cannot congregate together in groups of more than three or go near any of the witnesses in the case. Insulting or offensive behaviour, throwing items or behaviour likely to cause harassment are also covered by the interim orders.

The leaflets, which will be distributed this weekend (Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 March) by Community Payback, remind people of the details of the interim ASBOs and who they apply to. If anyone sees any of the group breaching any conditions of the orders, they need to contact the police on 01843 231055.

Acting Chief Inspector Terry Chuter said of the interim orders: ''These send a clear message to the small minority who think they are above the law and make people's lives a misery that we, as a community, will not tolerate behaviour like this. There has been a real partnership approach to tackling the trouble makers on the estate. The work of the council's community wardens, community safety officers and the neighbourhood policing team have worked together on this. However, none of this would have been possible without the support of the residents, who have stood up and said that enough is enough and supported the Council and police in bringing these to prosecution. We will continue to support the community through this process.''

Acting Sergeant Phil Morley has been working with the Thanet Community Safety Partnership on this case and said: It's great that the trial dates have finally been fixed. I am pleased that the witnesses and residents involved can finally have closure on this case. I hope that the trial is successful, as it will help to reinforce the message that Kent Police will support the community and work with them and their partner agencies to reduce and combat anti-social behaviour."

If anyone has any concerns about anti-social behaviour in the Newington area, they can contact their local PCs, who are Mel Geeves and Chris Wiltshire on either 07870252880 or 07980770678. The local PCSO's are Nathan Prentice and Gareth Foreman and they can be contacted on 07772 226199 or 07772 226130.


Thanet district Council press release

Hunting for clues of marine life, holiday rambles and hands on explorations of rocks and fossils are just some of the fun ways for young people to find out more about Thanet's unique coastline this Easter.

As part of the Easter Blast set of activities taking place during the school holidays, the Thanet Coast Project will be leading a series of Great Egg Case Hunts, looking along the tideline for evidence of sea creatures washed ashore.

There will also be the opportunity to create marine masterpieces with beach art and plaster casting in the sand, with the help of artists from Art for All.

Funded by the Big Lottery, the event is part of the Thanet Coast Project's Beach Play school holiday activities. There are three Great Egg Case Hunts taking place:

Monday 6 April between 2pm and 4pm at West Bay, Westgate.
Wednesday 8 April between 2pm and 4pm at Ramsgate Main Sands.
Thursday 9 April between 10am and 12pm at Margate Main Sands.

Naomi Biggs, Thanet Coast Project Education Officer, said: "The Great Egg Case Hunt has become one of our regular events over the years and is always a huge draw for all ages. It's a great way of finding out more about our coastline and the unique marine wildlife that we have here. You never know what you'll find on the Great Egg Case Hunt, as there's always plenty to discover out on our beautiful beaches and bays. I'm really excited this year to have Art for All involved running new art creative activities using the beach as a natural canvas!"

Children must be accompanied by at least one adult and everyone attending should wear suitable clothing and shoes for the weather.

Euroferries still working towards operating from Ramsgate

Euroferries have updated their website to the effect that preparation work is going on at the port and the service is due to start imminently.

The Bonanza Express is still tied up at Las Palmas de Gran Caneria you can click here to see when she stars to move and plot her position.
As always click on the picture to enlarge it

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Unemployment doubles in Thanet

I have had a rather busy day today and only just had time to look at the other local blogs and news sites but this article on the Gazette website is very worrying, it suggests unemployment is rising much faster here than elsewhere.

It is difficult to see why things should be so much worse here and to work out what the knock on effect will be.


Thanet district Council press release

Sports action is taking centre stage during the Easter school holidays, with a range of activities from Sport 4 NRG.

Run by Thanet District Council, Sport 4 NRG aims to provide sporting opportunities for young people in Thanet to keep them active, occupied, and off the streets.

The team will be attending each of the three Easter Blast sessions being held between 1pm and 5pm on Tuesday 7 April at Surestart Millmead, Thursday 9 April at Warre Rec, Ramsgate and on Tuesday 14 April at Upton School in Broadstairs.

Alongside those sessions, they're also putting on a range of activities during the holidays, with two Easter bowl sessions are being held at Bugsy's in Cliftonville on Monday 6 April between 12pm and 2pm and on Thursday 16 April between 4pm and 6pm. Each session only has a limited number of places available.

