Monday 27 June 2016

Thanet District Council and their planning website, an unusual view of Ramsgate and I finish a painting of Canterbury.

I honestly don’t know what the council are doing here. I asked them for some advice about their planning website and would normally have expected a reply within 10 working days, well I haven’t had any answer from them.

The first email below, outlining my questions, was sent to the council’s planning department at their request because they didn’t have the information I asked for to hand when I telephoned them.

The difficulty I face here is essentially that the main planning application it relates to has a fairly short window that you can respond in.

Here are the emails I sent them.

-----Original Message-----
From: michaelchild <>
To: <>
CC: iain.livingstone
Sent: Wed, 8 Jun 2016 11:58
Subject: new planning website

Re my phone call about comments on using the new planning website; I am writing to request the information that wasn’t immediately at hand to the officer I spoke to, at his request.

With respect to public comments, (these were not previously published in the way they are on the new planning site) meaning that the way they are handled is pertinent to using responding to applications.

1 Comments appear either to have the respondents name and address redacted to the street name, or to have no respondents name or address. Does this mean where comments have no respondents name or address that neither were supplied to the council, and if so are these valid comments?

2 Are the comments weighted to the respondents location, and if so by what method? To expand on this would UK taxpayers opinions be of more significance that those of foreign nationals and TDC council taxpayers and local residents be of the most significance?

3 Does the council have some method of ensuring that multiple comments are not made by one respondent under different aliases? For instance, without one, the applicant could make multiple comments supporting their application and so influence the planning committee.    

As discussed on the phone it is my intention to comment of some live applications, using your new website, and as these have relatively short time windows during which I can comment, your prompt reply would be much appreciated.     
Best regards Michael

From: michaelchild
CC: iain.livingstone
enquiries ;
Sent: Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:54
Subject: Re: new planning website

Hi Ian, et al

I don’t seem to have had a reply to this one, could you kindly chase it up for me as it relates to whether I take the trouble to respond to various local planning applications including the redevelopment of the Manston Airport site.

The bottom line here being that while I am happy as a local resident to take the trouble to read 272 documents, for this one application alone and produce some sort of response, I am not prepared to do this if it counts the same amount as say:- An anonymous contributor, a foreign national, who has never visited the area, someone making multiple responses under various aliases.

I am sure that while from your point of view it appears that this and other applications with responses on the new Thanet Planning website are being handled properly, legally and responsibly, however from the point of view of a member of the public this really isn’t the case. If you looks at the Manston application at you will see that the majority of “Public Comments” say:- “Customer Details, Name: Not Available – Address Not Available.”

The basic information as to whether or not the council has or has any way of validating the comments just isn’t there. 
Best regards Michael.

I don’t know if any of the councillors reading this want to take this one up, to my mind it is a very important issue.

Here is the view of Ramsgate, my guess would be 1820s

I think the 1822 map of Ramsgate may help with understanding the view

Here is the watercolour paining of Canterbury, the idea is that the people in the shop window are the reflections of the people sitting outside Chocolate Cafe, I did the painting from upstairs there.

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Comments, since I started writing this blog in 2007 the way the internet works has changed a lot, comments and dialogue here were once viable in an open and anonymous sense. Now if you comment here I will only allow the comment if it seems to make sense and be related to what the post is about. I link the majority of my posts to the main local Facebook groups and to my Facebook account, “Michael Child” I guess the main Ramsgate Facebook group is We Love Ramsgate. For the most part the comments and dialogue related to the posts here goes on there. As for the rest of it, well this blog handles images better than Facebook, which is why I don’t post directly to my Facebook account, although if I take a lot of photos I am so lazy that I paste them directly from my camera card to my bookshop website and put a link on this blog.