Monday, 30 March 2009
Saturday, 28 March 2009
Friday, 27 March 2009
We discover that Euroferries is such a switched on 'set-up' that the 31st March 'service' cannot even be considered as even 'imminent', as their prospective berth at Ramsgate is not capable of allowing vehicles to load onto the much awaited Bonanza Express. It, by the way, is still berthed alongside the harbour wall in Las Palmas in The Canary Islands.
TDC is singing its praises about an award for The Gateway and making out that this puts it at the top of Councils in the UK. I am delighted that its improving, and all credit to the staff who have made this possible, but improvement from a poor base line, is what has happened and let's cut out the OTT 'spin' please; we have had enough of that nonsense from a Labour Central Government without TDC playing the same game. This reminds me of the 'value added criteria' for some of our local schools. The fact is that TDCs 'improvement' is akin to The Marlowe Academy's improvement in league tables. In absolute terms, TDC is still sitting way down the 'league tables', no matter the hype being made; just as The Marlowe Academy is.
Could it be that TDC is about to compulsory purchase The Marina Restaurant (or what is left of it in Ramsgate). The developers who knocked down this Grade 2 listed building seem to have failed to even start restoring it. That sounds familiar! Isn't there a Grade 2 listed Scenic Railway in a similar state, with security fencing paid for by TDC under threat of compulsory purchase (i.e. 51% of the Dreamland Site) twelve months after it was 'torched'. Has TDC quietly and conveniently forgotten this?
It would seem that 'Mauwice & Wodger's' dispensing jobs for the boys and girls as 'Lead Members' etc has paid off, if we are to believe the IOTG today. A certain Conservative voice, with much to lose, should a regime change occur, is rumoured to have fallen over himself to support his 'Leader'. Grovelling sycophancy is always unpleasent to behold!
Onto Village matters!
St Peter's traders and small businesses are close to desperation. The news earlier this week that some old smuggling tunnels have been revealed in the excavations to put new gas mains in, came as no surprise to local historians but caused some panic that this would increase the time the village was sealed off. There is good news to report, however.
Jenny Matterface, a prospective Labour Candidate has been busy, together with Steve Ladyman and in particular Labour KCC & TDC Cllr Alan Poole, who is a member of KCC's Highways Advisory Board, in trying to push the completion date forward to gain relief for struggling businesses. It would seem they have had some success and it appears likely that all should return to normal by the end of next week, according to the KCC Highways Roadworks manager. I have to admire, as an NTCA member, the efforts by Labour, to support their local traders in such an involved way.
I can't help wondering how TDC might have reacted if the entrance to Westwood Cross Shopping Centre had to be closed for 8 weeks? Is it a case that small traders can be ignored but big business would have to be looked after? Having to pay 90p for parking in Birchington today whilst Mrs Biggles 'shopped' for an hour, made me wonder if ' green sustainability blah blah' is just 'waffle' where TDC is concerned? With parking rates so high, it would cost less to drive to Westwood and park for free. This makes nonsense of 'sustainability' and concern about carbon footprints etc.
Now to Westgate.
I must apologise for an old pic but this building close to the station is of interest. The 'Biggles' Shopping expedition' began in Westgate this morning. I bumped into our only Independent TDC Cllr, Tom King, talking to a shop owner about the problem of the Nationwide ATM machine being out of service all week. This has been catastrophic for trade. No bank, and only this cash dispenser in the village not working, means that people move on elsewhere to draw cash and spend it there and not in Westgate.
Cllr King has been trying to get Cllr Latchford to help in getting a second ATM for Westgate. Cllr King has managed to persuade the owners of the building in the pic to allow an ATM to be installed but is having problems getting Nationwide or another provider to install one. Its all very complicated, but Cllr King (Ind) battles on, on behalf of Westgate with what seems precious little support. Is it because he is the last of the Mohicans, oops, last of The Independents?
With Audrey Pickering having to step down as an Independent, you are probably thinking that Bertie has forgotten about Cllr Dean (call me Bert) McCastree (previously Williams?). He has a 25% attendance (TDC Website) and Westbrook residents have no location to have a 'surgery' to visit. How Independent is he? You might have noticed a recent Thanetlife'posting' quoting Cllr McCastree at length to give credibility about how TDC is doing so well.
