Wednesday, 28 May 2008


I am afraid I have reached the stage where I can no longer refrain from comment on the disappearance of this young child.

Just over 1 year on from the tragic event of Madeline's disappearance in Portugal, am I the only one who finds the reaction of her parents and their friends (The Tapas 7), to Portugese attempts to publicise the disappearance by staging a re-enactment, as slightly odd?

The re-enactment process by police is a regular feature in this country by our Police to re-create public interest in a crime and Crime Watch viewers will be very familiar with this device.

What astounds me is the failure of Madeline's parents and friends, who were all eating and drinking , away from the flat where vulnerable infants had been left unsupervised contrary to UK and European Law, to re-ignite public interest in the disappearance of Madeline by co-operating with the Portugese Police.

This is completely at odds with the parent's initial position of doing their utmost, and successfully so, to raise the profile of Madeline's disappearance to amazing levels. Funds poured in from generous benefactors for a campaign fund and a PR spokesman is now employed to comment.

Putting aside the blatant jingoistic comments about the Portugese Police, we need to remember
that Madeline's parents are still official suspects as far as the Portugese Authorities are concerned. Did their rapid return to the UK last year and does their present reluctance to assist , together with their 'friends', a Portugese Police re-enactment, have anything to do with their present status?

I would have thought that, given their initial successful publicity, that they would embrace any opportunity to re-kindle interest in their daughter's disappearance. As a parent, I find their present attitude odd.


Few would have slept through last nights thuderstorm that swept over Thanet just before 2am. The storm passed in about 30 minutes and in that time literally dumped 20mm of rain . Local flooding ocurred and the Biggles' wine cellar would have been flooded if I had not quickly cleared a drain of just one or two leaves that was being fed water from the roof down a drain-pipe.

Such violent storm systems coming over from France have become a regular feature of our weather in Thanet in the past few years. As I watched the road become a river, I wondered what amount of water would have fallen on the roofs and concrete/tarmac had China Gateway been constructed already?

My conservative estimate given the size of the warehouse sheds and parking hardstanding for almost 4000 cars and 400 HGVs was that in that half-hour period more than 2 MILLION LITRES of water would have run down drain pipes off roofs and another 3 MILLION LITRES would have had to drain off tarmac/concrete areas.

I know see why The Environmental Agency has stated it will oppose a Klargester septic tank system at China Gateway and insist on MAINS SEWERAGE.

Does Mr Ken Wills really think that his cheaper Klargester system in the planning application F/TH/08/0400 would have coped with 5 MILLION LITRES OF RUN OFF in 30 minutes? Of course not.

Last night, had China Gateway been standing, foul sewerage and hydrocarbon contaminated water from the car and HGV areas would have been deposited into Thanet's water catchment area. That is why you need to lodge a complaint about the construction of China Gateway because construction on the cheap endangers your drinking water supplies. There is still time, so get onto Doug Brown at TDC.

Monday, 26 May 2008


What a sad weekend it has been. 16.5mm of rain on Sunday morning and over an inch of rain by mid-day meant that to all intents and purposes, Spring Bank Holiday has been a 'Margate Meltdown' but not the one advertised.
Passing along Marine Terrace at 4 different times today saw a distinct lack of viistors, bikers and coffee slurpers enjoying the cafe culture down at Old Town and Harbour Arm. In fact Police, Specials, PCSOs, Community Wardens, St John's Ambulance and TDC stewards (all in high vis jackets) almost outnumbered the general public. It was as sad as the small crowd of 50-100 who watched the fireworks on Saturday night.
MD Gifts opened for the morning but had closed by lunch-time.

Before you blame the weather, just think for a moment about the lack of an all weather visitor facility that could have been sitting on The Dreamland site. However, you must realise that the people directing where Margate is going know better. This article escaped my attention last year but it sheds light on what is going on. See Property and the article "Time to Leave Dreamland" by Sean McAllister at .

Our local papers talk about Graham Knight and Dr Fiona Sherriff of Margate Harbour Arm Ltd who are also Pineapple Property (Kent)Ltd and also Ramsgate Estates. The farce at Margate Harbour has seen May come to and end and its 2 restaurants/cafes/2 retail sheds/IOTA Gallery/ 7 twee permanent studios not ready. You might be pleased to read that Margate Harbour Arm/Pineapple/ Ramsgate Estates is in receipt of generous public funding via Margate Renewal Partnership from TDC and European Regeneration Development Fund and there has been a report that IOTA (to move from Ramsgate) and Margate Harbour Arm Ltd received a grant from 'Arts & Business?'

I urge you to read the article by Sean McAllister. Here are some bits to savour:


"After being sold to Jim Godden in 1996, the park was scaled down and permanent rides were sold off. It was effectively closed in 2002, despite attracting 700,000 visitors in its last year, and it was left to travelling fairs to lease the space for their temporary rides.
Godden clearly had property development aspirations, but there was an obstacle he could not move: the Scenic Railway."

This is about Toby Hunter of Waterbridge:

"Toby Hunter, chief executive of Waterbridge and the regeneration company, has plans for a £500m scheme that will comprise around 1m sq ft (92,900 sq m) of residential and 300,000 sq ft (27,870 sq m) of retail and leisure."

"But it is the residential element that really excites him. House prices have gone up sharply in Margate in recent years to more than £300/sq ft (£3,230/sq m) and rising, so Hunter can expect to make a substantial profit if he can secure residential planning and then sell off chunks of land to housebuilders." (Hasn't he done that now?)

This is Nick Laister on Dreamland (how his tune changed?):

"Leisure and tourism uses would be most appropriate,’ he says. ‘It is key to Margate or it will lose all the family trade.’ His ideal scenario would be something similar to Adventure Island in Southend, which attracts 1.5 million visitors a year.
Laister adds: ‘[A residential scheme at] Dreamland is not needed to provide all the housing that Margate needs.’"

This is about Graham Knight:
"Graham Knight, director of Pineapple Property, started buying property in Margate four years ago. Pineapple now has 100 residential and mixed-use buildings in its portfolio."

I described Margate as a bit like the 'Wild West' in early April, but now I realise that its really a dying 'steer' with the vultures circling for easy and cheap pickings from the carcass even before its dead. TDC, as the 'sherriff', will mark the grave with a big tombstone designed by Chipperfield by 2010, if the money actually is forthcoming to build it.

As the rain pours down at the end of a depressing day, weep with me for the Margate we used to have. The 'vultures'now have a cash flow crisis and will not be in a position to develop in the forseeable future so will just sit by the carcass for some years to come as it rots away. They will then pick over the bones.

Sunday, 25 May 2008


Another week has passed with no work going on at Summit Aviations nice new building at Manston. The UK construction and development business is in hard times and perhaps CGP are feeling the pinch as well. The graph above shows CGP's share prices in decline with a fall from 163p in February to 125p this week. Here is a snippet of business news:

"The company, which listed on AIM in February last year, reported a pretax loss of 1.53 million pounds for the period from July 6, 2006, to Nov. 30, 2007. No revenue was reported and expenses came in at 1.47 million pounds."

