Wednesday 30 March 2011

Margate Football Club V Hartsdown Park

Another document in the saga of football v Margate has appeared on the council’s website today, the planning part of Thanet District Council’s website is a very bizarre site, something that makes it impossible to link to things on it.

To view the document, go to in the street name box click on the letter H, then click on Hartsdown Road and you will have all of the various planning documents that relate to this issue.

The batch of documents you want is 30 Mar 2011 F/TH/11/0224 and if you click on that link you will find one document called Other, this is a deed of variation changing the terms of an agreement between Thanet District Council and Hartsdown Development Company.

I should point out here that according Simon Mores in a rather bizarre thread on his blog, this document is to be deleted when their IT wizards work out how to do so, see

If you click on the plan above and then click on it again it should be big enough to follow, note the red bit in the middle of the park, my understanding is that the football club want to put an artificial pitch there and fence it off so that it cuts the park in half.

 They have already done this to the green bit.

Some people in Margate don’t like this idea and think that a public park is somewhere they should be able to walk across, others think that this will help the football club to survive.

And this map, the council’s planning site is like that, fuzzy images that you can’t decipher are quite common.

What the different looking plans and the deed of variation actually mean, in terms of the cutting the park up is a bit hard to tell, perhaps that they intend to cut it up in a different way.  

Midweek ramble

Blogger problems

One of the things I do on blogger is to put up the various press releases and recent council document on the press releases blog mostly this just means copying and pasting and up until recently it only took a moment out of my day.

Then blogger changed something so you either got no spaces like this using the old blog editor or mega spaces like this using the new one.

What this meant was that I found I was spending ages fiddling around trying to make the posts look OK, if you have been having these problems i.e. copying something pasting it into blogger and then when you publish it, it looks different. The solution is to use the new post editor, found on the settings tab of your blogger dashboard and to use the Google Chrome browser to do your publishing.

The only one I had extra problems with was the Thanet District Council planning website where I had paste the planning result into MS Word and copy it from there before it looked OK.

All a bit boring if you don’t have a blog but possibly useful information if you do.

Thanet District Council planning

When I went to put up the new planning applications from the council site on Monday I got no planning applications for the period from 18/03/2011 to 28/03/2011, the council’s planning website is about the crankiest website I use, so I emailed the council assuming that it had gone wrong, here’s the email.

“Subject: council’s planning website
Date: 28/03/2011 09:50:46 GMT Daylight Time
Reply To: 

Please note that the search by date facility on the council’s planning website has stopped working i.e. this is the second consecutive weekend the site has failed to work properly and means that I am unable to discover what new planning applications became available for inspections online last week.

Please appreciate that as I work full time and have young children which means that I have early evening commitments this prevents from viewing new planning applications altogether.  

Please can you tell when the new improved council hosted planning website will be up and running?

Please can you tell me the council gets any refund from UK Planning frot the large amount of time the doesn’t work properly?  

Best regards Michael”

I didn’t get any reply from the council, they have ten days to reply in and often don’t until the last day. Anyway some applications appeared dated yesterday, which I have put up, see I am not sure if the gap between 17/03/2011 and 29/03.2011 is significant of anything.

This comes back once again to not trusting the council, in other words, are they trying to cover up some horrendous planning application by concealing it? It seems unlikely that there were no planning applications for twelve days as there is no glut with yesterdays date.
Pleasurama, Royal Sands Development

I still haven’t found out why they are using shallow foundations instead of piles, so have been looking at what was on the site before and am pretty much certain that there is no solid chalk until you get down to the low tide level.

I asked the council to look into this and got the following reply:

“The adequacy of any foundation design is subject to control under the Building Regulations. In this case the developer has chosen to use an Approved Inspector for the Building Control function and not this Authority. As a result I do not have detailed foundation designs or loadings, but adequacy will be determined by the Approved Inspector.”

I think a problem here could be if the Approved Inspector hadn’t read the EAs report, see

However on a much brighter note the council is now going to do something about weight limit on the cliff top, this is what they have to say:

“I will firstly respond to the new numbered items. As you have indicated, we have discussed the imposition of a weight limit and the provision of suitable removable bollards to the cliff top. The Council's District Engineer is working to establish details of a suitable scheme with colleagues from the Conservation section and it is expected that work will commence shortly. Similarly, the blocked gulley is a known issue as we have discussed. The area has been investigated and we are satisfied that due to to the falls of the surface, any over run is not affecting the cliff structure. Further investigation following clearance will commence as soon as possible.”

Although you as you see they are still a bit vague about the blocked drainage.

It’s the old trouble with this site the council are keen to get money out of the development and have pushed it from the beginning as a normal site, without the problems of the cliff on one side and the sea on the other. What I think the situation is that the council have told the developer that neither the cliff nor the sea present any safety issues and I think that the latest contractor having started well by investigating the cliff stability, see have now decided to take the council at its word and to get on with the job.

Kent International Airport

It’s a bit difficult to judge where we are going with the airport, you may remember the Airport Working Party meeting in January see

As I understand it the airport is running at a loss and from the outside various strategies have come along recently to try and rectify this problem. The night flying proposals when viewed in terms of look like an attempt to try and create an airport with much laxer regulations than its competitors. That is now looking increasingly likely to fail and now they seem to be looking to cut staff operating costs.

Last year passengers going through Manston averaged out at a bit over 100 per day and freight a bit under 5 tons a day, so having 100 staff seems to be quite a bit.  

Thanet District Council and Dinah McNicol and Vicky Hamilton memorial service, see

Tuesday 29 March 2011


A couple of new books out today the first being A RAMSGATE BOY’S MEMORIES OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR By Denis Rose.

