Tuesday 30 April 2013

Ramsgate Town Plan Survey Last Day to Take Part

Here is the link to the online survey, you have until midnight tonight to fill it in http://www.ramsgatetown.org/town-council/townplansurvey.aspx

Apologies I didn’t put this up earlier, I guess if you don’t take part then there isn’t much point in complaining if the town is planned in a way you don’t want it to be.   

Monday 29 April 2013

Kent County Council, Thanet District, Election Special and Monday Ramble

With the elections on Thursday I am understandably wondering who to vote for, despite the various assertions that are often made here I am a genuine floating voter, so I don’t have the luxury of just ticking the box or boxes for one party and have to think about who to vote for.

In the first instance I tend to only really consider candidates that I have actually heard of, despite having a shop and living in Ramsgate town centre, I have had virtually no bumph for this election and have seen virtually nothing of prospective candidates putting their respective cases.

The internet isn’t much better, in most cases Googling the candidates names doesn’t get you very far either, with a few notable exceptions.

It is now too late for those candidates who haven’t to develop any sort of web presence, by the time the search engines have found any new websites the election would be over.

So first of all an open offer to any Thanet Candidates, if you email me something about you, what you intend to do for Thanet as a county councillor, why you think people should vote for you, a picture of yourself and so on I will publish it in this post.

On the technical front the text part of what you want published should be in the email as text and the picture should be attached in jpeg format. Pictures of text or even worse pictures of text within a pdf file are no good for publishing on the internet.

My email address is michaelchild@aol.com

I will delete any obnoxious anonymous comments as soon as I see them and if you spot any yourself it is helpful if you email me with the comment’s time stamp (the date and time at the top of the comment)

On to the ramble, anyone with children will appreciate that some clothes and shoe shopping can no longer be achieved in the Thanet town centres, this means fairly regular visits to Westwood Cross or some other place with major chain shops.

My preferred activity yesterday would have been to go somewhere that looked interesting and sketch it, as it was I punctuated the shopping experience by sitting outside the various shops and endeavouring to sketch them.

See this one as example of a series of failures in attempting this, not only is the architectures there unattractive, it is also very difficult to draw, particularly when seen from the acute angle sitting on the seats outside the shops. 

Having done this and a supermarket shop for lunchbox items we retired to Bentley’s in Margate High Street for a cuppa, very good it was too – thanks to Margate + for the recommendation http://margate35mm.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/classic-names-class-acts.html as we sat in the High Street window I had a go a sketching more conventional architecture from an acute angle. As you see this didn’t go that well either.

The tea as you see was fine pot of tea for four about £5.50

Restored I went out into very bright sunshine to try and sketch something at less of an acute angle and difficult comments started, eventually I gave up went home, sorted them it out as best I could, but frankly the blogs are becoming too much trouble.

Perhaps comment moderation, perhaps just jacking it in altogether, I don’t know, what genuine readers and commentators think about how to deal with a small bunch of individuals LT Palmer, Roy John, Anon Etc.  

Ian Driver

Hello Michael
Thank you for your kind offer to post details on your site about my KCC election campaign.
To save space your readers can find out about my election polices by clicking on the link to my election blogsite where I have published  my manifesto. Here is the link.
My site  includes short videos and information about my campaigning work on the Ramsgate  Pleasurama site and the need to terminate  the agreement with developers SFP Ventures UK Ltd. It also includes information about my work to stop live exports from the Port of Ramsgate, my campaign against corruption in public life and the urgent need to make Thanet Council and the new Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group more accountable and transparent to the people of Ramsgate. There is also information about  my campaign to replace Kent County Council with an East Kent Coastal Council and my  support for leaving the European Union (although not from a UKIP perspective).
I would like to thank all the many people who have helped my campaign by distributing leaflets in Ramsgate and all the many well wishers I have met whilst campaigning and doing my soapbox sessions in town.
I am the only candidate in this election who has promised, if I am elected to KCC,  to give up my  seat on Thanet District Council and concentrate on working at one elected position alone, rather than spreading myself very thinly across 2 or even 3 Councils and drawing expenses and allowances from more than one Council.
I am the only INDEPENDENT candidate in this election. I am standing to represent the interests of the people of Ramsgate not to represent the interests of Party Bosses. Ramsgate comes first not Party loyalty
Finally, although Independent, I call on Ramsgate people to not only vote for me, but to use their second vote to vote for the Green Party.
Ian Driver
Independent Candidate for Ramsgate KCC election  
PS Here are a couple pictures of me on the campaign trail. The only candidate in the election to do good old-fashioned street corner soapboxing.  