Here is what Ken Wills had to say about this 'maiden' loss:

"... given its excellent relationships in China, CGP is in a position of strength to capitalise on the current need for Chinese businesses to globalise, which will enable the company to grow its business and shareholder value," said chief executive Ken Wills. "

Regular readers will not need to be reminded that there is a serious risk posed to one of Thanet's main drinking water aquifers by China Gateway and that The Environment Agency has already written to TDC and Mr Wills' agents stating it will oppose anything other than MAINS SEWERAGE removal, off the proposed development and away from our aquifer.

The IOTG reported on Friday that Mr Wills intends to stick to the plans submitted for an 'on-site' treatment plant (Klargester septic tanks etc) as it would provide a CHEAPER and sustainable solution to disposal of foul drainage. We all know its cheaper, because that is why CGP have gone for this option in its plans but SUSTAINABLE? What utter nonsense. Mains sewerage is sustainable and more importantly, SAFE, but of course costly.

There was no admission that CGP is even listening to what its own consultants are saying about the risks to this aquifer let alone what The Environmental Agency is telling CGP and our own Council. I trust our own Council Planning Committee will not think fit to ignore what the Environmental Agency is saying, as it has stated quite clearly that it will object to any cheap septic tank proposal.

So are we to see CGPs urgent necessity to make more profit on this application (as its loss last year and present share price indicates it needs to make) come before the need to protect our drinking water?

Friday, 23 May 2008


There were a number of interesting points raised in this week's Thanet Times story of sordid goings on in the public toilets in Minster.
I do not mind what people get upto in the privacy of their own home but I take grave exception to blatant sexual activity in a public place and there is something particularly sordid about such goings on in a small village public toilet. But how does Kent Police deal with it?
Thanet Times reported that Kent Police were informed of obscene acts being committed in Minster's toilets and put posters up to remind homosexuals engaging in sex in the toilets that such activity was un-lawful. Can you imagine signs on lamposts reminding burglars that breaking and entering is un-lawful? Anyway, Kent Police then mounted a surveillance operation and caught 4 men; presumably engaging in lewd and obscene behaviour in a public place. After all the effort put in by Kent Police, were charges brought? No, the men were 'cautioned'.
So Kent Police instead of 'policing' and charging, prosecuting and thus publicly naming those involved, suggested that TDC shut the toilets after 4pm and are warning homosexuals "that those participatingin these activities may be VULNERABLE people and VICTIMS OF CRIME. (Are Kent Police talking about the criminals breaking the law in Minster's toilets?) It's all confusing but the disgusting participants of sexual activity in Minster's loo can call the Kent Homophobic and Transphobic Reporting Line for help and advice.!
I despair of policing in this country when our Police Force is so 'touchy feely' and sensitive about being labelled anti-gay that it fails to charge and prosecute homosexuals breaking the law but implies they are 'victims' and that their advice is to 'close the toilet early'? Heaven help us all. The law used to be applied impartially and without favour; not any more it seems.

Thursday, 22 May 2008


Urgent domestic affairs continue to distract me from 'Strife' but I would like to show you a picture of the Jarrow Crusade from the Great Depression of the 1930s when skilled men and women marched on foot almost 250 miles to London to campaign for work.
What a contrast with Thanet's unemployed for whom CGP and TDC seem quite prepared to gobble up vital agricultural land and build the largest industrial estate in Thanet on our water supply! Readers will remember the NoW article on 'Thanet's jobless claimants' from a few months ago. How many of our 2,220 unemployed are actually prepared to work or even have the skills required for the marvellous opportunity for job creation that CGPs Ken Wills offers.
I really can't believe he is such a philanthropist as he makes out considering one of his 'firms' treatment of a contractor last year ( see Brreze Blocks and Some Real Strife posted on 11 March 2008). Go and ask Mr Martin Hodges about Mr Wills' support of local business and employment opportunities and I suspect you will get a rather earthy reply.
Lets be quite clear about the 'construction' jobs. Locals will remember only a couple of years ago the crowds of helmeted construction workers on The Westwood site, all talking Polish, Serbo-Croat or any East European language you care to mention. Big construction firms will bus in the labour they require to construct 'Gateway'. Only a few weeks ago I was talking with workmen doing a minor building work at Northdown Road's 'Tesco Metro'. They came to Thanet to put in a simple ramp at the store from as far away as Hertfordshire and North London. So much for local employment?
Ken Wills and TDC know perfectly well that 'job creation' as a cry to get the Gateway application approved will strike a chord. They are of course, peddling a myth. An old Labour hand from Thanet, Barry Coppock, is even on CGPs payroll to lend credibility to this myth.
Lets hear what Dr Margaret Nobel , Chair of Kent nad Medway Lifelong Learning has to say about the lack of skills in Kent let alone Thanet (one of the reasons cited by Group Antolin for closing in Thanet); "The majority of future employment opportunities in Kent and Medway will require intermediate and high level skills". Her own statistics show that only a quarter of of Kent and Medway's workforce has these levels of skill. What skill level does Thanet's workforce and large unemployed population have?
There is one thing you can be sure of, as TDC hunkers down with CGP and KCC (using its East Kent Opportunities Limited Liability Partnership; a 'business') , CGP will make a great deal of money out of this project but will Thanet's unemployed benefit?
Of course not! They may as well repeat The Jarrow March to London.

Monday, 19 May 2008


"The bigger the lie, the more the people will believe it". (Adolf Hitler)

The following quote from the IOTG last Friday is from Ken Wills, a director of CGP Ltd (whose shares aren't doing too well) and managing director of Summit Aviation (where work seems to have stopped on their nice new building at Manston) and who has been so impressed by Steve Ladyman MP (whose constituency covers the proposed China Gateway) that he donated £25,000 to him as a political donation last year:

" The advice we've had is there isn't a risk".

The risk Ken was talking about was the risk to Thanet's drinking water aquifer that CGPs China Gateway application to TDC F/TH/08/0400 will put at risk.

Lets just examine the facts for a moment. This is what CGPs own application to TDC says:

" The aquifer underlying the site is considered to be a major aquifer providing potable water to a large population " - CGP application to TDC.

"There is potential for significant pollution of the aquifer to occur" - CGP application to TDC."

Should chemicals leach into the groundwater underlying the site the impact would be LONGTERM and in some cases UN-RECOVERABLE" - CGP application to TDC

This is what the Environmental Agency said in a letter to TDC and to PRC Architects (who are acting for Mr Ken Wills' CGP):

" All foul drainage should be directed to mains foul sewer.
An on site package treatment plant discharging to ground ( the proposal contained in application F/TH/08/0400 from CGP!) will not be acceptable at this site. The Agency's Groundwater and Contaminated Land Team will OBJECT to any application made under the Water Resources Act 1991 for consent to discharge. The volume of treated sewage effluent WOULD BE SO LARGE IT WOULD POSE AN UNACCEPTABLE RISK to the groundwater in the underlying aquifer and therefore to the public water supply abstraction."

So there you have it.

Mr Wills tells the IOTG and the people of Thanet 'there is no risk' when his own application and his own agents state categorically that there is and his agents are in receipt of a letter from The Environment Agency stating that CGPs proposals(Klargester septic tanks) in F/TH/08/0400 WILL NOT BE ACCEPTABLE.

