Wednesday 29 September 2010

Kent International Airport Night Flights

Here is the documentation published today

Update I have published the files in ordinary html at

More about this if I get time later on.

It may take a bit longer than I thought as the council have published the information as locked pdf files only, my ancient laptop can hardly open them let alone unlock them, so that I can paste the most relevant bits into this blog post.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Shut your face

Having just picked up on Jeremy Jacobs talking about the Emma Thompson news article about slang,

Here are the links

I wanted reply to this with an image from the world of books, but you can’t post images in comments.

I suppose the problem with slang is you just can’t remove it from the language, much as some of us may want to.

Harbour slipways demolition application deadline extended.

I have just heard from the council that the deadline for comments supporting or objecting to the application to demolish part of slipways 2 and 3 all of slipway 4 and virtually all of the buildings on the boatyard don’t have to be submitted until the 15th of October.

This is now the same date as for the application to build the new development and I believe means that comments submitted can relate to both the development and the demolition.

Frankly this is a bit of a relief as I didn’t want to comment until I had heard what the environment agency – a statutory consultee – had to say about the matter.

One problem here is that they seem to have designed a small pier, but according to their flood risk assessment they seem be in a stare of denial regarding the hypostasis that the sea has waves.

I have come up with an estimate of the probable wave height in the harbour see

Many thanks to reader Gareth who drew my attention to the glossy brochure that is part of the planning application, the picture above that should expand if you click on it a couple of times, shows some more interesting facets of the development.

Including the panoramic views across the sea and harbour, not sure where all the skyscrapers came from and one called, slipway incorporated within the proposal which appears to show the development sloping into the sea.

Monday 27 September 2010

Ramsgate Slipways Development Artists impressions.

I have given up waiting for the developer to drop me in copies of the artists impressions of the development and as comments on the demolition application have to be sent to the council by Friday I went down to the Town Council offices where they are on display and photographed them.

Two of each one with flash and one without, both could be better but I have done my best.

I have also been sent an artists impression from another source and of a different view, below.
Also the picture it was based on, below, so that you can see the view from the harbour wall that is obscured by the development.
None of them come anywhere near expressing the building material that changes colour depending on the angle you view it from, click on the link for the pictures of the sample boards
I have cropped some of the pictures of the boards and put them on the web to try and give some idea of the actual colours involved

Sunday 26 September 2010

Sunday Ramble

A bit of a drift around the local news and a few thoghts on a wet Sunday afternoon.

First the night flights see

From a personal point of view and from a noise disturbance point of view the level of flights over Ramsgate at the moment isn’t giving me any grief, when a plane goes over I tend to wander outside and look at it. The people going past outside at night swearing and shouting is much more of a problem in this part of Ramsgate and I don’t think that the ongoing stream of obscenities, with the windows open or them playing in the garden this summer, is beneficial to my children.

I am not happy about Kent International Airport from a pollution point of view, nor am I happy that they don’t seem to comply with the existing overflying rules. Obviously the amount of overlying Ramsgate and the amount of night flights needs controlling, especially if the airport expands.

At the moment the amount of flights over Ramsgate has gone down see

I suppose the thing that really bugs me with the airport is that they just don’t seem to operate a common sense policy when it comes to overflying Ramsgate, quite simply they do so when they don’t need to and in doing so have got peoples backs up unnecessarily.

Low flights over the most densely populated part of the town and low training flights also over the town on calm and virtually windless days, seems pretty daft to me.

The council don’t seem to be taking the issue seriously too see in fact reading that article doesn’t inspire much confidence.

The business a bout the broken noise monitor and mending it so is can be put in the garden of someone who works at the airport sounds like some sort of joke, more like the sort of solution for a neighbour with a noisy lawnmower than the workings of an international company.

An airport operator with busted equipment and no backup is hardly likely to inspire confidence at any level.

A few thoughts on Pleasurama here and the press, well work has started on the Royal Sands Development, no great splash in the local press although the development is much larger than the Turner Contemporary, work at the moment on this £20m project seems to have mostly involve two men moving the piles of dirt on the site.

There hasn’t been any sign of the local information that the council and the developer promised that there would be when work started either.

Questions like is the roof still made of rubber, why are there weeds growing out of the cliff façade that £1m was spent on, is there any sort of flood risk assessment, has there been some sort of survey of the cliff after the repairs to the repairs? Well the list could go on and the councillors and council officers don’t seem to have much in the way of answers.

Ask a councillor? Try it and there is a sense of, how many councillors does it take to change a lightbulb? Sorry what do I mean here? It goes a bit like this: ask the town council and the answer is the district council don’t tell them what is going on; ask a cabinet member and they tell you to ask the town council, so you say – they say we don’t know nuffin – so the cabinet member say ask your district councillor, so you do and your district councillor says he hasn’t been told anything and to try a cabinet member.

Alternatively you can ask an officer, I won’t go on about this aspect but just say that 11 months is about how long a foi request on this subject can take.

