First some old Ramsgate pictures which should expand if you click on them.
Then the thoughts of our new old leader of Thanet District Council on resigning, as leader.
There is a fair amount of comment on social media, particularly Facebook where I copied this picture from. There seems to be some misunderstandings about council leadership, mainly about the difference between being council leader and being in charge of the council, which isn’t the same thing.
The old new leader Bob on the radio.
Bob. “We look towards providing a Local Plan the Council could actually approve to go for comment on. Our stance is that we want aviation to be included in that. We don’t want Manston Airport to become a housing estate.”
Interviewer: But you couldn’t rule that out?
Bob. “I think that if you are saying *ever* it’s very difficult to say that. If a Development Consent Order isn’t granted for instance, then there may not be an airport on the site and therefore there could be housing. But that is not what we want.”
Is there some plan to make Manston into a housing estate? Perhaps Thanet Labour had secret plans for Millmead 2 or Newington 2 Mansington? If so they have been keeping them quiet.
I seem to remember Bob saying stuff about the local plan and Manston before, here it is:
Cllr Bob Bayford Responds on Manston Airport
Manston Airport - Open Letter from Bob Bayford, TDC Conservative Group
31 January 2012
Leader Clive Hart's latest press release concerning consultation on Infratil's night-time flying policy is simply breathtaking in its distance from the truth.
He claims that I had created 'a monster of a process', clearly ignoring the fact that the approach to consultation was determined by an in-house group of officers together with myself and (Labour) Councillor Mike Harrison, the then chair of the Airport Working Party. A draft process was then taken to that working party, where members made their contribution before final agreement. Hardly my process!
During the formative stages, a number of principles were established, with Cllr Harrison's full agreement. Amongst these were:-
1) That the substantive consultation had to be carried out by an independent, well-respected organisation. This was to remove any suggestion of TDC bias in the results.
2) That any reports produced by the airport in support of their proposals would be subjected to a rigorous 'peer review' to establish their veracity.
3) That the consultation should be 'zoned' to ensure that weighting was afforded to those most affected by night-time flying but that opinion had to be sought from not only the rest of Thanet but also those other residents and businesses in Kent who had an interest in Manston's expansion. To facilitate this wider consultation, KCC were contributing £40,000 towards the cost and Canterbury City Council £5000.
4) That getting the consultation right was more important than rushing to a conclusion.
As far as I am aware, these principles were all endorsed by the working party.
The timing of the consultation was always going to be determined by when the airport submitted its policy proposal and the subsequent submission of noise impact and economic impact reports. The peer review of the latter was published on 23rd of January, which clears the way for public consultation.
The only money spent by TDC to date is the cost of the peer reviews. In my opinion, whatever the future may hold with regard to Manston, it was vital that any reports produced for the airport should have been subjected to expert, independent scrutiny, to inform the Council's stance on the airport's activities.
I am frankly surprised by the present leader's stance on this issue. On the one hand, he suggests that there is no need for the Council to consult but then proposes a half-baked consultation, guaranteed to produce a biased outcome.
Whether the Council can, at this stage, make any binding decisions on the airport is irrelevant. TDC has a civic leadership responsibility to have a view on the airport's expansion and operational ambitions. It is a topic that elicits strong opinions on both sides of the argument. The eventual fate of the airport will have economic and environmental consequences for many. TDC must give a lead, having considered the public's views and Infratil's proposals.
Leader, TDC Conservative Group
Moving on to a different subject this blog welcomed its three millionth visitor at some time today, this is since Google Blogger added the automatic web statistics in 2010.
What this actually means however, I don’t know and don’t think anyone else does either. Best to think in terms of 1, 2, 3, many.
On the antivertising front the bookshop is open today, busier than I would expect, but the pavements and roads are treacherous and so I recommend leaving any book browsing until after the thaw.
In keeping with this snowy weather, I expect this to be a long post and will add some pictures of Margate more words and so on in a bit.
I suppose with the future of the old Manston Airport site being such a contentious issue, one way forward for Bob would be to get the council to hold a properly regulated public consultation.
I would think while the council has very little control over deciding what the future use will be it should have a major impact on shaping that use, particularly once an acceptable local plan has been formulated.
On the bookshop front again this is the link to the books that went out on the shelves today however please don't risk you neck on slippery roads and pavements, here is the link to our contact details and we will happy to put anything by for you until the weather improves.