Monday, 25 May 2009

TIME TO KEEP A CLOSER WATCH ON TDC

As I have been pounding the concrete in various parts of Thanet recently, I have been surprised at the number of people who have no idea who their Councillors are or what party they represent. I have to say that Conservative Councillors appear to have the lowest profile and it rang a chord with a commentator I heard today talking about the arrogance of MPs in safe seats and whether there was a correlation between expenses claims and the security of the seat occupied. I suspect the same arrogance exists in the ruling party at TDC.
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Ezekiel, sadly, seems secure for another year and has been consolidating his power base amongst his less principled supporters and hangers-on. Councillor Jill Kirby would appear to have been removed from Governance and Audit and rumour has it that she was one of the 12 who did not support him. Rumour also has it that sordid little deals were being made about who would get what etc, but that is what we have come to expect from Thanet Conservatives who seem to lack sufficient Conservative back-ground. Instead we have Labour drop-outs and those who were once Independent controlling the show.
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The area that worries me most is Planning. I believe our opposition candidates and the public in general now need to keep a very close eye on Planning matters dealt with by TDC for the next 12 months. What makes me say this?
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You will need to cast your mind back to August 2008. A certain application by CGP was to be 'nodded' through with minimum discussion by The Planning Committtee but 3 principled Conservative Councillors , Taylor, Jarvis and Bruce wanted the whole Council to view this application and voted with the 5 Labour members to enable this to happen. Rumour has it that they were summoned to explain themselves, although Planning is not a 'whipped' process. The vote was 8 to 7 and I still remember with some pleasure the surprise on the Chairman's face when he realised that even his vote wouldn't get a quick job delivered on the application.
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What those 3 Councillors, Taylor, Jarvis and Bruce achieved was to gain time for a closer look by The Planning Team, All Councillors and the public at a highly important and Thanet altering application and it was eventually approved by Full Council in October 2008 with many safe-guards and restrictions built into the approval. This was, to my mind, how such an important issue should be dealt with.
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The chance of this happening again is now remote. Taylor, Jarvis and Bruce have all been effectively 'removed' from planning and a glimpse at some new faces does not inspire other than in their political solidarity to their Leader. Crotty, Sullivans x2 and Mrs Judith Russell have now appeared. So we now have a motley crew that includes 2 Labour rejects, a local building developer and the wife of a developer, who, rumour has it, has social connections ; together with an Independent who seems to vote Conservative, having been rejected by Labour. I am afraid this does not inspire me with confidence.
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When Councillors say to me apologetically that they feel Thanet Earth and a house in Birchington 'slipped under our radar' without sufficient consideration, the last thing we need is a Planning Committee that has lost 3 Conservative members with integrity and independence of mind. Isn't it strange that at local Conservative level, the 'Leader' quite clearly hasn't been listening to or understanding a word his Party Leader David Cameron has been saying about The Conservative Party he wants to see.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

The local Conservative Party has no integrity or honour. How can it have when it has a Labour turncoat as it's Chair!

Positions in the Cabinet are bought and sold for favours, and the Planning Committee is also overseen by someone who suddenly decided to leave the Labour Party when they decided to insist on CRO checks, and jump ship to become a Tory, and STILL be head of planning.

Anonymous said...

Bertie, well done for picking this one up - we didnt realise membership of the planning committee was another of the leaders' methods of rewarding loyalty. So depressing more like Stalin's Russia not 2009 Thanet!
Pity the upright conservatives don't form their own breakaway party.

Anonymous said...

hi bertie
hows the jobs going at manston
for ken wills now you our on his payroll
double standards
let see if you put this comment up

Anonymous said...

Just in case you missed it Bertie, another nail in the coffin of Westgate's conservation area was driven home at last wednesday's planning meeting when following the usual pre- meeting stitch up by the ruling tory majority group,a three storey 'cutting edge' stainless steel and glass box was granted permission and will now scar the beauty of St Cecilias house and the Westgate conservation area.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Bertie, Perhaps Cllr Taylor has had to drop out of planning for other reasons, afterall he is a KCC candidate for the Tories in Ramsgate and also a Ramsgate Parish Council candidate. Same applies to Cllrs Hayton and Kirby all wanting to sit on all three levels of local government.