This is an A5 32 page booklet priced at £2.99 including p&p to a UK address, it will be available via our website hopefully by the weekend, if you can’t wait until then email me

Alternatively you can ring 01843 589500 or come to the bookshop during shop hours 9.30 to 5.30 not Thursday or Sunday, all normal payment methods accepted, Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, cheque, cash.

Here are my notes from the book, and the first page, by way of introduction.

Publisher’s note

As you can see although Denis wrote this memoir in 1996 and died in 2001 it has only recently come to me for publication. World War 2 is fast slipping from living memory and I am anxious to obtain any other Thanet war memories for publication.

The picture on the back cover relates to the aeroplane that flew into Wellington Crescent and shows the damage to the front of the house there.

Another factor of interest to those reading this may be the school leaving age, I hope these notes are useful. The first school leaving age was set in 1880 at 10 years, this was raised to 11 in 1893, 12 in 1899, 14 in 1921, 15 in 1947 and 16 in 1968.

I would say from personal experience that the whole business of being able to work under the school leaving age extended up to about 1970 as there was much less regulation of casual employment.

The book “Thanet at War” mentioned at the beginning of this booklet is now out of print and costs around the £20 to £30 mark secondhand, other books of interest are: “To a Safer Place; more memories of Kent evacuees” this covers Thanet, Canterbury And Ashford, was originally published in 2000 at £14.95 and I still have a few copies in stock at this price.

My own publications; “Dangerous Coastline 1939 – 1945”, “Ramsgate August 1940” and “Midst Bands and Bombs 1946”.

These are available from our website where there is more information about them, or of course you can ring up or write to the bookshop, for more information or to order them, contact details at the back of this booklet.

Finally just to say I found this an interesting and edifying read that adds to my understanding of Ramsgate during the Second World War.

Michael Child March MMXI


Having received a book “Thanet At War 1939 – 1945” for Xmas 1996 from my daughter and son in law, Terri and Nick, and glancing through it set me thinking back to when I was a boy. I remember the morning the war started. It was a Sunday and everyone was going about their normal business – but all of a sudden everything was different.

A man announced on the radio that “we have had no communication from the German Chancellor, so consequently we are at war with Germany”. Everything went quiet all around, out in the street and indoors, then the siren went – a long wailing sound.

My Mother said, “What do we do now?” Nobody knew, so we got under the big wooden kitchen table. Why? I don’t know. I suppose we thought it was safe there.

Later the All Clear Siren went (a long continuous note) and everyone in the street went about their business. I was seven and a half years old and that date was September 3rd 1939.

 I had a sister Angela, three years younger than myself, who suffered from fits, due to a fall down the stairs when she was about two years old. Over the next few weeks we were supplied with an Anderson Shelter, which was set up in the garden, about six feet down. We lived at 60 Winstanley Crescent. The other book is a Ramsgate Street Directory for 1923, I don’t seem to have written any introduction to this one. This is an a A5 booklet 84 pages price £4.99 including p&p in the UK and tell you where the businesses were and who lived where in Ramsgate, in 1923. The rest of the local books I publish can be found at

Sunday 27 March 2011

Thanet politics a rant and Sunday a ramble

I have to admit that the recent spat in the local Labour party has produced a state of angry disillusionment in our local politics. Looking at the opinion polls I would say that Labour are in with a chance in the forthcoming elections and frankly I was hoping that Ramsgate being predominately Labour would benefit from this. There are good, responsive and active politicians on both sides of the political divide in Thanet, there are also those whose motives for standing in local government appear to be personal benefit.

Picture note 1, the top two pictures show the second (the only one with two funnels) of the three tugs named Aid that served Ramsgate harbour, the first from 1885 to 1889, the second from 1890 to 1914, and the third from 1914 to 1938.

A Ramsgate tug was kept steamed up at all times and used to tow the lifeboat (rowed no engine) upwind of a potential rescue, often on the shallow Goodwin Sands.

I have just been onto the councils website and after a certain amount of searching found the allowances paid to the councillors in the last 2009 2010 financial year, at this point I had to change computers as it is in a pdf document that won’t even open on this ancient laptop, see the thing is locked too so you can’t copy figures and calculate using them. All a bit angry making unless you have an expensive IT set-up, so using my expensive IT set-up I unlocked the thing and republished it at You can delve around on the council’s website yourself and depending on how recent and expensive your computer is and what your IT skills are like form your own conclusions, rather like the Hilton Hotel it’s open to everyone.
It does seem however that a councillor could get away with only turning up to four or five meetings and pocketing £4,359.96 I am not sure if this is the amount before or after tax, the council’s website doesn’t seem to say. Cabinet members seem to get well over £200 per week but have to attend more meetings with the leader getting about £500 per week, not perhaps huge sums but something one would probably notice doing without.

Picture note 2 this is the second Queens Head in Ramsgate, before it was demolished and the present one rebuilt in 1921. You will notice that at that time what is now harbour parade was a narrow street, opposite the pub is the back of the harbour trustees committee rooms demolished in 1890.