How do I read the situation at the moment? Well I will do my best here although it is just speculation.

The flood risk, well everyone has ticked the right boxes here and I don’t think either the developer or the council wants rock the boat.

The sewers, at the moment I believe the plan is to use the existing system for over 1,000 people in the new development, the car park and road drainage into the system that runs along Harbour Parade. As this system floods in moderate rain (several times during the summer this year) diverting the sewage into the café culture there, you would think there would be some sort of plan.

Ask the district council and they will say that it is a county council problem, they will say it’s a Southern Water problem who will direct you to the planning authority, the district council.

I think the answer on this one is just no plan.

Then there is the dodgy cliff wall, in a sane world someone would get a professional civil engineer independent of the work that has already been done here to inspect it.

I suspect the developers stance is that it is the council’s wall they own it and say that it’s OK although I suspect the developer is a bit reluctant to disturb the ground near it or start the pile boring that will cause vibration near it.

Then there is the council, well they have already spent £1m on repairing it and a further £900 weeding and inspecting it after the repairs and then a further £10,700 repairing a small part of it that failed also after the repairs.

I am afraid that this £11,600 of council spending was probably my fault for telling them that when it was repaired the contractor had fudged up a great big crack that had opened up again and that the nice new pointing and sealing work was spouting weeds, well now it needs weeding again.

Suppose the council says to the developer, “our cliff wall is all dodgy and it looks as though it may fall on your nice new development,” then I suppose the developer is going to say, “I have spent over £2m so far on the road and the plumbing, can I have it back.”

We have a cautious history of building on the foreshore and in front of chalk cliffs, it has involved some structures being collapsed by cliff falls and some being collapsed by wave action.

With the developments close to cliffs the approach was to build a new cliff wall in some cases, but mostly it was to incorporate the structure into a new cliff support system.

Engineering hat now, the western end of the cliff wall behind the Pleasurama site looks to be Jerry built, the bit at the Eastern end has the look of reasonable civil engineering but the western end bit is a mess.

This link takes you to some pictures of it I think that part of it was probably constructed around the second world war as one of the lintel covered portals was the access for the tunnels related to HMS Fervent, whenever it was in civil engineering terms the bit you can see is a dog’s breakfast.

To build next to it seems a bit on the odd side however you look at it, I suppose some of our council offers and councillors will look at the pictures, considering that it will be Thanet Residents living right next to this thing I wonder if any of them will make any comments about it.

Now a bit of a look at the other local blogs, nearly all of the councillors who have blogs have posted about the Labour Party leadership election result, I suppose this is a pleasant diversion from problems nearer to home.

Oxbridge I suppose produces the finest minds and at least he doesn’t try and speak with a fake working class accent, I don’t really understand if he is supposed to be the next Labour prime minister, best bet as leader of the opposition or just a sort of accident.

I am not being unkind to the individual here, just vaguely speculating as to how it is that we end up with the leaders that we do, I was particularly thinking about how few Labour party members voted in this seemingly important decision, see in all 231 Thanet people voted in this decision.

Local Conservative blogs seem pleased with this outcome see I wonder if the chap Ed makes it all the way to the top they will be so pleased, I suppose only time will tell.

An interesting press release from the council about Ramsgate’s shelters, see it makes it only too clear why they need to get on with the lease for the Maritime Museum.

Another one here which concerns me a lot does this mean that they have extended the time for commenting on the application to demolish, or are the misleading people into thinking that they have until the 15th instead of the 1st?