You can try your hand at badminton, with a session at Hartsdown Leisure Centre on Wednesday 8 April between 1pm and 3pm.

Football is a major focus, with 6-a-side at Dame Janet in Ramsgate on Monday 6 April between 5pm and 7pm and Football 3's at St. Peter's Rec in Broadstairs on Wednesday 15 April between 5.30pm and 7pm. Football coaching takes place on Thursday 16 April at the astro turf at Minster Rec between 12pm and 2.30pm and the holidays come to a close with the NRG football tournament

Basketball takes place at Dane Park on Wednesday 8 April between 5.30pm and 7.30pm and at the Millmead MUGA on Wednesday 15 April between 12pm and 1.30pm, with a basketball tournament rounding off the holidays on Friday 17 April at Ramsgate Sports Centre between 12pm and 1.30pm.

Head of Sport 4 NRG, James Gregory, said: "There's plenty planned over the Easter holidays, so there's no chance of getting bored. Whatever your interest is, we've got a sport to suit you, with sessions both inside and outdoors, so if you're planning on eating too many Easter eggs, come down and burn them off with Sport 4 NRG".

To find our more about Sport 4 NRG and their Easter activities call 01843 577032 or 07770 828 582.


Thanet district Council press release

Young people can once again have a blast this Easter with the return of Easter Blast during the school holidays.

Aimed at 11 to 19 year olds, there will be three separate Easter Blast sessions, all taking place between 1pm and 5pm on Tuesday 7 April at Surestart Millmead, Thursday 9 April at Warre Rec, Ramsgate and on Tuesday 14 April at Upton School in Broadstairs.

Easter Blast is being put on by Engage, a group of organisations that work together to put on great youth events in Thanet.

There's something for everyone with Thanet District Council's Sport Matters team bringing their inflatable football pitch and offering volleyball, tug of war, ultimate Frisbee and target shooting sessions. You can also take part in a football drills skills school, try out athletics with Marlowe Athletics or take on a rugby fitness course, held in association with Thanet Wanderers.

There's DJing, technology and MCing workshops, master classes and band workshops from Pie Factory Music with break dancing workshops put on by the GAP Project. Pipeline will be bringing Bernie the Engage double decker youth bus, along with a gladiator pitch and sumo suits and a mobile skate park. You can get creative with the Thanet Coast Project and artists from Art for All, designing marine creations or try out for the Trinity Cheerleading Squad, who take part in national and international competitions all over England.

The Thanet Community Safety Partnership will be there with the police double decker bus, which has a PlayStation and wide screen TV, with information about how to stay safe and drink safely. You can find out more about drinking safely, with human size Jenga and noughts and crosses games, which can be played using beer goggles. These show you the effect that substances, such as alcohol and drugs, can have on the body and mind.

Full details of all the events taking place over the Easter holidays can be found in Youth Matters, the essential event guide and magazine for Thanet's young people. Distributed through schools, libraries and youth clubs across Thanet, you can also get a copy by calling 01843 577050.


Thanet district Council press release

Drivers entering Thanet are now being greeted by a dragon on one of the area's main roundabouts, thanks to a project by the council's Environmental Action Programme.

The roundabout at the junction of Haine Road and Manston Road on the outskirts of Ramsgate is now home to a striking wooden dragon, with its body planted out with drought resistant grasses and succulent plants, which will require no watering and minimal maintenance

The dragon, made from pressure treated timber that should be weather resistant for 25 years, represents the area's strong links with the Vikings.

The work, paid for by the council's Environmental Action Programme, which works to improve the appearance of the area, has been undertaken in association with Kent County Council.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: "The dragon is a striking addition to one of Thanet's most high profile routes. Everyone who drives into the area from Sandwich will instantly see it and it's a great way of welcoming people into Thanet. The dragon is a really practical way of dealing with a very difficult site. It's wind blown, meaning we can only use certain plants there and we've had to pick ones that need little maintenance. It's also an exceptionally busy road, making it very difficult for staff to get access to it, so traditional flowerbeds just wouldn't work."