As far as I am concerned this is all fine and dandy if these people are doing things to improve the local area and if my ward councillors respond to me and the cabinet members respond to me about issues that are their remit. Over the past few years I have written to local councillors who I believe should have replied and received on numerous occasions no reply at all, this reached something of a climax last month when one of the cabinet members asked me not to write to him at all.
This is what he actually said; “In future Michael please put any requests for communication with me through the press office.” Obviously I asked the press office what they thought this could mean and I think they were as mystified as me.
Election As I think everyone knows here in Thanet there is going to be a local election on Thursday 5th May to chose the councillors for Thanet District council and the local parish or town councils, if you want to stand as a candidate you have until noon on 4th April to submit your application. There isn’t a deposit in local elections, so you wouldn’t lose any money if no one actually voted for you, so if you want to stand. The information you need is here More info on the council’s website at Surprisingly it is fairly difficult to tell what the main parties are standing for in terms of policy, the only people who seem so have set out a manifesto are the council themselves, see presumably these are the council’s plans regardless of whoever gets elected. I am assuming at this election the internet will play an even greater part than ever before because more people have internet access, so I had a go at what the two main parties have to say on the internet. SOUTH THANET CONSERVATIVE ASSOCIATION website NORTH THANET CONSERVATIVE ASSOCIATION SouthThanet Labour Party THANET LABOUR GROUP As you see things have got a bit out of date here and it’s hard to say which of the two main parties has made more of a mess of promoting themselves on the internet locally, bit of a no score draw there.

I will ramble on as the day progresses and I hope people will comment or email me to correct any mistakes I may have made.
Blogs and stuff Looking on the local internet sites it does look as though Eascliff Richard may be working up to posting again, he has been twittering away in the last few days, see and seems to be going critical on Facebook see so I would think a blog post seems likely. I suppose this would depend largely of what stopped him from posting on blogger.

Picture note three, the two above are of the buildings that were demolished in 1890, these were on what is now called Harbour Parade opposite the Queens Head.

We have just filled in our census form, which wasn’t too bad as forms go and I am starting on the local blogs on my sidebar. Don has a post that leads you to some old photographs of Thanet that I hadn’t seen before, see you have to fiddle with the search thing when you get to the site and although this site seems to about selling pictures many of which are not actually copyright, so they don’t appear very large it’s well worth a look. Bignews Margate, see has been mostly about the Labour spat this week, the sad and undemocratic means by which our local council leadership is chosen being at the forefront. I should stress here that doesn’t apply exclusively to the Labour group. After the rigging of the leadership election consultation where the Labour group, the Conservative group and the council’s senior officers conspired together to produce an unsatisfactory result. So ashamed do they appear to be about this consultation that it still doesn’t appear on their consultations webpage at
Thanet Coast Life has an optimistic post suggesting that Margate Museum may reopen see god knows why the council is so slow over anything to do with our heritage, Ramsgate Maritime Museum is still closed, Margate Caves the subject of an andy bit of elf and safety, closed, Ramsgate Tunnels never opened. Ramsgate Motor Museum, owners gave up after lack of support from council, thank god the Powell Cotton museum isn’t council owned.

On to Thanet Life the latest post is a bit of a the peasants are revolting and we are shocked one, that could have come out of almost any period in English History No separation between the 250,000 peaceful demonstrators, and the handful of rowdy trouble makers, that probably were not government employees, but taking advantage of the situation, perhaps that’s what blue-tinted means. Historically interesting a post mentioning The Battle of Margate see not quite sure what this is about but think it is the thing Froissart mentions when English vessels carrying knights commanded by the Earl of Arundel captured part of the Flemish-Castillian convoy and made off with a quantity of wine and other goods. At this time the vessels involved would probably have been fortified at each end, high castellated decks, single mast with a square sail and oars in the middle, the battle would have been fought with archers and swords, with probably the main factor being what the sea did. There was no navy as such, the knights and their men at arms would have fought using the vessels and crews available, the plunder being a major incentive.

Onto Ken Read and In 2 Thanet or Inthanet blog see it would seem some people are intending to stand as independent candidates in the May elections, Ken is a bit cagey about where or how many, but I think he means in the district council elections, either as well as or instead of the parish town council elections. This has been tried in Thanet before without much success, the usual successful method being to pretend to be either Conservative or Labour to at least stand some chance of getting elected. Perhaps if enough independents stood across the whole of Thanet and pooled their publicity they would have some chance. Having said that if Ken stands in my ward I will definitely be voting for him as I will for Dave Green if he stands again, this has nothing whatsoever with party politics, but a great deal to do with people who have local interests at heart. I would say however that the most cost effective thing that any independent politically motivated group could do is to organise a mayoral referendum petition, they only have to get the signatures of 5% of the electorate to change the face of Thanet politics forever that way.

My Thanet Press Release bog see seems to be attracting a bit more traffic and even some comment, I think I will have to give it a bit of a makeover. This is where is publish stuff sent to me by other people, do feel free to use this facility, put please if you email me posts, keep it to a few images and some text. I really don’t have the time to convert things that can’t just be inserted into blogger like pdf files. I was particularly pleased to get the associated photographs for one of the council’s press releases see as far as I can see these usually just vanish somewhere in the great council machine. The council don’t seem to realise what an important historical record they are concealing, we pay for them and they hide them, I have mentioned to them before if they send me the whole lot on a few disks I would be hapy to put them online for nothing.

Friday 25 March 2011

Smyrna a new patisserie, coffee bar in King Street Ramsgate

Just opened today, I haven’t had a chance to try it as I am at work, this certainly looks like one for the gourmet with a sweet tooth.
There seems to be some sign of revival up my end of King Street, a bed shop has just opened and it looks as though a pet shop is well on the way.

Thursday 24 March 2011

The Matthew back in Ramsgate Harbour more pictures plus some pictures of Sandwich today and a few thoughts.

