This morning’s walk is an example of what I mean. One of Ramsgate’s greatest potential assets is its underground tunnel system, I publish a small book about it and it is my bestselling book, I take this to be a reflection of local peoples interest in the tunnels.
This morning the seafront tunnel entrance was open and there were a couple of white van types down there with torches.
Obviously I asked them what they were up to and they said they were clearing the rubbish out of the tunnel entrance. Did they know why? No. Can I find out? Possibly. Is it worth the effort? Probably not. I tried phoning the council but apparently the only person who would know what was going on was not available.
Extracting information from Thanet District Council is a laborious business, for the most part they don’t just tell you what is going on. As an example of what I mean, I wanted to get the development agreement for the Royal Sands Development in Ramsgate, a reasonable request as it has been a deserted building site for years now, I wanted to know the dates by which various parts of the development are supposed to happen. We are on the forth lot of contractors now and I want to keep an eye on the situation to make sure they are really serious, so the development agreement would be a useful document. I first asked TDC for it on 8th September. Now about 20 emails later I have requested the information commissioner’s office to look into why I haven’t been sent it. God alone knows what all of this costs and how much civil servants time is wasted, in any sort of sensible world it would just have any commercially sensitive information removed and be published with the plans on the council’s planning website. It is after all a key document about a major development in Thanet. By way of explanation normally there would be a planning agreement for this sort of development setting out what has to be done when, but as the development is on council owned land it is exempted from having one.
So when the council start playing about with one of our major assets in this case the tunnel system, I want to know what they are up to. Over the last few years they have run one of their worst possible worlds scenarios, on the one hand they have shut off all the ventilation to it, something that will probably ruin it for future generations, while on the other hand they have continuously failed to keep it properly secured.
Anyway if anyone knows what is going on perhaps they could comment.
Here is the link to this morning’s photos http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts119/id10.htm
I wonder what it would be like to have local government that really engaged with local people and genuinely tried to keep them informed about what was going on, normally we only find out about our heritage assets down on the eastern undercliff, like we did with theatre and restaurant down there, that is when the demolition starts.