Sunday, 9 March 2008


The answer to that question is, 'No its kilometres of fencing'!

IOTG readers will no doubt be aware that IOTG first reported a nasty fence going up in Culmers Land in Broadstairs in December and it has been an issue since. I didn't get interested until those Thanet Tree Huggers, got involved and Simon Moore's of Thanet life dismissed it with the words ' its just A FENCE'.

TDC has a motto 'Thanet is beautiful. Let's keep it that way' and yet is the central villain in this issue. What is the point of a 'motto' if you ignore it!

TDC has a member responsible for the environment called Cllr Shirley Tomlinson who has said " The safety of our allotment holders and the plots they pay for remains our principle concern". I hate to disagree with Cllr Tomlinson but her brief is for the whole Isle of Thanet and its environment and citizens, not just a small minority of bean growers. What she is allowing to happen, affects us all and our environment and will do so for years to come. Has she heard of involvement of the community in just this sort of issue.?

I present for your delectation a few pictures of TDC inspired allotment fencing and leave it to you to decide whether these fences are making sure Thanet stays beautiful? Any reader with allotments close to them ,will soon be able to enjoy a 2.4m galvanised vista that is more appropriate to Industrial Estates than suburban areas but hell, if Conservative TDC Councillors want to insist on annoying their electorate with this fence business, then they shouldn't be surprised if they get dumped next time the 'proles' have a vote.

Culmers Allotments, Broadstairs (courtesy of Thanet Tree Huggers)

Cecilia Road, Ramsgate.

Dane Valley, Margate.
As part of our on-going research into grafitti, Lord Flashheart took this picture at Manston this afternoon with his 'Brownie' whilst going to stake down his Gypsy in preparation for tomorrow's big blow. "Biggles, old boy", he said on his return " More material for our 'G-Conference'. I thought your Tory boys were popular in Thanet?"
What could I reply?


Rick said...

1649 Gerrard Winstanley

"England is not a free people, till the poor that have no land have a free allowance to dig and labour the commons"

In 1845 law made the provision of allotments for the working poor mandatory throughout Britain.

Seed growers use allotment holders to trail new products.

In wartime allotment holders are the foundation for dig for victory and contribute to the provision of seeds and crops to feed the nation.

Self grown food plays its part in creating health in the nation.

Grow roses up the fencing and get over it ?

Bertie Biggles. said...

This issue is not about the good value of allotments and the acceptance that allotment holders have the right to be protected from vandals. Councils up and down the land have the same issues as TDC in this respect but are dealing with it without festooning their neighbourhoods with industrial fencing. There is no need to create a desolate environment whilst providing security for a few carrot growers.

Little Weed said...

Allotment holders are relieved to get a decent fence. What do you suggest something pretty that the vandals and thieves can just hop over.
When an ugly fence was put up near me years ago I just bought a climber and planted it in front of it and that fence can no longer be seen.
As I have said previously it is the fault of the local residents for allowing the work of hundreds of people to be destroyed by the few.

sue said...

I couldn't agree more. The security of us "carrot growers" is more important than a few people's aesthetic sensibilities. The very politicians that are climbing on anti fence bandwagon now are the same ones that assured me last May, after 2 sheds of my husbands and 2 of his neighbouring plotholder were torched, that they would do all in their power to get the fence erected. I still have the emails.
I ask again. If a fence that is high enough to keep vandals out is not the solution, what is?

Rick said...

agreed we have an 8000 pound grant from coalfield regen fund, here oop north, for our self managed allotment fencing and will scape it in ourselves with climbers and shrubs etc.

You are merely objecting to a nude fence.

Let them (allotment holders) dress it with various foliage ?

Vandalism is a plague in Thanet. My mate and I did up a beautiful building in Margate converted it from boarded up dereliction to flats. A leasehold buyer was buying some flats to let. How long for his tenants to trash ? Not long. and what chance of selling the other leases ?

Is it really worth bringing it back to standard again ?

The environment will reflect the type of people in an area.

Rick said...

Bertie get yerself an allotment.

