Friday 27 July 2012

Thanet at War and the Mini V festival this weekend July 28 and July 29 Ramsgate’s Westcliff

 There are 2 days of fun and entertainment for all.

Displays and demonstrations from the 1940's

Military vehicles, costumed re-enactors, hunt the spy.

There will be entertainment from the era including singing and dance.

Lots of stalls 
 Pictures of previous years Thanet at War

also on Ramsgate's westcliff this coming weekend at The Boating Pool

The Mini V Festival

With an eclectic choice of live music from only the best local bands, this is a unique family event you can't miss!  

The music runs from 1pm til 8pm both days and there is so much for the whole family to do - including face painting, food & craft stalls, a children's fair, walk on water balls, bar & restaurant serving hot food all day as usual!  

Saturday 28th July

1 - 2pm - The Locals
2.30 - 3.30pm - Riddimatics
4-5pm - Tundra
5.30 - 6.30pm - Running with scissors
7 - 8pm - Georgie

Sunday 29th July

1-2pm - Rosco Levee Band
2.30 - 3.30pm - Interseptors
4pm-5 - Salvador Charlie
5.30 - 6.30pm - Zedheads
7-8pm - Breed

Wednesday 25 July 2012

The Riddle of the Sands, some thoughts on Pleasurama, the Labour administration and Ramsgate.

I would say that there is little doubt that Labours tenuous grip on power at TDC has a great deal to do with a lot of people in Ramsgate voting for them and I guess the Conservative group must realise that unless they can win some of Ramsgate back, then they will have difficulty regaining power.

In Ramsgate the general view of TDC is that it is focused on other parts of Thanet, particularly The Turner Contemporary.

Anyway tomorrow there will be a council cabinet meeting and one of the big issues for people living in Ramsgate, The Royal Sands development on the Pleasurama site, is coming before the Labour cabinet.

I think the idea here is that the cabinet will try to express the wishes of the people of Ramsgate who voted for them and try to come up with a good decision on this one.

Opinion in the town seems to divided into various lumps, there is the for gods sake get on with the thing group, there is the pull out of the thing and give us a swimming pool, skating rink group, the don’t have a clue about it group and so on.

My own feelings about the development is that it isn’t properly tailored for the site, doesn’t fit the available space physically, isn’t architecturally sympathetic with the town, has poorly planned parking and access. While I understand that the residential aspect of the this sort of development is essential to pay for any leisure component, I am not sure that such an intense concentration of dwellings will do any more that overstrain the existing infrastructure, parking access drains and so on.

Having said all of that I realise that something needs to be done urgently with the site urgently.

Taking the pragmatic view, I decided a long time ago that if the council and the developer were determined to attempt to go ahead with a development that I consider to both ill thought out and unsuitable for the site, I would do my best to ensure it was as successful as possible.

I guess the problem main factor at the moment that is beyond dispute is that the site has been designated high flood risk by The Environment Agency and that no flood risk assessment has been carried out.

There are other factors like the state of part of the cliff façade, but this is open to dispute and difficult to pursue.

Historically the site has had flood and storm problems, so we aren’t conjecturing about possible sea level rises, there are various recorded incidents recorded, an example being the 1953 storm when a ten ton crane that had been working on the beach was thrown over the sea defences and into the middle of where the development will be built, this is documented in the local papers and isn’t open to dispute.

So what I had hoped to do was to get the council officers, or get the councillors to get the officers to use the bargaining power created by selling the developer the freehold, to insist on a flood risk assessment.

I am particularly concerned about this one because of the condition of the sea defence, in front of the development, shown in the picture.    

This brings me to the rather strange riddle, who benefits from building the development without a flood risk assessment?

This is a difficult one that I can’t see any obvious answer to, so I will start by considering what the results of a flood risk assessment could be.

One result could be that it showed there was no problem, this would obviously be beneficial all round, it would make it much easier for the developer to borrow the money, to build the development and it would make it much easier for people buying apartments to get a mortgage. 

Another and I think more likely result would show that the sea defence in front of the building, like the sea defence behind Margate beach was inadequate and needed replacing or repairing.

With the development’s foundations built on sand and the only thing between it and the sea being the unmaintained 1860 defence, more sand and the promenade also built on sand, I guess I don’t really need to draw a diagram.  

The question who pays for any work a flood risk assessment shows needs doing to the sea defence? Could be where the answer to the riddle of the sand is. But as far as I can see any cost would come out of the national sea defence budget and wouldn’t be met by either the council or the developer.   