Well he sounds more like a Conservative. It is interesting that he applied to be a Labour nominated Cllr first. I suspect he is about as Independent as Pariish Cllr Worrow was. Such is the way of Cllrs I suppose. On that subject, am I the only one to detect a major supportive 'tone' along the lines of 'My Party etc' from Thanetlife in regards to 'Our Leader'. Cllr Moores' blog seems to have turned into a supportive 'Cheer Leader's site' with 'Our Ken' at Village Voice acting in tandem and as korus or should that be chorus? This improbable 'duo' have presumably revelled in Eastcliff Matters being 'bloggered' and rumour has it that Cllr Nottingham's 'blog' is the next in line.
It makes last year's 'Blog War' seem quite tame. What is happening now seems far more serious. What we might need soon is a dedicated Labourite, who is not a Cllr, to open up a blog and thus be beyond the reach of being 'bloggered' by the TDC Conservatives on Standards issues. That said, a cautious and careful approach by a Councillor when 'blogging' is advised and Thanetlife sets the standard here.
Thursday, 26 March 2009
We have the promise of an Art gallery to see people coming to Margate in the future, and we have a world remembered amusement park missing in action. Shops shut, and much to complain about; except, a forgotten jewel in Margate’s crown. The Winter Gardens. It is not the most lavish, and a bit tattered around the edges; but for two nights this week, it was the focus of the music scene in South East England, and boy did it deliver.
Monday night saw Anthony Genn’s 7 piece group ‘The Hours, kick off the evening’s entertainment followed by the main course, Kasabian. The Leicester group played a number of tracks from their forthcoming album together with a host of crowd favourites to keep the fans at this sold out event happy. This was not only a warm up for this weekend’s gig at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust, but also for their forthcoming tour supporting Oasis on their Stadium tour!! This was good, but the best was yet to come.
A mere 24 hours later and the queues outside the Winter Gardens again braved the cold winds. The queue was made up of two types of punters. Fans from all over the South East, and Thanetonians who were there just because it was happening! I have to admit to being in that group. Stereophonics in Margate; I haveto be there! And was I glad that I was.
Dead on 8pm, Tom Allalone and the 78s took to the stage. There mix of up beat modern Hill Billy rock with a touch of Ska went down surprisingly well; the more so because they hail from Gravesend, and had a fan base in the hall!
Stereophonics were in the house. It really was them, and they tore up the place with a mix of some newer songs, complimented by all the crowd favourites, and benefitting from a spectacular light show. The sold out hall bounced along to an hour and a half of music, a good night normally, before being treated to a half hour encore. There are very few bands these days that play for two hours, and this was pure gold. No breaks, no pontification or putting the world to rights; just full on rock concluding with a rollicking version of their classic ‘Dakota’.
We will never see a week like this again, but with venues in the South East being at a premium, perhaps a few more may venture our way. The winners Margate. And that has got to be the underlying achievement here. For a brief moment, Margate was at the centre of something, and it wasn’t good, it was brilliant!
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Having seen the latest proposals for Dreamland, I burst into laughter as spontaneously as The Scenic Railway was 'torched' almost a year ago despite Deputy Mayor, Cllr Watt-Ruffell being the security manager of Dreamland.
Let's be realistic. Right from square one, Mr Godden and Mr Toby Hunter of Waterbridge and the risibly entitled Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company (MTCRC) had one purpose for the Dreamland site; they stated it quite clearly (see http://www.propertyweek.com/story.asp?storyCode=3082130 )
" Godden clearly had property development aspirations, but there was an obstacle he could not move: the Scenic Railway."
"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."
An excellent campaign was run by Nick Laister and Sarah Vickery (Save Dreamland) to stop this happening, until they joined forces with MTCRC. TDC ( led by Cllr Ezekiel) then ignored in 2006 the advice given by an Independent Planning Inspector concerning the vital nature of the Dreamland Site to Margate's regeneration. Here is what the report at the time said:
"TDC's plans encourage speculation. Dereliction would be the most likely outcome, if the speculative value of the site is higher than the value of the site which it can realise at any given time."
The history of the site since 2002 makes dismal reading; 2003, 2004, 2005 : opened for part of season only; (a fire that created Godden's Gap); 2006 a 'Big Wheel'for part of season and a funfair that would have embarrassed a Village Carnival; 2007, 2008, (Scenic Railway Arson) CLOSED and DERELICT. The future: 2009, 2010, 2011 CLOSED and derelict and just possibly a 'Hertage Park' opening in 2012? Isn't this exactly what TDC was warned about?