"The information I have provided for publication on your blogsite is promoted by Ian Driver, 45 Sea View Road, CT10 1BX"

Chris Wells

As County Councillor since 2005, Chris Wells has fought for projects to improve Margate and Cliftonville.
He has pushed for the regeneration investment in the Turner Contemporary and Northdown Community Project; fought for the independence of the Walpole Bay Bowls Club and Tivoli Day Centre; used the Margate Housing Initiative and Kent Community Organisation to improve residents daily lives.

His Highway funds have placed pedestrian crossings for Millmead Road and Dalby Square; bollards to protect green areas in St Mary’s Avenue, Nash Road, and St Johns; and to combat rising fuel costs for the much needed Thanet Community Transport. Guides and Sea Scouts have enjoyed trips and camps; and the East Kent Submariners proudly show their new banner.

Chris has used his 26 years of experience in voluntary sector management to support groups, and is ready and able to continue this valuable work for the next 4 years.

Ian Gregory

First elected in 1995 in Cliftonville East and I have also represented Dane Valley and St Peter’s Wards on the District Council. For the last 15 years I have worked in Estate Management for East Kent Hospitals and consequently have a keen interest in the NHS and Highways matters. A number of my close family are teachers and we have all benefited from the Grammar School system and local Universities of which I am a strong supporter.Tourism first attracted me to Thanet from Essex where I had worked as a design engineer for a large motor manufacturer and for ten years in the 1990′s we owned a 23 bedroom Private Hotel in Cliftonville as well as being involved in the rental sector. My wide experience means that I am now ideally suited to help others, whether it be problems related to Housing, Planning , Healthcare or Education and I hope to be able to utilise this experience as a Kent County Councillor.

Promoted by Neil Parsonson on behalf of Kent Conservative Association, both at
PO Box 1116 Canterbury CT1 9LQ. T: 01227 785427. E:office@kentconservatives.org.uk

Apologies here for confusing two councillors in one load of bumph, I think I have got it sorted out right now.  

Saturday 27 April 2013

Watch the price of Thanet Watch!

I was deeply shocked at the huge price hike from 60p to 80p in the cost of Thanet Watch when Norman turned up at my bookshop with copies of it for me to sell. In fact I said to him I think we had better have twice as many as we had last month, as we had sold out within a few days of getting the last lot.

This sort of price hike in Thanet socialist rags is no new thing, its predecessor The East Kent Critic which cost 3d in 1963 (this amount of money converts to fractionally over 1p which is exactly 2½d) had by 1983 reached the dizzy heights of 25p – is this a price hike of 2500% I ask myself.

Strangely enough Thanet Watch leads with a story, neigh stories about Jonathan Aitken. Did Norman know that it was Jonathan that financed the last socialist rag The East Kent Critic, I ask myself? Did Norman ask for a sub and get turned down? Is this the reason for the price hike?

What we have here looks like socialist capitalism, or is it capitalistic socialism?

Here is the latest offering from TWTV like the BBC they are not accredited whith TDC so perhaps you should't watch The Watch - Quis custodiet ipsos custodes - anyway? sSorry about that, is "anyway" qualibet or qualubet?

Here is a lesson in cross party collaboration from Jonathan Aitken, if you click on it compulsively it may get big enough to read.
Having just watched The Watch video I am wondering which of the local parties benefited in terms of the forthcoming elections, it was only the fear that I could possibly be elected that stopped me standing as The Monster Raving Loony candidate, obviously those fears were well founded.    

I will try to ramble on here         

Friday 26 April 2013

Friday ramble about, gypsies, travellers, blog comments, local history, media and art.