Of course I am hoping that the new Labour cabinet have persuaded the officers to persuade the developer to get a flood risk assessment done. All of the documents relating to tomorrows decision are secret, the meeting itself will be held in secret, the press and public will be excluded.

This rather does beg the question is that what the people of Ramsgate hoped for when they voted Labour, the secrecy I mean? 

In Ramsgate we are all aware that the ongoing saga of The Royal Sands and its crippling effect on our tourist economy is difficult to keep secret. We can see into the deserted building site from the cliff top, we can see the hanging garden or weeds growing from the expensively repointed and repainted cliff façade. 

The development started as a bright idea under the previous Labour administration, went from failure to failure under the last eight years of Conservative administration, so I guess we are all now wondering if the new Labour administration can come up with any solution or any novel approach.  

The Pleasurama site is in my council ward, the Eastcliff ward, two of my ward councillors are also cabinet members, so they will be aware of the problem the development is.  

James Maskell has done a post about tomorrows cabinet meeting, see his conclusion is that most of the issues to be discussed have forgone conclusions and will go through on the nod.

James has a much better understanding of local politics than I do, so I guess he is likely to be right on this. 

I am becoming concerned that our local politics has become a bit of a game and wonder if the logical and sensible decision making process has gone out of the window for the sake of this game.  

Perhaps the council are reluctant to have a flood risk assessment here because of the condition of Ramsgate Harbour wall.

 As you see from the picture workers are busy at the moment replacing the cracked tarmac on to of what looks very like a cracked structure, I guess close examination of this could be expensive for the council.

I will continue with this one, but have gone off to think about the question. 

Update, here is the council cabinet’s decision.

Last date for call in: 3 Aug 2012
Relevant Portfolio:
Date of Decision: 26 July 2012
Subject: Royal Sands - Development Agreement
Key Decision No In Forward Plan No
Brief summary of matter:
To agree the principle of a new development agreement for the Royal Sands site.
Decision made:
That the revised development agreement summarised in Annex 1 to the report is
agreed, with delegated authority granted to the Corporate and Regulatory Services
Manager to sign the final agreement, once all advance conditions are met, in
consultation with the Cabinet Member for Commercial Services.
Reasons for decision:
To replace the current development agreement with a revised agreement that allows the
developer to achieve the remaining funding for his proposals whilst ensuring that the
original outcome requirements for the Council are retained.
Alternatives considered and why rejected:
Consideration was given to whether entering into a new agreement should be declined
and action be taken with regards to any defaults on the existing agreement. However,
this was fraught with considerable legal risks and was not the preferred approach.
In addition, the Council could have sought a completely different basis for a new
agreement in relation to the funding, but, again, this has significant legal risks.
Both these issues raised serious concerns about the site remaining undeveloped for
years to the detriment of regeneration in Ramsgate.

Details of any conflict of interest declared by any executive Member who has been
consulted and of any dispensation granted by the Standards Committee:
Author and date of Officer report:
Mark Seed, Director of Operations
Background papers
Royal Sands - Development Agreement - Report to Cabinet, 26 July 12
Annex 1 - Summary of main points of draft development agreement
Statement if decision is an urgent one and therefore not subject to call-in:
Last date for call in: 3 Aug 2012

Monday 23 July 2012

A new book about The Granville Hotel Ramsgate, a story of underage drinking and local book publishing.

As you can see from the picture above I have added to my local publications a history of The Granville. It is rolling of the press, on and off as I write, the press or presses in this case, being computer-controlled printers, so stocks may not last. The computer in question seems to have developed an intense dislike for me.

What to say about The Granville?

We moved to Ramsgate when I was about fourteen, my mother bought a guesthouse in Augusta road, and the bar of The Granville was the nearest to a local pub that I remember from that time.

I looked old for my age and don’t ever remember any difficulty in getting served beer there, no age ID cards in those days, and in the 60s The Granville was already part of this countries redundant splendour.

The guesthouse had a side effect of making me fairly wealthy as a teenager during the summer season, for most of the rest of the year I was away at a boarding school for the disabled.

At that time there was very little appreciation for great Victorian buildings, we had previously lived in a fairly substantial and virtually unheatable ten bedroomed Victorian house I Salisbury, so I wasn’t greatly impressed by The Granville as a teenager. 
Over the years I think I have come to appreciate Victorian architecture and have to admit that I find the more splendid Victorian town houses more interesting than many of the Regency and Georgian houses that preceded them.