Just under a year ago, TDC was talking purposefully about insisting on urgent repair of the scenic railway or 'compulsory purchase' . This was reported in IOTG on 18 Apr 2008:
"At the meeting (TDC Meeting), Cllr Clive Hart raised the concern that although 20 per cent of the Scenic Railway would need to be completely rebuilt the other 80 per cent would still need work done to it as it has sat unmaintained for the past two years. Officers agreed works would also cover the remaining 80 per cent to ensure the ride would be operational.
Council officers considered it “reasonable to expect that the ride might be repaired and operational by Easter 2009.”
Well Easter 2009 is only three weeks away and my understanding is that despite TDC paying £42,000 in August to put in proper secure fencing (despite Cllr Watt-Ruffell heading up security at Dreamland), TDC has not got the money back for the tax-payer and MTCRC still hasn't got any detailed repair work done with Peter Beck for Waterbridge stating 'We still need to secure funding".
Readers might be surprised to know that I found a fascinating 'trade advert' for a 'LEASEHOLD on Dreamland, Margate looking for someone to make the Dream happen; here is an extract:
"No longer in use, the site includes a Grade II Listed Scenic Railway, a Grade II* Listed Cinema and various other buildings in different states of repair. Permission exists for amusement park uses on the site, and expressions of interest are invited for operators wishing to take up the leasehold of all or part of the site for development and operation of an amusement park, including the Scenic Railway, to the best modern standards. Those who are interested in living the dream will be asked to provide details of proposals for all or part of the site, a business plan, and certificates of qualification and insurance to run the park. In the initial instance, if you are interested in discussing the opportunity, please contact Ross Stewart on 0118 929 0720/0700 by 10th NOVEMBER 2008".
So what is this business all about that has been going on for some time with The Prince's Regeneration Trust; The Dreamland Trust; 'Sea Change' funding applications from the Dept. for Culture Media & Sport and Lottery Grant Applications?
So Waterbridge, a commercial property developer in the 'speculative' market is now expecting CHARITIES and THE TAXPAYER and LOTTERY to do its development for them to create a 'retro' theme park ? Have they no money of their own?
Well it's nice to know that despite arson; despite TDC's failure for whatever reasons to plan properly; despite Waterbridge and MTCRC 'running down their speculative investment' (GOSE Inspector's Report) since 2002, CHARITY & TAXPAYER'S money might come to the 'rescue' and provide us in 2012 with an exciting collection of 'old rides' that are presently rusting and rotting in various parts of the UK like the Scenic Railway is.
Thank goodness we have Rebecca Smith, Frank Thorley and Damien Cooke who still realise that modern development of The Dreamland SITE ( not a re-creation of the Dreamland we once had) as an all weather visitor attraction and a complement to our fabulous beach in Margate is what is needed.
I am afraid to admit that I have to agree with 'Mauwice' when Thom Morris quoted him as saying " Forget Dreamland and stop living in the past" in last month's Thanet Times. The problem is that Cllr Ezekiel clearly meant the SITE as well or he would have taken the advice of an Independent Planning Inspector 3 years ago!
Friday, 20 March 2009
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Details can be found on UK Planning site at F/TH/08/1466. A decision on this application is due to be made by TDC's Planning Committtee on Thursday 29th April 2009.
I have mixed feelings about this proposal. I have no doubt that it will provide an interesting 'tourist attraction' but only for 'customers' of Two Chimneys and that it will lead to an increase in wild-life habitat and bio-diversity. My main concern is that it will be taking out almost another 60 acres of prime agricultural land from crop production in Thanet.
The history of expansion onto agricultural land by Two Chimneys in the past 8 years shows that it expanded from its original site to Park Road to its East in 2002 and took 20 acres of prime agricultural land for this. (F/TH/01/0599). In 2006, it expanded again but to the west by another 10 acres. (F/TH/05/0599). If this application is granted, Two Chimneys will have effectively taken almost 100 acres of prime agricultural land out of production in the past 7 years. My main complaint about Two Chimneys is that it is still the most intrusive and poorly screened ' mobile home' site in Thanet and perhaps TDC Planning should enforce more effective screening planting!
I have to admit that I would rather see woodland, a lake and a copsed golf course than glass houses or industrial sheds. I am depressed to have to accept that with TDC's present outlook, our 'Isle' is disappearing under 'industrial development' (Thanet Earth; KIA Masterplan; China Gateway etc) and that in 15 to 20 years time we will have a 'developed' heartland with a promenade and beaches fringing it.