Monday 23 March 2009

Art Books

Art and Architecture books are something that it is always difficult to maintain a good stock of in a secondhand bookshop, one way or another I manage to better than most in the southeast.

Once again it is a matter of supplementing the secondhand stock that comes my way with reps samples, review copies and stock from bankruptcies.

One of the difficulties is the price differential between new and secondhand, new art books are often very expensive indeed with an average price being somewhere between £15 and about £80 whereas peoples expectations second hand are between about £3 and about £15. Very competitive pricing being set by the internet and my aim is to try and be cheaper than the internet, postage charges help with this and I generally manage to pull it off.

By far and away the best selling art books are the “how to paint and draw” books and the books on individual artists, with these nine times out of ten the customer is looking for a book on a specific artist.

The vast majority of sales in this section relate to paint on canvas art, books where the subject matter is unmade beds, piles of tins of beans, lines of bricks etc. don’t for the most part sell.

Some more documents of interest have appeared on the councils website

Agenda and DecisionsExtraordinary Cabinet Meeting, CabinetThursday, 12th March, 2009 7.00 pm http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=151&MId=1258&Ver=4


Thanet district Council press release

Local people can give their views from next week (Monday 30 March) on the council's vision for how Thanet will look in 20 years time.

The vision document looks at the council's hopes for the whole area, along with specific parts of the District, including Broadstairs, Margate, Ramsgate, Westwood, the Manston Park business park and Kent International Airport.

It takes people forward in time to the year 2030, with key improvements envisaged by the council including:
The renewal of the area's economy, helped by a busy airport at Manston, a thriving offshore wind-farm industry and the arrival of more creative businesses in Margate.
Improved education levels and leisure facilities.
A strong emphasis on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour has made Thanet a much safer place.
Better road and rail links.
Lower levels of deprivation in Thanet's poorest neighbourhoods.

Broadstairs is seen as remaining a traditional seaside resort, while Ramsgate is viewed as a premier sailing destination, with an expanded marina and additional ferry operators. Margate is predicted to undergo the most radical change, following on from the success of Turner Contemporary, with extensive redevelopment of the town centre a likely prospect.

The vision for Manston is that the Manston Park business park and Kent International Airport will become the commercial centre for Thanet, with both creating thousands of jobs over the next 20 years. Westwood is seen as a complete community, with homes, schools, leisure, sports, shops and other facilities all in the area.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel, said: "This is the council's vision of how we would like to see Thanet looking by the year 2030, but now it's over to local people. We want to find out whether they have any other ideas that we've missed that we can add into the document. The vision is perhaps the most important document the council produces, as it sets out the work we need to do for the next 20 years. From this, we will be able to focus our resources into ensuring that the vision becomes a reality. That's why it's important to check that that we've included everything that we should in the vision."

The consultation on the vision starts from Monday 30 March, when it will be available online at http://www.thanet.gov.uk/ with copies of the survey available from Thanet's Gateway Plus and local libraries. If you would like a copy sent to you, please call 01843 577120.
Ed. I will add the link directly to the consultation as soon as it becomes available on the councils website.


Thanet district Council press release

A planning application has been received for a three storey building on the seafront in Westgate.

The plans, for nine two-bed flats, together with parking and landscaping, are for land adjacent to St. Cecilia's care home in Sea Road.

This application follows the refusal of permission in 2008 which was dismissed at appeal for a semi-circular three storey building containing 10 two-bed flats, which was considered out of character of the area.

Details of the plans, including drawings, can be found online at www.ukplanning.com/thanet by putting in reference number 09/0201, or they can be viewed at Thanet's Gateway Plus, which is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, with late night opening until 8pm on Thursdays. It is also open on Saturdays from 9am to 5pm.

The plans are currently out to consultation until Friday 17 April.


Thanet district Council press release

Operation Clean Sweep returns to one part of Ramsgate this week (Monday 23 - Friday 27 March) to follow up on a series of anti-social issues.

The operation, led by Thanet District Council, last visited the Eastcliff and Central Ramsgate areas in July 2008. It will be focusing on Trove Court, Kennedy House, Newcastle Hill and surrounding roads.