For the most part apart from the occasional beer in The Granville I have to admit that I didn’t really notice it much until the bar closed, and then after that the front part that had been destroyed by a bomb in the war, was rebuilt in the same style as the rest of the building.

I guess I looked at it and thought how much better this was than building a dull modern looking structure on the site.

My interest in local history, which started about seven years ago, means that my interest in Ramsgate buildings and the overall look of Ramsgate has become keener. From not caring very much at all, well I guess more not noticing that much, I have formed an opinion that new buildings here should harmonise with the look of the town and preserve its distinctive character. This is particularly the case with the seafront viewed from the harbour walls. To me the majority of the post-war built Ramsgate skyline that isn’t built in the style of what was bombed, demolished or burnt doesn’t fit in too well.

Attempts at using non-traditional building materials in our sea air don’t seem to work that well either, modern concrete blocks tend to soon become nastily stained, whereas the more traditional stuff tends to just look interestingly weathered.

Quite a few of our buildings were bombed during the war and after the war a mixture of neglect, the council and various property speculators probably caused even more damage than Hitler did. 

The great Granville complex of the hotel and the Granville Marina resort are an example of this. As I mentioned the front bit was bombed, however the bits at the side and back, ballroom function rooms baths and so on were a victim of a property speculation and Thanet district Council’s rather lax approach to our architectural heritage. Down on the seafront the theatre, that turned into a cinema and then Nero’s was vacant, council owned and of considerable architectural importance when the council decided to demolish it. By that time I was beginning to lose confidence in our council and tried to reason with them, not perhaps the best course of action with an organisation run by civil servants who live well away from the area and elected members who seem to behave like sheep, when these highly paid individuals tell them what to do.

Back to the book, the printer having spat out a couple of copies, has just gone into some sort of cleaning mode that seems to have consumed several ink cartridges, I read the book last week with considerable interest and enjoyment.

The story of The Granville starts when Edward Welby Pugin and other speculative investors purchased the land in 1867, the intended to build a terrace of grand gothic houses, but the other investors fell out and pulled out leaving Pugin who poured his fortune into creating a grand gothic hotel. Pugin went bankrupt in 1873 and the following bitter litigation this lead to his untimely death two years later. The next owner going bankrupt in 1881 and the next in 1895.

The tower wasn’t primarily a decorative adornment but was built, originally extending about twice as high above the roof of the building than I does now, to hold the massive water tanks for the baths. Lowered in 1899 because of the strain of the massive weight of water and now looking rather strained again.

Anyway the book is out now, priced £9.99 and I will endeavour to write some more about it and print some more copies of it.

I took some pictures in and on The Granville last year, here are the links

if you want to read another publication about The Granville here is The Granville Illustrated News   

Anyway thanks to Ben Kelly who has done a considerable amount of research, I now have some idea of the history of The Granville. 

Sunday 22 July 2012

Ramsgate Carnival 2012 pictures

Once again a few pictures of the carnival.

 I was entertaining my children for part of the time so I missed some parts, apologies missed floats and carnival queens, I did my best.
 The links below should take you to the pages of pictures, they are publishing to the internet now and should have all appeared by about 9.30 pm.

Photos of previous years carnivals are at

Friday 20 July 2012

The Last Albion Bookshop Closes and some thoughts on the demise of the independent bookshop.

The closure of independent bookshops new and secondhand, has been a plague of the last few years, there a lot of different factors that have contributed to it, out of town shopping, the rise and fall of big chains of new and discount bookshops, the internet, the charity bookshop, the e-book, the kindle and I guess most of all the increased cost of running a shop. 

Well anyway Albion Secondhand Bookshop in Broadstairs has closed, to me this is a considerable loss to the town. I guess that there comes a point somewhere along the line where towns will cease to qualify as a town in the sense that we have historically come to understand the word town to mean.   

Sorry about the picture, I will make some effort to do a better one.

Thursday 19 July 2012

BBC gives Thanet Council a Hammering Over Beach app press release and a bit of a ramble.

As some of you will know I publish the Thanet Press release blog and as well and publish all of the press releases sent to me by the council. The council’s press releases were one of the main reasons I started that blog, particularly because their publication is sporadic on the council’s website and the council’s feeds are unpredictable.

One of their press releases today was about an app the council have produced for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, here is the link to the press release

Sending press releases to the media can backfire pretty badly, here is the link to the BBC news story it produced

I will ramble on about this later if I get some time, these press releases strike people in different ways and my observation was that the council only produce an app for the very expensive Apple iphone and didn’t do one for the cheaper android phones that I would guess would be more likely to be used by Thanet residents.