Here are the pictures of the Matthew

We went to Sandwich today, so all in all a bit of a medieval day here are the pictures lunch at The Little Cottage Tea Rooms, I had lasagna and a pot of tea my wife a baked potato and hot chocolate total cost £15 good value and good food.

Good to hear that the council have managed to let the Marks and Spencer building in Margate to “Store Twenty One” apart from charity shops, estate agents and food shops, there isn’t much in the way of shops in Sandwich now.

These big town centre shops were worth a lot of money at one time and commanded considerable rents that were related to the profit that could be made by shops trading there. Recently the large shop in Ramsgate opposite my bookshop failed to reach the reserve of £170,000 in a property auction, another of these shop properties was the subject of a post on Margate Architecture Blog, see

It was during medieval times that market towns developed around trade and our society came to revolve around trading in towns, this took over a thousand years, in the last thirty years this has started to collapse, out of town shopping, then the internet being largely responsible and leaving the problem of what happens to the shops and town centres.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

What Do I Know?

Tree massacre?

As you can see from the picture Albion Gardens is looking a bit on bald side.
Shallow Grave?

The strange and unexpected progress continues with the Pleasurama Development, instead of the pile boring we expected the shallow concrete pad foundations shown in the picture are going in.
Rock on?

The developer seems cautiously scraping away at the chalk near to the bottom of the cliff wall, although there don’t seem to be any signs of foundations there, it does look like solid undisturbed chalk.

What I can’t seem to get is any information about what is actually going on with the site and frankly all may be well there, but until my answers come back telling me why the schedule has changed, the foundation method has changed, why the cliff top drain is still blocked and so on, I remain sceptical.

From a purely historical perspective there can be no doubt that the solid chalk base of the site must be a considerable distance below where the shallow concrete foundations are going in. The cliff before cliff wall was put on would have been formed by erosion from the sea and in some time in the distant past the cliff would have extended down to the low tide level.

Here are the rest of the pictures

Lost for words?

Sorry about the lack of blog posting over the last week, I don’t think I was in the mood or something and there has been plenty of interest on the other blogs, I may ramble on about that later.
A mild meander of the blogs suggests that the Mark Nottingham Labour group spat is still underway, documents leaking out like on Bignews at or even more bizarrely at Thanet Star
What all of this means and how it will effect the forthcoming elections is a bit beyond me, one thing is certain trying to take it out of the public domain once it has been there is just plain weird.
Pondering this I went out for a walk and took some more pictures, there are some of the London Array building and a few of me trying to be artistic with the camera at

Thursday 17 March 2011

Here be Dragons

Day off today and pretty cold so I didn’t spend much time outside taking pictures.

The Dawn Treader is now ready to sail to London for the launch for the launch of the cd. Here are some pictures anybody’s guess what they look like from this tiny netbook.

I also wanted to get a picture of just how far the tourist information is going to be moved in Margate, I have tried to put an arrow on the picture, click on it to enlarge, I think in council circles this is known as getting a little for a lot.

Here are the other pictures from the camera card I will try to get to a normal sized pc and write a bit more later on.

Having finally made it to a computer with a screen that I can actually see the pictures on, they look a bit dark to me, perhaps it is just the dull days at the moment anyway I have lightened them a bit and put them all here

Update, David Redfern has sent me some more pictures of the Dawn Treader conversion, click on the link for them

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Midweek ramble

Having just proof read a new local history book, I have been looking at the various local bits of news and rumour and trying to make sense of them. It appears that the Manston to Manchester flights have been something of failure and they are going to be scrapped. I gather now they are going to have a go at Manston to Belfast,

Word on the street is that the council have finally seen sense over the big event and are going to make it a free event next year centred around the Turner Contemporary, possibly they will rename it, perhaps Margate Air and Arts Show.

At least any businesses still remaining in the town may see some sort of spin-off for the two days that it’s on.

Pity they can’t redirect the funding for moving the tourist information centre across the road to reopening the caves, the museum and the Tudor House.

Entrance to the Turner Contemporary will of course be free but it seems to me that the only way to make the thing work in any sense is to be able to offer something approaching an all weather day out for the family.

Bunging everything we have left in Thanet into one package day, including the Powell Cotton Museum, Ramsgate Maritime Museum, a trip over the Cervia, Shell Grotto, Margate Museum, Margate Caves, turner Contemporary and I suppose you could just about get people in the southeast to get on the train and come down to Thanet for the day in some sort of quantity.

With manufacturing industry moving off to China years ago and now R&D moving off to India, tourism may be our last hope. Trouble is moving the complimentary leisure to Westwood Cross means that there is little for tourists to do in Thanet on a wet day.
You can see from the pictures I have resolved the issue of picture of Ken Stroud playing the organ it would seem to be undoubtedly Ramsgate marina, unfortunately demolished by the council.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Sexing up medieval ships some pictures and a walk in Ramsgate.

When it comes to medieval cogs and caravels my usually sound knowledge of frigging in the rigging has a tendency to fall to pieces, one of my children asked me if The Matthew is a she. The old mortal thoughts, tend towards unsex me here, oh direst cruelty I am filled toe topful with confusion.

Most of my knowledge of medieval ships, thus far coming from the letters of the medieval kings to the lords warden of the cinque ports, pronounced sank, which may not be a good omen.

Not so misty today so better pictures of The Matthew or The Dawn Treader whoever she may be, still nothing on the council’s website about this important vessel though, although they can afford to move Margate tourist information centre over the road apparently. Perhaps KCC are footing the bill as I am told where the Turner Contemporary is concerned the funding is bottomless.

Here are the rest of today’s pictures and I will try to write something about them if I get time later.