I think this must date from between 1877 when Granville marina was built and 1879 when construction started on Ramsgate Pier.

Many thanks to Ben for supplying the image.

Travellers or gypsies set up camp in King George VI park in Ramsgate this week here is the Gazette article http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Traveller-camp-sets-King-George-VI-Park-Ramsgate/story-18803877-detail/story.html#axzz2RVfJzheq

And there is the extraordinary business of the filming of council meetings where councillors appear to have decided that neither The Gazette nor the BBC are accredited media organisations    

I was unable to attend this meeting as I have primary school children, so the only way I would have been able to understand what went on was by watching the video.

I guess my first observation about the filming of this meeting is that one of the main agenda items was the Royal Sands Development on the Pleasurama site in Ramsgate and I should have liked to have seen the film of the rest of the meeting.

I suppose the big news of the day is that Transeuropa Ferries have gone into administration, this story started out on Eastcliff Richards’s blog see http://eastcliffrichard.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/transeuropa%20ferries and the latest news article is at http://www.kentonline.co.uk/thanet_extra/news/2013/april/26/transeuropa.aspx  

I have mixed feelings about this one, on the negative side we have lost local jobs something we can ill afford, and positive side these were very old ferries that produce a lot of pollution over the town, when the wind was in the wrong direction.

My own feelings are that the council needs to have a considerable review of Port Ramsgate in particularly considering turning it into a water related leisure facility.

My understanding is that in terms of Ramsgate Harbour in recent years the marina has made a considerable profit and the port a considerable loss.

There is also the question of how much Transeuropa owed TDC when they went into administration.    

I now come on to the problem of blog comments I think it fair to say that some of the recent comment here and on my Thanet Press Release blog http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/ is both putting me off continuing to publish both blogs and is putting ordinary commentators off from commenting.

I have several distinct types of comment that are pretty much impossible to deal with apart from deleting or spamming them straight away.

If you go back to the blogging situation in Thanet about a year ago, managing comment was easy, if I had a week with 50 blog comments published there were perhaps 10 commercial spam comments that I deleted and occasionally a comment tat fell into the potentially libellous bracket, often I just edited out the potentially libellous bit and published it.

Now for 50 comments actually published I get about 1,000 commercial spam comments about 5 that are potentially libellous or just derogatory towards real people.

Added to this is the new problem of copying comments and other chunks of text and pasting them into the comment form, often with some added and unpleasant content and I have something that is becoming too time consuming to manage.

The newest kid on the block here is John Hamilton who seems to have developed an obsession about Councillor Ian Driver

Anyway this chap says he isn’t anonymous and is commenting under his own name, I could only find one Youtube clip uploaded by someone of the that name with Thanet connections, I wonder if it is the same man.

Incidentally for those of you who don’t know how to copy a youtube video to your commuter in case it suddenly gets deleted by the person who published it, you put ss after the www. bit like this www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=FmXS6vjhqeE and chose the file type and quality from the links on the right.    

A few pictures from this evening, the mobile phone isn’t the best of equipment for night shots, at https://plus.google.com/photos/103118335852639233427/albums/5871257294786881121?banner=pwa and a sketch in The Belgian Café in Ramsgate the art exhibition there at the moment is work by David Revik Holtek and well worth a look at.

I will ramble on here as I get time.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

JWM Turner is 238, The turner Contemporary is 2 St George is 1738 the Dragon is probably a lot older, happy birthday

A watercolour and pencil sketch to celebrate Turner’s, The Turner Contemporary’s, St George's and of course the dragon’s birthday, how exactly Margate could celebrate this eluded me for a moment.

I guess the town of Dreamland and the dragon are all much of a muchness, when it comes down to mythology it is difficult to be in the wrong.

Monday 22 April 2013

Monday ramble about drawing and stuff

First a lunchtime sketch of Ramsgate Clockhouse or Maritime Museum from the Royal

 A photo from the same location.

The weather is just reaching the point where it is good enough to sketch outside and I am getting back into practise sketching familiar local buildings

The idea here is to do a quick freehand sketch, without any assistance whatsoever, like holding your pencil at arms length or drawing lines meeting at a vanishing point and then compare the sketch with the photo and work out what went wrong.