Friday 24 September 2010

Plans to Demolish Ramsgate Harbour Slipways, Another Update

I have been discussing this development with the council, developer and architect mainly trying to find about the issues that were raised in the last posting about it see I will start with the information about the lease, at the moment these are verbal assurances from a senior council officer, in view of the time the comments on the demolition application have to be submitted by 1st October, it is unlikely that I would get anything in writing before that time. These comments relate to the lease for the part of the site comprising slipways 2,3 and 4, which is where the proposed development would be built. The demolition application would, if successful, mean that these slipways cease to be usable. This leasehold interest was bought from the boatyard operator by the developer for £90,000. The conditions of the lease stipulate that the site can only be used as a ship repair facility. The council have no intention of changing the terms of the lease at the moment and I have been assured that such a change would only be considered after a proper consultation process. The current lease expires in ten years and the council assure me that, no lease longer than 25 years could be granted by the council, without going through the full asset disposal process. This of course leaves us to consider what would happen if the developer fails to get change of usage for the site that he holds the lease on. I would conclude that he is unlikely to operate it as a ship repair facility. Obviously I am not party to the agreement between the developer and the ship repair business owners, so there may be some part of the agreement that says the leasehold returns to them if the developer fails to get change of use or planning consent. On the other hand we may be going into a situation where that part of the yard just falls into decay, I suppose much of this would depend on the will of the council to implement the terms of the lease. I now come to the planning applications. The first application is the one to demolish the slipways workshops winding houses etc L/TH/10/0736 Now a new set of plans have appeared on the council’s planning website, planning ref F/TH/10/0737 the council’s planning website can be found at These are the plans to erect the development and the main difference that I can see is that these include a flood risk assessment. This flood risk assessment doesn’t make sense to me.
I am going to have to put my science and engineering hat on here and do some explaining about sea levels, sorry about this but I have to assume that some people won’t know about sea levels. In this country we use two different sea levels, the base level is called “datum”. One is chart datum, this one appears on navigational charts, tide tables and is marked up next to the lock gate in the harbour. The other is ordinance datum, this one appears on Ordinance Survey maps and architectural drawings. Ordinance datum is 2.58 metres (about eight foot six inches) higher than chart datum. Drawing no 206/05 (I have put it on the internet for convenience, the little numbers are the levels above ordinance datum) shows an internal corridor, which is 3.6 metres above ordinance datum or 6.18 metres above chart datum. The flood risk assessment’s highest predicted static tide 6.3 metres above chart datum, in fact ordinary high tides in Ramsgate are about 5 metres see for this weeks tides. A spring tide or a tidal surge would push this figure up by about a meter and if the two occur together then we start to get into the realms of exceptionally high tides. On top of this you get the effects of any wave action, I think highest waves in the harbour would be in the order of about 3 metres. This corridor looks like it would be the only safe dry escape for the Seascouts.
I suppose the only thing in my assessment of the problems related to the high tide, that isn’t confirmed in the applications own flood risk assessment, is the maximum wave height in the harbour.
These pictures are of the damage sustained to the harbour wall adjacent to the development during a storm about thirty years ago. I have seen wave heights in the harbour of about 2 metres and been on pontoons with a wave height of over 1 metre, I suspect that 3 metres as a maximum may be an underestimate, best look at the pictures and make your own mind up.
With any plans if I find that there is something that doesn’t make sense to me in simple engineering terms the first place I go is the source of the plans, in this case the architects.
As this is a simple matter of, either the lower part of the development floods or it doesn’t and I asked them about this on the 20th and it is now the 24th I am beginning to suspect that there is a fault with the plans.
I have also put this to the council’s planning officers, who have forwarded the issue to the environment agency for comment.
Now we come to the look of the thing, or in this case things, I will start with what is there now, at a first look the corrugated sheds, vehicles and engineering equipment don’t look very attractive.
I suppose there is the characteristic that they have been there so long or at least buildings and equipment that are similar that most of us hardly gave what they look like a second thought, they are just part of the harbour.
In terms of slipways 3 and 4, these were the ones built in 1942 to service wartime vessels, the most interesting part from an historical point of view is the winding equipment in the winding house that dates from then. It is a time capsule of preserved and working engineering from the Second World War.
On the yards perimeter fence next to the Clock House are the boards showing Ramsgate Lifeboat rescues, the whole thing is very much tied up with the town’s connection with the sea.
In the last few days two new boards have appeared above the lifeboat ones, there is no explanatory notice but these boards have a very unusual characteristic which is that they change colour depending on the angle that you view them from, click on the link for more pictures of this I am assuming that they are the material that is to be used in the construction of the new development as this is also supposed to change colour depending on where it is viewed from. I suppose that it was this aspect of the new development that interested me the most, rather in the way the glass coating or the new Turner Contemporary interests me. At this point someone who is very much for the new development turned up, and I told him what I thought they were, so there we were two grown men wandering up and down looking a the colours change.
After some consideration I remembered where I had seen this effect before, even the colours were similar. Back in 1972 I had a summer job on a travelling fun fair and I had a pair of trousers that were made out of a fabric that did this, I am afraid the word that springs to mind here is tacky.
Looking at the planning drawings I haven’t put up any of the artists impressions here, as it is the plans that we are actually being asked to consider, the portholes life buoy on the wrong, landward side of the building, I am afraid that vulgar is another word that comes to mind.
I am still wondering about why the boards that change colour are where they are, above the lifeboat boards that will presumably be removed if the new development is built, seems a tad tactless in view of our connections, see
I would have thought that if the idea was to check the building material’s resistance to salt water, the other side of the slipway would be more beneficial, the video is of an ordinary spring tide, with a moderate sea running. This video was taken adjacent to the eastern side of where the new development is supposed to be going. I do wonder if the architect has considered this effect.
Having said this it does occur to me that I am probably mistaken here and the boards are something to do with the fun fair that will be coming for the quad bike event that the town council are organising.
The other day when I first looked into this the choice was between attempting to retain working slipways and the boat repair yard, which as I have said is not something attractive in an architectural sense or getting behind a new development. Now it seems that the new development hasn’t been thought out properly, so we are being asked to support something that doesn’t appear to have been designed with existing sea levels in mind.
Given that the development is expected to have some sort of useful life then there is also the problem of rising sea levels to consider.
I have had a very busy day in the bookshop and will add to this post during the evening as I get time, I am using my rather ancient laptop so have put up an associated website as it just can’t manage the huge files on the council’s planning site, see

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Thanet Offshore Windfarm Official Opening Tomorrow

To be honest I had forgotten about this one until the BBC phoned me today for an opinion, this sort of thing happens quite a bit now because of the internet, I think quite a few professional reporters look at the fairly high profile bloggers producing news stories with some interest.