The new house on Plains of Waterloo is continuing to go up, the Pleasurama foundations and support pillars are still going up on the wrong end of the site and not the piles that were expected, no one seems to know why. More new pictures on The Great Wall of Ramsgate as you can see. There is a dredger tied up in the harbour so we can only hope for some dredging before the harbour becomes completely dry at low water. The boat hoist is evidently working again after its experience with the pothole. The large concrete pontoons are not the new harbour barrage pontoon but they are for The London Array. Jack’s Cantina, Harvey’s Fish thing is up for sale.

Monday 14 March 2011

Through, a Glass Darkly, some pictures and thoughts from the last few days.

As you can sort of see from the picture above, The Matthew, The Dawn Treader, well a replica of a medieval ship has arrived in Ramsgate harbour. This sort of medieval ship is what the whole of the history of this area and the Cinque Ports is about, as you see for a ship it isn’t very big, I don’t think any of these medieval ships were.

By medieval I am talking about the time from about the year 900 up to the year 1500 when the historical period called Tudor started. During this time this country didn’t have a navy, so the monarch made tax and other concessions to the nobility who owned the land, under the condition that they provided ships for wars and other royal visits abroad.

Ruling was much more of a hands on business in those days, and this replica of a medieval ship is well worth a look if you get a chance.

Sorry that it is misty today and the ship isn’t easily accessible, I will try to get closer and get some better pictures.

There were some other pictures on the camera’s memory card from the last few days and I have published them on the web here have a glance, I will too and make a few notes below.

First two are of the start of a new house being built on Plains of Waterloo, then some of the work going on, on the Pleasurama site, why they have started a year late at the other end of the site I am yet to find out. Then some of The Marina Restaurant restoration project, followed by some of the great wall of Ramsgate pictures, there are a few new ones and a lot of spaces now booked for more. Some of the empty shops in Ramsgate are having the paint and new incarnation treatment. The chap at the organ, a picture of a picture is Ken Stroud and I think he is playing organ Granville/Ramsgate Marina, from the shape of the arches, please correct me if I am wrong.

Just dealt with a bookshop customer wanted a book on dinosaurs, I didn’t quite know how to answer her question. “Haven’t you got one with photographs of dinosaurs in it?” In the shop assistant business one soon learns that you can’t please everyone.

Back to the photos, a bit of a cryptic note on the Maritime Museum, isn’t it about time TDC issued them with a lease?

Just sat down after fitting a new dishwasher, a new Chinese one was considerably cheaper than a new pump for the old German one, and read some of the local news, all was going well until this article when I got to “Mr Doyle, who has his own cloak,”

I shall have to watch out for Saul, I can see “Mr Child, who has his own trousers,” is just around the corner.

Funny thing the occult books, we sell loads of them in the bookshop, no one has ever bought one back and said the spells in it didn’t work and yet no one has ever arrives by broomstick.

I may blog on if the mood takes me.

Sunday 13 March 2011

The Lion the Witch and Ramsgate Harbour and other Sunday ramblings.

The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe is probably the best known of titles of the books, and in some cases the films that comprise C S Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.

Putting my bookselling hat on for a moment, this is one of those series where the order the books were written in isn’t necessarily the order you read them in, in fact like so many things that seem simple, in this case the order to read a series of children’s books in, the subject is open to dispute, see the Wikipedia article about it,

Anyway the third or the fifth book in this series and the third film is called “The Voyage of The Dawn Treader” and The Dawn Treader is a sailing ship that will be in Ramsgate Harbour for most of next week.

Well actually this is not exactly the case, the ship is really a replica of “The Matthew” that first sailed to America in 1497, see this, the replica sailed to America in 1997 and was later modified to being the “The Dawn Treader” and was used for the film.

Well I suppose you are beginning to get the idea here, I think the point here is that a ship of international significance will be in Ramsgate Harbour for most of next week.

In some places the council would have made a big fuss about this, it would have been a major tourist event, however looking at the council’s various tourism related websites, they seem to have missed, forgotten about this event, perhaps it has been the subject of a government cut.

I have been trying to get across this problem to councillor Simon Moores by commenting on his blog, see I think the difficulty here is about making the best of what you have actually got.

In other words we are already paying for the council, to either have or contract out numerous websites to promote Thanet events. We are also paying for a whole tourism department in the council and because of this, these various websites, are the obvious place that anyone looking for an event in this area would look for it. This produces a situation where if an event doesn’t appear there prominently then people are inclined to think that there is no event.

This is partly about trust, a difficult commodity to find on the internet, where there are so many rouges already promoting things that don’t exist, something that makes people cautious and inclined to believe official websites like the council’s.

The most prominent of the council’s various webpages is their main homepage and this has a section called “Events”, now a normal person could be forgiven for thinking that the main Thanet events would be listed there and as the three of the ten events listed there are walks round one of the local churchyards in April, May and June most people I think would consider that things in Thanet are going to be a bit, well dead, for the next few months.

The fact that today there are beach motorcycle races in Margate isn’t mentioned there, nor is next weeks Dawn Treader visit, suggests an element of confusion within the council.

Staying with Thanet Life for a mo, Simon’s latest post is about the earthquake in Japan, see and as I am forbidden mention of the P word there I will add some thoughts here. The major loss of life in Japan because of the earthquake, has actually been caused by the resultant tidal wave and not the earthquake itself.

Here in Kent we have a history of occasional earthquakes, fortunately much less significant or frequent than those in Japan, I think the last Kent earthquake of any significance was in 2007.

