Sunday, 7 February 2010

Sunday ramble and a few reflections on the last week’s blogging

It was a week ago today that I posted about the core strategy response and the council seem to be still fighting with their IT on that one.

At the moment it says on their website: “197 responses were received via on-line questionnaire.

People were able to respond to this consultation by uploading a response document.

No response documents have been received for this consultation.”

See http://consult.thanet.gov.uk/inovem/consult.ti/core.strategy/listRespondents

It really isn’t that surprising that they didn’t receive any responses from people who uploaded the response document as the document that TDC provided online was in the form of a pdf file so that it wasn’t actually possible to write on it with ones computer.

It now says 197 people used the online questionnaire, as this conflicts with what the council has already said I can only assume that this is another TDCIT problem, by this I mean that the person putting the information on their website doesn’t understand the information they are publishing.

I haven’t had a chance to count the names on the council website and see if there are 197 of them, this should be simple as there are 20 pages of names 19 of which have 11 names on them, however as many of the names are repeated it is all a bit of a mess.

The whole thing is typical of the councils approach to IT which seems to be to use the most complicated expensive and difficult method, by this I mean that instead of just publishing a page with all of the names on it in alphabetical order they have used this strange method of putting 11 names on 20 interlinked pages some of the list of names is in alphabetical order and some of it isn’t.

The wretched Pleasurama saga still goes on and it is getting the information about it from the council that is such a frustrating and time consuming business, why they would want to secretive about a development of this scale is something that I have never really understood.

Pretty much every document that I have managed to obtain relating to the development has added more to the confirmation that it is an ill-conceived development that can’t possibly be built without changing the plans completely.

I do wonder what it is that the council are trying to achieve, particularly as until they finally address the very real problems that relate both to the cliff safety and the flooding issues, the delays just continue.

One of the worrying local paper articles this week is the one about dangerous dog crime http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/thanet/Figures-rise-dog-attacks-Thanet/article-1809907-detail/article.html reading the article I was again aware of the situation where the pressure on the police to produce ever reducing crime statistics, means in practice they are increasingly reluctant to prosecute people.

Another article that struck a chord with me is the one about the Turner Contemporary KCC grant money http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/thanet/Trust-boss-vows-Turner-centre-Margate-value/article-1809836-detail/article.html the argument from the pro Turner lot has always been that the money to fund it doesn’t come out of our pockets.

Well £1,000,000 a year out of our council tax is a substantial amount, over the past few years talking to people I know that work for KCC I have become aware that this project has become a sort untouchable grail that goes on getting funding, no matter how much money it sops up, or how much is diverted from other projects due to the harsh economic climate.

I was surprised by the seriousness of the KFC fire see http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kentonline/news/2010/february/6/kfc_fire.aspx this type of modern building always looks to me as though it would be difficult for a fire to spread very quickly.

I have noticed that some of the recent largish residential developments have been built almost entirely of wood and I do wonder how these would withstand a fire.

The council’s unpopular asset disposal program is continuing, but with so much resistance one does wonder if it is going to cost them nearly as much in legal fees countering the opposition as they will raise from the sale of the assets.

One does wonder what the cost of the Northdown House debacle was when one considers the all of the business they lost while it was going on.

Back to Pleasurama, I gather now that the developer has deposited £1m with the council, instead of the bond, with the £1m on the cliff repairs I am beginning to wonder if Austin Powers is involved.

I suppose that so much actual money must be seen a considerable message of intent, what I fail to understand why if the developer has considerable ready cash available, he hasn’t undertaken a survey of the cliff façade and a flood risk assessment.

I have started to sound out our councillors about the possibility of getting temporary leisure use for the site this year, so far the answers have been the same as previous years, by that I mean that they say work is due to start on constructing the development in the next few weeks.

One does wonder after having said the same thing all these years running if they genuinely believe what they are saying, they reply to me that the problems with the cliff façade have been resolved, I then send them the photographs of the missing foundations after that I don’t hear from them again.

Bit of a long ramble I am afraid but then you don’t have to read it.

5 comments:

  1. Why would you want temporary leisure use of a site that most people consider dangerous,with no foundations at the bottom and cracks and a weight limit up top it would be madness to use the site in it's present condition.

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  2. 17.18 Not really, you see the cliff like many other unsupported chalk cliffs in Thanet is at the level of safety that most meet, by this I mean “don’t sit under the cliff”.

    What it isn’t safe to do is to build a residential development 4 metres away from it, something that would mean the people living in it would effectively sitting under the cliff 24-7.

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  3. I think when the Royal sands project first started a bond in the region of £15 million was mooted, and the cliff repairs were going to £500,000K, the tender for the cliff work came in about £700,000 and another £300,000 work was identified (the initial surveyors should be taken to task) meanwhile the property market collapsed and yet again TDC had a large omlette on its face, having allowed the developer to get away with murder because they need some readies to help get the director of finance out of trouble.

    ReplyDelete
  4. a million a year?

    why was that information left out of the original brief for the Turner Centre...? it seems that outsiders will just continue to see the south east as a dump to make a quick payout and run

    all that money and just like Westwood, no real infrastructure plan - a new pier on site of the historic old, would surely bring the centre and Dreamland an good number of extra visitors?

    ReplyDelete
  5. 23.29 As this wretched saga meanders on mopping up both the councils and the developers money with seemingly no viable solution I believe expensive litigation will probably be the next stage.

    Gerald having done some sums I have done a new post about it.

    ReplyDelete

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