Jim said...

"but that is what we have come to expect from Thanet Conservatives who seem to lack sufficient Conservative back-ground. Instead we have Labour drop-outs and those who were once Independent controlling the show."

Er, no.
You yourself have said how you admire some Labour councillors, Bertie... so that's a bit of a cheap shot.
Makes me laugh how you stick so to the Tory guns - supporting Roger "no comment" Gale and the like...
I think the problem with Thanet is that the Tories are very much in control!!!!

Bertie Biggles said...

An interesting comment 10.18.
If you think that meeting with CGP to discuss issues and exchange ideas, is a job, then you are sadly deluded.

Summit Aviation is a different matter and I fully support the success of Summit Aviation in its new building, its new contracts and further employment opportunities on land designated in 1995 for employment. CGP know exactly where I stand in regard to Phases 2 & 3; vehemently opposed. In regard to Phase 1, if KCC and TDC (aka EKO LLP) had earmarked their land holdings for CGP's project instead of holding CGP to ransom, we might have seen a much better plan in October 2008 being presented to TDC. I see another update coming on. Watch this space, as I am sure you do!

Thanks, 15.08. What are the views of your Westgate Councillors?

Bertie Biggles said...

Tony and Jim, thanks. Was hitting keys as you were.
Firstly, Tony, you might be right about too many posts being held by some but my sources intimate that his presence was no longer welcome!

Jim, I am still a conservative, albeit with a small 'c' now. The point I perhaps did not make well, was that a principled Labour Party was not happy to continue with or take on prospective candidates who did not meet the strict criteria demanded by Labour in terms of CRB and background enquiries. I have a natural suspicion of those who switch allegiance for apparently no other motive than to further their own goals. To find such people at the heart of our Local Conservative Party surprises me but perhaps not.

John Kirby said...

Tony Beachcomber - you are a very nice guy - but do me a favour - as there were no other candidates coming forward for the Parish - i am standing in Newington Ward in a straight election with Labour. if you have read the local press over the last two years I think the whole of Ramsgate has been sold a pup by the proposed formation of a Parish Council -and I think the cost to the council tax payers will bear out this view in the future -but please keep beach combing - your views do make sense in these troubles times

John Kirby said...

From John Kirby - Tony - you are a really nice bloke -but if you read the press in Ramsgate over the last two years you should realise I am not a fan of the new propsed parish council - the cost to the electorate will be enormous for very litle reward -but it is only a realisation of one person's personal ambition who could not get elected through the current domocratic channels -whether TDC or not -Ramsgate has been O'donnelled
i.e stuffed John kirby

Anonymous said...

Bertie, we in Westgate are starting to feel a little let down.

We have three Councillors. One an Independant who is ineffective at best, and who seems to regard Westgate as being just the shops in the centre. One a Tory who has gone from being a free thinking individual, to being a bought and paid for Leader's man. And a third, also a Tory, who is totally invisible.

Lucky old us.

Jim said...

I take a few of your points on board. Bertie.

Keep up the good work, I like this blog, it is always worth a look of an evening.

I just wonder why a guy who seems quite astute supports the blues.
I know the reds aren't perfect but the nastiness and ineptitude of the Conservatives in the area is quite astounding.

They couldn't even manage to oust a man who has been dragged twice into standards boards hearings.
You would have thought it would be like shooting fish in a barrell!!

ANd while we're at it - where the hell are the Liberal Democrats in Thanet???!!!

DrM. said...

Both Clr King and I spoke against the St Cecilia's planning application last week.

My view as previously stated, was that if we have a conservation area, then we need to see it defended both in principle and in practice.