I am sorry but, Mr Wills is not telling the truth. THERE IS A RISK and he knows darn well there is. But of course, " The bigger the lie.....................!

So Thanet's water supply is to depend on CGP who have a strange interpretation of the facts.

Sunday, 18 May 2008


I must apologise for silence on the 'Strife' for almost 48 hours but urgent domestic affairs have had to take priority.
Was I the only one to pick-up on this quote from our new Chair of The Planning Committee in Friday's IOTG?
He was commenting publicly on CGP's China Gateway Application F/TH/08/0400 which will come under consideration in July and is reported as saying, " If The Environment Agency and Southern Water can satisfy us that the water supply is preserved, it would not be a reason to turn it down."
I was distinctly under the impression that for a member, let alone the Chair of Planning, to comment in any way about an application submitted to TDC automatically rules them out from taking part in the adjudication process on that particular application?
Has Cllr Gregory now effectively removed himself from the process? I do not blame him if he has,; 'poisoned chalice' seems appropriate given the real threat to Thanet's drinking water.
There are a number of reasons I can think of, why TDC should turn this application down, yet it seems that Cllr Gregory is saying otherwise.
The man or women on The Thanet Loop, is entitled to start to be concerned about the way this application is to be dealt with given the fact that TDC and KCC have formed East Kent Opportunities LLP (a business) that is about to employ a 'chief executive' on £70,000 to "make a return on investment for the LLPs investors".
So in addition to the new Chair of Planning making public comments about this application, they might also be interested to know that CGP seems to be employing Barry Coppock (ex Chair of TDC at the time when the marking of the map for Phase 1 land, included agricultural land in its 'designated area for development' within the TDC Plan) and that Steve Ladyman MP received a perfectly legitimate £25,000 political donation last year from Mr Ken Wills (CGP).

Friday, 16 May 2008


I have heard reports this afternoon that the jacuzzi at Bannatyne's Health Club was less than healthy last night and upto 7 people had to visit casualty at QEQM. The first victim of the jacuzzi with more 'bite' than one would expect, apparently complained to Reception on his way out, that his blue shorts had changed colour to red and within minutes his skin began to blister with chemical burns.
His arrival at casualty caused a minor stir as a chemical contamination alert was implemented with Casualty effectively closed and staff getting into protective gear. Kent Fire and Rescue was sent to Bannatyne's and the Health Club in turn was evacuated.
It sounds like an error with the bleach or chlorine diinfectant added to the jacuzzi and has caused more of a problem than treating one of the victim's shorts as 'litmus' paper. The receptionist's offer to replace the shorts was laudable but I suspect the victim will be seeking more compensation in due course after, hopefully, a full recovery.
It just shows that we need to be very careful about what gets into our water, doesn't it? If one silly error like at Bannatyne's , were to be repeated at the proposed China Gateway and human beings are fallible, Thanet's water supply will no longer be drinkable.
If you want to know more go to

Thursday, 15 May 2008


The pictures of the tragedy that is revealed after a massive earthquake cannot have failed to move us all. What has impressed me , despite the fact that much TV footage is state controlled, is the response of the emergency services, armed forces and ordinary people to get stuck into the rescue and relief programme that has unfolded in the past few days in China.

If you really want to know why petrol prices have soared, metal prices now cause felons to tear lead off our churches and why food prices are soaring, you need to look at the massive changes going on in China. Is their 'long march' to the good-life we have had in the West, really sustainable? (the picture above is of a motorway interchange in Shanghai).

Some interesting snippets on China have caught my attention. Firstly, food!

There is a proposal before The Chinese State Council to extend the business strategy known as 'go-out policy' to farmland. The Chinese have ony 8% of the world's tillable farmland yet 20% of its population and feeding its population is of greater concern than it is of The British Government or TDC in respect of ensuring future food supplies for the UK. The Chinese solution appears to be buying up land in Africa and South America with farming companies sending out workers to grow crops for sale on the world market but most importantly for 'import' back home to China.

Secondly, China's economy. We are entering the Global slump of 2008/9. Some pundits think China has 'hit the buffers' economically. Inflation is 8.5% and rising which could lead to political instability. It may have repeated Japan's mistake in the 1980s of building too many factories shipping too many goods abroad at very narrow profit margins into what is now a tottering export market. Lehman Brothers China expert, Sun Mingchun, believes China's economy will 'trip over' this year because it has so much latent overcapacity. He is predicting an export-led slowdown which could trigger, in the worst case, a chain reaction which would threaten China's financial and political stability.

Why is Thanetstrife suddenly interested in China? Well, it has to be The 'Gateway Scheme' to make the directors of CGP a great deal richer and the East Kent Opportunities LLP formed by TDC and KCC make some money as well. They intend a nice 'cosy' realtionship to build all industrial warehousing at Manston on our water supply and thus 'free-up' Eurokent site for Leisure, Retail and Housing development despite the fact that it was earmarked for industrial use. All of this will be done in the name of 'creating jobs in Thanet' . For whom in Thanet? We have upto 500 jobs being created over at Thanet Earth and will Gateway attract the pool of unemployable in Thanet? Do pigs have wings?

I would rather have the Chinese , 'agro- businesses' buying up land to produce food than our own bunch of home grown greedy developers , aided and abetted by some Councillors 'playing at being a business', stitching Thanet up with the huge 'China Gateway'.

What value to Ken Wills and Ezekiel will the memorandum of understanding with Chinamex be when China's economy stalls? You and I will have farming land covered in concrete; our aquifer getting less water into it and in the worst case , a poisoned and unusable underground water reservoir. Great!

I am off to learn how to write the phrase, " Please come and grow China's food in Thanet' in Mandarin so I can e-mail China's State Council.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


Am I the only male who is concerned about how 'Kent's Finest' will react should I call for help when my 'missus' sets about me with a rolling pin?
I thought we lived in a Britain of sexual equality, but this is not the case in terms of domestic violence apparently. Readers of yesterday's Thanet Times may have picked up on 3 stories of 'domestic strife'. I cannot help but feel sorry for Lee Wren (aged 27) who rang 999 to report his girlfriend for attacking him.
Now, before you think , what a 'wimp', remember that domestic violence against males is not uncommon. However, poor Lee did not realise that it is 'policy' for Kent Police to 'go in and get the male out as quickly as possible' in utter disregard of the fact that the male might have called them for his own safety!
Now poor Lee faces a whole load of grief because he took exception to being grabbed by police and being bundled into a car and being whisked away to be locked up in the cells. The immediate assumption was that Lee was 'knocking around' his girlfriend and that she was innocent, despite the fact that he was the original '999' complainant. He is now awaiting sentence for the heinious offences of trying to stop officers from handcuffing him; punching a police car window; bringing his hand down on the police station counter and according to police,. 'moving to strike the face of an officer'. He was even overheard shouting (quite understandably perhaps) "Tell me what I have done or I will kick off". By the way, his girlfriend "did not pursue any allegation of assault against him'. Hang on here, who rang the police and why?
So, be careful if you are a man, and your female 'other half ' sets about you with a meat cleaver. Don't bother dialling 999; in Britain you will be immediately arrested. Leg it out of harms way fast for your own safety in every respect!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008


Our North Thanet MP has been trying to get the Government to look at unintended consequences of the latest Gaming Act for some time now. Whilst Ezekiel and his crew might be happy for the 'cafe society' at the Old Town end of Margate to get attention and TDC funding galore, Marine Terrace continues to expire. Here is what Roger was saying about it yesterday in Parliament:

Roger Gale M.P.

