Saturday 30 November 2013

Pictures of the Martin Grover exhibition at The Updown Gallery in Ramsgate.

This is, was a pretty star exhibition here is the link to the artist’s website

Sorry about being so late with this one, I only got there today which is the last day of the exhibition, I will try and do better in future.

Manston Airport changes hands, first indicators of any new directions.

Yesterday Infratil sold Manston – Kent International Airport to Ann Gloag and intial indicators are that she is going down the road of trying to make the airport viable as an airport.

As far as I can see from the various news articles Ann Gloag has added Alastair Welch to the board on Manston Airport, I am fairly certain that it was Alastair Welch who ran Southend airport.

I guess for me the key issue with Manston Airport is their ongoing failures to become environmentally compliant, the main issue being the failure to the work necessary to obtain an environmental permit (EP) from the environment agency. I have posted about this one in the past and here is the link to one of my previous posts about it

The history of Manston Airport as a commercial airport goes back to the 1960s and frankly it hasn’t been a good history from a commercial point of view, the first commercial operator there Air Ferries floundered in 1968, the picture above is of a DC 4 loading at Manston, Air Ferries operated several out of Manston and most of them left Manston and arrived on runways at other airports, apart from Oscar Golf that flew into some trees on the approach at Frankfurt killing everyone onboard, and Kilo Yankee that flew into a mountain killing everyone onboard.

One of the main snags with Manston is that most air accidents take place near the runway and with Manston the town of Ramsgate sits at the end of the main runway.

The other large snag with Manston in terms safety is that it sits on to of the underground drinking water reservoir.

The main commercial snag for the airport is that it is mostly surrounded by sea so it is a disadvantage in terms of catchment area  compared with rival airports in southeast England.

Obviously no one would build a commercial airport with the disadvantages that Manston has and I think in the past there have been cases where airport operators have bought Manston Airport without understanding these problems.

I think the main difference this time around is that the new airport buyer Ann Gloag has most likely bought the airport while being fully aware of its problems.  

I am inclined to look at this sort of deal along the lines of – if I wasn’t a shop assistant – whether I would consider doing the deal myself.

In this insistence I can’t see how it would be possible to lose money on the deal, in the first instance the southeastern UK is entering a period of major hub airport expansion, either this will involve expanding one of the existing airports or building a new hub airport. This is likely to lead to periods when the existing airports can’t cope with the traffic, so there is a fair chance that in the short to medium term of if not making a profit then at least minimising losses.    

And in the second instance if she can’t make it succeed, either selling it on or splitting the assets and selling must result in a profit. 
More to come on this one, basically dependent on how busy my bookshop is today. 

I guess the underlying question for us locals is would having a successful airport be beneficial to the area?

Obviously as the airport has never been a successful commercial airport, there is a sense that we don’t really know the answer.

Certainly one of the most difficult problems economically is having a large business in the area with one key aspect being total uncertainty about the direction it is going in.   

Friday 29 November 2013

Ramsgate born artist Emily Tull, exhibition in the York Street Gallery Ramsgate and a ramble about Deal Flood Defences, Harbour Street in Ramsgate, polls and whatever comes to mind.

An interesting exhibition this one, portrait sketching with cotton is something I have never tried but will aim to have a go at.

Here is the bumph: “NOVEMBER 2013: my first ever solo exhibition in my home town. 'Past Present' will be on display at York St Gallery 27th Nov - 4th Dec. Gallery will be open daily and I will be there every day stitching away! be lovely if you came by and said hi.” And the link to her website which I had some technical difficulties with.

Pictures will expand if clicked on compulsively, I guess there is an interesting factor in sketching with cotton and that is that you can see a line before you make it, whereas with a brush, pen or pencil, you don't see the line until you have made it.

I went to the town of Deal yesterday, one I compare with Ramsgate, on the whole Deal seems to have fared better being governed from Dover, than Ramsgate has being governed from Margate.

It’s a sad historical fact that from medieval times Ramsgate was governed from Sandwich and suffered as a result until Victorian times when Ramsgate gained the right to govern itself and seemed to do very well until in the 1970s from which time it was governed from Margate. When a town is governed from its main rival town then it would appear that often that town suffers as one would expect.

As you see from the pictures Deal is getting another dose of publicly funded sea defences and Margate has, as most of you will know, just had theirs completed, yet here in Ramsgate we don’t seem to have been part of any of the major surveys, let alone had any of the sea defence work done. I think this is probably because of the council’s desire to balance some of their budget with proceeds from selling the Pleasurama site. I guess with a major foreshore site with a history of tidal storm flooding and no investigation into what sea defence work needs doing, along with The Royal Sands developer still failing to come up with the readies the council will soon be looking out for a developer who is a bit of a gambler. 

Ramsgate town centre today seemed to be about ten times busier than Deal town centre was yesterday, taking these photos involved holding the camera above my head and waiting for a gap between people. 

Market day today, with the rubbish and recycling changes having a considerable impact on pedestrian flow in the town centre, I wonder if this is some sort of deliberate ploy by TDC and whether any other towns in the UK have this sort of thing occur at midday on their busiest shopping day. I guess the photo taken today says it all really.

I will ramble on, but had better get the first lot with its associated photos published or I will get more than a little confused.  

Onto the various surveys, starting with “Is TDC fit for purpose?” which is all about the Thanet District Councillors shooting the messenger. I was talking to a long term labour voter yesterday who was trying to express his frustration with the current Labour cabinet. Apart from this being most reminiscent of long term Tory voters talking about the council’s Conservative cabinet, particularly around the time Steve Ladyman got elected, here is what he had to say to a member of the current Labour cabinet. “Don’t go out and ask a dozen people on the street if the think the council is fit for purpose or corrupt, just go out and ask what they think of the council and tell me how many of them tell you it’s unfit for purpose or corrupt”

There is an encouraging article by Bob Bayford leader of the opposition in today's Gazette, see