However, I'm informed, after further research on the subject that the definition of a conservation area is looser than many of us think. As the properties in Westgate embrace several different architectural periods, a modern (art-deco-style) building is permitted, as long as the materials used are of suitable quality.

In the case of St Cecilia, if the planning committee had voted against the plans, it would in all probability lost on appeal and better perhaps what we are beein offered than an attempt to place another shoddy retirement block on the seafront by one of the better-known developers of such buildings that are dotted around Thanet.

As for 23:17's comments, the "creature of the night" no doubt and his consistently malicious statements dotted around the weblogs in the witching hours, are becoming increasingly desparate, sad and tedious.

Anonymous said...

Bertie,Cllr king as usual made a strong plea to committe not to approve this application which would further detract from the conservation area,Cllr Moores also heard his pleas for refusal fall on deaf ears while Cllr Goodwin,true to form gave consent for this further distruction of Westgate's conservation area.Information though has it that Cllr Goodwin is being moved at the next elections to Birchington as he is already deemed un-electable in Westgate.

Tony Beachcomber said...

John,

I had this feeling you were standing in Newington out of loyalty to the Conservative Party. However, it really does highlight what the Conservative Party really thinks of the people who live on the Newington Estate by putting up a candidate who has no interest in the election he is standing for. Well at least you are honest about it which is something.

As a Labour candidate in Central Harbour I believe the parish council can achieve some good for all areas of Ramsgate not just selected areas. But it is what it is a parish council and it is not TDC mark II. All I am hoping is that all the elected councillors on the parish council are there because they want to be there and have Ramsgate's interest at heart.

Anonymous said...

Cllr. Moores seems to suggest that it's futile opposing a planning application on the grounds it will get overturned on appeal. Sorry, whatever happened to democracy whereby residents and their councillors stood up against developers to say 'on your way. We don't want your development'? Using his argument there seems no need for a planning committee as developers will just try to get their own way, anyway. This sounds like turning the clock back to the 'good old days' when developers could do what they wanted. If there are good planning reasons to turn down an application then turned down it should be.

Ken Gregory said...

Bertie,

I think its time to put the record straight. Cllr Taylor asked to leave planning,because of possible conflicts over the members code of conduct re fundraising in his ward.
Cllr Jarvis is confident of his success in the county elections, as a result it was decided to use the opportunity to 'educate' more members in the 'art' of planning.
Cllr Bruce was 'changed' in the interests of 'career progression'. ie ' lets a few people widen their experience'.

As chair of planning I take great offence at criticism of my committee. They are all councillors serving the local community, any of TDC councillors are up for re election in 2011, if you do not like them , do note vote for them!
Cllrs Russell, Crotty, and Mrs Sullivan have my full confidence that they will be free thinking members, as do the rest of the committee. (incidentally Cllr B Sullivan has been a member of the committee for some years, )

Finally, I left the Labour Group because I was unhappy with the way they were conducting themselves in opposition, and a problem I had with their then Leader, so not a Labour reject, more, perhaps, a rat deserting a sinking ship!!!!

Ken Gregory said...

Bertie,
I feel I must repond to this.
1, I left the labour group becaus of their lack of honesty in opposition,and a fundimental dissagrement with the then leader.
2 Cllr Taylor left planning of his own volition due to a conflict of interest.
3 Cllr Jarvis was replaced due to his forthcoming role as a Kcc member.
4
Cllr Bruce was replaced to allow others to come forward as planning members.(ps Cllr bruce remains on our list as a 'reserve' planning member)

I would add that I maintain the fullest confidence in the members of our planning committee, of all parties, and will continue to allow a free and informed debate on every application.

I know it may sound like 'crocodile tears' but I do value our planning committee, and will standup for the members to my last breath

Anonymous said...

Sorry to high jack your site Bertie, but I would like to ask Dr Moores a question which he won't answer on his Thanet Life.

Dr Moores, before you were a councillor, Thanet Life was a respected site because you put up articles of interest and made broad minded, sensible comment on them.