Here are a few links to news articles about the opening.

How anyone unveils 100 wind turbines I don’t really know, perhaps this is journalistic licence, either that or a pretty big veil is involved.

Back to the Beeb and what they wanted to know, although strictly speaking this is about what they want you to be. In this case I think they were looking for an anti windfarm campaigner that they could interview, I expect this will prove to be a pretty rare beast.

I suppose the problem here is that I tend to write my understanding of the situation on this blog, best as I can, regardless of the subject. So here we go although I can assure you this won’t be what the Beeb really hoped for.

The problem spits two ways, one is the benefit to Ramsgate and I suppose the UK as a whole, the grant funding for wind energy exists and the money is better spent here than elsewhere.

What the benefits to Ramsgate are is a bit hard to quantify but there can be no doubt that the windfarm brings extra money into the local economy.

Then we come to two, which is are windfarms beneficial, putting my science and engineering hat on for the moment, the answers are a bit of a mixed bag.

First it is a bit unclear what the overall carbon footprint is of offshore windfarms, this must include greenhouse gasses produced by manufacturing the windfarm, operating it and decommissioning it.

Then of course the hard economics of what the electricity costs without the grant funding, I say this because there is always the risk of being left dependant on an expensive form of energy.

Then we have the problem of what happens when there is no wind or too much wind for the windfarm, by this I mean that unless we are able to store the wind energy produced then when there is no wind we have to have a fossil fuel backup power station.

If you are using a fossil fuel backup then this must come into the overall carbon footprint equation. Obviously if you have a backup that produces a low carbon footprint, the lowest being nuclear which is much lower that wind energy then there is no point in having a windfarm.

I suppose from a purely scientific point of view the outlook is pretty bleak, it looks like the way we are going at the moment the planet will be inhabitable in something between 80 and 200 years.

The best advice seems to be to stop using planes, boats, cars etc and convert all power generation to nuclear which would give the planet a probable inhabitable life of between 150 and 400 years.

I suppose the obvious question is what if the scientists making these gloomy predictions are wrong? There are plenty of people, even scientist who say they are wrong. I think the answer is then a lot of scientists are going to look rather stupid, of course if the are right then the human race will probably die out.

Now I am not saying that windfarms are not a good idea here I think they will help a certain amount, the problems are not insurmountable, just very expensive.

At the moment most of the windfarm manufacturing takes place in the Scandinavian countries, you don’t exactly need to be Adam Smith or John Maynard Keynes to see the problem there.

Wind energy is expensive nearly twice as much as atomic, discounting the cost of dealing with atomic waste, something that is less of a problem if the human race isn’t here to deal with it because of global warming.

There are ways of storing the energy produced when it is windy so we can use it when it is calm but once again expensive, a problem here is that periods of calm weather could go on for a long period of time, so this means retaining some sort of backup, so further expense.

There is also a finite amount of space for windfarms even offshore ones, the sea is big but unfortunately most of it is too deep.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

No Powerboat Weekend

With ECR rising from the grave only to say he is going see something that may not be absolutely correct, time will tell. I noticed that it says on his sidebar 24-25 Ramsgate Powerboat Fest instead of getting all excited I thought I would confirm this first.

Nothing on the council’s websites but this doesn’t really mean anything much, Port Ramsgate didn’t know anything about it, so I rang the tourist information office. If you don’t mind waiting for their automated telephone to tell you about things you may not want to know about and then select from five options all of which seem to take you to the same place. You do get to a person who, yes, seems to know about local events, she/he consults a sacred text referred to as the list, oh how I wish this thing was available online.

Here is the number, it really is the only reliable way I have found to find out what’s on in Thanet 577577.

The long and the short of all this is, yes we have no powerboat weekend and I have another cup of tea, symptomatic of speaking to someone who has been trained.

Here are the pictures of the powerboat thing in 2007

Monday 20 September 2010

Marina Bathing Pool Pictures

I have just got around to adding the text to this one, local mythology about the demise of the Marina Swimming Pool, is diverse and I am sure commentators can add to it.
Some say it was a council blunder that damaged Ramsgate marina swimming pool so badly it could never be used again.
The story goes that some bright council officer decided to take the running of it from the borough engineers and give it to the councils leisure department.
The sceptical engineers handed it to the leisure department with a set of instructions about running and maintaining it, one of which was never to empty it without supporting the seaward facing side.
This was because it was designed so the weight of the water inside counteracted the forces of the sea battering against it.
The first thing the leisure department did when they took it over was to empty it unsupported.
In the resulting cover up councillors were told that the damage was caused bomb during WW2 that had weakened the structure.
Some say the problem was the old design of the building and that thee pool was actually on 'stilts' and you could walk underneath it at low tide. As the tide came in the void was filled with seawater. The dated building measures made this a fatal design fault. Gradually the chalk below began to erode, and as a result the foundations moved, causing the pool to crack. This was patched for years until repairs were impossible. It was also too expensive to replace.