Helped by officers from Kent Police, the UK Border Agency, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Kent County Council, the operation aims to tackle a range of problems. These include any damage to council housing in the area, checking the use of buildings in the area and the condition of privately rented homes and looking for any suspected illegal immigrants or potential fire hazards. A truancy sweep will also be carried out during the week and clean up squads will be deployed to tackle dumped rubbish and graffiti, with the help of volunteers from Pipeline.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: "Operation Clean Sweep made a big difference the last time it was in Eastcliff and we've promised to go back to areas to check on issues there. It's been our experience so far that usually the second time we go back to a particular area, it's much improved and I'm sure that's going to be the case this time as well."

Sunday 22 March 2009

Sunday ramble

I have been busy this week on various projects, with Pleasurama the planning officer in charge of the application was kind enough to drop in on Thursday evening to give me a set of the new plans and discuss the progress of the development.

It is always a bit of a difficult one Pleasurama, that is one can't get away from the problem that the plans are just not very good and aspects of them are impossible to justify for the people who are supposed to do so.

The main problem being that the environment agency have said that there should be emergency escapes to the cliff top and that a flood risk assessment should be carried out before any construction starts, however because the problem was missed when they were originally consulted they can’t insist on this. What can anyone do? There appears to be no legislation or procedure in place to deal with a situation where plans are passed and then someone notices that there may be a dangerous problem with them.

For instance the narrow chasm between the back of the building and the cliff face there is just no way that anyone can say that it's sensible or good design. Obviously there are only two sensible options, one being to build against the cliff and extend the cliff top over the building the other to build much further away from the cliff.

Here I should explain that the officer concerned is both charming and very good at his job, which in this case ostensibly is to explain the plans to me, there is however a limit to how far anyone can explain something that just doesn't work properly or make sense.

Another example are the arches under the Marina Esplanade incline the council say there is a 40 tonne weight limit on them and they have a proper survey carried out probably at considerable public expense to justify this, so I say to one of the council officers OK go down there (and he does) and you will find the Victorian house bricks from which it is constructed crumble between your fingers. What can the officer concerned do? He has to abide by the rules this type of construction has to be surveyed and weight limits set in this case it is obvious that something is wrong, someone at some time made a mistake, however there seems to be no legislation or procedure in place to deal with situations like this.

I pointed out that before the huge roundabout for busses was built that wiped out nearly all of the main sands car park, that it could never be used. One of the strange aspects of this is that it will be people using the new development that will suffer most from the strain that this puts on the very limited parking available.

So then on to the developer’s agent also a charming man and by no means stupid and the problem here once again is that I am just talking common sense to him, to begin with he had assumed that I was just against the development, or for that matter any new development.

The problem for him once again is that my aim is what his should logically be i.e. a development that has minimum requirements which are that it safe, insurable, and saleable, but over a period of time he had come to the conclusion that I was somehow trying to obstruct the building of a good development rather than trying to see that we had a good safe development instead of a bad one.

But anyway at last some progress I managed finally to persuade the developers agent that to build without the flood risk assessment, strongly recommended by the environment agency would make the apartments very difficult to insure and therefore worth a lot less.

He has promised to try and get a flood risk assessment done and I think he probably will.

Once again emails to various councillors asking to get the Pleasurama site cleared and leisure use for the summer and once again a courteous reply from the leader and deputy that they will do their best.

With the deputy leader and leader I take the pragmatic view that it is best to do my best to get on with them and I can honestly say that I have found them to be courteous in my dealings with them, the thing I find most disturbing about the recent standards committee censure is not the behaviour of the councillors, not the peculiar and ineffectual excuses, not even the legally drafted letter that was a poor excuse for an apology but the fact that it cost us taxpayers £30,000. how this sort of waste can be excused in the present economic climate beggars belief.

Some concerns over Euroferries as the promised timetable that was supposed to appear on that website last week hasn't, I think it is important to be as optimistic as possible over this one as we have nothing to lose and everything to gain from a fast ferry service.

I think this year will be make or break for Ramsgate and we will have to accept some compromises that we wouldn't during normal times or the town will turn into something like Margate is now.

With the recession starting to bite it is becoming increasingly obvious that at some point we are going to reach a limit to the amount of public expenditure there can be. Luxuries like civil servants that don’t actually produce anything useful or locking people in prison who are not a danger to society at the cost of over £1,000 per week, when they could either pay a hefty fine or be made to work for nothing for the benefit of the community, these types of things are going to have to be looked at.