Now Thanet Life is a tub thumping campaign for the Tories, a handbag throwing site for you against Labour comment, and a glorification of your meteoric rise up the party ranks, thanks to your unconditional support of a tarnished leadership.

And you wonder why people take a punt at you?

Are you really that thick or naive?

Please answer as I'm sure that I am not alone in wondering what exactly you now stand for.

Bertie Biggles said...

22.52, I will let your comment stand but I would ask you to moderate the tone in the future, we do not need comments like 'thick or naive'. I am sure Cllr Moores is neither.

Cllr Gregory, full marks for putting your point of view but today's Your Thanet (page 2) would appear to share the view that Cllr Bruce was shoved off Planning! In fact Cllr Bruce is quoted as saying as much.

This reminds me of this time last year when that excellent Chair of Planning, Cllr Bill Hayton, was also 'sacked'. This was originally denied but came out subsequently. I almost forgot but of course, you replaced him at the same time that TDC prevented public contributions to site visits.

Whatever 'spin' you try and put on the removal of Cllrs Taylor, Jarvis and Bruce, the reality would appear to be that anyone who has stood up in the local Conservative Group to oppose on a matter of principle, your Leader or his wishes, has been left out in the cold or cast into the 'outer darkness'.

I am slightly amazed that you describe yourself at 16:52, as a 'rat deserting the sinking ship!!!' I think that is a very revealing comment.

Compare your comment with your ex-planning member, Cllr Bruce's comment in Your Thanet today. He said, " As a Councillor , morality and integrity are my guiding principles and my primary loyalty is to my constituents".

What else is there to say?

Anonymous said...

"The Gregory doth protest too much, methinks."

He doth forget, that a rat leaving a sinking ship, is still a rat! Wherever it might decide to crawl off to and live.

Anonymous said...

Two comments from Cllr. Gregory but differently written. Odd that. According to one, Mike Taylor stood down due to the imminent KCC election. Wouldn't it have been sensible to wait until the result was declared after all we only have to wait until next week? Is he sure he's standing for the Tories as he did stand last time for UKIP? Perhaps it is due to a conflict of interest or both?

I thought Ken Gregory left Labour because he didn't get the KCC nomination he was after and left in a huff.

Obviously I was misinformed on that one.

I think I might be more inclined to go with your conclusions, Bertie, and the report in the local paper than a mixed-up bit of spin from Cllr. Gregory.

Hugin said...

'a rat deserting a sinking ship' confesses Cllr Gregory in his comment at 16.52 yesterday. I never thought that I would encounter a politician admitting to being a rat! What does that make his Leader - King Rat?

DrM. said...

"Unconditional support of a tarnished leadership."

Sorry to disappoint you but the leadership we have is the result of both a vigorous debate and the consequence of majority vote by Conservative councillors, who may be rather better informed than you.

In the interests of the people of Thanet and regardless of personal differences, it is, I believe, important to deliver as a team and support the democratic decision of the Group.

Like everyone else, I have a job to do and will carry out my responsibilities to my best ability. In contrast, 22:52 with his own very personal agenda, will spout abuse in the late hours, here and elsewhere, using a variety of different aliases, both male and female and attempt to give the impression that he cares when anyone familiar with his style, can clearly see where his interests lie.

Anonymous said...

What a load of twaddle Ken Gregory is saying! We all know why these three Conservative councillors were 'removed' from planning - because they didn't do as they were told. I would also refer to Mr Gregory's excuse for Alisdair Bruce being removed to allow others on to planning - he goes on to say
"(incidentally Cllr B Sullivan has been a member of the committee for some years, )"
so why wasn't he taken off planning instead, he's obviously been there too long!

Anonymous said...

Concrete Island here we come.

Anonymous said...

So Cllr Ken Gregory ( Tory Party at present) has described himself as a 'rat leaving the sinking ship'.

