SO WHATS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE BOWLS CLUB MEMBERS IN BROADSTAIRS?
My story begins with shoe-polish; to be more exact ‘Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish’.
Back in 1906 two brothers Dan and Charles Mason opened a factory in Chiswick to make shoe polish and made a great deal of money. They were also philanthropists and housed their workers, educated them and instituted a 44 hour working week. Dan bought a house in Broadstairs and lived there in the 1920s and amongst a number of philanthropic gestures, gave Broadstairs its Memorial Recreation Ground by the Station off Lawn Road and my sources tell me he was also a keen bowls player.
In the intervening years since his death, it is reputed that Broadstairs & St Peters Bowl’s Club has gone up-market and consider themselves a smarter ‘cut’ of bowl’s player. So when TDC came along and had the temerity to put pay bays in Lawn Road for parking, the members rushed a planning application towards Cecil Square and the offices of TDC for their own exclusive and private car park in The Memorial Recreation Ground.(F/TH/08/0195). Why they should bother when Lawn Road is empty most of the time and TDC's bays seem to be boycotted, eludes me.
They wanted to put parking at the back of The Club House and an access down the side from Lawn Road to it. This would encroach into the rest of the Memorial Recreation Ground, require three trees to be cut down and needed a 2m high green security fence to keep out the ‘plebs’ in The Memorial Recreation Ground. On their application they also claimed they owned or controlled the land. My sources tell me it is held in trust for the people of Broadstairs by TDC and not the Town Council.
On Monday 3 March, the planning application was rejected (this is for you , you fence watchers in Culmer’s Land) on the basis that “ The 2m high fencing is considered too intrusive for a public park". What a classic illustration of one rule for the people of Thanet and one for TDC, as it put a 2.4m galvanised fence into a public park! The odd thing was that the Planning Committee obviously did not bother to look at the pics given them as they would have seen 2m green security fencing already surrounding The Bowls Club as my photographer's pictures show.
Anyway, to get back to the point, the planning application has now been withdrawn. The big question is will it come back with a smaller fence? The Planning Committee didn’t seem to be worried about laying concrete to make a 'private members' car park in The Memorial Recreation Ground and grabbing more of it to tarmac over for a private access road off Lawn Road.
This farce is worse than ‘Toy Town’ and Larry the Lamb. A simple, less costly and more environmentally sound solution is for ‘The Bowling Toffs’ of Broadstairs & St Peter’s Club to pay TDC for special permits to allow its members to park in Lawn Road for extended times beyond the present 2hr maximum; there's plenty of space.
Easy, really, and does not upset the locals on the other side of the fence.