Some say that the chalk at sea edge was excavated deliberately and that the council failed to stop this.
I believe the brewers Tomson and Wotton paid for the pool and that it was opens by Mrs T Wotton and Mr Martin Tomson in 1935.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Sunday ramble

I haven’t had a lot of spare time this week, the post on Wednesday about the plans to demolish the harbour slipways pretty much finished off any spare time that I have for blogging.

I have tried to avoid coming down on one side or another over this one, partly because the information is still coming in, there were two significant factors that cropped up on Friday, these are just examples.

One was the planning application to build the new development appeared on the council’s planning website, distinct from the application that I posted about on Wednesday that was to demolish the slipways.

The main difference being that there is a flood risk assessment published with this application.

At the moment I can’t say much about this as I don’t understand aspects of the assessment, which seems to be supporting my hypothesis that part of the development that is indoors and supposed to be used by people, will be under water at high tide.

The other was a question from one of the council officers, who is trying to work out the pros and cons of these applications, about the Roman harbour underneath where the new development would be built.

Both if these things need considerable research on my part, hence not much time for blogging.

One thing that I have realised since I started to think about this development is that the harbour is much more boring than it used to be. Without my really noticing that much it has moved a considerable distance, from being a place where interesting vessels appeared often and interesting work always seemed to be happening to vessels there, to a static parking area for boats that have literally come out of a limited number of moulds.

I would say that we are in danger of turning Ramsgate’s main tourist attraction, the harbour, into something like a static boat park.

Another thing that I have been involved in over the last few weeks is trying to get the council to sort out how they promote leisure events on their website.

The problem here is that they have set themselves up as a publicly funded web resource to promote local events, so that their websites have become the main place on the internet where people look to find out what’s on here.

This means that people assume that if an event isn’t on the council’s websites then the event just isn’t happening. To expand on this, if say they promote Margate Carnival on the council’s main website homepage but don’t promote Ramsgate Carnival there too, then most people from out of the area who look on the web, would assume that there is no Ramsgate Carnival.

This seems to be a difficult concept for the councillors, council officers and some bloggers to grasp, frustratingly it makes me feel that I am either in some high country of the mind that they just can’t get to, or I am just insane.

Now for a quick look at the other local blogs:

Eastcliff Richard seems to have vanished at the moment, but then he does that sometimes, so no news there.

Simon Moores on Thanet Life, seems to have come back to life. After hardly posting at all for some months, he has suddenly started posting nearly every day. I have been too busy to comment there this week, it used to be very easy but now is just a pain. I can understand a councillor needing to set some sort of comment moderation, but word verification as well is just the pits and leaves you wondering if you have commented or not.

One post that interested me there was where Simon is understandably annoyed that the local press don’t seem to have much in the way of local news.

Simon reckons that he is finding more local news on the other local blogs than he is in the local papers, I have been looking and frankly there isn’t that much, that I can find.

I wonder if this is partly down to the council cabinet, as since I started my local press release blog in May of last year, I have only received one press release from them.

There was a local story on Tony’s Bignews Margate blog last week about the council locking people both in and out of the council offices, Tony is as bad as me at adding links and as there are several posts about this you have to go to his blog and scroll back to last week to read them.

This week apart from having a bit of fun with something I said, everything on Bignews is well big, i.e. based on national news stories, so no local news there this week.

Matt on Thanet Star hasn’t got any news but has put up a post asking if anything has happened in Thanet this week so no news there.

Tim Garbutt has posted saying that the plans for the slipways have been provisionally approved see he doesn’t say who by or what the provisions are.

An interesting article on We Make Margate not however local news.

The local history blogs based in Margate have the sad news that Mr Mick Twyman founder member and Secretary of the Margate Historical Society has died.

Thanet Newswire, now there is a blog name to conjure with when looking for news, sadly not much in the way of news there though really just the spat that the local councillors seem to having over the development in Dalby Square, Cliftonville.

With so many contentious developments in Thanet it is a bit hard to figure out why so much interest in this one that seems more sensible than most.

I do wonder if it is that like me they have the material to produce more news but not the time, of if they genuinely think that there isn’t that much going on that could do with some investigation.

The decontamination or whatever they are doing to Margate Gasworks looks interesting enough for starters, as these old gasworks sites tend to be some of the most contaminated places in the UK.

I will continue rambling along later in the day if I can think of anything else to say.

In fact I have continued although I don’t really have anything to say, don’t say you weren’t warned.

I have tried Facebook over the last few days, but have to admit to not being able to get on with it, I think I could manage it better if you could have enemies and acquaintances rather than just friends.

I even tried putting a joke there, as it seemed a sort of frivolous type of place on the web, here’s the joke: Have you heard the one about the man who disguises himself with glasses and a false beard to get past his wife. She mistakes him for her lover.