Historically we have had larger earthquakes and when one delves back into the early-confused period there is mention of catastrophe from associated tidal waves, legend has it that Isle of Lomea destroyed by earthquake, the remains of this fertile island part of the estate of the Earl of Goodwin is thought now to be the Goodwin Sands.

What we do most certainly have in this part of Kent is a history of catastrophic sea damage by tidal surge storms, the last big one of these was about 60 years ago and the loss of life was counted in the hundreds not the thousands. Update, please excuse the error 2,400 people were killed in the 1953 tidal surge storm.

All of the subsequent buildings on the foreshore take this into account and have to have flood risk assessments, this results in the Turner Contemporary, or the new building on Granville Marina in Ramsgate being raised up and behind more substantial sea defences than one would expect.

You can’t predict what will happen on any given part of our foreshore without a flood risk assessment, the exception to this rule is the Royal Sands Development on the old Pleasurama site in Ramsgate.

The Environment Agency say there should be a flood risk assessment, see but the council say they have ticked the boxes and there won’t be one, as though fulfilling a series of bureaucratic rules will somehow hold back the sea.

One of this week’s great spats in the council that has leaked out onto the local blogs, has been about sandwich’s and drinks after full council meetings. For those of us with an interest in the Thanet Labour Group’s internal battle and what Labour councillors would do to improve Thanet if they get elected in May, this is something of a comedown.

Anyway two posts about this on From One End of Kent, see and a response on Thanet Life

Talk about fiddling while Rome burns, oh well they will probably soon be saying that they can’t tell us what their polices for the next four years governing Thanet are because of the pre-election purdah. Vote Labour for less sandwiches or vote Conservative for more, sounds about like what we will actually get, after four years of wasted mismanaged assets, incomprehensible websites, etc. one side will be able to say. “At lest we had more/less sandwiches.”

The Big Bignews post this week is about Margate Caves, see this is a bit of a weird scenario, when viewed from outside, it looks like a comedy of errors.

Obviously from the outside one can’t really tell what has happened here, so here is a little work of fiction about what could have happened.

The council of Spamit owns some caves and these are held by Mr Bloggs on a long lease, provided Mr Bloggs pays the rent then the lease can be renewed indefinitely, being a tourist attraction the caves produce very little in terms of money for anyone.

The land with the entrance on would produce some money if sold to a developer and ultimately if that development was residential even some council tax from the people living in it.

So Spamit council arrange for a health and safety inspection, dangerous places caves, underground gasses, think Davy Lamp, firedamp could be a problem venturing into tunnels, particularly as for over a hundred years of flatulent tourists have been there before you.

Expensive solutions caves closed no money to pay the rent, mysterious figures about the cost of gas inspectors, extra portions of beans and beer after council meetings.

More health and safety now caused by the caves being closed, dodgy people have been getting in there, so the council blocks up the entrance by filling it with rubble, how will the tourists get in, no problem say council, we have found an imaginary entrance in the wardrobe.

Sorry I got a bit carried away there it wasn't like that at all.

An interesting post on my press release blog about the closing to Ramsgate Age Concern, see it sound a bit as though Thanet District Council may be on another of their bizarre schemes to save money. In this case charging the charity to use one of the halls in Ramsgate to look after the old people in Ramsgate.

I expect that it’s another tangled Thanet web with Ramsgate being the eventual loser.

Several local blogs have mentioned the article in the Independent saying that Margate is now a cultural hotspot, see this seems to be due to The Turner Contemporary, below one of the videos The Turner Contemporary has posted online, just to give you a feel of what this new arts culture encompasses.

Sea Shanty Sing Song 11.12.10 from Turner Contemporary on Vimeo.

I will ramble on as the day progresses

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Simon Moores Thanet Life Blog, Goalposts move back.

Some of you may remember my handbags at dawn spat with Simon last week, see Simon has now allowed my comment and it has appeared on his blog.
As far as I am concerned this means that I will return to commenting on his blog, so many thanks to Simon.
The pictures are of Saint Saviours Church Westgate on Sea

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Pleasurama Ramsgate Royal Sands Pancake Day update.

A month ago today I made an official request to the council to try and find out what is going on with this development, as the council are supposed to answer these requests within 20 working days, this equates to one month.

Here is what I asked in red.

1 Please send me any addition information about this development that I haven’t requested below, because I am unaware of its existence.

It would appear that some work has occurred on the site during the last month, but obviously this work doesn’t relate to the development agreement schedules and conditions of the various leases contained in it.

2 Does this mean that the leases are now invalid and the development agreement is to be determined?

3 Or does it mean that there has been an updated agreement with new schedules?

If the development is going ahead, either to a new schedule or is being allowed under some other flexible arrangement:

4 Can you please supply me with a revised building schedule?

5 Can you please tell me which of the approved plans the development is to be built to and if these plans are published on the council’s planning website?

6 Can you please send me details of the public information sessions that were promised once work started on the site?

7 Can you please send me any updated information on the cliff safety issue? Details and dates of the promised cliff top weight limit, correspondence between the council, the HSE, the developer, cliff survey and maintenance schedule, any cliff survey reports, any agreements for cliff maintenance between the council and the developer.

8 Can you please send me details of any flood, storm or emergency escapes incorporated in the development as a result of the EA recommendations 8th Feb 2008.

9 If the artists impressions, details of roof material and other building materials for the building to be built, are different to those described on the councils planning website, due to the various different plans and in consequence plans being used that no longer relate to the ancillary details, can you please send me the details of these changes?

10 If the plans that are to be used no longer relate to all of the planning and design statement, can you please send me revisions to the planning and design statement?

Here is the council’s reply in blue.