12 May, 2008.

Seaside Amusement Arcades - MP Challenges Minister
North Thanet`s MP Roger Gale has this (Monday) afternoon challenged DCMS Minister of State Gerry Sutcliffe to swiftly reverse government decisions damaging the interests of seaside amusement arcades or see more of these facilities close.
Speaking at question time in the House of Commons Roger Gale said:
"I am sure that it was not the intention of the Minister of State who took the Gambling Act through committee (Dick Caborn) to damage the interests of the seaside towns but the fact of the matter is that even as we speak the arcades that are a vital part of our wet-weather tourist facilities are closing. If the Minister does not act in time for this season it will be too late.”
Responding, Gerry Sutcliff said that he was meeting the Trade Organisation (BACTA) today and that he hoped to announce a decision in the near future.
Commenting after the exchange Roger Gale said.
"The intent behind the legislation was to control the spread of high-value High Street Adult Gaming Centres. The impact upon controlling what were already very modest stakes has been to damage industry that is very valuable to East Kent. Successful businessmen like David Cain, with outlets in Herne Bay and Margate, and machine manufacturers and dealers like Harry Levy`s business in Margate and Cromptons, one of the oldest companies in the game, are facing very serious financial situations.
The irony is that we have seen a growth in the number of betting shops now offering gaming machine facilities and Canterbury City, which denied Herne Bay the opportunity to seek a casino license that might have contributed to the reconstruction of the pier, now has gaming facilities within yards of Canterbury Cathedral!
We need the Minister to act and to act immediately."

Sunday, 11 May 2008


Whose ambitions is 'Our Leader' talking about? His own?
My sources tell me that at TDC's full council Meeting last Thursday (8th May), Cllr Kirby in the 'chair' , didn't really have a sound grip on proceedings and it all got quite confusing.
The Labour members offered up 'their' leader Cllr Richard Nicholson as the Leader of TDC for the coming year on the perfectly understandable grounds that Cllr Ezekiel was not an acceptable leader to represent our council as a result of the findings of the Standards Board of England in respect of Cllr Ezekiel's disgraceful behaviour at The Winter Gardens last year.
What was interesting was that two Councillors were cut off by the 'chair' in mid-speech. What 'guillotine' was in place to allow this to happen? I am all for free speech and allowing people to have their say, no matter that we may disagree with what is being said.
I am sure 'Our Leader' was squirming in his seat with his close supporter Cllr Wise restraining himself, as I should imagine were most Tory members, whilst Cllr Watkins and Cllr Hart put their arguments forward as to why Cllr Ezekiel was not suitable to continue to represent our Council and people of Thanet as 'Leader'. To all accounts, they did not get far in their speeches before silenced by the 'chair'.
I am delighted to bring you their speeches up to the point when they were 'silenced':
Fisrtly, Cllr Watkins:

I will be voting against the motion to elect Cllr. Ezekiel as TDC leader for the coming year, because I fail to understand how any member here can give their support to a Council leader who has been found to bring his office and authority into disrepute, bringing shame to the Thanet district. Paragraph 1.3 of the Standards Board for England investigation report
number 18388.07 states that Cllr. Ezekiel failed to comply with paragraphs 2 (B) and 4 of the Code of Conduct.

No amount of sophistry, mud slinging, smoke screen, or rhetoric will alter the facts, Cllr. Ezekiel has brought the office of TDC Leader into disrepute with behaviour that for a man in his position as a senior elected representative is unforgivable. Giving regard to the problems with anti social behaviour nationally, to which significant extra police resources have to be allocated. This was an appalling example to set the youth of Thanet.

As councillors we are required to report all breaches of the code that we witness. Last year I reported this flagrant breach only to find that this resulted in a Tit for Tat report clearly designed to smear other people who were present at the time, coupled with accusations to Kent Police for good measure..........
(Cllr Watkins was then cut off in mid-stream)
Secondly, Cllr Hart:

I will try not to speak about the incident at the Mayor's Retiring Ball . I think that by now everyone in this chamber knows just how disgusted I feel about Cllr. Ezekiel's appalling behaviour in relation to that!

I wish to explain further reasons why Cllr. Ezekiel should not be elected for another year as leader of Thanet District Council.

Unfortunately, long before the Winter Gardens incident Cllr. Ezekiel had already displayed clear signs of volatile and aggressive behaviour.

In July 2004, when we were experiencing serious anti-social behaviour problems in Cliftonville West (that initially he said we ward councillors were exaggerating; wrong again) I witnessed Cllr. Ezekiel behaving in an extremely volatile manner.

With complete disregard for the wishes of the residents present, Cllr. Ezekiel slammed the door of his office in my face and refused me entry to a meeting where the residents concerned had asked me to attend with them and on their behalf.

Indeed, on 30th July in a newspaper article entitled "Anger at Rude Leader's private vandalism talks " a resident of troubled Surrey Road said that Cllr. Ezekiel behaved like the thugs he was trying to get rid of...................
(Cllr Hart was then cut off in mid-speech).
I must say that Cllrs Watkins and Hart seem to have been making quite fair and valid points here before 'free-speech' was stifled. Comrade Putin would have heartily approved of Cllr Kirby's actions to shut them up.
What was notable, so my sources assure me, was that very few Conservative Councillors leapt to their feet to defend their 'Leader'. I wonder why not?

Saturday, 10 May 2008


It has come to my attention that the gentleman on the left, Cllr Bill Hayton has stepped down as TDC's Chair of Planning, in favour of the gentleman on the right, former Labour Cllr Ken Gregory. I say 'stepped down' but the real question I can't help asking , is, has he been pushed?

Why should that cross my mind? One of my sources tells me Cllr Hayton was definitely not drinking in The Lanthorne on Sunday 13th April with 'Our Leader' and its owner and other well known Thanet personalities. (See Fly on The Wall posting of Fri 18 April). Another source tells me that he would not have been welcome anyway, given the comments imparted to the IOTG after a TDC Planning Meeting turned down a very sensible car-park extension application at a very nice hotel in Pegwell. (This hotel is ideally placed by the way, to look after a large number of frequent foreign visitors visiting the area and China Gateway in particular over the next few years.)

Other comments that have come my way suggest that Cllr Ken Gregory would be ' better suited' to see some major and contentious applications due to come up shortly before the Planning Committee such as China Gateway and Eurokent's revised format for housing, business and leisure as opposed to 'industrial/employment' use. What special qualities does Cllr Gregory have that Cllr Hayton lacks?

Having watched Cllr Hayton on a number of occasions, in full control and with excellent grip as Chair of Planning and getting very full agenda dealt with, I would have thought his experienced pair of hands would be just the ticket for the busy and difficult times ahead.

Has he upset some 'important people' or does he just need a rest?

