Wednesday, 27 January 2010

TDC 'DECLARES WAR' ON ITS OWN CITIZENS?



When will TDC and the Ezekiel Party in control of it, realise sense?

Next week The Montefiore Village Green Public Enquiry starts at Albion House on Tue 2nd Feb at 10.00am and seems likely to go on until Friday 5th. A final decision will then take some months to be announced.
(My thanks to Hoots for the pictures and please visit their site at www.hootonline.org.uk for more details)

TDC has a duty to look at its tax-payer's assets and consider disposal if they are of no use to anyone; they are under no obligation to pursue a relentless and now mindless campaign to dispose of our assets in the face of their own electorate's wishes.

There are currently 3 Village Green Applications, that various groups over the Isle have now been forced to make to try and stop TDC selling off resources used by the people and retained by TDC for the people. As the picture below shows, each Group (Hoots, Dumpton Park Village Green and WASPs) has to go to enormous time and trouble and at their own expense to fight their case and prepare the paperwork.

This contrasts with TDC, who, at great expense to the tax-payer intends to 'fight' each Village Green Application. TDC will be employing highly expensive barristers (QCs according to Hoots) who in turn have TDC's solicitors instructing them.  What are the legal fees and total expenses likely to be? I would suggest that TDC, in its tax-payer funded 'war' against its own citizen's wishes, will already have spent many thousands and an FoI request is needed to find out what the projected costs are likely to be.

I find the situation crazy. We need a change at the top of TDC and fast.  The present Leadership has not only misled the public on the non-existent requirement for housing on Eurokent, but now spends its own citizen's taxes in fighting them. If  our 56 Councillors were to go out and consult with their electorate and discuss the Village Green War with them, I wonder what most Thanet people would tell them? I suspect many answers would be un-printable.

 

42 comments:

Buzz Lighton said...

Actually there are 4 applications in for Thanet. Go to https://shareweb.kent.gov.uk/Documents/environment-and-planning/public-rights-of-way/village-greens-register.pdf
You will see that Thanet seems to have proportionally the highest number on the list. Is it not time for someone to look at what TDC are doing. Sites go out to consultation but it would appear that all comments by the people they represent are ignored. Good luck HOOT go get 'em.
May the force (of public opinion) be with you.

DrM. said...

Your headline is absolute tripe Bertie and you know it!

Government has instructed councils to sell assets as the means of bridging budget gaps. TDC faces the same serious challenges as every council in the country. If it doesn't sell assets then it will have to cut services.

Nobody 'wants' to sell such assets, green spaces and more, quite the contrary in fact but in unprecedented harsh times in living memory councils have had harsh measures imposed on them by central government.

Anonymous said...

Bertie,if T D C are successful in their appeal are costs awarded and who pays/

Michael Child said...

Bertie the problem here is that this was never really a proper consultation, what the should have done is invite peoples views and published them on their website, then they should have put up a convincing case against any opposition or accepted that the opposition was in the right and dropped the disposal.

As it is they asked for consultation which they then appear to have ignored, now they seem to be going down the road of throwing money at lawyers, when the initial object was to raise money, which seems a bit like giving up with the initial idea and putting the money on a horse.

Bertie Biggles said...

Dr Moores, the headline is perhaps OTT but how else can one describe a situation where an Authority is spending tax-payer's money to fight its own tax-payers on such issues?

The resentment being generated will not be forgotten in 2011 by many who in the past have supported the Conservative Party locally in Thanet; that concerns me.

mnottingham said...

Simon Moores again failing to bother with facts again. TDC has had a real increase in money from central government every year for the last decade see

http://marknottingham.blogspot.com/2009/02/thanets-council-tax-increase-biggest-in.html

in addition last year it recived an extra £314,324 from central government after budget planning. TDC Tories did not use this windfall to cut the increase in Council tax it put this unplanned for money into reserves so that I predict they will cut the increase or have no increase in election year 2011 and try and fool many of the people most of the time.

They've had plenty of money just not spent it very well, many other Conservative councils have had no increases often for years (Hounslow for the last 4) and some have even cut council tax (Hammersmith & Fulham) because of all the extra money from central government.

Don't take my word for it have a google.

So Simon's the one talking tripe, there's no need for these asset disposal unless the Council is badly run by its politicians, and TDC has many failings as we all know.

Anonymous said...

No-one could describe tennis courts as being 'un-needed or surplus to requirements'in an area with so few facilities for sport.

If TDC ran these courts effectively then a good income is possible but leaving them locked up, unmanned as they had been, makes it easy to claim they're not required.

An expensive survey carried out by TDC of Thanet's tennis courts proved inaccurate as it included some that were totally unfit for use and somehow some that didn't appear to exist were counted in. A HOOT member for next to no cost did an accurate count and proved the figure TDC claimed as nonsense.