Thank you for your communication received on 24/02/2011 09:00:09 where you requested information about the Pleasurama or Royal Sands deevelopment.

In response to your questions I can comment as follows:There has been some early slippage in terms of works undertaken to comply with the terms of the development agreement. The construction works are however now starting to claw back time lost earlier in the construction programme and progress is now being made on site. There is no amended agreement with the developers and no action is presently anticipated in relation to determine the development agreement, neither has there been a request for a revised build schedule. I will request a revised programme from the developer who has indicated that he will be aiming to adhere to the programme.

I will also request that the developer establishes a public information programme.No recent amendments have been proposed to the design of the building and no alterations have been made in response to the Environment Agencies correspondence with the developer in 2008. Any amendments would need to be considered through the planning process.

In 2008 and 2009 we received plans to comply with conditions of the planning permission that were approved in January 2009. These proposals did not result in material alterations to the approved building and I recall providing you with those drawings following receipt. I can confirm that no subsequent amendments have been proposed to the building since that time.

In terms of the planning and design statement I consider the scheme still complies with the principles of the original submission.I can confirm that the HSE have considered the cliff survey. In an email to the Council they have confirmed they do not intend to pursue this matter. They have requested that the Council draws up a programme and regime for the future maintenance of the cliff face. This matter is in hand.

The idea here is that the council leases the land to the developer under the condition that he builds the development according to a time schedule laid down by the council.

Back in October 2006 the council and the developer signed this agreement that had been drawn up by the council’s solicitors, here it is

This agreement says when each part of the development should have started and when it should have finished.

Obviously this all has to be agreed with the council and is discussed at cabinet and then full council if the cabinet approve the development.

Anyway the developer didn’t fulfil the obligations of the development agreement, didn’t start and finish the various bits of the agreement when they should have done and didn’t come up with the money to protect the council if anything went wrong, the performance bond.

So the council officers put the issue before the cabinet again in 2009, with a recommendation from the head of finance that they should terminate the agreement.

Anyway the cabinet decided that the development should go ahead with a reduced financial guarantee and the council’s solicitors drew up a deed of variation from the terms of the original agreement with a new set of schedules, here it is

This says on page 10 that the foundations should have been finished by August last year and that the first bit, the hotel (section A) should have its structural frame going up now.

This means that they should be putting up the framework at the end of the site where the Pavilion and the lift are. When I put in this request nothing had happened in terms of any foundations or construction on the site and between putting in the request and getting the answer today 6 foundations and six building support pillars have been put at the other end of the site.

There have been several newspaper articles about the site
are a couple of examples, over the years they have been signs that there is about to be more council activity and more delays. So last weeks Gazette article saying that the foundations had actually been laid when they obviously haven’t has put me on my guard.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Sunday ramble

Starting with the other local blogs

I have added two new ones to the latest posts on other blogs wosisname on the sidebar this week although you may have to click on the “show all” link at the bottom of it to find them now.

The first one was “the wonderful world of me” this has some close-up pictures of the whale that died and was washed up at Pegwell Bay. The pictures are a bit gory and not for the squeamish, see

The other one is called “From One Arse in Kent” as I assume this is a parody of “From One End of Kent” it could be an offering from the Tory party at crypt, but who knows.

This blog asks a question about the significance of being a lifetime member of The Campaign for Real Ale at £360 I suspect the answer may be well healed.

On to the longer established local blogs.

Councillor Simon Moores’s Thanet Life

Having had a bit of a handbags at dawn with our local aviator that seems to have left me, persona non grata there, but not really knowing why, I haven’t commented there since the event.

I suppose I should have remembered the words of that other well known pilot, Pussy galore who said “I’m immune to charm.”

Here is quote from his last comment on his own blog. “A council exists to provide services, collect taxes and encourage development etc where grants and such like allow. It can force any business in a particular direction if it doesn't wish to trade there.” One wonders if this a typo and he meant, [the council] can’t force any business in a particular direction. Or if this relates to something he knows and we don’t.
In the secondhand book world Biggles typos are quite important as the way one identifies a first edition of the first Biggles book “The Camels are Coming 1932” is by a typo in the first chapter where it says, agent 2792 instead of agent 2742, as a nice copy recently sold in auction for £10,920.

Typo of the month has to be the bookseller who was emailed and asked if he had a copy of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Nurses.

Well the spat is on both our blogs at then then and certainly attracted a lot of interest if my blog stats are anything to go by.
Staying with the political blog theme Mark Nottingham’s From One End of Kent is alive once again, with three postings last week, see

Mark really has a peculiar situation as he is walking around the huge and naked emperor of the post he deleted and the subject that we would all like to know more about, the internal wrangle in the local Labour group.

With the added website it looks as though Mark may be going critical. There are very few non professional conventional Thanet websites, by this I mean where the person it relates to actually has had a go at writing and maintaining the thing themselves. In the battle between Wordpress and Mark it is still early days but technically it looks as though Mark is just about winning, as someone who has their own conventional website, that I write, I have to say I take my hat of to him for having a go.
This business of councillor’s expenses that Mark is publicising at the moment is a bit of an odd one, see I would have thought the righteous I claim no expenses is fine if you have a well paid job with its own expenses. Not so funny if you don’t and are trying to operate as a councillor on a pension or some such thing. It is a bit hard to say if Mark includes allowances in his abstinence, or what would happen if he ever became an MP where allowances and expenses could be his main source of income.
Margate Architecture is another blog I have had a chance to read today, plenty of posts in the last week and some of them thought provoking. The issue that MA has given he most coverage to is the housing association one.