I have finally managed to get Pritchard’s History of Deal into print although I haven’t finished off its web pages yet you can click here for some sample pages and here to buy the book online.

I have also just finished the Ramsgate Private Residents and Business Directory for 1923 and am printing it out at the moment so it should be ready for sale on Tuesday or Wednesday all being well.

Oh and this Ramsgate Woolworth building yep that’s the rent with the interest rate at ½ % it suggests the building is worth £32,000,000

Commercial Type: Retail
Location: RAMSGATE
Tenure: Rental
Status: To Let
Photos: 1
Size: 1,342.16 sq.m (14,447 sq.ft)
Description: The property is arranged on a ground and 1 upper floor to provide a large retail unit with ancillary storage accommodation above. The property has a ground floor c 691.86 sq.m (7,447 sq.ft) with an aluminium shop front and doors and a central automat...
£160,000 PER ANNUM

Saturday 21 March 2009

Books about Ramsgate Margate and Broadstairs and online selling

I am often asked about buying and selling online, mostly by people who are concerned about online fraud, I buy a fair amount online mostly books and printing related products and I would say that a much larger proportion of online purchases are unsatisfactory, compared to those purchases that I make in ordinary shops.

As these are purchases that I have to make for the business I have no option but to put up with this situation.

As most of the readers of this blog will know one of the things I do is to publish books about this area, most of which I sell in my bookshop in Ramsgate.

I also sell my local books online predominately on ebay and on my own website and with the increase in internet fraud an increasing concern is how to show internet customer that they can trust a small business.

The greatest concern for customers is passing on their credit card details to a small business that they have never heard of. I overcome this by using PayPal on my own website. When you pay using PayPal the card details are not passed onto the retailer so there is no more risk of having your card details stolen than using your card with any other large well established company.

Another concern for customers is that they will receive a reasonably good product, in reasonable time, that is value for money, which is why I use ebay as well as my own website. The online seller has no control over customer feedback on ebay so if the seller has a reasonable amount of positive feedback the customer can be fairly certain that they will get what they expect.

From my point of view selling on ebay is more expensive than selling on my own website so I compensate for this by charging postage on the books I sell on ebay but sending those I sell from my own website post free.

Click here for the local books on my own website

Click here for the local books on ebay

Click here for ebay feedback

AOL being irritating?

In 2000 we had serious problems with internet service providers and eventually changed to AOL in, which has been very reliable, in the last 9 years we have had about 4 days when we haven’t been able to access the internet.

A couple of weeks ago a really irritating popup search window started to appear when you sign on to AOL, it was so irritating that I considered changing to another internet service provider, if anyone else is having a problem with this here is how to remove it from your computer.

Close Internet Explorer and AOL, right click on the Internet Explorer icon on your desktop, click on properties, security tab, click on restricted sites, click on sites, in the add this website to zone add the following two sites http://uk.at.atwola.com/ and http://aka-cdn-ns.adtech.de/ and click on close and then OK.

Conservative Policy For Charities

Laura Sandys press release

More Secured Funding, More Flexibility and More Control
Conservative Policies for the Voluntary Sector

At a meeting of Thanet’s voluntary groups, Nick Hurd MP, Shadow Minister for Charities and the Voluntary Sector, shared with the group the Conservative policy to support charities and volunteers.

“We must support our voluntary sector more effectively by listening to them about the support they need. Today charities are expected to look and act more like Government departments than the community based volunteering organisations that they were set up to be. We are proposing clear policies on providing 3 year funding contracts to give the sector much greater certainty for funds. We want to ensure that grants measure results not tick box processes from Whitehall and we want to ensure that voluntary groups have the freedoms to serve the community as they see fit.” Said Nick Hurd at the meeting in Ramsgate.

“I was thrilled that Nick was able to come and meet with the very strong voluntary sector that we have in Thanet and know that his thoughts and future policies will be informed by what he heard”, said Laura Sandys Conservative Parliamentary candidate for South Thanet.

