Wednesday 30 November 2011

Motion To Remove The Leader Of Thanet District Council

NOTICE OF MOTION – LEADER OF THE COUNCIL To: Council – 8 December 2011 By: Corporate & Regulatory Services Manager and Monitoring Officer Classification: Unrestricted Ward: All Wards
Summary: To consider a Notice of Motion submitted in relation to the Leader of the Council
For Decision
1.0 Introduction and Background
1.1. Council Procedure Rule No. 16 governs the process for motions on notice being submitted to Council.
    1. The following motion on notice has been received from Councillor Hart in accordance with that Rule::
    2. “Council resolves that Cllr Bayford be removed from the Office of Leader of the Council and that a new Leader be appointed”
  1. Options
2.1 To debate the motion
  1. Not to debate the motion
  2. Corporate Implications
3.1 Financial
3.1.1 None at this stage
3.2 Legal
3.2.1 Council Procedure Rule 16.3 states that, if seconded, a motion on notice will stand referred without discussion to the Cabinet or appropriate Committee for determination or report, unless the Council decides to debate the motion in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 19 (rules of debate). As the Leader can only be removed from office by a resolution of full Council, this means that if Council does not agree to debate the motion, the motion will fall at that point.

3.2.2 If Council agrees to debate the motion and the motion is subsequently carried, Article 7.04 of the Constitution requires Council to proceed to elect a new Leader. The election of a new Leader will be conducted in accordance with the requirements of Council Procedure Rule 21.6 (voting on appointments). Any new Leader would hold office for the unexpired residue of the term of office of the previous Leader, i.e. to the date of the Annual Meeting of Council in 2015, subject to the removal power of full Council.

3.2.3 Article 7.05 provides that upon election, the Leader will appoint a Councillor to the office of Deputy Leader with full power to act in the absence of the Leader. Consequently if a new Leader is elected and does not intend to confirm the continuation in office of the current Deputy Leader, it will be necessary for the new Leader to first remove the current Deputy Leader from office in accordance with the requirements of Article 
7.05. This will conclude all the issues that cannot be postponed to a further meeting of Council or dealt with by the new Leader under executive powers. Council is entitled to be informed at the next ordinary meeting of Council of the final composition of the Cabinet, including the allocation of portfolio responsibilities.
3.3 Corporate 3.3.1 Council Procedure Rule 16 provides the opportunity for Councillors to give advance notice of motions to be put to Council. Article 7 of the Constitution deals with the election and removal from office of the Leader.

Ed. Of course the only real option for Thanet, where we are likely to be looking at years of narrow, or no overall majority councils, is to change from the leadership elected by the councillors – which effectively means chosen by a very few people in both political groups – to the system where we the electorate elect a leader.

The council held a public consultation about this and the unanimous result was that local people wanted to elect their own leader. I don’t think the councillors even gave it a thought before deciding to overturn this result and carry on selecting their own leader, from the existing councillors.

I have added this link to the LSE recent article on elected mayors as it is pertinent to the comment

Council goes camp, schools close but Turner Contemporary remains open

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 236 when asked about blacklegging said, “If I could find anything blacker than black, I'd use it.”

Thanet District Council have issued a press release saying; “Council’s services are expected to be affected on Wednesday 30 November as unions are planning a national day of industrial action over pension reforms.” See

I emailed them about this, see below.

Subject: Re: PRESS RELEASE - Council's services may be affected by industrial strike a...
Date: 28/11/2011 17:07:40 GMT Standard Time
Reply To: 

Hi *****, Did you Rally mean affected and not effected?

Am I to expect a camp roadsweeper on Wed or no roadsweeper?  

Best regards Michael
But so far haven’t received a reply.
I may add to this if anything else of the same type occurs to me later.  

Tuesday 29 November 2011

A Ramsgate rant about anything that comes to mind

I would have liked to call this a middle aged rant, as that presupposes people living to about 120 I shan’t bother.

First of all my latest brush with the world of new technology, I take it a read that if one stops learning new IT skills, one makes oneself unemployable, and that computer literacy is as important as the ability to read and write in the world today.

Anyway I bought myself a new phone last Friday and have been on the Android learning curve ever since, if you want to read about how this is going, I have been adding the information to a blog post on my test blog see

This post and the test posts there are mostly for my own benefit as I learn to use the thing, unless you are considering economy internet phone options, I wouldn’t bother to read it.

From the point of view of readers of this blog it means that I can now put up blog posts with pictures – taken with the phone camera – quickly and easily from pretty much any location. Although I suspect there will be a few more unusual test postings on my test blog

Yesterday my younger children learnt at school that they had to wash their hands for 15 seconds – I believe this is part of their hostile health course – they were taught to time this by singing the long version of happy birthday twice. As they prepare their packed lunches, do their ablutions, have their breakfast and so on before school. I had a big dose of this in the early hours of this morning. Tomorrow their teachers are on strike and I am hoping that they learnt something different today that will make them forget what they learnt yesterday.     