Friday, 9 May 2008


Am I the only one who is amazed at how our local media and the IOTG in particular have almost been resolute in ignoring evidence of the real threat posed to Thanet's drinking water by The China Gateway. The issue isn't pretty fields; skylarks; poor locals being surrounded by warehouses or even lorries thundering into and out of the place 24 hours a day. It is an issue that affects EVERY RESIDENT IN THANET not just a handful at Manston.

This Friday's comment by IOTG in a side bar (albeit on the front page) about 'Fear over water risk' is a belated recognition that there is a real problem that needs addressing. When the Thanet Plan approved of development at Manston did it have in mind The Gateway Scheme? Did TDC even realise as it marked pencil lines over a patch of countryside that it hid below it Thanet's main aquifer and water catchment area?

I know that the local media have been visiting Thanetstrife and Thanetonline in the past week or so, so they cannot claim ignorance. How can the IOTG allow Ken Wills to be quoted without a challenge as follows:
" his Company (CGP) had investigated environmental issues around the business park."
Yes they did and were warned that the site poses a real and possibly permanent threat to the loss of the aquifer and this detail is in CGPs own application to TDC. He also failed to mention that CGP had considered the costly option of mains sewers but had opted to go for cesspits and septic tanks with Klargester units. He also failed to mention that his agents in the application had received an Environmental Agency letter saying that the proposals CGP had submitted were unacceptable and would be OPPOSED by The EA and that the only acceptable solution was MAINS SEWER CONNECTION.

There was more from Ken Wills:

"Worries about water supply could apply to pretty much any development in Thanet" .

He knows what most of Thanet's residents clearly don't know and that his proposals are for the biggest industrial estate in Thanet and that it just doesn't sit bang in the middle of the main water catchment area for Thanet but actually encroaches into the final protection zone close to our major pumping station at Sparrow Castle. To be allowed to make a misleading statement like that and not be challenged by Thanet's main newspaper does not only do the people of Thanet a disservice but is tantamount to being complicit in obfuscation and extreme stretching of the truth by Mr Wills.

When will the main media inform the people of Thanet about the real issue of development on the land at Manston and the real risk of permanent loss of its drinking water? Soon, I hope.


Someone has put across Jimmy Cauty's montage on Matassa's boarded up business on Marine Terrace, Margate, " THIS IS NOT ART". I tend to agree.

But what is worse as far as I am concerned, is that this 'montage' was part of Margate Rocks Visual Arts Festival. Who funded this? Our very own TDC, spending council tax payer's money.

I am sorry but I think it is utterly unacceptable for TDC funding to have been spent on this disgraceful montage. Is TDC utterly insensitive to local businesses and Margatonians who despair at the state Margate has been reduced to.? It would appear so. Who in their right mind at TDC, allowed money to be spent on a 'montage' depicting Margate as a rubbish dump?

I hope that incompetence, arrogance and insensitivity are not integral to TDC under its 'Leader's' direction as these traits perhaps reflect his leadership style? At least he can complain to his friends when he next drinks in The Lanthorne that the "'Those f***ing peasants in Margate don't appreciate bleeding art!"

Having moved towards Broadstairs, I show for your appreciation a photo sent to me of a wildlife hedge in spring glory in Culmers land 'park'. You might just notice that another TDC nonsense is evident with the fence on the wrong side of the hedge?

Who is the real vandal in Thanet?


I have just read IOTG and the 'Leader's View' and 'Our Leader's' explaination of the TDC funded 'montage' is quite extraordinary. Here it is:

" Well it was there to shock and make seaside visitors remember that the environment we enjoy is under threat from debris such as plastic bags. This is something we all need to remember when enjoying a trip to the beach and countryside ..........." ( read the IOTG for the rest if you can be bothered).

Is that his own interpretation of a piece of 'modern contemporary art' or is he just spewing out the nonsense that TDC were fed to pay for it? If it is his own interpretation of a montage showing Margate as a rubbish tip, then no wonder the arty-farty crowd get all the support and financial help they do. We in the meantime, discover that we are saddled with an 'Emperor' who really does believe he is wearing a fabulous suit of New Clothes'!

Thursday, 8 May 2008


If you haven't visited Michael Child on today, go and read his copy of a letter sent to TDC by The Environment Agency on 2nd May in respect ot its thoughts on the 'water' issue at the proposed China Gateway project at Manston.

I am afraid that Ken Wills and his co-director at CGP Ltd ,'I return a quick buck' Chris Seymour-Prosser, probably have a problem. (By the way, to digress slightly, rumour has it that like the cessation of work at The Sea Bathing in Margate, and at St.Augustine's in Westgate, work on Summit Aviation's big new spread at Manston seems to have stopped. Cash flow problems?)

Well, what are the Environment Agency (EA) telling TDC, CGPLtd and its agents PRC Architects?
Quite simply that the cheap option Klargester cess-pits and dinky little sceptic-tanks around the site are just not on and that foul sewage must be connected to main sewerage and shifted off site. (Back to Southern Water then fellows or Mid Kent?) Here's what the EA wrote:

" All foul drainage should be directed to mains foul sewer. An on site package treatment plant discharging to ground WILL NOT BE ACCEPTABLE AT THIS SITE. The Agency's Groundwater and Contaminated land Team WILL OBJECT to any application made under the Water Resources Act 1991 for consent to discharge."

"The volume of treated sewage effluentwould be so large it would pose an UNACCEPTABLE risk to the groundwater in the underlying aquifer and therefore to the public water supply abstraction."

This is seriously good news for those concerned about protecting Thanet's drinking water. What did the rest of the letter cover? As you know , I'm not a very technical chap, (we 'aviators' just fly our Sopwiths, not build them) but it seems to me the EA is not happy with the soil analysis done so far on the bits of Phase 1 that have had previous use and is seriously concerned about nasties lurking in the soil being washed into the aquifer by the new development. Pilings will need special measures taken to prevent seepage down the side of them into the underlying ground water and all oil and chemical storage areas will need bunded areas. There's a wealth of technical stuff for those of that bent but it does seem to me that PRC Architects are going to have to go away and dig a lot more holes and then come back to that nice chap looking after these matters, Doug Brown at TDC.

The really good news from the EA is this; they require a whole series of reconsidered plans and programmes from the developers and what for?:

" Reasons:
To ensure that the development complies with approved details in the interests of protection of the environment and harm to human health."

What does the EA want?

" The relevant planning condition should not be discharged until such time as all relevant works are complete and a closure report submitted and approved by the LPA. Any construction on site should not commence until this approval has been granted."

