Monday, 4 April 2011

Westwood Cross Thanet Town Centre Consolidation

Putting up the last weeks planning applications on my press release blog I noticed that one of them didn’t have a title, perhaps it’s too big.

Anyway there are pages and pages of this thing, because it’s on the council’s planning website I can’t link to it, but recommend that you have a look at the application.

Please follow these instructions to get there.

1 copy the following planning reference F/TH/11/0200

2 click on the link http://www.ukplanning.com/thanet to get to the council’s planning site

3 paste the planning reference in the application search number box and click on the search button

The council’s planning site is a very cantankerous bit if IT, documents often open reluctantly in difficult file formats only to have been scanned so badly as to be illegible. There are no linier scales on the plans most of which are scanned scale drawings, this means that you can’t actually tell how big anything is by looking at the drawing.    

I suppose that some of the councillors see my concerns about the way the council manages its internet presence as some sort of mischievous attack on them. I had a fairly long discussion with Simon Moores about the council’s failure to promote the opening of The Turner Contemporary, on the councils homepage, last week, see http://birchington.blogspot.com/2011/03/wedding-bells.html

I think, although it is difficult to say, that Simon is saying, that this wasn’t some sort of dreadful error, or even an April fools joke, but something the council achieved deliberately. 


Well now we have plans for this huge development without even a title, so that it looks less significant than an application for a garden shed, this does the beg the question, was this also done deliberately?


This all leaves me with the problem, do I take the planning files for this huge project and convert them into ordinary web pages that can be viewed on any computer, found by the search engines and linked to in the normal way, or do I just leave the whole mess for the council and local people to try and get on with as best they can?

9 comments:

  1. Michael.
    To be fair this was in IoTG several weeks ago

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  2. Andrew yes sorry if I didn’t make myself clear I think we have all known something along these lines was on the cards, but this is the first appearance of the plans that I am aware of.

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  3. Michael

    Its no answer really, but the complete set of plans are available at the Ramsgate Town Council Office, Custom House

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  4. Michael, you may find this more user friendly.

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  5. www.sainsburys-thanet.co.uk

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  6. Of course if local folk really wanted to keep their high streets they would not go to Westwood Cross.....The traffic jams tell the real story

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  7. Can't see the problem with PDFs being one of the most recognised and compact file formats around, I can open them on a phone !!

    I have also heard all about the plans in Dover so nothing new...

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  8. Thanks Dave I will wander in and have a look. Canterbury Council seem to have a much better planning website than TDC do, perhaps there is some potential for cooperation between the two councils there, although one wonders if TDC would have anything to offer them in exchange.

    Thanks Readit, interesting to see the differences between the way the two sites have dealt with the issue of presenting the development. If I get a chance I will fetch the files from both servers and compare them. I don’t think Sainsbury have put up as many documents as the council have, so it would be interesting to see which ones they decided not to.

    I don’t think I will object to this application as it is such an interesting social experiment, Thanet Town Centre Consolidation, perhaps we should apply for city status. This town centre with its free parking, private police force, no charity shops, estate agents, ground floor offices or ground floor residential is like some sort of retailers dream, perhaps they should be exempt from planning permission altogether.

    19.40 quite right, I don’t think the people running WC have quite realised that the amount of money that can be taken in this area is directly related to the amount of traffic that can flow into it and park there and of course the cost of running a car. Making every shopping or leisure activity reliant on some sort of motorised transport is not only environmentally unsustainable, but it is looking as though a mixture of the gridlock and cost will make it practically unsustainable too.

    20.23 this is really down local poverty where a great many people are running an old pc already struggling to run a newer operating system, I test what I publish on the internet using a ten year old laptop, believe me it struggles with the council’s planning site. This is not so much about the use of pdf as the misuse of it, take a text document, print it out, scan it, convert the resultant image file into a pdf and you have the council’s approach to IT.

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  9. Out of town shopping centres are an import from American shopping malls, where they have almost unlimited space.

    What happens when Westwood Cross gets outdated?

    Bluewaters on Greenfields???

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