Perhaps a Golf Course, woodland and small lake is not such a bad idea after all?
Euroferries have 12 days left to have Bonanza Express depart to Boulogne from Ramsgate.
I do not have sophisticated 'counter thingees' to record the passing days but will just have to enter them manually. If you want to know where the Bonanza is, please click on this link that I have pinched from Michael at www.thanetonline.blogspot.com :
In the meantime, I find it interesting that Eurotunnel paid for a whole page advert in yesterday's Thanet Times promoting short journey, cheap price and 'goodies' if you book in March and April. Eurotunnel are perhaps taking Euroferries a little more seriously than Glenn Campbell of the BBC?
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
It ocurred to me the other day, while I was dusting down the DVD collection with a bottle of Mr Sheen, just how much like Darth Vader and The Emperor, old Sandy and even older Rog, are.
Sandy, much like Vader, is the figurehead of The darkside, the public face if you will, but its Rog, who is the man in real control of the TDC Empire, squirrelling awy, behind the scenes and controlling the Dark Side of the Force; sorry I mean The Farce.
No Jedi knight could fail to spot the similarity between Roger's craggy features and that of the grizzly Emperor surely - and Sandy's blank expression is surely a mask of sorts?
Now all we need is for Sandy Vader to say 'enough is effing enough' and toss his 'Master' down a large wind tunnel and then admit the error of his ways, and then we will all be happy.
the result would of course be another Standards appearance and I don't think even a Dark Lord of the Sith could survive a 3rd appearance ....or maybe he could?"
According to Your Thanet, 'Mauwice' told them today: “Labour would call for me to resign, but I will not be standing down. I stand by my record as leader and the things we have achieved in that time. “That is what counts. It’s time to stop attacking the man and to get back to policy.”He added he now wanted to “move on”.
What arrogance! Does this man really think he is that important to Thanet and The Conservative Party in Thanet and that it is just Labour Cllrs who are calling for his resignation?
No apology to the people of Thanet for failing to maintain simple standards of decent behaviour in public as 'their' Leader. No apology to his own Party and 'his' Councillors for bringing his Leadership and their Party into disrepute.
Your Party and TDC are bigger than you, Cllr Ezekiel, although you fail to grasp that simple point. Yes, lets get back to good Conservative administration and policies but without YOU!
Monday, 16 March 2009
It is my understanding that The Standards Chair, Mrs Jennifer Sterndale sitting with Cllr Tom King (Ind) and Mr Brian Hinchley felt the need to censure the conduct of Cllr Ezekiel in The Edinburgh Woollen Mill in June last year. I will wait for the precise details of the official decision that will appear,hopefully, in the minutes in due course.
Lets be quite clear about the decisions of The Standard's Board of England and the decision of TDC's own Standards Committtee. They have both found that in simple terms The Leader of TDC has failed to act in a proper way on TWO occasions (April 2007 and June 2008) and has thus bought his 'Office' and the reputation of TDC into disrepute.
Now is the time for all good Conservative Councillors 'to come to the aid of the Party' and insist that Cllr Ezekiel either resigns or is replaced.
As far as Cllr Latchford is concerned, his 'leaping' antics do him no credit nor did his written submissions and 'evidence'. His saving grace is that after 4 attempts to get his Leader to leave, he eventually succeeded. He should accept that like C S Forester's 'The General', perhaps its time to head for the 'bath-chair' at Bournemouth and a peaceful retirement.
"Little did I realise when I attended the last ever gig at the Astoria in London back in January, that the demise of this grand old venue, could actually benefit Thanet! But with a major South East venue now closed, concert organisers have started looking further afield, and have finally rediscovered the Wintergardens.
First to slip in were Leicester’s finest ,‘Kasabian’ lined up to play on Mon 23rd March. If that was not enough, the feast continues with Welsh heroes , ‘Stereophonics’ coming in under the radar and playing the day after on the 24th! This almost amounts to a mini festival on the lines of ‘Give it a Name’.
Both bands are using these as warm up gigs for their bigger concerts the following weekend when they play the Royal Albert Hall for the ‘Teenage Cancer Trust’.
Still, if organisers can see the Wintergardens as being a viable alternative, perhaps we will see more current and up and coming bands coming here. Let’s hope so! Rock on... \m/ ".