The EA seems to be taking a tougher line here than their 'strongly recommend' wording on a new Flood Risk Assessment for Royal Sands (Pleasurama) in Ramsgate. Joseph Williamson of the EA is clearly made of sterner stuff than some of his colleagues.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


You would think this is the stuff of fiction. Pop across to Cllr David Green's site at and read about Southern Water's 'Consultation on Our Strategic Plan for Water Resources dated April 2008. Amongst the detail 3 salient points emerge:
1. Southern Water want us all on compulsory meters by 2015.
(Have no doubt that this is a profit increasing bandwagon. Silly environmentalists have convinced this even sillier Labour Government that water in the UK is a precious resource and water-metering will make us all more careful with its use. Well if water companies like Southern Water will insist on relying on local Victorian aquifers built in the the 1890s to provide our water for a population that has quadrupled in the South East, no wonder there is a supply problem. The solution is quite simple, catch more of the stuff that falls out of the sky for free?) I digress!
2. Southern Water wants to source extra groundwater supplies.
3. Southern Water wants to improve the ability to share water with other regions. (About time too! The Victorians linked Lake Vrnwy in Wales to Liverpool and Thirlmere in Cumbria to Manchester over 100 years ago!) I digress again.
Let me remind you that China Gateway is planned to be built smack bang in the middle of Thanet's major water catchment are with two huge warehouses encroaching into the Zone 1 area of Sparrow Castle Pumping Station with only a 50 day contamination delay of our aquifer should there be a spill.
Just in case you haven't twigged the significance of this, let me explain. Building on a water catchment area automatically reduces surface water (rain) percolating through to the underground reservoir below the chalk in Thanet. If this wasn't bad enough , CGPLtd's own application quite clearly states that there is a grave risk that contamination of our aquifer in Thanet could occur and in the worst case render the aquifer unusable, PERMANENTLY!
So what value is the 'Consultation' by Southern Water dated April 2008 on its Strategic Plan for Water Resources if it seems to be doing nothing at all in regard to the planning application for the China Gateway submitted by CGP Ltd?
Meaningless 'twaddle' springs to mind except that the end result is that we pay even more for water to come to us from 'elsewhere' rather than from under our feet. Get your protest into TDC fast; time is running out. If reports of a delayed date are true, then you can always elaborate your objections at leisure later.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008


I have promised Amy that Thanetstrife will support her campaign to object to The China Gateway project and please go along and support her on Friday.

In the meantime get onto your ward councillors, and let them know your opinions and make sure you object by THIS FRIDAY to the application.

If you have anything you want to say about protecting Thanet's water supply, agricultural land, wildlife, Landscape Character Area or wish to register objections to CGP's Gateway Project you will need to act quickly. This is the detail from TDC's web-site:

Comments need to be submitted to the council by Friday 9 May to either or in writing to Planning, Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, CT9 1XZ.You should quote Application F/TH/08/0400

If you have been wondering about the title to this post, let me now elaborate. There are at present TWO main threats to Thanet's main supply of drinking water. One is from a spillage at Kent International Airport, Manston, that sits on our water catchment area and the other is The China Gateway project that not only sits slap bang in the middle of possibly our most important water catchment area but will actually extend into the immediate protection zone of it (Zone 1).

Whilst the Environment Agency has been sending CGP Ltd information the EA does not seem to be taking too much interest at the moment. The other organisation that has been quiet on this issue appears to be Southern Water. Sources tell me that they not are answering enquiries from our local press or media and seem amazingly reticent to discuss the matter.

I was unaware, until a source sent me an interesting report made by OFWAT on 3rd August 2004 (Case CA98/02/17) that Mid Kent Water had raised a complaint against alledged 'dodgy' practice by Southern Water in regard to our Eurokent Business Park. Southern Water had initially said that costs for it to provide water, wastewater and infrastructure services to this development site (Eurokent) would cost in the region of £100,000 and £500,000 and then , presumably with Mid Kent Water also interested in being the provider of these services, offered the infrastructure services at no charge. OFWAT came to the conclusion that no breach of the law had ocurred as Southern Water had 'misunderstood' the requirement and the complaint from Mid Kent Water was not up-held.

What, might you ask , has this to do with China Gateway?

I am only a 'layman' in these matters but in a post below, I discussed CGP Ltd's idea to have Klargester septic tank systems installed for foul waste and nice little sunken pits to collect water run off from hard-standing and buildings rather than the 'safer' option of having Southern Water (or another Water Company) put in the infra-structure to remove all nasty stuff away from OUR AQUIFER.

Of course, whilst this would be SAFER it would also be costly. (Look at your own household bills to see what Southern Water charges are for sewage disposal and rain-water run off; mine are as follows: Wastewater: £184.18; Wastewater standing charge: £27.28; Surfacewater drainage: £22.00 and Highway drainage: £7.00. In other words my fresh drinking water is only a THIRD of my bill but a staggering 66% of my £361 water bill is for waste/runoff removal).

Did Southern Water quote for CGP Ltd for the China Gateway project and if so how much? Was any other Water supplier involved? If my Southern Water bill lands with a heavy thud on my mat each year, I wonder did CGP Ltd directors, Ken Wills and ' I make a quick profit' Chris Seymour-Prosser, eyes water at the costs submitted by Southern Water?

So my drinking water in Thanet, and yours too, looks to be at greater risk than needed because CGP Ltd want to take the cheapest option with KLARGESTER systems and SUDS etc and thus avoid having to pay Southern Water to put in the infrastructure and remove all foul waste and run-off from 4,000 employees; 300 lorries and almost 4,000 cars on their site, let alone any accidental spills, safely away from our aquifer.

I sincerely hope that our Councillors at TDC and that wonderfully informed Doug Brown at TDC Planning have grasped the situation fully and will insist on a full sewage/wastewater removal infrastructure from Southern Water before CGP Ltd are given any go-ahead. It might dent CGPs 'bottom-line' on this lucrative scheme but at least it protects our water supply.

Just in case, they haven't, I am now replacing the wine in the cellar with bottled water; I might just need it.


What are we to do with Vere Road car and coach park.? TDC wishes to improve it as a car and coach park but, and this is the rub, flog some of it off to build some residential properties. Someone has kindly sent me some pictures of The Vere Rd car park, which are shown below. I personally think residential building here would be a foolish idea. CT10 Charities has leased the Culmers Land allotments and 'park' to Broadstairs TC until 5 years time. The CT10 Charity has already tried to get planning consent for building houses on Culmers Land and quite rightly has been turned down. If our Council then puts housing into this area, a precedent is then available to CT10 Charities to resurrect its plans and good bye allotments and park.
Parking in Broadstairs is already a problem for locals and visitors alike. Broadstairs is a popular tourist town and needs its visitors. A decent Coach Park and car park with a route through Culmers Land to The Harbour is a 'tourist encouraging' asset. In promoting Broadstairs for visitors, Vere Road is ideally situated at the the top of the High Street and visitors have the option to walk along the High Street to the benefit of all business premises located there.
One might suggest, with the past neglect of Vere Rd Car Park and its toilets, that turning it into the Town's major coach and park car and improving it is long overdue. Is it promoted to all Coach operators as an ideal location to disembark coachloads of visitors and to park-up? I suspect not. As for the idea that coaches can drop off and then push off to park up in Cliftonville, this is risible; extra traffic on our roads; the time it would take back and forth; the extra pollution; hardly an environmental, sustainable option.
What can you do about it? There is to be a meeting in Pierremont Hall, Broadstairs on Wednesday 14th May from 5pm-8pm. Go and argue your case there and get onto your local Councillors and tell them what you think. TDC seems to 'consult' a great deal without listening to other ideas so go and be consulted and let's see if commonsense can prevail.