Councillor, how can you say car parks are surplus to requirement or Albion House or public toilets? Who is going to buy tiny pockets of land that no-one can build on?

IF TDC managed its finances better and used the increased, in real terms, funding from the government, then this sell-off wouldn't be necessary.

'Harsh measures'? Why not try to collect the debt owed by council taxpayer dodgers or claim back the grants made to certain people that should have been repaid years ago?

Using taxpayers' money to pay expensive legal fees hardly sends out the right message to the taxpayers of Thanet.

Peter Piper said...

Dr M may not know, but some time ago the government had an asset transfer scheme in place with a view to supporting voluntary sector activity. When TDC were approached about this they didn't want to know. Seems government policy can be ignored when TDC wishes to.

Anonymous said...

The consultation was a joke. Barely advertised and a clear attempt to rush things through hoping no-one would notice.

The tennis courts sale was kept very quiet until someone spotted the announcement and the result was HOOT, a campaign that brought the local community together.

The asset sale was never intended to help councils balance their books when all had had inflation-busting increases.

When did the Northdown Park Coach House get on the disposal list? That seemed to pop up all of a sudden. Will TDC compensate the leaseholder for the remaining 10 years or do they hope he'll buy it? Isn't that covered by the same covenant as the house?

Anonymous said...

It strikes me that the elected members must be getting extremely bad advice from the paid officers in the council. If the local press is to be believed £1 million is being spent on the council offices over a 2/3 year period.Did the double glazing need to be done, would the windows have lasted for another 10 years? was the carpeting that bad.
Are the assets being sold off because the monies we do have are being managed extemely badly.
Who decided £300,000 should be spent on the theatre in Margate but the maritime museum in Ramsgate should not be supported.
Everyone should be asking questions when the accounts are posted this year.

Anonymous said...

For Cllr. Moores' benefit,

Councils are expected to review their assets and ensure they are getting good value for the council taxpayer.

They do not have to sell at the bottom of the property market as at present but can wait if there is no demand for what they have, until things pick up.

They don't have to sell but could renovate and rent out as was done with the Coach House and as could be done with Albion House.

There was never any intention that the assets be used to prop up a council that hasn't used its assets wisely or has failed to heed the guidelines.

I'm afraid, Bertie, Cllr. Moores and his fellows have misinterpreted the guidelines and are using their interpretation as a justification for trying to sell assets that could be rented out and TDC, thereby, maintain the freehold.

Sorry, Doc, you're wrong.

Anonymous said...

The only people who benefit are the lawyers!
The whole consultation on asset selling seems to have been a fiasco - according to the working party report no properties have yet been sold anyway, others have had offers and now the "preferred partners" are coming back asking for their offers to be lowered! The 2 officers in charge don't instill confidence in anyone either. Most incredibly the councillor in charge (would be possible leader of tories - help!) says the consultation is necessary to discover covenants - that is what the legal dept should have done as part of the bringing forward of the assets, check TDC owns title to them and what the restrictive covenants are. Oh yes forgot to say apparently covenants don't mean anything that was another comment by the chairman!
The officer then asked a councillor what was known about the covenants on an asset - who pays whom?
Pirates and more pirates - we are doomed!

ascu75 aka Don said...

DrM its not tripe and you know it. Most of us in Thanet find the local government a shambles and yes it does feel as if TDC is fighting us. Sandy and co have done a very good job of ignoring the public and the people in his own party.

Anonymous said...

Listen to Cllr.Moores. The assets would have to go no matter who has power. Just a question of which ones. The protestors are just nimbys.

Anonymous said...

The one asset sold that did make money was the Manston Road allotments, sold for £3m. The revenue from that was supposed to be used for upgrading other allotments but, apart from £900k spent on fencing including one site not even owned by TDC, the rest of the revenue, some £2.1m has been put into a reserve fund with the agreement of GOSE.

Why has this money not been used for projects that would benefit the area and what story was told to GOSE to allow the funds to be squirrelled away?

Bertie Biggles said...

My apologies for delay in putting up comments; a busy day in the great outdoors.

Anonymous said...

Will be interesting to see if the all knowing and condescending Doc comes back with answers.

He appears to be in a minority of one!

Anonymous said...

What's 'nimby' about trying to keep green spaces, tennis courts, car parks, buildings of interest and use? Obviously a member of the Ezekiel Party there, Bertie.

In a downturn none of these assets will make real money just pin money, for the council. Despite the increased government hand-outs for projects like the Dreamland scheme, the council still ignores giving credit to the government for the massive sums given for regeneration.

Councillor Moores conveniently forgets all the regeneration money because it doesn't suit his argument.