Sunday, 15 March 2009
The unemployment situation in Thanet, the South East and in this country as a whole is getting worse despite the BSF funding that is being poured into Thanet schools in particular at the moment. The ugly side of hard times has started to rear its head with protests against 'foreign' workers 'taking jobs' that has been fuelled by Brown's silly statement 'British jobs, for British workers'.
I believe that we will have disorder on the streets of London on April 2nd and elsewhere in the country through the summer. I am not entirely convinced that the civil disorder in Lurgan, Northern Ireland was purely a result of police arrests following the murder by terrorists of two soldiers and a policeman last week; unemployment in deprived areas in N. Ireland has shot up.
Back in Thanet, a regular reader has sent me an interesting tale of our jobless in Thanet.
The Polish road-sweeper who has done such a fantastic job keeping Beacon and St Peter's Wards clean following Jenny Matterface's complaint about the state of the roads, is sadly moving on. As a fully qualified motor-mechanic he has decided to return to that area of work. He will be missed.
He says that when he was at the Job Centre and was offered the road-sweeper's job he was happy to have any work and accepted it. Disturbed by comments from other Thanet's finest about 'these foreigners taking our jobs', the Job Centre staff told them that 'We've offered all of YOU this job and you all refused. This gentleman is willing to do the job that you've all turned down, so keep quiet and let us do our job'.
I suspect that some of the hostile comments were coming from our 'long-term' unemployed in Thanet. It is my experience that those who are 'hungry enough' will willingly take work on offer to them.
Friday, 13 March 2009
The full details can be accessed from TDC at:
I would urge ALL Conservative Councillors, Roger Gale MP and PPC Laura Sandys to read very carefully what has been written or said by all those involved on that June morning and make up their own minds as to the suitability of Cllr Ezekiel and Cllr Latchford continuing to lead the Conservative Group at TDC.
I have come to my own conclusions and whatever happens on Monday in The Council Chamber will not remove the fact that TDC has been brought into disrepute and its standing in the eyes of the public damaged.
I will only quote any extracts, from what I have read, to illustrate points and to put them in context, you will need to read the whole report.
Statements seem to have been taken from only 5 people, one of whom (Council Officer, Mr Bunnet) was not even present in the Woollen Mill. They were Cllr Johnston, Cllr Ezekiel, Cllr Latchford and two local press reporters, Thom Morris and Nick Evans. You might well wonder, as I did, why no Statement has been made by a 'key' witness to the whole business, Miss Cheryl Hussey, manager of The Edinburgh Woollen Mill. She, like the press members could have given a clear account of what she saw and heard. Why was no statement taken or did she decline to make one?
What was interesting to read was that Cllr Ezekiel stated he invited Cheryl Hussey for lunch that very same day; presumably within an hour or so of the incident. I could not find anywhere in the paperwork that Cheryl Hussey had been invited to make a statement or had declined to; she is the 'missing witness'.
One must assume that our press work to a code of conduct and are professionally trained to report what they see and hear. I find the 'evidence' from Thom Morris and Nick Evans particularly interesting and would assume it to be as accurate an account from 'neutral' parties as one is likely to get. Let me quote some extracts:
"Their general behaviour was ungentlemanly and unpleasant".
"Councillor Latchford leapt like a salmon ..I wish I had taken a picture."
"Councillor Latchford said four times, 'Sandy, let's go'.
"To see the Council Leader just being ridiculous and the Deputy Leader leaping at another Councillor; God knows what it has done for their reputation!"
What I find interesting is that both reporters confirm that within a short time of the incident, they received phone calls from Cllr Ezekiel as did their superiors or colleagues. Why was this done and what was said?
You will need to read a written submission by Cllr Ezekiel very carefully to spot what appears to be a suggestion that the two press reporters were not acting professionally. Here is an extract:
"Both journalists have reasons to feel personally aggrieved with myself as the Leader of TDC. With regard to Thom Morris , I have made robust complaints about untrue statements he made, appearing in the Gazzette. Nick Evans has twice been turned down for an appointment at TDC. I would refer at this stage to the e-mail I presented to you in an earlier statement, from Michaels Childs(sic), warning me about Nick Evans motives."
I was staggered at the implication contained in these words and find it extraordinary when much criticism about our local press has been aired on blogs about the very pro-TDC line taken in all our papers with little critical comment about TDC!