Anyone able to guess the book I am reading that it comes from?

Bit of a long ramble here today, we had friends round last night and were fairly late to bed anyway, then a very loud alarm went off from 2am to 2.20 and then 2.30 until whenever it stopped and I went back to sleep.

This type of thing combined with the sounds of Ramsgate town centre Saturday nightlife that continually drifts through our windows until about 4am, isn’t necessarily conducive to a good nights sleep.

I have to admit to speculating about the way people talk now, and I am not certain that this is particularly unique to Fanit. Apart from the whole business of punctuating every sentence with obscenities, something that must leave people a bit lost for words when they hit themselves on the thumb with the hammer. There is the whole business of, what I can only assume is deliberately trying to sound, well, I would say working class, this is something that I suppose I associate with working in a shop and with actually physically manufacturing something. I do both of these things and have reservations about how many other people actually make something on a regular basis that people buy. This business seems to be associated with what the late great Ronnie Barker would call something like having trouble getting ones worms out.

But, yes, we do seem to reaching a point where even the people I hear in the media, acting lines that have been written for them, do indeed seem to increasingly be having difficulty expressing themselves in some sort of fluid way.

So that now I find in term of speech communication the world is split in to three groups, one group who seem to be having increasingly more difficulty getting any meaning into the words between the obscenities. One group who seem to be generating a new English accent, as if they want to show that they don’t belong to the first group, many of these people I believe attend meetings, but still they seem to be, or at least started out trying to show that, yes they too are emphasising having difficulty expressing themselves, in the way they express themselves. Then just recently it is as though many of them really are having difficulty expressing themselves, even when they want to.

In our family one of my uncles, not a real uncle and now dead, used to affect unusual mannerisms of the people we knew at the time and a much older family friend of ours, who was also for some time one of my teachers, had a random facial twitch. This uncle, who I suppose was fairly young, or at least I suppose though us, when we were children, saw him as fairly young, used to pretend to have this facial twitch, to amuse us children.

It is difficult to remember what it was that amused one, when one was a child, I don’t think the teachers twitch did for some reason, but the uncle’s acting of I think did and I suppose there was something of a conspiracy there also. Anyway much later in time, when I had become an adult, I met this uncle again and he had indeed developed the facial twitch, that he once pretended to have.

I digress, there is the third group, these just appear to have the regional and class accents one so prevalent in England and as far as I can tell, seem to be expressing themselves as best they can and, yes doing quite well at it.

One way or another we are all a bit lethargic today and building up to a late and large Sunday roast.
Anyway this affected “not being able to get ones worms out” doesn’t seem to be easy to do in print. Very few people commenting here start by calling me “mate” unless of cause they are a mate of mine. Very few comments start um er, this er wasisname um fing (inert your own expletives).

Back to some sense of reality here, I have also had back from the council some of the answers I to some of the questions I asked them through the district auditor.

Here as an example are some of the questions I put and the answers I have received in red.

- how much money did the Council spend on the Pleasurama development in 2009/10?

The Council spent £11,600 on
the ‘Pleasurama’ site in 2009-

- how much of this money related to repairs to the cliff facade?

Of the figure in answer to
question one, £10,700 was
spent on the cliff wall adjacent
to the ‘Pleasurama’ site.
Incidentally, the difference of
£900 was spent on cliff façade
inspection and maintenance;
removal of weeds.

- how much compensation has the Council claimed re repairs to the cliff facade in 2009/10?

No compensation was claimed
by the Council regarding repairs
to the cliff façade in 2009/10.

- how much compensation has the Council received re the cliff facade in 2009/10?

Therefore no compensation
was received as at the end of
2009/10 regarding the cliff

- how much compensation did it expect to receive, as at the end of 2009/10?

- what does the Council estimate its potential liability to be in respect of the Pleasurama development, in respect of not determining the development agreement?

The Council has no estimate for
its potential liability in respect of
not determining the
development agreement. Last
year Cabinet, and Council,
decided not to determine the
development agreement. The
reports considered were public
domain, though certain
annexes were not public

- what does the Council estimate its potential liability to be re the risk of a tidal surge storm or cliff collapse results in injury or loss of life?

Within the context of the Isle of
Grain to S. Foreland Shoreline
Management Plan, the former
Pleasurama site is “hold the
line”. There are no current
proposals to improve resilience
against flooding on the basis of
current information. By
comparison, elsewhere in
Thanet there is a statistical
need to improve sea defence.
With a major scheme pending
in central Margate. And a small
scheme planned at Pegwell

- How much has the Council spent in respect of the Clock House building (including surveys, legal fees and maintenance) in 2009/10?

i) nil spent 2009/10
on the building

- How much has the Council spent on running the Maritime Museum (including staff maintenance, conservation, storage, security etc) in 2009/10?

ii) Museum support
in 2009/10 £7224.38

- How much has the Council spent on running the Margate Museum (including staff maintenance, conservation, storage, security etc) in 2009/10?