No doubt he was at the Coastal Communities Alliance (or as one speaker called it, the Conservative Councillors Alliance), where he and his fellow councillors would have heard what the Labour Government has done for Thanet in the form of investment in schools, hospital, doctors' surgeries etc. but that doesn't suit his argument.

I wonder if he will come back and berate his critics? He rarely does if enough folk post against. We never did hear when he flew the coasguard aeroplane he wrote about on another blog.

Anonymous said...

Considering the ridiculous sum paid for the M & S building in Margate TDC policy seems to be buy when the market is high and sell when low. Did these people ever go to school?

Anonymous said...

9.02 Northdown coach house is covered by the covenants on Northdown house!The leader acknowledged that the covenants included the "environs" However because the leasee is wanting TDC to pay him a massive amount to quit(see notes of the latest asset working party) and saying that TDC undertook to put the coach house in repair - when actually the lease says he has 2 years at the start of the lease to put it into repair! He wants his cake and to eat it, had the benefit of a profit rent until last year when he asked tenants to quit and also wants compensation for letting property fall into disrepair! Since he is a protected "senior officer of south thanet conservatives" the officers have their hands tied! That is why it is the Ezekiel party Bertie, not Conservatives as we imagine! although in this case he is also in charge of leaflet distribution for the south thanet tory candidate!Apparently local councillors and their mates have nothing to do with national politics though!
Didnt do them much good in Dane Valley did it?

Anonymous said...

Champagne socialst Cllr.Mark Nottingham makes himself a laughing stock by showing he is ignorant of simple facts.

He may believe that the government has given thanet bucketfulls of cash in its revenue account, but the cash from asset sales actually goes into the capital account for which the council gets next to b..... all from his government.

If a simple simon like me understands that, why doesn't he?

Anonymous said...

9.02 forgot to add further connection between Ezekiel party and leaseholder at Northdown coach house he and his wife nominated all Cliftonville tory councillors - Ezekiel, Wise and Sullivan. They are popular within their wards? try to sell off Northdown house and now Palm bay land, also now discovered to have covenants and seen supporting one of their allies who is trying to obtain money for a council asset he hasnt maintained ! Thats conservatives in Thanet for you! What can you call it other than self interest?

Anonymous said...

TDC are a bunch of arseholes, all they think about is covering the whole of this isle in concrete welcoming as many immigrants who will not work, ploughing more and more pollution into the atmosphere and increasing our taxes to help them carry on being complete and utter wankers
If they didn't waste so much money on new carpets and windows at TDC and tried to save some of our facilities instead of selling them they wouldn't be in the state they are.

Anonymous said...

I object to being named a Nimby, but proud to say I fight for beautiful things and Justice. What is happening in Thanet is a disgrace, TDC is a disgrace, they hold meeting asking the public for their views and when there is an overall majority they go completely against the people who pay them, and go ahead and sell anyway. We are thoroughly fed up with most of the Tories at TDC you are all a disposable, the MP's not any better.
The selling of the Coach House last year was squashed and was taken from the disposable assets list, this year it's back on, then it is removed again, do TDC really think we will not see and they will sell it quick before we notice? no way, we are watching you. The Coach House is not for sale, but you can chuck the Leaseholder out as he has failed to open the Musuem or keep up the repairs, he is a disgrace ad so is TDC. What is the poni of having a Lease agreement when neither side adhere to the contents.

Anonymous said...

What, still nothing from Dr. Cllr. Moores telling us we've got it wrong?

Why am I not surprised?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Forgot to tell you Bertie Coach house at Northdown house can no longer be called such - coach been mysteriously rustled away in dead of night! although one intrepid late worker spotted the deed?!

Bertie Biggles said...

07:57, I have not posted your comment, please accept my apologies.

The situation regarding the Coach House and its maintainance seems a disputed area between TDC and the leaseholder. The lease has been running at the peppercorn rent since 1985 and various political administrations at TDC have overseen the whole business of lack of museum, maintainance etc. It is a complicated issue and I just hope that the building is preserved; used effectively and with value for council tax-payers. TDC needs to address this matter and is probably already doing so.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Cllr. Moores can tell us what TDC is planning to do if there's a change of government as Cameron has said 'no council tax increases for two years'. What will TDC be able to call its core services then as they'll have even less money to call upon?

Anonymous said...

Bertie the connection between the leaseholder and members of TDC councillors is undisputed and makes the officers' job difficult when they keep protecting their cronies? Surely it doesnt look good for someone who is out canvassing for South Thanet conservative candidates (national or local) to be trying to obtain compensation from the council for a property that he hasnt maintained? Where is the public spiritness in that? it is a community asset and others would use it as such given half a chance!

Anonymous said...