I read John Bunnet's statement with surprise. As he was not at the scene, how could his statement be considered of any value or pertinent to consideration by The Standard's Committtee? Cllr Johnston went to see him shortly after the incident in his capacity as Acting Chief Executive of TDC. Mr Bunnet's statement raises serious questions about the role of Officers in TDC. If you read it, you will note the many references to Cllr Johnston being 'emotionally upset' not on just this occasion and Mr Bunnet repeats this phrase over and over again. He then promptly contradicts himself by stating 'She is a strong and experienced politician'. What seriously should concern us all and all TDC Councillors, is Mr Bunnet's words when describing 'his opinion' of The Edinburgh Woollen Mill incident:
" It feels like one of a series of attempts by the opposition to weaken the Leader."
Now forgive me if I am a tad naive, but how does The Leader and Deputy Leader bursting in on a petition hand-over uninvited by Cllr Johnston or anyone present, constitute 'an attempt to undermine the Leader' and Mr Bunnet reveals an extraordinary stance as (at the time) he was initially acting as Acting Chief Executive who would have to advise ALL involved, neutrally and dispassionately as an Officer of Thanet District Council, acting for the WHOLE Council.
I will end my take on this 'scandalous' incident for TDC as a whole and leave you with the words of a former 'Officer and Gentleman' and 'leaper' in explaining 'whose fault it was':
" The whole thing is the responsibility of Cllr Johnston".
Is that really the case Lt Col (Retd) R Latchford OBE, Deputy Leader of TDC?
The observant will notice that Councillors have not been informed in this 'official' TDC letter to them of The Standards Meeting on Monday 16th March at 5.00pm. Is this just inefficiency or would TDC rather keep most of its Councillors like 'mushrooms' about the business of the Leader and his Deputy in Woollen Shops?
Today's IOTG, Page 3 has an interesting report and when I catch up with sleep having read 300 pages late into the night, I will make my own comments on what I have read.
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
I have to feel sorry for Infratil and TDC in regard to BAWC/GSS not coming to Manston. Has everyone down here been taken for a bit of a ride? One can only assume that Stansted has had to give BAWC some concessions to stop them moving some aircraft to Manston and perhaps that's what it was all about? It will give time, I hope, for TDC to now get to proper grips with its S.106 in the next 6 months and ensure proper monitoring is in place.
Glenn Campbell on Inside Out this evening seems to have 'rained on TDC's parade' or to be more exact, on 'Wodgers'. Was I the only one to note squirming and fluster when 'Wodger' was pressed about 'due diligence' enquiries into Euroferries? (Should have read 'Strife'?) With a French firm that seems to have Dover-Boulogne sussed and is about to buy up Sea France, are we really going to see a repaired 'Bonanza Express' in Euroferries livery, sweep into Ramsgate?
The only good news this evening would appear to be about cucumbers.
Amidst all the hype about Thanet Earth's first cucumbers hitting Thanet Tesco's no-one commented about the price of £1.28 per cucumber that is essentially 80% water. Considering you could almost throw a cucumber from Seamark Road to Manston Tesco, a 'local' price of £1.28 did seem steep. My 'shopping' correspondent, Granny Smith, now reports that a Thanet Earth cucumber is now on sale at Tescos at the lower price of 80p. One wonders what price Tesco buy them in at and what the mark up is, even at a 38% reduction in price since last week.
Granny Smith did mention that LIDL are bringing cucumbers in from Spain and if you have no qualms about the carbon foot-print of your cucumber, 49p does seem a more sensible price! Perhaps Tesco is taking the 'proverbial' with its price of a Thanet Cucumber?
Contacts tell me that The Millionaire's Playground will feature as will our very own Cllr Latchford who is currently in Hong Kong.
'Mauwice' will be none to pleased to hear 'Wodger' on camera stating, " There is absolutely no way a ferry will be running from here by March 31st!"
This of course is contrary to Euroferries press release saying a service will commence from Ramsgate on that date and 'Mauwice's' 'gung-ho' optimism.
My advice to 'Wodger' would be to make sure if Euroferries newly painted Bonanza Express pops into Ramsgate that he gets down there to collect berthing charges quickly or he might find something in common with the Mayor of Rochester, USA.