- How much depreciation has the Council charged in respect of the Clock House, Maritime Museum and Margate Museum in 2009/10

iii) Depreciation of
; Revalued in
asset register as
£204k from
£153k, on the
mechanism of
capital cost

- Has the Council recorded any loss of assets in the Clock House building, Maritime Museum or Margate Museum in its accounts for 2009/10? If so, how much?
Interesting perhaps are the questions that they didn’t answer and I suppose there will be some material both in the answers and absence thereof for some future blog posts.

I am assuming that anyone who has got this far in this somewhat convoluted and potentially rather boring post, is genuinely interested in this sort of thing.

Anyway for those of you still here, I wonder why the council are so reluctant to discuss, Margate Museum and potential liabilities elating to Pleasurama.

I also wondered what the reports considered when deciding to determine the Pleasurama Development Agreement were that were in the public domain:

All the ones that I have got are on pink paper and look like something out of 007 “For Their Eyes Only” there is something rather sad about the councillors holding a secret developers ball, or whatever they do, so that a development can proceed that the environment agency say may be dangerous.
I am afraid when the cabinet decided to go ahead, against the recommendations of their director of finance, this was when I started to really be concerned about the council’s liabilities here.

Friday 17 September 2010

Great Wall of Ramsgate the pictures of more pictures

A third lot of new pictures have gone up on the great wall of Ramsgate.

Here is the link to the pictures of them

Here is the link to the first lot that went up

And here is the link to the second lot

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Plans to demolish Ramsgate harbour slipways update

Talking to people in Ramsgate at the moment this seems to be the main issue that they are interested in, when it comes to developments in the town.

A bit more information has come my way and here it is.

Today started with the information that the last date to comment on this application was this coming Tuesday, information about this application differs depending on who you ask.

I have since discovered directly from the planning case officer that last date you can comment is 1st of October.

For Ramsgate this application is a watershed and the choice is between having a working boatyard in the town and a single isolated slipway with a very small workshop. The main distinction is between a working harbour and a leisure marina.At the moment we have four slipways combined with a large workshop and yard area.

The intention is to turn most of this in to a restaurant and bar complex.

More information and pictures at and planning ref L/TH/10/0736

No. 1 Slip - 60 MTRS LONG X 12 MTRS BEAM


This is the main slipway, mostly used for plating, painting and repairs to small cargo vessels. Very roughly it is not available for use about half of the time, by this I mean it either has a ship on it or is down for maintenance.

No. 2 Slip - 36.6 MTRS LONG X 7.5 MTRS BEAM

The council surveyed this in April 2009 and declared it unfit for use.

No. 3 Slip - 15.3 MTRS LONG X 5.5 MTRS BEAM


The firm that operates the slipways recently spent quite a bit, rumoured to be about £50,000 repairing this and rebuilding the cradle.



This is a small vessel slipway that takes vessels into the workshop and was largely replaced by the marina’s boatlift.


The general stance from the slipway operator has been that slipways 2, 3 and 4 are not profitable but slipway 1 is. I don’t really know if this is based on some sort of commercial evidence, certainly none seems to be available. I would think that the harbour’s lift has had an impact there see

Another consideration that comes into this is the future of the maritime museum, the historic vessel pontoon and how these integrate with the historic boatyard next door.

I suppose my assumption was that slipways 2 and 3 with their World War 2 heritage status would have had a part to play in this, I would assume that grant funding would have been readily available, particularly as the original wartime 1942 winding equipment is still there and working, something I assume is fairly unique. What I expected to see was these being used for modern boat repairs and historic boat restorations, providing a backdrop to our emerging café culture.

There is a bit of a balancing act here, on the one hand when it comes to what Ramsgate has to offer that makes it different from other towns is its unique heritage, something that is much more evident in most parts of the town than is usual.

On the other hand a working boatyard does produce noise and dust and to some people may be seen as a bit of a nuisance in the middle of our emerging café culture.

Another aspect here is the wind farm operators both Thanet Offshore Wind Farm and the London Array, the smaller slipways are ideal for the maintenance of their support craft. At the moment slipway 3 is used for this for much of the time.

A major factor in the decision about what happens here will depend the comment from local people both those supporting and those objecting to this application. At the moment my information is that no one whatsoever has commented at all.

The developer has recently restored The Custom House, something that I think most people would consider has been fairly successful, although in this case it puts the town council in the difficult position, that is should they wish to object to the application to demolish the slipways, as this application is being made by their landlord.

The developer also recently demolished The Granville Marina Restaurant, I would say that most people would consider that this restoration project has been less successful.

I should make it clear that the application that one has to consider is one to demolish the slipways and although there are potential development plans attached to the application, their approval isn’t being sought at this time.

There are several aspects of this potential development that concern me, the first being that the land has already changed hands.

The council own the freehold and the lease to the yard operator for the whole site was a twenty year lease dating from 1990. The developer paid the yard operator £90,000 for the remaining 10 years leasehold, for the part of the site that the development is to be built on, so the land registry now records two leases from the council.