The Thesaurus states verb:

To abandon one's cause or party usually to join another: apostatize, defect, desert, renegade, tergiversate, turn. Idioms: change sides, turn one's coat. See approach/retreat, trust/distrust.

To be treacherous to. betray, double-cross. Slang sell out. Idioms: sell down the river. See trust/distrust.

If this is how he sees himself, then how the hell can he be in the Cabinet of a District Council!

It defies belief.

Anonymous said...

Is it not unconstitutional to have a husband and wife team on the same committee, especially planning... silly me of course not, it's only morally wrong.

DrM. said...

17.49 needs to understand the difference between members of the cabinet and the chairpersons of the different committees; i.e. Planning, Licensing etc.

The roles are quite different.

The more I read comments, such as these, the more I see that many, readers have no real grasp of how the council works and indeed how councillors play their role in a system of complex checks and balances on their behaviour and actions.

All councillors, Labour Conservative and Independents, work in the best interests of their wards, regardless of political differences. Councillors are also moved between and around committees and in a party system, are expected to support the democratic decisions of the group.

Committees, such as planning, are governed by strict rules and as a new councillor, one quickly discovers what one can't do, rather than the opposite.

Committees are made up of members of all parties and are supposed to be both neutral and apolitical. As a result, any attempt to "load the dice" in favour of a particular decision or direction would be very difficult indeed and provoke howls of outrage on the part of members.

Nobody chooses to pour concrete on Thanet but if you think of committees like planning, rather as a game of Chess, with only set moves and rules available to the councillors, you may understand the real challenges!

Bertie Biggles said...

You clarify the situation in a perfect world, well, Cllr Moores.

The problem is, as we have observed for almost 3 weeks regarding MPs at Westminster, the difference between what is supposed to happen in the perfect world is far removed from the sordid reality when principles fly out of the window.

What is supposed to happen can be circumvented in many ways whilst giving the impression that the 'rules' are being followed.

It boils down to trust in the integrity of a Leader and his supporters or a Chair and his/her members. If he/she and they appear to lack integrity then it is not surprising that the electorate loses that trust.

Sadly, as I have found tramping the streets of Thanet on behalf of KCC Candidates (Conservative and Labour), the sample of people of Thanet I have met and talked to would indicate that they no longer repose trust in the present Leader of TDC or his supporters.

They will have to wait,of course,for another 2 years before they can do anything about it and express themselves through the ballot-box. The contrast between what David Cameron is advocating and what his local party, under its present leadership, is upto, could not be greater.

Anonymous said...

Thanet has a new rat sub-species; Ratus ratus gregorius?

Anonymous said...

Sorry bertie, but the good dr Moores has decided to take up my challange, and run away from the arguement as usual.

I asked the question, why has his blog site ( Thanet L:ife ) changed from being an honest, open, and educated individual viewpoint; to being a party political , and rather shambolic hand bag throwing apology for a site.

In reply Moores says,

'In contrast, 22:52 with his own very personal agenda, will spout abuse in the late hours, here and elsewhere, using a variety of different aliases, both male and female and attempt to give the impression that he cares when anyone familiar with his style, can clearly see where his interests lie.

That is hardly an answer, more a diatribe from someone who is becoming increasingly paranoid!

So why the sea change from 'free thinker' to Party megaphone Dr Moores?

And I expect a proper answer! Silly old me!
'

Anonymous said...

Oh Dr M, you really should have stayed with the good guys.

Anonymous said...

And of course we have a Vice Chair of Planning who is a developer - need any more be said! Concrete Thanet seems to be more than just a likelyhood.

Anonymous said...

I think your last point represents the key concern for many about the Conservative Party, Bertie. Undeniably, people feel disaffected by Labour, but there is no evidence - when you look at local Tory Councils, and local Tory MPs of the old guard (still the majority) - that the Conservative Party today is any different from the one that was humiliated and dismissed in 1997.