An 'on-line' report on Inside Out will be up at 5.00pm.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Monday, 9 March 2009
Summit Aviation (Ken Wills, also of CGP ) has been working in Pysons Road in cramped conditions for some years and employs over 60 people in servicing aero- engines. I believe this new building is worthy of recognition, not only as an attractive modern building (it looks better than the sheds in Westwood Cross) but also because it will enable Summit Aviation to expand. Summit hope to move in from Pysons Road by the end of April. It has recently won a large contract for engine servicing from a large European manufacturer and this building and its facilities were part of that process. This means not only securing jobs but expanding the work-force. That has to be good news.
Saturday, 7 March 2009
Friday, 6 March 2009
GUIDANCE ON UNREASONABLY PERSISTENT AND OR VEXATIOUS COMPLAINTS
'Donna Reed said that whilst the majority of complaints received by the Council were genuine and received a thorough investigation, there was need to agree a policy on vexatious complaints to manage the nuisance caused by a few persistent complainants; this policy would give a standardised structure to handling such situations. Each service would have to put in a case for designating a complaint as vexatious which would ultimately be decided by the Monitoring Officer.
Members observed that while this was a good idea, officers should also ensure that genuine complaints raised by Councillors on behalf of their constituents were dealt with expeditiously. Donna Reed said a management system would be set up to track Members’ queries.
The Panel supported the policy, subject to an amendment that there be a review after six months of implementation to determine the effectiveness of the policy and a further report presented to the Panel.'
What worries me about this is what exactly is the policy and who determines who is a vexatious and persistent complainer? Bertie has been told that certain Thanet citizens, when they identify themselves, are stalled ( presumably whilst list is checked) and given the promise that 'X' will ring back and it never happens! Sounds a bit familiar?
So be wary when complaining or raising issues with departments in Toy Town's Town Hall; you are either 'on the list' already or might soon be.
What I find extraordinary is that whilst Planning was 'up to its neck in alligators in the swamp' of the China Gateway application last summer, Doug Brown was exemplary in fielding a host of questions, enquiries, concerns and moans by e-mail or by phone in a courteous and helpful manner and never failed to respond or elucidate or clarify. His example as a public servant striving to serve the electorate, no matter how mundane or repetitive the enquiry or moan should be considered by TDC as the 'model' for all its officers.
One is beginning to think that TDC regards its 'involved' electorate, as opposed to those who don't even realise it exists, as a pain in the butt! A dangerous and arrogant stance?
FROM RAMSGATE TO BOULOGNE
Euroferries are pleased to announce the commencement of its fast ferry cross channel service on 31st March 2009 with the introduction of its first vessel ‘Bonanza Express’ being operated in partnership with Fred Olsen.
Bonanza Express is a 96m fast Incat vessel, initially operating four crossings daily between Ramsgate and Boulogne.
The service will cater for cars, foot passengers, coaches and a limited amount of freight and caravans.
Per Staehr has been appointed Chairman and Director, Adrian Gillan has been appointed Director, Geoffrey Ede has been appointed Operations Executive and Paul Donert Company Secretary.
Euroferries base at Ramsgate will bring employment to the area and business to the local community.
For further information please contactthe Euroferries press office at The Staging Housetraceypoulton@thestaginghouse.com or telephone 01403 710329
Notes to Editor:
1. Per Staehr has a long experience within the marine and transport business having served in senior position within the A. P. Moller – Maersk Group and Bombardier Transportation. He is currently working as a Director which includes being Chairman of A2SEA, a Director of Trico Marine Inc USA [US Nasdaq listed company] and also involved in other marine and transport related activities.
2. Geoffrey Ede formerly Managing Director of Hoverspeed
3. Paul Donert formerly Senior Partner Ernst & Young
4. Adrian Gillan, Solicitor.
“As I did when the original announcement of this service was made I want to encourage local people to save our cheering until the service starts because these are incredibly difficult times to be launching a new business of this complexity and things could still go wrong. Having been closely involved with the team over several years and seen the work they have done in recent weeks I know it hasn’t been easy. That said, the team have made excellent progress and they should be thanked for their efforts and commitment to Ramsgate and to this new service.”
“It will be a major boost for the area and will really give the local economy a shot in the arm and I look forward to seeing the inaugural voyage.”
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
As readers of the Isle's papers will remember, there were reports of what appeared to be extraordinary behaviour in a Margate shop last June on the part of The Leader of TDC Council and his Deputy Leader.
It would seem that there are 4 stages to the process and different ‘sub-committees’ are involved. Let me try and explain the proposed process:
Stage Two. Review of Assessment (Appeal by complainant against Stage One decision to take no action).