It is great. Here it is a real laugh. There is a big resonant voice West Indian ex coalmine faceworker. Retired never had a day off work since coming to England in 59. After Maggie did for the mines he worked in scrap for a metal company McGuiness

When he says it with his resonant caribbean voice it sounds like "Manganese". His mate another West Indian is a ringer for the Uncle Ben man also an ex miner who never drew a penny in benefits (they do mention this). His daughter is a RGN. (I do like useful people IE those who do not study things like Media Studies or Sociology)

The two West Indians have flagpoles (no innuendo) and fly great big Cross of St George flags over their plots.

I have just defrosted the last of the damsons and made damson rum and port (I prefer it to damson gin or damson gin and sherry).

You get yourself a wife and get her to knock up a Victoria sponge with home made jam Bertie.

Damson chutney. brilliant.

You get a taste for homegrown and you won't be so bothered about the aesthetics of fencing.

sue said...

List of damage at Dane Valley Last year between April and August.
12/4/07. Shed burned,tools burned,next door shed windows smashed,crops trampled.
13/4/07.Shed next door burned,
18/4/07. gates kicked in,shed broken into,graffitied, crops trampled.
19/4/07.Gates kicked in again, padlock stolen,shed broken into, crops trampled. Council say they will cut down undergrowth.
20/4/07.Gates kicked in again,shed broken into, 2 greenhouses smashed.
8/5/07. New shed set alight 2 hours after being put up,windows smashed in other shed,
13/8/07 2 sheds burned.
16/8/07 Both plots trashed.

I stopped counting in August.

The other sites in Thanet have suffered similar attacks and losses.

sue said...

In April Clive Hart wrote an email on my behalf to TDC asking that the fence be erected asap.

Rick said...

And a little wrinkle for you as an aspiring allotmenteer Bertie.

If you are not very successful with a crop, make a friend of a West Indian. They will give you some of theirs.

Rick said...

We are self managed in Staffs.

We have no vandalism problem. We have one, drug motivated, thief. He steals mobile generators etc

The PCSOs know who he is so we know.

It may be sad (in his 20s he raids the allotments for a fix because his late dad used to be a plot holder and he knows the site for a while he did not steal from his dad's former plot. But then he stole a generator out of there.)

but we will catch him one night.

one of the lads went to his house and took his crowbar off him as a hint. But drug fuelled don't hear hints. Sad reflection on our times.

Can't you girls get Bertie a plot ?

Rick said...

You got a good thread going here Bertie.

There is a huge list of vandalism there.

Our nephew has been in the Army ten years. He has just gained entry to the elite PT Corps (secection more difficult than SAS) and also got a foundational degree.

In the ten years he has lost more former Ramsgate classmates (dead) than he has lost colleagues in the Army. The Ramsgate dead were Thanet lads who stayed in the area. Their life expectancy would have been greater if they had joined up.

Vandalism is a branch of the tree of despair.

I believe that for the first time in a thousand years if you ask the parental generation if they hope their kids will enjoy a better life than they had. I think the honest answer from the parents would be NO.

We know that 50% of people going to uni is about dumbing down standards and creating qualifications in useless subjects.

It is not creating hope or a brave new world.

Fencing ? With the price of scrap metal as it is how long will it be up ??

chris wells said...

Councils up and down the land are fixing this in just the same way, Bertie, just that many do it in dribs and drabs, we have been lucky enough to do this in a short space of time because of availability of funds.

I am interested that Clive Hart has sent emails demanding fences - currently he is sending emails demanding no more femces - his usual case of chasing popularity at all costs I suppose.

In the Memorial Recreation ground in Broadstairs a similar fence was installed to huge furore a few years ago. It is now almost invisible with a hedge grown behind and through and attracts no comment. Time heals?

sue said...


Bertie Biggles said...

Wow, had better start an allotment item as a regular feature! Sue, you all have my commisserations in regard to mindless damage but there are better ways of implementing security. I do not know how long the green security fencing has been in place at the back of the Dane Valley site at the end of St Peters Footpath but grafitti and rubbish has collected nicely on it by it and over it. Chris , time hasn't healed there, if anything its got worse; no nice roses ramblers or goog old hawthorn hedge, just a mess still.
Rick, I might just take up an allotment but I was a little bit unsure whether your advice about a crop was concerning C. sativa? I thought that was a pernicious weed.