I had to go to Canterbury today and had lunch at the Osteria Posillipo opposite the Kings School there, this is the group of restaurants that has one in Broadstairs pizza and a soft drink lunch time special £7 quick excellent and highly recommended.
I did a quick sketch from my table there of the gate to the school, India ink and fast splodges of watercolour, I realised too late that the top of the wall with the gate in it should be sloping down from left to right and not up as I drew it. It’s always too late with India ink and I seem to have a bit of a blind spot over this type of line.   

Strange really the picture should look a lot more wrong than it does, I guess this is mostly down to seeing what one expects to see.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

The Royal Sands Development on the Pleasurama site in Ramsgate, up before cabinet again next week.

As is usually the case with this development it is the secrecy surrounding any democratic discussion about it that I find most worrying.

We always come back to the fact that it is to be built on the most prominent, council owned seafront leisure site in Ramsgate. Because of this much of the towns leisure based economy hinges on getting it right.

My main concern with this development focuses on the safety issues, cliff stability, flood risks and emergency escape routes. As a local historian I am very much aware that Ramsgate Eastern Undercliff has a history of storm damage and cliff collapses that is sporadically recorded back to the mid 1800s. This history isn’t written up in one place and I periodically discover new information about it.

More of this information came up over the weekend when I was reading the book that I hope to have in print next week about the Granville, this time it related to Marina Road, the sloping road down the cliff in front of the Granville. According to the plans for The Royal Sands this road forms the access for busses and delivery lorries to the development.

After various cliff collapses there in about 1960 the borough engineer made this road a one way only, up the hill and I have taken the issue of having heavy vehicles going down this hill with various council engineers, particularly with respect to the forces associated with a line of heavy vehicles having to stop in an emergency while going down the hill.

The answers I got were along the lines of those Victorian engineers knew what they were doing and there was no problem. It was interesting for me to read that part of this structure collapsed the day before the opening ceremony and the opening parade had to be diverted around it.

As this development is to be built between the sea and the cliff face on an EA designated high risk flood zone, with access via Marina Road, then the condition of the cliff and sea defences between the lift and where Nero’s was (the hairpin bend on Marina Road) is important to the viability of the development.

Because the development is built between the face of the cliff and the sea, a safe and dry means of escape from the development also needs to be considered.

A considerable part of these problems aren’t really anyone’s fault, developer or council, as the site was designated a high risk flood zone after the planning permission was granted. However when it comes to the financial viability of the development, much is likely to hinge on the ability to borrow money for a new development built on a high risk flood zone, without a flood risk assessment.

Obviously as the plans were passed before it was designated it doesn’t have to have one, but I think at some point the proximity of the sea needs to be properly assessed and one hopes this doesn’t happen in the way it did for the Turner Centre.

The Isle of Thanet Gazette last published an article about The Royal Sands last month, here is the link and I guess this is the last time the various parties official position has been set out.

There are various things in this article that don’t quite make sense to me, the most obvious being that it says about 30% of the apartments have been reserved. Obviously as the apartments that are available to reserve are published on the internet, it is an easy matter to see that 14 out of 107 were reserved when the article was published last month and this figure is the same today.    

The council offices stance on the development has changed from when this came before cabinet three years ago when they recommended winding up the development and taking the land back, to their position now which is recommending that the cabinet approve going ahead with the development.

My guess on this one this that the council are concerned here about the developer taking them to court to get back the money he has spent so far.

I guess my position on this one is, if the council go decide to go ahead, I would like them to ensure that the development is a as viable and successful as it possibly can be and if they decide to pull out, that the site is returned to a usable state as soon as is possible.

So going ahead for me ought to mean a proper flood risk assessment and an assessment of the cliff condition from the lift to the old Nero’s site, before continuing with the development.

Much of this is cost related, as any problems with either the cliff or the sea defences may be much cheaper to solve before the development is built.

I guess of all the aspects of The Royal Sands it is the flood and storm situation that is the most bizarre.

Conversations with those involved go along the lines. “there is no problem as we have complied with all the legalisation, so there isn’t a problem.”

To which I reply. “You do accept that the site is an EA designated high risk flood zone.”

The answer to this one is now always. “Yes”

I then say. “You do accept that there hasn’t been a flood risk assessment.”

This has pretty much moved from the “Not that we know of” to the “Yes” camp.