David Cameron purports to be a moderniser but a) a large part of his Party does not appear to be in line with his thinking and b) it is very easy to purport modernism when in opposition, but when it comes to power, his "traditionalist" Ministers and backbenchers will dictate what policies are and are not promoted. The right-wing machine is a big oil tanker to turn around.

Cameron failed to get his "modern" way over eductaion a couple of years ago - the traditionalists beat him. That is a sign of things to come, I think.

Ken Gregory said...

So the 'creature of the night'has taken to posting in the daytime.

Never mind. I used the euphamism to illustrate that I left the Labour Party.

I personally have no issue with the sub species Rattus rattus.Remarkably intelligent creatures with a strong instinct for survival. We could learn from the way they deal with abusive and bullying members of their society

Anonymous said...

With all his commitments both council and business I'm surprised Councillor Moores find so much time to cruise the blogs to jump to the defence of his Tory colleagues so often. Is it just me or is he sounding more and more patronising?

Bertie Biggles said...

23.07, as possibly the 'creature of the night' referred to, I have let your comment stand as a response, but a couple of others I have had to reject. My apologies if the later ones were not yours!

I think it is time to put up another subject to discuss and let those in the depths here carry on discussing, creatures of the night and the blue or was it red rat, Ratus ratus gregorius that has chameleon like characteristics.

Anonymous said...

Anyone doubting the standing and morality of Cllr Ken Gregory should look no further than the rather disgusting thread on his own 'Village Voices' site today regarding the lightening strike on porr Cllr Nottingham's house.

"Crikey, It appears that the 'Fire of the Gods' has been unleashed upon poor old Mark Nottingham's house. Unlucky or what? Especially as us poor mortals only know that he can be contacted C/o the Labour office in Newington Road.

Seems that he may have had a premonition though, as he left the Councils AGM on the Thursday early, perhaps to avoid the celestial being's SAT NAV."

It really is rather tasteless to say the least to take such obvious delight in other people's suffering.

But I suppose he is only living up to his self declared status as a rat!

Anonymous said...

I do wish Councillor Moores wouldn't lecture intelligent people on how the council works. We know how it all operates and don't need his explanation. It just tends to read more like an apologia pro sua vita.

Anonymous said...

T wonder if someone could tell Cllr Gregory how the Council is supposed to operate?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Cllr. Gregory goes on about 'us only be able to contact Mark Nottingham via the Labour Office in Newington Road' when Cllr. Nottingham's entry on the TDC website gives his contact details as c/o TDC offices.

I don't doubt Cllr. Gregory knows perfectly well how to contact Cllr. Nottingham and if a councillor chooses to keep his home address private, so what?

This is typical of the way the Tories constantly have to try to score points in this puerile way rather than by serious debate.

Anonymous said...

I know it's not following this thread, but, like an earlier commentator, I see that Mark Nottingham's misfortune and distress - the lightening strike on his home - are causes of merriment and sarcasm over on Village Voices - the blog of local political turncoat and Tory Planning Chair, Ken Gregory.

Although to a lesser extent, the local Tory Spin "Doctor", Simeon Moores, is also smirking.

Well if proof were needed of the gutter-level moral standing of the local Tory Group, those two individuals provide it.

Anonymous said...

What a monsterous over inflated Rat is Ken Gregory.

He is in a position of power having jumped ship and reinvented himself; and now seems to have an arrogant swagger of I'm alright Jack!

Just remember the Fire Brigade Ken! Just remember. Because we do!

Anonymous said...

I see the all hand of Saint Iris allover this blog. Give it a break girl.

Bertie Biggles said...

15:52, you couldn't be so far off target here! Tut tut.

Anonymous said...

Everytime some nasty conservative doesnt agree with what is said Bertie on your blog they think a certain labour politician has said it - its like children's playtime - i suppose that is how you could describe the Conservatives under Sandy Ezekiel - little children - would be a fine comparision is they werent spending tax payers money etc!

Anonymous said...

Why is Iris going on about Ken Gregory and the Fire Brigade?