Funny old thing this public sector strike, in the world of independent retailing I cashed in my pension and decided the only answer was to go on until I drop, not that this really worries me that much as I enjoy what I do. Several friends and family members work for some aspect of the government, some have been made redundant only to reemployed by the government doing essentially the same job. Pretty much all of them seem to be much better off than those doing similar jobs in the private sector. That is, with the exception of those engaged in providing essential front line services.

Back to phones and retail, I would say the largest problem for the high street at the moment is the various phone apps that compare prices.

For those of you living in some sort of dark age, this is what happens.

You touch an icon on your phone, point the camera at the barcode of an item you are considering buying in a shop, the phone finds the same item at a competitive price on the internet and presents you with a buy it now button.

In my bookshop I go out of my way to make certain that the book prices compete with this, but I fear a great many other retailers are being slow at catching on to this.

Nearly forgot, this is where I come to the hard sell of Christmas, I am reminding people that if they can’t find a Christmas present for a local person, then our local history books priced between £2 and £10, post free to Uk addresses go down very nicely.

If you want them posted direct to friends and family remember to include a Christmas message in the paypal message option, and we will wrap them in Christmas wrapping paper inside the jiffy bag with your message on the present. 

Here is the web address

I am learning to sew at the moment, most of the books on the subject are amazingly sexist and assume that the only people who may wish to master a sewing machine are female.

Assuming – not difficult – that any garment I made would only be worn by me it would be useful to find something with male tailoring patterns in it.

A useful sewing tip here for going over big fabric bumps like the ones in denim, hit them with a hammer first. 

I may ramble on about this and that. 

Monday 28 November 2011

Lack of confidence in Thanet District Council the Pleasurama example.

With all the comment on the previous post surrounding the functioning of the council I was looking for some way of expressing the how and why fo the way local people come to feel about the council.

Here in Ramsgate the Pleasurama project is the largest thing ever to happen on a council owned site. This project dwarfs say The Turner Contemporary and theoretically the council stand to gain a considerable sum of money from it.

In practice I reckon all that has happened is they have spent well over a million pounds on it, the project is years behind schedule, Ramsgate has had about a decade of the its prime seafront a building site, much to the detriment of the town in every sense.  

Periodically I contact the council to ask them what if anything is going on as this site which according to health and safety notices should have had about 200 people working on it for nearly two years, appears to have had between two and four people working on it.

One way or another you would think the council would have something or another to say about this state of affairs, so below my email to them and their reply. 

Pleasurama development
04/10/2011 15:34:02 GMT Standard Time

Hi ***** I recently telephoned TDC to get an update on the situation with the Pleasurama development in Ramsgate, I spoke to *****, who didn’t know the answers. I asked him how he would prefer I raise the issue, foi request, official complaint or another approach. He asked me to contact you directly by email.

Can you confirm this method of enquiry is the one you prefer and can you give me an estimate of when I will get a response?

I don’t have complete faith in the council’s email system, so please confirm that you have received this email.

Obviously all is not well with the way the development is progressing and delays or failure of the development are detrimental to the town’s economy, if you have any off the record thoughts about situation please let me know.

The following statement, questions and your answers to them are intended for publication, although I will not publish your name on the internet.

As you are probably aware the work on the development is far behind the schedule in the development agreement, work since the start of this year has consisted of between 2 and 4 men on site.

The method of construction stated in the agreement, pile boring and steel cage isn’t being used.

The developer is using a private building control firm.

There have been cliff condition issues.

1 Is it the council’s intention to enforce the terms of the development agreement?

2 Have the council had any correspondence with the developer relating to the delays surrounding the development, and if so can you provide copies of it, or a summery of its content?

3 How far is the council prepared to let the slippage in the work go before taking action?

4 Is there any public or council access to the building control information relating to the changes in construction method?

5 As the development is situated in a high risk flood zone have the environment agency been consulted over the change from pile bored foundations to shallow foundations.

6 Is there any public or council access to the working drawings for the development?

Best regards Michael

Re: Pleasurama development
18/11/2011 11:03:07 GMT Standard Time

Most sorry for the long delay in replying. I did the draft ages ago and
must admit thought I had sent this before I went on holiday, and even
though I did get the chaser to respond other priorities have got in the
way. Response as set out below:

Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with my off the record
views about the progress of the development. However, I hope you will
not be upset if I keep these to myself.

In relation to the specific questions you ask I have the following

1) The council is expecting compliance with the terms of the agreement.
I cannot respond in relation to any proposed action of the council if
these terms are breached.

2) Any contact previously with the developer in relation to the
agreement is covered by commercial sensitivity and will not be provided
even in summary form.

3) Please see comment in 1 above.

4) The council do not have any automatic rights of access to the
building control information relating to the development. Clearly you
can seek this information directly from the developer's building control
provider if they are willing to supply this.

5) Contact with the Environment Agency has not be made by this council
in the context of the foundations for the development. As in 4 above you
could seek from the building control provider whether this formed part
of their process.

6) The answer is the same as for 4 above.


Now as far as I can see the only thing I can do is turn the thing into both an official complaint and a foi request, wasting both my time and the council’s.