Within a £22,000,000 project, the cost of a flood risk assessment would be a drop in the ocean and it is most likely that any work that needed doing would be funded by national government.

The other aspect of this is the newly built foundations, where conversations with the parties involved assure me that the shallow foundations on the old beach are adequate and properly calculated, something I don’t disagree with.

The problem occurs when I ask them about the sea defence that protects the sand these foundations are sitting on from the sea. “Yes” they agree that the sea defence dates from 1860. “Yes.” They agree that they have no plans or maintenance record for it.     

Now obviously this sea defence may be perfectly ok, on the other hand it may need some repairs and maintenance before people are going to live in the development behind it, which is sitting on sand.

On of the councillors asked me. “How long it would take before there was a problem, if we had a big tidal surge storm.”

What he was getting at was if the sea defence started to wash out, how long would the council have to put in some alternative to protect the foundations from washing out, which would cause the building to collapse.

The only other example we have of this is when the other sea defence built in 1860 by the same railway company failed in 1953, then we lost about ten square miles of land to the sea in one night.

The cliff is a difficult one, the whole of the cliff face from the lift to the hairpin bend where Nero’s used to be is faced with a variety of man made structures, to a lesser or greater degree these act as cliff supports. And to a lesser or greater degree these are intended to stop the effects of the weather from damaging the chalk and causing a cliff collapse.

The idea with most of these structures is to waterproof the front of the cliff and the cliff top to stop rainwater from getting in, the slightly acidic nature of rainwater causes the chalk to soften and disintegrate.

with a natural grass topped cliff this is largely compensated for as soon as one gets a few feet into the chalk as the chalk itself acts as a filter purifying the water. I have simplified this issue considerably to help people form a mental picture of the situation. 

A problem here and one that has contributed to some very large cliff falls in Ramsgate, is that when the surface on the top of the cliff cracks this concentrates the rainwater into a small area, causing the damage to the chalk to extend much further in.

Another problem is that the supporting façade structure holds back small chalk falls until the structure fails and a much larger fall occurs.  

The council’s engineers and the engineers that advise the council describe the cliff façade behind the Royal Sands as structures to prevent weathering and not as support structures. Essentially it is the chalk cliff that holds up the concrete façade and not the concrete façade that holds up the chalk cliff.

Generally there are three main signs that all is not well with these support structures, vegetation growing from any cracks, spalling (concrete cancer) where the metal reinforcing rods inside the concrete go rusty and damage the surrounding concrete and movement of parts of the structure.   

Back when the development was first granted planning permission this structure showed all of these signs, and I made a considerable amount of fuss along the lines of the fuss I am now making about the sea defence.

Whether it was because of this fuss or for some other reason the council eventually decided to survey most of the cliff façade behind the site. The results of this survey were pretty bad, the gist of the results was the structure was in a poor state, had a short serviceable life and needed emergency repairs.  Two years after the survey I managed to get hold of the report and made some more fuss, which may or may not have resulted in the emergency repairs.

One way or another the council spent about £1,000,000 on repairing the cliff, but at some point or another the council officers and councillors seem to have got it into their heads that this repair has given the cliff façade a new life comparable to the expected life of the development.

I guess since the £1m repairs, the repairs to the repairs, the weedings, the condition of the cliff now, you can see the latest crop of vegetation the picture above, are all rather self explanatory. 

After the cliff repair various things came to light that I find considerable cause for concern.

The first was the crack and bulge in one of the panels that I reported to the council and was subsequently repaired, it wasn’t this occurring that really concerned me but that the crack which didn’t appear in any of the reports prior to the £1m repair had been filled rather than the panel replaced during the £1m repair.

The next was the lose bit of masonry which I reported to the council and the hse and about which they took no action about until a large chunk of it fell off partly into the site and partly outside.

After that was the business where the council gave me the wrong plans to the arched part of the cliff façade, when the developer undermined it I made a considerable amount of fuss fire brigade hse and so on. 

As it happened there was no safety issue as the arched part is cast concrete and not concrete blocks as the plans showed.

But what was really worrying was the council, developer and the survey for the £1m contract, all used these wrong plans.    

I guess the underlying problem here is that the council have got into a position where having spent £1m on the cliff, they have to say that it’s ok condition wise.

My own feelings about the cliff are that the arched concrete part is probably in fairly good order, this was built in the 1930s after a series of large cliff collapses and I would guess that because of these no chances were taken. The square portal part at the lift end I haven’t really filled I the history of this part properly. I am pretty certain that it was constructed at various times and in various bits between 1940 and 1970, this is the part where the majority of the vegetation is growing out of the wall. It was one of the panels in this part that had to be replaced after the contract. This was also this part that was the subject of the contractors investigation. 