Of course there was a time, before the invention of photography, where I guess the artist was trying to get as close to a photograph as possible, and I guess there is a sense where I could just as well take a photograph instead.

In terms of how quick is quick the sketch must have taken about ¾ of an hour, I get an hour for lunch and managed to leave 10mins early today, had the all day breakfast inc cup of tea in The Royal £5 so I guess I was in there for about an hour and it took ¼ hour to eat it. 

I may ramble on
I have put some paint on the clockhouse, will probably add some more

Just been reminded to put the finished picture up

Sunday 21 April 2013

Scout Parade Saint George’s day 2013 Margate Photos and possible Sunday ramble.

I have put all of the pictures of this event in the public domain and you should be able to download them at full resolution, feel free to use the pictures as you want, if you publish them online I would appreciate a credit. Here is the link https://picasaweb.google.com/103118335852639233427/20130421202

I used the camera in my mobile phone for this lot of pictures, which means that they are automatically uploaded to Picasa, so they are published in this way instead of my usual method of publishing them on my bookshop website in pages with about 100 pictures on each. I don’t know which method of picture publication people prefer, to me both seem to have pros and cons.

Couple of sketches today one when I stopped for a cup of tea at The Royal Harbour Brasserie, and another when I stopped for a cup of tea at The Turner Contemporary.  

Apologies about this I am trying to learn something about image and text alignment on blogger.

A word of warning here about driving on our sand beaches, some people had taken a van down onto the beach in Margate to recover a boat today and the van had got stuck in the sand.

I didn’t stay to see if they managed to get it towed out, I rather doubt that even a fairly substantial four wheel drive could do this without the risk of getting bogged down too, you really need a tractor with track like a tank on it to pull something heavy out of sand.

Saturday 20 April 2013

Four old prints of Ramsgate’s Eastcliff

 This first one is after 1860 as the Ramsgate Sands Railway Station can be seen. 

Update I have now pinned this print down exactly, it was commissioned for the book I publish: Delineations Historical and Topographical of the Isle of Thanet and the Cinque Ports by Edward Wedlake Brayley, http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/delineations_historical_and_topographical_of_the_isle_of_thanet_and_the_cinque_p.htm the plate for the print was engraved by William Deeble in 1817 and was taken from a drawing by HENRY G. GASTINEAU (1791-1876) who was a topographer and landscape artist. He trained as an engraver and then studied at the Royal Academy Schools, after which he travelled extensively in Great Britain painting the scenery as he went. He was elected Associate to the Old Watercolour Society (AOWS) in 1821 and became a full member (OWS) in 1823. From 1827, Gastineau worked in Camberwell as a drawing master, where he died on January 17th 1876. 
 The square towers on the left are the outbuildings to Eastcliff Lodge, these are still there and the Italianate greenhouse is built against them. the pointed towers on the right of the print are those of Eastcliff Lodge itself. This once stood in King George VI Park, obviously it was bought by the council and demolished.  

I have added a picture of Eastcliff Lodge by JMW Turner for clarification. As far as dating the print goes Eastcliff Lodge first appears as occupied in 1803 as a summer residence of Queen Caroline, so it was probably built around 1800. 

 This next one is before 1842 when the current lighthouse was built, the old one shown in the print was too near the end and tended to knock the spars off ships entering the harbour.
Obviously it as after 1817 when The Clock House was built by Benjamen Wyatt and George Louch.
Once again after 1860, I will add to the historical notes as aspects occur to me.

Many thanks to Ben – local antiquary, author of The Story of the Granville Hotel Ramsgate 1869-2012 (see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/the_granville_hotel___the_story_of_the_granville_hotel_ramsgate_1869_2012.htm ) and sometime author of various historical articles in local periodicals – for sending me the prints and for enhancing the image files. 

Friday 19 April 2013

About half a sketch from The Belgian Café in Ramsgate and about half a song

I ran out of time, children wait for no man.