Monday, 5 May 2008


I thought that the Winter Gardens 2007 'issue' had settled until I received the 'statement' below from a source. As readers will know, I have tried to report The Standards Boards findings with 'clarity' and it was good to see the IOTG clarify its initial report lastFriday.
My conclusion , for what it is worth, was that Cllr Clive Hart had been an innocent party in the 'fracas' and had serious damage done to his reputation and integrity by firstly, the dubious complaint to The Standards Board and secondly the inability of the media to report clearly on the Standards Board findings. I am therefore happy to show you his statement.

Friend / colleague

Up until the last week of April Cllr. Ezekiel had maintained a series of spurious and malicious allegations against me regarding the Mayors Retiring Ball. All were exhaustively investigated by the CPS, the Police and the Standards Board and thrown out. I did absolutely nothing wrong and furthermore I believe that I behaved absolutely impeccably in what were extremely difficult circumstances. I was loudly verbally abused across a room in an attempt to goad me into a fight and I turned and walked away.

Then on KMFM radio on 29/04/2008 Cllr. Ezekiel clearly admitted he had use very bad language at the Mayor’s Retiring Ball and apologised UNRESERVEDLY to both Cllr. Clark and myself by name.

However, despite this, he now continues to make despicable accusations through our local press in an effort to taint us.

Please therefore find below my personal response to his wildly differing claims made through different local newspapers.

Yourthanet (30/04/2008)

Cllr. Ezekiel said there wasn’t an independent witness who heard him swear and yet he has subsequently said he has apologised to the staff at the Winter Gardens.

Isle of Thanet Gazette (02/05/2008)

Cllr. Ezekiel says he muttered f***ing t***er under his breath. I can assure you he was SHOUTING. I was some distance away across the room and I heard his disgusting language myself.

Cllr Ezekiel also says he was provoked. This is yet another spurious and malicious allegation which was investigated by the CPS and the Police and thrown out. Please be clear, Cllr. Ezekiel’s claim that Cllr. Clark broke the code of conduct at the Ball was not upheld by the Standards Board. Indeed the report states quite clearly that even if Cllr. Clark had behaved as Cllr. Ezekiel alleged (and he did not) his behaviour would not have been sufficiently disrespectful to breach the code.

Kent on Sunday (04/05/2008).

Any suggestion whatsoever that I somehow ‘ambushed’ Cllr. Ezekiel is completely and utterly ludicrous! Firstly, over the past year this particularly spurious and malicious accusation made by the Conservative TDC leader in an attempt to cover up his own appalling behaviour has been rigorously investigated by the CPS, the Police and the Standards Board and thrown out by all three. Secondly, at all times I was simply too far away from the incident and thirdly, I was enjoying a lovely evening in the company of my cherished wife whom I would never put in any danger (unlike Cllr. Ezekiel whose poor wife had to physically restrain him).

Furthermore, following the same year of exhaustive investigations the Standards Board report clearly states that absolutely no evidence was found of any failure on my part to comply with the Code of Conduct.

The fact is that based to a significant extent on his own evidence Cllr. Ezekiel was found to have been offensive and discourteous and my only involvement in the whole incident was to be loudly and disgustingly verbally abused and goaded across a room by the Conservative leader who had already done the same thing to the Mayor and his Town Sergeant at what was a prestigious civic event.

I can only describe Cllr. Ezekiel’s behaviour like that of a yob who had been propping up the bar for too long, and at the end of the evening wanted to fight.

Thank you for your time – I’m sorry but I hope you understand I simply had to put the record straight.

Kind regards


(Cllr. Clive Hart)

Sunday, 4 May 2008


We have until this Friday 9th May to object to China Gateway Phase 1 in planning application F/TH/08/0400. Why should you object? If for no other reason , object because China Gateway poses a real threat to Thanet's drinking water.

Michael Child on has put up a zoned water catchment area map around our main extraction point at Sparrow Castle Pumping station. If you look at it you will see that CGP Ltd want to construct the two largest warehouses (X-Types) on the whole site, within 350 m of this pumping station and within Pink Zone 1 which is an area that means that contamination will 'hit' our aquifer within 50 days. If you look carefully at Michael's map you will see that the only other building in Zone 1 is the pumping station itself. Why do you think that is?

I hope our Councillors will read this, my previous posts and Michael's carefully, to fully understand what we are all facing here. Water is a vital resource that is in short supply in the South East. Only last year, TV crews were popping down Victorian built aquifers and noting how low the levels were. Unless we are to have a 'National Water Grid' connected to the South East, any development that prevents water collecting in an aquifer or poses a serious threat of contamination to it, SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO GO AHEAD! It's as simple as that.

You may well be asking why I have put up the logo of KLARGESTER? My sources tell me that this septic tank company have been asked to prepare a costed proposal for sewerage treatment for The China Gateway project for CGP.

I will not go into detail about BOD factors and 'pongs' but the proposal seems to involve consideration of 2 methods of what is basically septic tank systems. One is that there is a central system for the whole site or individual systems for each unit or group of business units. The systems need servicing and 'solid' matter pumped out as and when necessary. Are they to be centrally or individually serviced and maintained?

Like me, you might be wondering why Southern Water are not involved in this whole business? At the moment they do not seem to appreciate the problem. Should we not be looking at a central sewage and water 'run off' sewers that removes water and contaminants away from the critical water catchment zones? Aaah, that is a more expensive option than Klargester and its septic tank systems! Here is what the EA reports submitted by CGP say about the development:

" The aquifer underlying the site is considered to be a major aquifer providing potable water to a large population." (CGP Application)

" There is potential for significant pollution of the aquifer to occur" (CGP Application).

"" should chemicals leach into the groundwater underlying the site the impact would be LONGTERM and in some cases UN-RECOVERABLE" (my capitals).

Its quite simple , if there is a spillage or contamination of the wrong kind that happens on the China Gateway site then NO MORE DRINKING WATER FROM THIS AQUIFER FOR YOU AND ME!

Its as simple as that, so get your protest in to TDC.


Out and about in the early afternoon on May Bank Holiday Sunday, found me in Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Margate within the space of 2 hours. Broadstairs was sedately crowded; Ramsgate Harbour area and Marina was throbbing and Margate Beach very quiet despite a hot sunny afternoon and the town even quieter.

Despite seeing the grim road-works pictures on BigNews Margate a while ago, I was shocked to see The Old Town end still looking like a building site and no less than 3 buildings overlooking the proposed 'cafe culture' area, covered in scaffolding. At the present rate of preparation of the chic units in the old storage sheds on the Harbour wall, the season will be over before they are ready.

Surely, this is a sea-side resort I thought, with the brief 'season' only running from May to September and yet all the preparation work for the start of the season has not been done. Why not? Is KCC really that insensitive to the needs of a town in 'dire straits', that the road works could not have been finished off for the May Bank Holiday?

I do not know who is responsible for this telling piece of photo-montage work on Matassa's closed Ice-cream parlour on the front of The Arlington Arcade. It seems to have used pictures of Beirut's rubbish dump by the Med with sights and images of Margate and conveys a clear message. (Click on it for detail and is that Tracy's 'unmade bed' about to float out to sea?)

A close up with the art-work already vandalised with the 'Margate' sign torn. Does anyone know who has put it up?
If this piece of work has been paid for and inspired by the TC crowd (director, curator and assorted artists of a gallery that has yet to be built) or TDC in an attempt to pretty up the closed shop hoardings then they clearly have been had!
It does seem to be telling a blunt message 'Margate is a dump'. 2008 looks to be another lost 'season' for traders desperately trying to survive.