The pictures of the site were taken last week.

This link takes you to the post about when I last checked up on the Pleasurama site

Saturday 26 November 2011

Conservatives lose majority at Thanet District Council

With john Worrow resigning the whip we have an interesting situation developing which I will try to write something sensible about.

My first thoughts where that perhaps the councillors ought to have considered the results of the leadership consultation with more interest.

All of the local people who responded to the consultation said they wanted to elect a leader of the council, instead of having one chosen for them by the councillors.

I have decorated this post with some more pictures of Ramsgate to give me something to look at while considering the implications.

I will ramble on about this as thoughts occur to me


Friday 25 November 2011

Pictures of Ramsgate from the Tower of the Granville

Here are the links to some of the pictures.

There will be some more to come plus the ones of inside the tower.

I didn’t really know what size to put the pictures up or whether to delete some of the ones that were similar or not so good, some feedback on this one would be helpful. 

Another page here, different (compact camera, the previous pages were taken with a DSLR)

None of the pictures linked to this post are the same as the ones linked to yesterdays post.

Next some of the pictures inside the tower, a content warning here as some of the graffiti much of which dates from when it was a lookout post in 1940 is a tad obscene, here is the link to the pictures

Items of note here are the Otis lift winding gear and motor, the plate says Otis Waygood so I could be pre war, I am not sure how you date these as Otis made their own motors and quite modern 1960s ones have the same look as the pre war ones. 

You can see there is a structural issue with the tower which is about to be addressed.

This tower was originally much taller and the height of it was reduced sometime before 1900, the purpose of the tower was for water tanks relating to the spa baths and hotel. 

Thursday 24 November 2011

A Ramsgate Picture Puzzle

I was standing in a place in Ramsgate today and thought the view was particularly good so I took some pictures, the puzzle is to answer where I was standing.

The pictures are all unedited as they appear on the camera card

To help make this easier or at least different click on the link for bigger versions of the pictures

If you can’t wait until tomorrow, when I will put up the rest of the pictures from this location, for more of this sort of thing here are the ones from the top of St Georges church earlier this year.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Three New Shops in Ramsgate High Street, some thoughts and photos

Ramsgate’s self regeneration seems to be moving on a pace despite local government, by this I mean most of our council owned prime sites having gone pear shaped.

Anyway this is an optimistic post so I won’t go there today.
The first is Specksavers this is now open.

The next is Greggs the Bakers this looks like it will be open in a few days.

Last Phones 4 u This is now open.

There is quite a bit of other stuff around the town, that really needs a mention, something I will do if I get time.

The rest of the pictures, taken this morning and yesterday morning, the good with the bad, for those who can’t get out for a walk in Ramsgate for one reason or another, click on the link

Using the pictures to jog my memory, The Marmalade Café in Harbour Street, looks as though it will open soon.

JGs in Harbour Parade, the amusement arcade owned by Jimmy Godden, has closed, no libellous comment here please. 

Rumour is the Jimmy is very ill and not likely to last for long and that the building is to have a new incarnation as cake shop.  

Using the pictures to jog my memory, The Marmalade Café in Harbour Street, looks as though it will open soon.

JGs in Harbour Parade, the amusement arcade owned by Jimmy Godden, has closed, no libellous comment here please. Rumour is the Jimmy is very ill and not likely to last for long and that the building is to have a new incarnation as cake shop.  

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Optical illusions Drawings and photos

This one was based on some of the management team of Turner contemporary. The only one I was fairly pleased with was Victoria Pomery, centre.

The idea is to try to incorporate likenesses in the illusion of three faces sharing the same parts.

Next I had a go at our political leaders Cameron, Clegg and Miliband.

Oddly enough it is the side profiles that give the most trouble again.
 I know I should have been working and not sitting at my bookshop counter drawing.

The Ramsgate photos were taken this morning when I went for a walk, the only thing I have done to them is invert them and then produce mirror images of the inverted image.

I quite like the idea of drawing something from an imposable angle. 

In this case it would be Ramsgate viewed from the bottom of the harbour. 

On the whole drawing from photographs is a bit boring, so if this is something you do then you may find turning your sketches into some sort of optical illusion makes things more interesting. 

I tried giving the first one a wash, to see if it looks any better.

Monday 21 November 2011

Eurokent Plans for housing estate and shopping centre at Westwood Cross published.

The planning reference is OL/TH/11/0910

The TDC planning website is one of the most bizarre websites I have ever come across in as much as the web addresses of the pages on it change after a few hours so you can’t publish links to them. If you want to look at any of the applications you need to go to the site and enter the application reference in the search box, this link takes you to the site

Some of the pdf files are a bit on the large size so you may find them easier to deal with if you download them to your computer first.

Interestingly the results of the public consultations are published in the application -In council speak the consultation document in the planning application is called “Other-9215374”- (people’s actual responses are at the bottom in an appendix), summarised this seems to be: we asked people if they wanted it, they said no and now we intend to impose it on them.  

I will try to write something more about this if I get time to study the plans.