From my position of ignorance that is just based on living in an area with a high concentration of housing association property, this looks like a huge experiment in social engineering gone wrong.
History will tell I suppose, but a large concentration of DHSS and dog, with no extra support seems ill advised.
Mustn’t forget to mention Bignews Margate, it seems like me Tony has been measuring his thing and quick of the mark OAK has responded

I am obviously losing the plot here so will change subject, if I missed your blog it was to preserve anything that remains of my sanity.
Bit of a ramble now.

Looking back over the last eight years of Conservative rule at TDC I wonder what local history will record as their crowning achievement.

Historically local government in this country started as a battle of people standing for council to prevent money being spent on essential safety issues. In mid Victorian times drainage and water supply were the serious issues, queen Victoria caught cholera in Ramsgate, the battle raged over the expense of solving the well near the toilet issue. Sometime in about 1850 the government stepped in and introduced legislation that allowed them to take over and force the issue. Our towns had become middens and there was nowhere safe to dig a well that wasn’t contaminated. Somewhere towards the end of the 1800s the councils in individual towns settled down to going beyond basic public safety and improving the towns.

Funny thing democracy, it really isn’t that old in this country I know votes for men came before votes for women but it very much is a thing of the modern world, the Spinning Jenny and gas lighting both came before even ordinary men got the vote in the UK. It didn’t come that long after income tax, taxation without representation is always an uphill struggle, as we all know local taxation means local representation.

Now to an extent, as the internet has come along and there really isn’t any long term need for representation, theoretically any private individual could put forward any new legislation, policy or proposed changes online and we could all vote on each issue from our own homes. There isn’t really any technical difficulty here and the need for representation is a matter of convention rather than one of necessity.
Perhaps concerns over elected representatives or even the majority of civil servants could be replaced by the ability to decide issues, should one want to from one’s pc.
Bradshaw's Guides

A bookselling note here relating to the series on BBC2 of 'Great British Railway Journeys' with Michael Portillo.

Bradshaw's Guide mentioned in the series is actually the monthly timetable issued between 1839 and 1960, the book Mr Portillo is using is, Bradshaw's Handbook for Tourists in Great Britain & Ireland. It was issued in four sections in 1866 and most copies sold were single regional sections.

Not an easy book to obtain and expensive if you find it.
No worries though as the whole thing is online here;c=509076202 you want section 1 click on the Full View link and Thanet is on pages 29, 44, 45 and 46 there is a page number go to thingy.
I will continue to add to this as the day progresses.
Incidentally something has gone a bit wrong with blogger today and it isn’t working quite like normal hence the lack of normal spacing.

Saturday 5 March 2011

John Terry, Ashley Cole, The Isle of Thanet Gazette and The Royal Sands Development Ramsgate.

Having just got around to this week’s Isle of Thanet Gazette I read the front page article with some interest, obviously as it’s in the paper it must be true.

The article is available online, here it says other things, all of which I have to belive:

Para 2 “The Premiership aces were particularly taken with architectural drawings” I too started to get particularly taken by them back in 2004 to 2007 see and was last taken by them the other day see

Para 4 says “Although the foundations have been laid and work is well under way, the developers were forced to tell both stars they did not have the legal paperwork ready to sell flats” There was me thinking that the foundations hadn’t been laid, silly me. As the development agreement says the foundations have to have been finished by now, or the lease on the site is forfeit and now the local paper says that the foundations have been laid, then I suppose they must be. That’s intrepid investigative journalism for you, they obviously managed to find the foundations that I couldn’t, as the development is supposed to be much bigger than The Turner Contemporary and I have evidently missed the foundations, please accept my apologies for the oversight.

Perhaps the phrase, “Although the foundations have been laid” is being used in a more metaphorical way here as the last 3 paragraphs seem to concur more closely with what I have seen.

Here is news to me about the delays though “Work only began two months ago after a security bond (money the council would get if the work is not finished) was reduced from £5.6 million to £1.6 million.” I thought this happened ages ago and the delays were for some other reason completely like problems with the cliff, oh well it’s nice to know that’s all sorted.

All it takes is a bit of investigative journalism to find out what’s really going on with this development.

The picture above, taken last Thursday is of “first five foundation columns” mentioned in the final paragraph, funny it looks like six to me, you just can’t believe your eyes these days.

Thursday 3 March 2011

Ramsgate lion returns, town gets new frog, sunrise and loses spare tyre

Busy day off today but I did manage to get out in Ramsgate on and off, after taking the children to school I walked up Thanet Hill and noticed that ATS tyres have closed, the phrase, due to centre closure, seemed somewhat surreal to me so the business of another business’s closure’s depression was mitigated by the bizarre way of expressing it.
Next as you see the other lion has returned, my children feed them stones and the twins were disappointed when one of the lions that they obviously assumed are twins, was run over and broken.
The six bizarre building support posts on the Pleasurama site have seen little change, odd that this is happening at the other end to of the site to the end the building is supposed to start. I have made a complaint about this one to the council, I tried asking why the building is not progressing as expected, and received the promise of an answer that never came. So I took this as council speak for, all is not well please make an official complaint so we can justify sending someone off to look. One decoding is another encoding as they say in the parody of literary theory, sic Rummage.
Among the other interesting things that happens today, one of our dishwashing machines developed incontinence, meaning a visit to Wilkinson’s and behold a new Sunrise Café, tough competition though in the foodie destination of Ramsgate where a bacon sarni and a cuppa can cost as little as £1.
One of the council owned assets has been let to a Groovy Frog see
Here are the rest of the pictures