This is unusual as normally there would be a sublease from the yard operator to the developer. It would seem unlikely that the developer would wish to construct an expensive development with only a ten year lease.

There is also a rumour that the council intend to grant the developer a 120 year lease, normally any lease over 25 years would be seen as an asset disposal and therefore have to go through the council procedures and scrutiny associated with this.

This rule doesn’t apply in some cases where tenants already hold long leases, however I am uncertain of the position should the council wish to use this exception in this case.

There are also likely to be conditions attached to the lease stipulating what this site can be used for.

There is also the problem of what could be done with the remaining slipway and the smaller workshop facilities, you can see from the plan above that the proposed bar and restaurant complex is very close to the slipway. As I have already pointed out work on vessels rends to be dusty and noisy.

Considering that a normal high tide comes up to the bottom of the slipway cradles when they are at the top of the slipways and the new workshop is much smaller, it is difficult to see where normal ship repair operations like bending a ships steel plate to shape could take place.

You can also see that what remains of slipways 2 3 and 4 would be submerged at high water, so they would not be of any use for anything.

The listed status of the slipways, in fact all of the harbour is somewhat fragmented and appears to be out of date, here it is:

TR 36 SE + TR 3864 NW
3+ 13/345

East Pier, No. 1
Slipway, bollards
30.10.85 and Victoria or
Dover Stairs
Harbour pier, slipway and bollards. Circa 1750 to 1792; built in part round
the old pier. Later repairs. Thomas Preston, Harbour mason. Extension or
advanced pier to south west c.1788, with Smeaton as designer and engineer:
pier head repaired 1812-14 by John Rennie. Faced with granite; stepped
granite to inner walls, roll moulded outer wall below parapet. Stone flag
paving, largely covered now with C20 paving. Thirty eight painted granite
bollards along inner wall. Radial pattern paving slabs at pier head. No.
1 slipway against east pier inner face is a Morton's Patent Slipway of 1838
with travelling cradle running on inclined rails above granite sets,
originally steam operated. Victoria or Dover stairs of granite, 1831 against
inner face of East pier. (See Busson, chap. 3; also Maritime Thanet,
R.B. Matkin).

Listing NGR: TR3812864526”

What protection is affords in this case is uncertain, I suppose that most people assumed that the harbour would be better listed.

Something that also concerns me is that the delays in granting the maritime museum a lease, means that the people closest to this development are not in occupation and therefore not in a position to make the comments about the development that would hold the most weight, in terms of planning law.

With the pavilion vacant on the other side, the site has no immediate neighbours available to comment, a situation that makes the site vulnerable to unsuitable development.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Computer Bug at The Walpole Bay Hotel and the Brutal Car Park, a Distorted View of Margate.

Having left Margate Museum I continued my journey in Margate museums tend to leave us in need of some refreshment.

The paintings in Margate museum had stimulated my artistic senses but unfortunately the car parking had run out.

This made it impossible to dally among the charming old buildings.

No worries though as I remember once asking a council officer what he thought was the most iconic building, his response was the multi-storey car park – I think he may have designed it – not sure if the car park I had to return to was the right one, I decided it would have to suffice.
I am afraid that the architecture of the brutal brings out a desire in me for extreme civilisation, something not always available in 2010, unless of course you know the location of a hole in the time space continuum, fortunately one of these is located in Walpole Bay.
The waitress arrived with civilisation, I am afraid I consumed the strawberry, half a scone and several cups of tea before I remembered to photograph this.
Fortunately there was a waiter available who understood how to civilise first one child
and then the other.
In the ensuing calm I thought I would do some of my computer chores, this went well until I tried to access last weeks planning applications,
as you see my computer developed a bug.
Strangely enough I seem to have the same bug on all of the other computers that I have tried since. Eventually today I tried communicating with various people at the council about this, in case it was their bug.
For some reason none of them have replied, I expect this was armless enough, I don’t suppose they have any applications that they wish to conceal, so we can’t object to them.
Here are the Walpole Bay Hotel and museum pictures

Monday 13 September 2010

Some pictures of Margate Museum

Sorry about the lack of replies to comments emails and so on, I have been slightly diverted into considerations about Tudor Margate, the construction of Tudor houses and the like.

It isn’t easy to visualise Margate in Tudor times, bits of information are coalescing, here is an example.
In 1565, it’s easer to quote the Queens Commissioners: “Mergate hath houses 108. Persons lacking proper proper Habitaycyions 8. Boates and other vessels from 1 to 46 tons 10. Persons employed in carrying grain and fishing 60.”
Anyway my mind has temporarily strayed into the history of Margate.
Margate museum also made some sort of impression on me as I hadn’t visited it for some time, hence the pictures of the pictures there

I did distort them a bit to fit in the blog post.
It is also good to hear that despite closing the museums the council has been engaged in a major local history project of its own see
Anyway here are the pictures of Margate Museum
Also just opposite the museum is a useful café for a cup of tea, featured in the pictures.