Stage Four. Hearing (Where the investigation has found a failure to comply).
It would seem that Miles Smith is proposing that each ‘Stage’ is dealt with as follows:
Stage One. Standards Referral & Hearings Sub-Committee
Stage Two. Standards Appeals Sub-Committee
(Stage One and Two must be delegated to sub-committees as different members must
deal with assessment and review)
Stage Three. Full Standards Committee
Stage Four. Standards Referral & Hearings Sub-Committee
Mrs Jennifer Sterndale (Chairman)
Mr Robin Hills (Vice-Chairman)
Mrs Linda Frampton
Mr Brian Hinchley
Councillor Simon Day
Councillor Mrs Elizabeth Green
Councillor Thomas King
Councillor Richard R Nicholson
Councillor Michael J Roberts
Councillor Mike Taylor
Councillor Mrs Zita P Wiltshire
Parish Councillor Carol Ann Buchanan
Parish Councillor Dennis Neville
Parish Councillor Roy Wade
I am now rather confused.
“The review and development of The Council’s arrangements will increase accessibility and PUBLIC CONFIDENCE (my capitals).”
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Perhaps Zita Wiltshire needs to take the example on how to to be a 'good Ward Councillor' from Cllr Simon Moores in Westgate in view of the problem with Gas Main work in her ward. (My understanding from locals in Westgate , was that when similar problems ocurred in Westgate, Cllr Moores visited businesses; listened to concerns and did his best to ameliorate the disruption and talked to contractors doing the work.)
Cllr Zita Wiltshire's approach worries me, though. I know she is one of 'Mauwice's Exalted' as a Cabinet member but she seems to have forgotten she also represents St. Peter's. Let me explain why.
Cllr Wiltshire was actually in St Peter's earlier today to visit The St Peter's Village Tour 'stalwarts'. She was heard to complain about 'how difficult it was to get to her meeting'!!!
Where has she been for the past few weeks? As Ward Councillor for St Peter's had she not noticed the impact of traffic restrictions and chaos on residents and on the livliehood of businesses in the centre of the ward she is meant to represent? Whilst she may not be able to dramatically alter the situation, does she not think that her 'constituents' may like to see her taking an interest and not just when Elections are due?
I could of course have it all wrong and she has actually been very busy doing her utmost to get Scottish Gas Networks to sign more effectively and get on with the job, like I am sure her other TDC Ward Councillors in St Peter's, Cllrs Gregory and Savage and KCC Councillor Hayton have been doing?
Monday, 2 March 2009
I now ask this simple question: Is this 'Working Party', under the Chair of Cllr Harrison, just going through the motions as a 'cover' for TDC ?
We all know that TDC at an 'extraordinary Full Council' on the 19th February effectively extended 'night-flying' times for Infratil at KIA in the fond expectation that BAWC/GSS will move some 747-400 aircraft from Stansted to fly freight into and out of Manston. What seems to be coming clear is that the S.106 agreement 'passed ' by TDC has no 'teeth' and effectively gives the status to Manston of being ' OPEN ALL HOURS' for 747-400s because they have a QC4 rating on landing and taking off!
Here are some snippets from The Minutes of the Airport Working Party of 5 Feb (two weeks before the Full Council Decision);
"The operator (Infratil) should take up responsibility for effectual monitoring of noise and air quality control pending an amendment of the agreement with the current Kent Air Quality Contract".
"Members also agreed that a penalties system should be looked into further."
(About Bournemouth Airport) "Webtrack is used to monitor aircraft movement which proved useful when a complaint was received concerning an aircraft BEING OFF THE FLIGHT PATH or OUT OF THE AGREED FLYING HOURS. (The Working Party agreed 'to look into this but secondary radar capacity required is not yet part of Kent International Airport's infratructure).
I'm sorry TDC but it seems to me that the Council at Bournemouth is doing its job and YOU ARE NOT!
NO PENALTY SYSTEM
NO MONITORING OF NOISE AND AIR POLLUTION
NO MONITORING OF OFF FLIGHTPATH FLIGHTS
NO MONITORING OF OUT OF AGREED HOURS FLIGHTS.
I am a supporter of controlled and careful expansion of KIA at Manston but if this is TDC's approach to its responsibilities as the LPA, then heaven help us! For goodness sake Councillors, can't you do your job as effectively as your colleagues in Bournemouth?