Thursday, 23 October 2008

A SCEPTICAL VIEW?

Safely back and a drop in temperature that seems more painful than in August and had to start with Gale's View. Like many in Thanet he accepts that further development on Manston Business Park was unavoidable (it already has good development employing almost 1000 people) but carefully avoids criticising the plan approved by TDC in Full Council. He does however have a swipe at the 10 Councillors who voted against; two of whom , Cllr Poole (Lab)and Cllr Wells (Con) tried to improve what was a poor plan and that is the issue so many fail to understand. It is not objection to CGP developing on Manston Business Park but the way it is being developed poorly with maximum and unnecessary impact on Acol and with the most hazardous activity on top of SPZ 1 of the aquifer. Anyway, his own words are more eloquent than mine; please read!

GALE'S VIEW - 23rd October 2008 (Thanet)

I have this week written to the Secretary of State responsible for local government to put down a marker to the effect that should a planning application be submitted for phases two and three of what has become known as "The China Gateway" project then I shall submit a formal request for any such application to be called in by her department and submitted to a full public inquiry.

I have done this because while the Manston business park lies clearly within the approved Area Action Plan any proposal to extend the acreage covered onto agricultural land would not and would in my view therefore require a variation to that plan and would be dependant upon approval by the Secretary of State following proper and prolonged public consultation. I think that all of those engaged in this development, on both sides of the argument, need to be very clear about the reality of this situation and my own opinion, which is shared by my South Thanet colleague Laura Sandys, is "so far but not an inch further".

While I would like to think that those councillors, Labour and Conservative, that voted against the application did so with no thought of personal electoral popularity and for all of the right reasons I do not think that they acted in the best interests of Thanet. That the plan was considered by the full council is a good thing and that it was passed with conditions, I know at the expense of some soul-searching on the part of some of my good friends, is a source of relief to me on behalf of those that I have been elected to represent. The prospect of unrestrained development following a successful appeal at the ratepayer`s expense was singularly attractive.

The game must now move on. What matters from here on in is that those councillors responsible apply rigorous scrutiny to any proposals that are submitted for detailed plans to secure the highest possible quality of development - which is what the Chinese UN representative said that he wanted to see achieved when he visited Thanet recently.
In tandem with that approach equally vigorous scrutiny and enforcement has to be applied to proposals for mains drainage to serve the site, to tree-screening and landscaping to protect the environment and the residents of Acol from visually intrusive buildings, to the road infrastructure to ensure that all of the approach and service roads are adequate to meet the needs of any short and long term traffic generated by development and finally to secure a Section 106 agreement that is sufficiently generous to guarantee real benefits to the surrounding community.

If all of this can be achieved - and in Gordon Brown`s current economic climate it is a big ask - then we may yet secure for Thanet a Business Park that creates a satisfactory quantity of employment for local people, is easy on the eye and its surroundings, and proves the sceptics, of whom for the moment I remain one, wrong.

7 comments:

Rick said...

He seems to think the significant issues are perimeters and mains drainage ?

I have submitted an FOI to TDC for Thor's history. I am told that TDC may have yielded lead agency on incident(s) there to Environment Agency. So await the reply to determine if that is the case.

I have asked Environment Agency to determine the true situation at the Pfizer Development and whether pipe and vessel welds failed the initial contractual standards. And whether the work was left whilst standards were dumbed down whilst contracting companies paid large sums in penalties.

The Sericol history is thought, by EA, to have been continuous from the installation of the underground feedpipe from storage to factory process. So leakage to ground of cyclohexanone can be inferred to have occurred from Sericol establishing production at Poorhole Lane until the early 90s when a problem was finally identified by a new stock control system.

The remediation project began in 96

Strange how, since Michael published the Environment Agency letter to me detailing the facts of the Sericol history, there have been fewer opinions expressed by the erudite Thanet anonymous blogging community.

Bertie Biggles said...

Rick, when they hurl the term 'scaremongers' around and then find that we all have cause to be 'scared', I am not surprised they have gone back into the woodwork.

Matt B said...

What Mr Gale fails to recognise is that it _is_ in Thanet's best interest that councillors have opinions that differ from each other and therefore councillors do vote for and against. That's the whole point.

To suggest that those who failed to vote for the winning argument have failed is to suggest that Mr Gale dreams himself dictator. Has he read the plans in detail? If so why has he not answered Michael Child's outstanding questions?

I think he may have accidentally spoken from his posterior. Not a vote winner.

Anonymous said...

Indeed Matt B

Roger has failed to address some of my questions along with an e-mail to the leader of TDC.

Worst of all is the failure of the EA to deal with my 10 questions?

We all know who the real scaremongers are, they are actually TDC, GOSE and the EA.

Perhaps Southern water could answer the questions that were put to them as well?

Malcolm Kirkaldie

Anonymous said...

He also fails to note that one of his own party tried to protect the residents of Acol, Gale's voters,but got voted down by his own Tory party.

As planning issues are meant to be non-political then anyone voting for or against is meant to look at the application itself and this the council failed to do. Their political careers are not meant to colour their judgement. Gale has, like his Tory counterpart, Laura Sandys, sat on the fence but now he can jump off as she has also done, having seen the way the wind is blowing. The anti-campaign has been given no credit for alerting the statutary bodies so expect the politicians to take all the credit for the 'vigorous scrutiny' that Gale refers to. Without the campaign, run on a shoe-string the development would have slipped past Planning rather like Thanet Earth did, and we would be 'enjoying' the benefits by now.

The next Planning Committee on November 19th might be another 'interesting' evening.

Anonymous said...

I e-mailed Roger Gale with some questions and comments relating to his Gale's View but surprise, surprise, (no, not really), he hasn't replied. He hasn't replied to any e-mails I've sent him on topics related to China Gateway but then I don't live in N. Thanet. Someone else who e-mailed critical comments was asked for his address and once it was revealed he wasn't in Gale's constituency, nada, no reply, nothing.

Mollie said...

Gale answered all my e-mails until I started asking questions about China Gateway. I have had no replies since. I must warn Mr Gale that I have had the pleasure of seeing other politicians who sat on the fence too long, removed at the next election. I can have more respect for a genuinely held view albeit opposed to mine, rather than watching which way the wind blows for personal ambition.