Friday, 2 May 2008


What has happened this week down at Cecilia Road was not entirely unexpected according to a number of my sources. Angela Fox and her fellow allotment holders must be devastated by such mindless vandalism and who cannot have been shocked seeing today's picture in the IOTG.

I have been sent these pictures taken by Mr David Went. Work has stopped at the moment at Dane Valley Allotments, so I am told, but close examination of the picture below shows the old fencing left wide open and allotment huts left with no security at all.
The picture below shows an ill-considered siting of a 'dog-pooh' bin. Not only is it offensive to pedestrians squeezing through the chicane but it can act as a step-up to cross the fencing put in a few years back.

A number of issues come to mind. Those down at Cecilia Rd and those who have to put up with galvanised steel fences in Culmers Land will note how green fencing is going up in Dane Valley . Why was this not considered elsewhere?
It is ironic that Angela Fox had no problems for 7 years and blames the high profile fencing as 'posing a challenge ' to the vandals. She may well be right. I suspect that the self-satisfied tone of Lyne Pilcher reported in today's IOTG will change when Culmers comes in for some attention from the vandals and Broadstairs residents will rightly ask why their Park had to be spoiled? As regular readers will know, I did some 'reading' into security of allotments in February and bored people with the subject.
It is a pity that TDC and Allotment Committees around the Isle did not do some similar reading and then think long and hard before this programme of fencing was initiated; security according to most Local Authorities and The National Allotments Association requires a careful combination of strategies and not just ugly fencing with the natural plant screening removed or ignored as has ocurred at Culmers Land and Cecilia Road.
One of my sources was absolutely scathing about the 'ill thought out, rushed scheme and mindless visual pollution that industrial style allotment fencing has brought about'. He did say that he had told people at Culmers that this fencing was inherently insecure unless placed on a concrete base as it can be breached by simply scraping soil away underneath a section of the fence and crawling underneath it. So go and look for what seems badger scraping, Angela Fox, in a corner of your site's hideous, costly but useless fencing and you will probably find where your vandals gained access.
So thats the funny thing about fences; if you can't climb them without risking emasculation or cut through them, you go under them.
But TDC and some of our Allotment Committees didn't think about that and that's the problem .


Readers will know that I have taken a pretty dim view of the behaviour of 'Our Leader' at the Winter Gardens in April 2007 and have been slightly miffed that both the IOTG last week and now Tom Betts in YourThanet mis-reported that business. Both papers missed the simple point that of the complaints made concerning behaviour THAT night, those aginst Cllrs Hart and Clark were dismissed (almost out of hand) by The Standards Board. The only complaint upheld was against Cllr Ezekiel who was found to have breached the Code. Anyway, IOTG seem to have put the facts more clearly to-day; Cllr Ezekiel has apologised and you would expect 'Strife' levels to drop. Not a hope, I am afraid.
I have now been sent a statement concerning Cllr Ezekiel and his abrupt treatment of Cllr Michelle Fenner at last night's Cabinet Meeting and I post it below.

At last night’s Cabinet meeting, Councillor Michelle Fenner, Shadow Cabinet member for Housing, was prevented from finishing the comments she had prepared on the Housing Inspector’s report.
What she had to say was obviously hitting home and Councillor Ezekiel couldn’t bear to listen to it all.
Councillor Michelle Fenner tried to make the points that she was disappointed in the way that the actual Inspector’s report had been cherry-picked by TDC. The Inspector’s report commented that “TDC’s plans do not always have clear, consistent and stretching targets in place”.
Councillor Fenner stood up at Full council in December 07 and said just that but, at the time, her comments were dismissed. According to a Tory Councillor “it is better not to have stretching targets so that you can be sure to achieve them”. (!!!)
Councillor Fenner intended to point out that the action plan produced as a response to then Inspector’s report needed to be more stringent.
Councillor Fenner also expressed concerns that complaints from TDC tenants did not always appear to be taken seriously nor acted upon. A recent example of this was the fact that a council tenant had to wait 2 weeks and the strong intervention from his Local Councillor to the Acting Chief executive to have his toilet mended which had been condemned by the contractors.
On the issue of affordable housing, Councillor Fenner pointed out the Inspector’s comments that not enough of it is being built because of TDC’s slowness in negotiating Section 106 agreements with the developers.
These are all important points that ought to be debated in a democratic fashion and members of the council ought to have the right to express freely their views.
The Leader of TDC should not try and stop voices of opposition.
My only comment is that should TDC's Tories want to maintain the momentum in Thanet achieved by The Conservative Party at the polls yesterday elsewhere, they really need to re-consider their choice of Leader. This sign in a Northdown Road window today, marks the exits for him if he needs directions.

Thursday, 1 May 2008


The more I have dug around ' China Gateways' in Manston and in Wigan the same picture seems to emerge. Am I the only one who considers that politicians, Westminster and local, seem to be far too close to big business?

It is probably wishful thinking but I would like to see more interest by local councils in maintaining their traditional areas of responsibility to the highest standards for and on behalf of the community they represent. I do not want to see Glossy Magazines, TV Stations, PR Teams and running businesses in competition against local businesses as KCC reputedly does. It may be more mundane and less glamorous but looking after the infrastructure and townscape is what we expect amongst a whole realm of municipal responsibilities. Which brings me to East Kent Opportunities LLP.

KCC owns 70 acres at Manston and TDC owns 40 acres at The Eurokent site and together formed a Limited Liability Partnership in February to deal collectively with these land assets that strictly are the community's. They have advertised for an Executive Director to be employed with a salary of £70,000, who as well as maximising job creation , has
"to make a return on investment for the LLP's investors". Note the similarity with CGP's blurb on previous posts.

I commented on a post of 17th April ( The Business Barons Carve Up Thanet) that a nice little scheme is being hatched to put all industrial sites at Manston which would then free up the Eurokent Site for more retail, leisure and housing development. So East Kent Opportunities LLP is a cosy vehicle to do this. Perhaps my post should have read 'TDC, KCC and Business Barons Carve Up Thanet'?

The Gateway in Wigan is on an old Power station site (Westwood Park) and is truly 'brown- field' and I firmly believe that The China Gateway, Manston should be likewise restricted to the earmarked area for development and not be allowed to grow to the size envisaged by CGP. Pundits elsewhere report the 'plans' at Manston have doubled the value of about £30,000,000
of CGP assets at Manston to over £60,000,000. (Their share price seems to have fallen from 170p to 125p though). But with East Kent Opportunities LLP (KCC and TDC) also in the property game with developers, what chance have we of seeing the development limited to its designated area.?

So whilst our politicians get stuck into the game of new property development and allowing development to extend onto precious agricultural land outside the Thanet Plan, Margate quietly dies. The one piece of land that was critical to its recovery (Dreamland Site) still festers.
Instead of allowing Waterbridge's asset to double in value by ignoring The Planning Inspectors report, TDC and KCC would have been better off playing the property game by compulsory purchase of Dreamland.

Hence my growing sense of unease about local politicians 'cuddling up' with big business; 'Qui bono?'