If you have any thoughts on how Conservative policy could support the voluntary sector more effectively please do email on laura@telllaura.org.uk so that your ideas and your thoughts can make a difference to Conservative policy. for the full White Paper for Charities and Voluntary Groups please also email me on laura@telllaura.org.uk

Friday 20 March 2009

Royal Victoria Pavilion

I have information from a reliable source that a developer has been found who wants to restore the exterior of the building and to convert the inside shops and an area for a farmers market.

I gather the intention is to restore the porch that was demolished by the casino operator, I believe some compromises may have to be made to keep within a reasonable budget, for instance it may be too expensive to replace the windows in the roof.

At the moment reports are being prepared to resolve the various problems that the building has like the cellar that floods.

Thursday 19 March 2009

The dragon at the roundabout near Manston Tesco

I just managed to snap it out the car window, for any of you that haven’t heard about this it is a large dragon shaped flowerpot, possibly made form wood recovered form the beach.

Asset disposal decisions

The decisions about the assets disposal cabinet meeting have appeared on the TDC website, the Maritime Museum is cleared for disposal.

Click on the link below to read the main document.


Click on the link below for the consultation document Annex 2 .


Click on the link below for the information on Northdown House

China Gateway shares fall again

Not being much of a financial wizard I am uncertain if this has much significance but shares in Commercial Group Properties have fallen again they now stand at 7.5p this is not due to any share trading but just means that people are offering to buy them at 5p and other people are offering to sell them at 10p.


Thanet district Council press release

A new report from the Audit Commission shows that Thanet District Council is in the top 50 out of almost 400 in the country for the improvements it has made to its services.

The Annual Audit and Inspection Letter ranks the council as 43rd out of 388 authorities for the number of performance indicators that improved between 2006/07 and 2007/08. The report states: "The council continued to focus on improving outcomes for local communities, linked to its ambitions. Crime has fallen and more people feel safe walking after dark. Streets are cleaner, recycling has increased and public satisfaction is improving."

Other areas singled out for praise include the opening of Thanet's Gateway Plus, which "has led to reduced waiting time and increased library usage", the speed of decision making on planning applications and the award of the Charter Mark standard for customer service. Measures to make Thanet safer that are highlighted in the report include the extension of CCTV to Margate and Newington and increased prosecution of graffiti taggers.

Less successful areas included the percentage of private sector homes vacant for six months, the amount of overpayments in housing benefit that were recovered and the collection of rent.

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said: "This report shows Thanet's continued improvement. The fact that we're now amongst the top 50 councils for improving our services is a great result and thanks to the hard work of all our officers. The fact that we've focused on services that matter most to local people, such as waste and recycling, reducing crime, benefits and planning applications is clearly paying dividends. Our challenge now will be continuing that journey of improvement in a tougher financial climate, but residents can rest assured, we will continue to offer the best possible value for money in everything we do."

It comes after the Audit Commission's Use of Resources assessment rated money management and value for money at Thanet District Council as above average. This was compared to a year earlier, when the council was classed as performing adequately.

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Ramsgate Library local history archive

I have heard back from Ramsgate library and I am sure you will be glad to know that my local history publications are out on open shelving where you can all enjoy them.

I also have a list from them of the ones that they are missing and will drop them in there in the next few days.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Ramsgate Maritime Museum at risk

At the end of this month the curator of the museum goes leaving the museum and all of the artefacts inside uncared for and unguarded.

The museum has already suffered an act of vandalism last Christmas when 17 windows were smashed.

Preston Steam Museum and the council are engaged in negotiations for the steam museum that already owns all of the artefacts and vessels to take over the clock tower building, but at this late stage they still haven’t.

One problem is that the back of the museum is poorly lit and not properly covered by the harbours security cameras.

We have already lost the historical artefacts that were in the museum in Ramsgate Library to the fire and now for our remaining museum to be so vulnerable is just unacceptable.


The latest Operation Cubit has removed another 36 untaxed or abandoned cars from the streets of Thanet.

The most recent operation, which is led by Thanet District Council, also involves Kent Police, Kent County Council, the DVLA and Kent Fire and Rescue Service. During the week of Monday 9 March, the team targeted hot spots across the area, picking up 16 vehicles in Ramsgate, 12 from Cliftonville, six from Margate and two from Westgate.