What to say about the council meeting? I guess Pleasurama is a mess made by both political groups and the officers so there isn’t much they can say. Perhaps some sort of political blame game is the only answer.

How one can arrive at a situation where the two major lumps behind Ramsgate’s main sands, Pleasurama and the Royal Victoria Pavillion are both derelict, council owned and deserted defies anything I can think of.

Why the council meeting recording wasn’t live streamed onto YouTube at no cost to the taxpayer, instead of going through the expensive process of officer editing and putting up week late on an expensive server, in an unwatchable format, well I have the correspondence from the council and have posted about this before.

From outside our district council appears to be pretty much dysfunctional. It is certainly apparent why they would't want it filmed by a member of the electorate, I wonder if the council's own film will ever appear.


Thursday 18 April 2013

The Royal Ramsgate a ramble

The Royal wasn’t ever thus, the previous building was The Royal Hotel, but before even that it was the Kings Head Inn.

It is partly because of this that I wanted to do a sketch looking from the window of The Royal in the direction of Harbour Parade, anyway here is the sketch.

In this case I used a 0.5mm propelling pencil with a B grade lead, any softer and the watercolour smudges it, any harder and it becomes difficult to rub out.

In 1817 Henry Moses, sometime artist engraver to The British Museum, came to Ramsgate and did a series of sketches which he then turned into a book of engravings of the town.
This is one of the engravings looking this way
 and this is the other.

The pictures are from the A5 reprint I publish of this book.

The Royal produced a much better lunch than I expected, the food in there is very cheap for what you get.

The staff very courteous and I will return, although not perhaps in the evening when I think it is a venue for people who are a lot younger than me.

The sun streams in through the window there and after about an hour, which was how long it took me to eat and do the pencil sketch I was to hot to watercolour it.

I don’t like drawing from photos and in an ideal world I wouldn’t colour a sketch in from a photo either, but will probably give this one a go.

There are surprisingly few places to eat and drink in Ramsgate where there is a view that one would want to draw from any of the tables.

Rambling on, the new development adjacent to Adelaide gardens is nearly finished more photos via the link further on.

Tonight’s council meeting is due to debate The Royal Sands, the council are obliged to do so because of the submission of over a thousand signatures.

Rumour is something along the lines that that the development of the site may be split between two developers, possibly SFP and Cardy, as always with this development information leaks out rather than gets announced.

I have put the first bit of the watercolour on and am waiting for it to dry before putting some more on, cobalt blue for the sky, davys grey for pizza bank, the road and museum, most of the other buildings got naples yellow and cerulean blue for the roof of the pav.

Always difficult to tell how far to go, with a B grade pencil you can rub out the pencil after you have put the paint on if you want.

A bit of more detailed painting on the left of the picture now, as you can see things are a bit wet in the middle, so a drying break. The frustration of not being able to paint it from life but using a mixture of memory and the photos is difficult to describe.

That's it as they say.
I have joined the middle of the Henry Moses prints together, it should expand if you click on it a few times. the building in front of the obelisk is the Harbour masters house and harbour offices now demolished.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

TDC withdraws freehold offer to the developer of The Royal Sands Development on the Pleasurama site in Ramsgate

This photo, after the San Clue fire in 1928 but before the massive cliff collapse of 1937 that caused the arch faced concrete cliff wall to be built behind the funfair part of what is now known as Pleasurama.

Initial information goes something like this; the council while still wanting to proceed with the development have withdrawn the offer to sell the developer the site freehold prior to the completion of the development.

I think this photo between 1937 when the arched faced cliff façade and 1940 as the sands were pretty much closed for WW2 and the part of the Granville that was destroyed by a bomb in WW2 is still there.

This is from, Friends of Ramsgate Seafront.

Kandy, Terry, and Janet asked for a meeting with Sue McGonigal, Clive Hart, Mark Seed, Alan Poole and Harvey Patterson. to discuss the Pleasurama site.

We are happy to report they agreed!

We went to see them yesterdays, the headlines are that although they confirm they're key objective remains in getting this proposal built and they still believe there is no alternative.