CLIVE HART said...

I most certainly have not changed my mind at all on the need to make the allotments secure.

My only concern is with the thoughtless plans that were made regarding the footpath leading to the school through the middle of the allotments at Dane Valley.

This meant that ugly 8ft high galvanised industrial fencing was to be put either side of the narrow path for around 300 yards, creating an industrial 'tunnel' for kids to go to school through.

As the county councillor for the area I also have a responsibility to those children and families that use this path every day. I therefore called for the plans to be changed to 'soften' the effect for evryones benefit.

I am therefore delighted to inform readers that thanks to my intervention (and the strong support of Cllr. Iris Johnston) a commom sense proposal is now on the table for Dane Valley - the allotment fences will be moved back 600mm from the path to allow a hedge to be planted on the path side's.

So - the allotment holders will now get their fences and the children will now have an improved, and slightly more natural environment through which to walk to school than what was originally proposed by TDC.

I still feel that TDC could do more to soften the effect but I hope this fully explains my position - which is to find a common sense solution to all the problems.

I have consistantly supported making the allotments secure and to that end I paid for a gating project (onto College Road) last year with around £1,000 from my KCC Member Community Grant.

I also care about the environment of the children and families walking to school and have offered £1,000 from my KCC Member Community Grant for 08/09 towards the planting of the hedge that will also improve their situation.

The fact is that TDC didn't consult with those who legitimately use the path and live nearby or all this could have been avoided!

I am very dissapointed that the Conservative KCC Member for Margate & Cliftonville - Cllr. Chris Wells did not support my request for a common sense solution and that he appears to accept anything that TDC decided to build.

Cllr. Clive Hart - KCC Margate & Cliftonville

Paul Wells said...

Well put Cllr Hart. Does the move back also include the path shown in the photograph above?. I looked at this fence this morning and noticed that it is almost a repeat of Culmers Land. The new fence intrudes right up to the tarmac and prevents planting in front of it whilst the concrete up-rights of the previous fence stand accusingly almost a metre behind the new fence. Was it all too much bother to remove the old concrete posts and put the new fence on the old line? The way things are going there will be plenty of hedges being planted around Thanet next Nov/Dec/Jan! Well done for your generous offer to pay for one!

sue said...

Thank you Cllr Hart for your detailed reply. I am grateful for your efforts in getting the fence moved back and for the funds towards the hedgerow. I hope you will understand that this was not the impression given by the article in the newspaper. It quoted you as saying that you had called for work to stop while a solution was found. This is obviously outdated information.
The thought of the fence being delayed after waiting so long was too horrible to contemplate.

Bertie Biggles said...

Nice to see some harmony breaking out like Spring on this topic and an exchange of views and better understanding resulting! What with Councillors visiting and now 'The Tree Huggers' chap, this site is getting more like Thanet Life than 'Strife' as each day passes. Time for ECR, OVIT and Moores to resume service so that I can retire before too much hugging breaks out!

chris wells said...

Yes, indeed, praise where it is due. If Clive has indeed managed that common sense solution, then well done him. And if he is further putting up some of his allowance to scren it, well done again.

Sadly, this is not what his email said, being more concerned about explaining how many times he claims to have walked the path since he was born.

Genuinely well done, with timely intervention.

Bertie Biggles said...

A nice comment, Cllr Wells. If such pleasant behaviour continues, I will have to change the name of this blog.

Anonymous said...

Bet no one in Tdc would agree to having this fencing put opposite where they live. It maybe time to install it round TDC HQ to keep them all in the building so that they can't do anymore damage to our isle, eg insatlling eyesore fences, giving the final rights to our town centres and small businesses by putting up parking charges by 30pct,yet happy to provide free parking for their own, wasting money on a contempory galley, where there appears to be less visitors daily than the few number of exhibits, the sham of a libary, the list does appears to be growing, they have lost our vote!!

Bertie Biggles said...

13.32, I suspect that on this issue they may be losing many votes.