Since April 2008, a total of 268 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.


Thanet district Council press release

Romans have charged into Thanet District Council offices, helping staff to raise more than £500 for Comic Relief.

The council's grounds maintenance team dressed up as Romans for Red Nose Day and raided council offices, collecting money from staff for Comic Relief. Staff contributed £546.01, with much of the money given as part of a dress down day.

Over the last few years, nearly £4,000 has been collected by the grounds maintenance team for both Comic Relief and Children in Need.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: "Our grounds maintenance team always do an excellent job of ensuring that staff give generously for charity and Comic Relief was no exception. They're not afraid to make fools of themselves to bring in cash for a good cause and, let's be honest, who would dare refuse a group of Romans asking for money?"


Thanet district Council press release

Local people can clean up the Thanet coastline with a series of volunteering activities from the Thanet Coast Project.

Spring beach cleans are taking place later this month (March), with sessions taking place at Plumpudding, Minnis Bay between 10am and 1pm on Saturday 28 March and at Pegwell Bay at the same times on Sunday 29 March.

Ramsgate's wild Sea Garden is also the focus for a spring clean with a session planned on Saturday 4 April between 10am and 1pm with artist Ruth Cutler. Spring planting and maintenance will be carried out at the garden, which is next to the promenade car park, at the north end of the road leading down below the Granville Theatre. Help is needed with hoeing, weeding, collecting litter, constructing flint and chalk designs and planting.

Naomi Biggs, Thanet Coast Project Education Officer, said: "These sessions provide a great opportunity to help clean up our beautiful coastline after the ravages of winter. Our beaches could do with extra pairs of hands to help clear away rubbish that's been washed up over the last few months and our Sea Garden needs work to get it ready for spring visitors. We really value the work of our volunteers and we'd be lost without their help. We know, from their feedback, that they get a lot from volunteering."

Gloves and bags are provided, along with refreshments, which Tesco is supplying.


Thanet district Council press release

Local people can now apply to play their part in upholding standards in public life, with applications open for Thanet District Council's Standards Committee.

The committee oversees the ethical standards of elected and other members of the district, town and parish councils in Thanet.

It has four independent members, one of whom serves as an independent chairman and another who serves as an independent vice chairman. Most of the committee's meetings take place in the early evening.

To be eligible to apply, you should not have been a member or officer at the council or a parish or town council within the last five years or be a relative or close friend of a member or officer at Thanet District Council.

Ideally, candidates should have an interest in standards in public life, high standards of personal integrity, be objective, independent and impartial and have experience of complaints or standards processes.

For an information pack, visit click here or call 01843 577207. The closing date for applications is Friday 3 April 2009.


Thanet district Council press release

A new project, to help young people access youth activities in Margate and Cliftonville, has launched a series of free pilot activities in the area.

Project Engage, which is being run by Pie Factory Music on behalf of Thanet Engage, has received money from the Safer Stronger Communities Fund (SSCF).

They have been talking to all age groups to find out what they think about youth activities in the Cliftonville and Margate areas, with the aim of finding out what young people and their parents think would work for them and to fill any gaps in provision that currently exist.

Following this work, two evenings of football and break dancing have already taken place for 11 to 18 year olds at the Quarterdeck Youth Centre, with another planned for this Monday (16 March). These have been organised by Project Engage and the Kent Refugee and Minority Support Group, who are also receiving funding from the SSCF.

Free disability training workshops for those working with young people are taking place in March and April and are being delivered by Project Engage and East Kent MENCAP. This training follows feedback that young people with disabilities often find it difficult to access mainstream provision. The training will equip providers with the information they need to be aware of when it comes to disability, enabling agencies to be more inclusive and making it easier for young people with disabilities to get involved.

Mike Andrea, a member of the SSCF Programme Board said: "The contribution of Project Engage to the improvement of youth services for those young people who currently find it hard to access these services is superb. It is encouraging to see a project that is taking the views of the public seriously and working hard to improve the quality of provision for the young people who need it most."

To find out more about future football and break dancing sessions or to book a place on a disability workshop, contact Steph Kailou, Project Engage Worker, on 01843 596777 or 0779 303 5044 or e-mail steph@piefactorymusic.com