The good news is that there seems to be movement on the issue of selling the freehold, where TDC now accept that there would not be enough protection against land-banking.
this is REALLY good news, they estimate the costs of requiring the leaseholders as around £5 million in buying back the leasehold and accumulated legal costs.

This photo was after 1947 because of the advertising board for the Granville Theatre that was built then.  

I sent that information to the cabinet member in charge Alan Poole; asking him what it meant and here is his reply.  

Hi Michael,

Yes, we had a meeting yeasterday. The trio asked various questions regarding the Royal Sands development.........I'm not sure they agreed with all the answers provided but we did our best!

We are now looking at retaining the 'freehold' until the development is completed.

We explained that SFP are not currently in breach of the development agreement and to regain possession of the site via the courts would be a very expensive operation.

We still believe that completing the development is the best way forward.



My guess at dating this photo is that it was just post war, I think the donkey called PG 49 is a reference to the WW escape at PG 49 Fontanellato an I reckon the hairstyles look about right for around 1950.

I phoned the council for clarification this morning, but all of the officers concerned are in a meeting and I am told that one of them will phone me this afternoon, I also phoned Terrance Painter, he unfortunately was out but I have a promise that he will phone me back when he gets in, I also phoned Cardy Construction and was tols someone will phone me back tomorrow.

My hope was to get a bit more clarification before publishing this information and if or when I get any I will add it below.  

I have now discussed the issue with one of the senior council officers and have confirmation that the above is substantively correct.

The council now intends to stick with the terms of the variation to the development agreement made in 2009.

This document can be found at http://michaelsbookshop.com/pda/id17.htm when you get to this page you will find links at the top of it to the associated documents, original agreement and associated leases.  

This means that the council are no longer considering offering to sell the freehold to the developer prior to completion of the development, which is what the developer asked for about a year ago.

The council has no plans to start litigation to regain the leasehold interest at this stage.      

Update Terrance Painter was kind enough to phone me up this morning and give me an update from the developer’s point of view.

The essential gist of it being, that it is very difficult to raise development finance outside of the M25 loop at the moment, but they are doing their best and hope to have put something viable together soon, so that work on the development can restart.

I did put to him that the general level of dereliction in the area, The Pleasurama site, The Pavillion and now The Godden Amusement Arcade, had a detrimental effect on the area and I asked him about getting some temporary use there while negotiations were ongoing.

He said he would look into the issue, but wasn’t very hopeful, both because of health and safety issues and because of piles of earth on the site being needed in a later stage of the construction.

I also put to him that SFP needed to publish a website, both to explain aspects of the development to local people and to keep people up to date on any progress.

He said he would see what discuss this with the directors of SFP.

The recent site history goes something like this, back in January 2004 I first heard about this development, looked at the plans, realised that the proposed development was higher than the distance between the top of the sea wall and the top of the cliff.

I tried to object to the planning application on the grounds that the development didn’t fit in the space available, but the council said it was too late to object and passed the plans on the 28th January 2004.

Over the initial period after the plans were passed I realised that there were serious problems related to the developer’s lack of experience, most notably he hadn’t taken into account the fundamental constrains of the site; the unsupported chalk cliff on one side and the sea on the other.

As no cliff condition assessment or flood risk assessment had been done or was planned as part of the preliminary work for building on this site I endeavoured to get these to occur. I also questioned the psv access to the development via the Marina Road viaduct.

None of these issues have really been satisfactorily resolved, at the moment the cliff needs substantial works, the EA have recommended a fra which hasn’t occurred http://michaelsbookshop.com/ea/id2.htm

The council entered into a development agreement with the developer in 2006 but no work started on site, in 2009 the developer came to the council asking for a time extension and relaxed financial guarantees, which the council granted them.

After this some work did occur on the site, this involving three men and digger on site pouring ready mixed concrete foundations for about nine months and not the pile boring that was anticipated.

About a year ago the developer came back to the council asking the council to release the freehold to them so that the developer could use it to guarantee the construction loan, the council agreed to this in principle, on the understanding that the loan had to be available.

Now it looks as though the developer hasn’t managed to find anyone who will provide a construction loan and the council have called time.