I have laid out what I hope is a very concise explanation of my concerns about aspects of this development because of the cabinet meeting about it next Thursday.

Once again the cabinet have to decide whether to go ahead with this development, this issue is to be discussed at the end of the cabinet meeting, in secret with the press and public excluded.
Picture added to respond to comment

Monday 16 July 2012

Thanet District Council’s Accounts, Thanet’s Population Explosion and it’s all Torch Torch Torch

Having contacted the council, last week, to tell them that their Olympic Torch Relay leaflet contained a map showing the wrong route. I wasn’t entirely unsurprised when a council employee delivered one to my shop today completely oblivious to the fact that the information it contained was wrong.

I guess that is the problem with local government, there comes a point where the only solution is to ignore the elephant in the room and carry on regardless.

The new census results are out and the population of Thanet has risen from 123,800 in 2001 to 134,200 in 2011 I think that is a rise of 5.8%  

The councils accounts are now available as a pdf file and as one would expect they explain the issue of senior offices pay and exit packages (redundancy payouts in detail) page 74 on.

I mention this specifically because of previous comment here saying this information has been withheld by the council. 

Page 102 seems to be saying that the council has acquired £620,000 worth of fairground rides. This was one of the few lighter moments in the chore of reading their accounts.

I will probably ramble on here.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Boats, Windfarm Boats at Ramsgate Harbour, The Boat Project at Margate Harbour Arm, pictures and some rambling text.

I think quite a few of the pictures are not pictures of boats, I took about 200 today and like you I will see them when I have published them online.
I went for a short walk this morning, up to The Granville on Ramsgate Eastcliff as I wanted to try and take a picture for the cover of a new book that I will be publishing about the Granville. Then down Augusta Stairs and along the Great Wall of Ramsgate, which has to be the most diverse free art gallery in Kent and probably the only art gallery in the world that is always open. Here is the link to the page with the pictures on it

This was followed by a walk up Ramsgate’s East Pier which forms the eastern wall of Ramsgate Harbour and was mostly built in the 1780s.
There was nothing like the quantity of wind farm boats in the harbour that there were on Thursday evening but still quite a few, including one with what I take to be an underwater caterpillar vehicle. The pictures are here

Then on to Gerry O’Donnell’s new café, which is now open for business, Gerry wasn’t there but I took some pictures, here they are

After this I took the dingy to Ramsgate Western Undercliff where the youf of today inserted it into the sea and went off to enjoy some sailing.

On to Margate to look at Collective Spirit a very impressive sailing yacht which looks quite fast to me. Here is the link to the page with the pictures on it

I will add a bit more to this post if I get time

Saturday 14 July 2012

Sandy Ezekiel to be tried by high court judge.

Councillor Ezekiel former leader of Thanet District Council appeared at Maidstone Crown Court with his friend Philip Emanuel yesterday.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges, which allege:

"occupying a position as a public official, in which he was expected to safeguard or not act against the financial interests of Thanet District Council, dishonestly abused that position intending to make a gain or cause a loss to another, and by using council staff to enforce Town and Country planning legislation against 12a and 12b King Street, Margate, which led the owner to sell it in breach of section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006".

"while acting as a public officer, namely a local councillor, wilfully misconducted himself by improperly using privileged Thanet District Council information in relation to the sale of 12b King Street, Margate, and by directing enforcement procedure by council staff on 12a King Street, which led the owner to sell it to you".

12B King Street was a Grade II-listed council owned building in Margate.

The Judge Philip Statman said it the as it was a high profile case it would be tried by a High Court judge on February 18 2013.

I have added a table of councillors allowances for clarity because of the comments relating to this post, I hope i used the figures for the right year.

Possible maximum expenditure 
Basic Allowance 
Deputy Leader
Cabinet Portfolio Holder
Chairman of Council
Vice Chairman of Council
Opposition Group Leader
Opposition Deputy Group Leader
Shadow Cabinet
Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairman
Overview and Scrutiny Committee Vice-Chairman
Planning Committee Chairman
Planning Committee Vice-Chairman
Licensing Committee Chairman
Licensing Committee vice chairman
Governance and Audit Committee - Chairman
Governance and Audit Committee vice chairman 
Standards Committee - Chairman
Standards Committee – Vice-Chairman
Standards Committee – other Independent Member
JTB Chairman

excluding basic