DRM. TDC has no right in selling properties and land which have been left to the Residents of Thanet and a covenant supports this claim, over and over again the people have to fight to stop this happening, wasting yet more of the tax payers money, I hear TDC have actually employed a QC to help in their selling of properties, yet more expence. Have we employed a load of ignorant inefficient workers at TDC? every month theirs seems to be yet more problems TDC has no right to do.
If TDC has got themselves into so much debt then why did they make it worse by wasting yet more money last year on carpets and windows at their offices, this was totally outragious, have we not a department that passes expenditures before jobs are initiated? why was this passed when it was not necessary?
It has come to my attention that documents of complaints received at TDC offices, have been copied by a member of staff and forwarded onto to the person the complaints were about.
Can we trust TDC with any documents, will our personal details be sent to all and sundry, this is gross breach of someone's confidentiality, this should be reported to the Government, this is a serious leak and an injustice.

Anonymous said...

The Government did not stipulate Green spaces, parks ,school playing fields to be sold. These are crucial to out future and the health of all of the people.
There are enough houses unoccupied now, which can't be sold, why build more.
Concrete, concrete, concrete, what is the obsession with it, it will destroy our planet, cause more flooding and more pollution. Think about the future, we need to cut down on emissions not increase them, we complain about America and China not pulling thier weight and cutting down, but what are we doing, expanding the Airport, destroying Manston, and grid locking Westwood, already the air quality is depreciating. Do our Councillors and MP's listen NO, Steve Ladyman says he has done a survey and says 73% of Thanet's people want the expansion of the Airport. Most of the people I have spoken to, know nothing of the pollution it will cause or the grid locking of our roads, the loss of yet more open countryside and the damage to the hearing of anyone within at least 5 miles of the airport.
Ladyman MP was also for the China Gateway expansion, that is even worse, it will kill all the villages around bring 100's of HGV in and out of Manston 24hr a day even on Sundays.
Thanet as we know it, will be utterly destroyed forever and our health with it.
Why don't these pompus men think about the people they are supposed to represent, all they do is act for themselves, all of them are a disgrace to humanity.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous today 17.27 makes a very serious accusation against TDC staff when it comes to his claim about confidential information being passed on to the person about whom a complaint has been made, alleging breaches of confidence. If a complaint has been made does the accused not have the right to know what they are being accused of in order to allow a defence to be made?

I trust the person posting this comment can justify the accusation.

Anonymous said...

If TDC hive off the management of their housing stock to a private company how many jobs will be lost? What other services are they planning to dispose of and will, in a few years, they have anything to do or will TDC be disbanded and will all those over-paid executives have to find gainful employment elsewhere?

Will we need so many councillors to manage the rump of services or will we see the back of the lot of them?

So many questions that no one can answer, yet.

Bertie Biggles said...

20:43, I have heard rumours about what 17:27 has remarked on.

17:27 has mentioned no officer's names and as such I am happy to post the comment. My understanding is that a formal complaint is/has been made in regard to this matter. Lets hope it gets resolved satisfactorily.

Anonymous said...

Bertie, what is the news from the hearing - not been reported in the paper or anything?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting yourself on the line to defend the interests of all of us against the devil TDC Bertie. It must be very worrying waiting for the letter from the lawyer threatening to take your house for some of the potentially libellous claims that you post. But we're with you 100% - go for it.

Bertie Biggles said...

13:02, the hearing for Montefiore Village Green (HOOTS) starts on Tue 2 Feb. Press will take an interest.

15.50, I have only had to delete one comment so far on issues raised. Many of the Coach House postings cover old news and for locals, well known links that are in the public domain. The Coach House saga, goes back for many years and is a matter to be resolved between TDC and the lease-holder and is being addressed. As I have said earlier,the preservation of this building and its being put to good use is in everybody's interest. The sale as an asset disposal by TDC is another matter. The whole use of Northdown House and its environs as a valuable resource for the community in Thanet is perhaps at the heart of the problems in the past 2 years.

HOOT campaigner said...

The public hearing starts at 10a.m. on Tuesday in Albion House, Ramsgate and is expected to last until Friday afternoon so just think of the bill for legal representatives racking up the hours. £200 per hour x four whole days. Some bill we taxpayers will be paying.

Those attending can come and go during the proceedings provided they do so at suitable times and the public is encouraged to attend so let's hope many do.

Anonymous said...

Bertie,

Still nothing back from the good doctor telling us how wrong we all are?

Harshest times? No, the economy is picking up,construction projects are starting again and optimism is to be found.Why,Eurokent might even have some customers clamouring to buy land for factories soon so we won't need more houses being built there.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that TDC seems so inept that it takes on the most unlikely fights !
asking for information about covenants because it hasnt been bothered to check them out first. forcing residents to declare land as village greens and then have to fight about it because they have some idea that tennis courts arent used? trying to sell land for funding football changing room when football isnt even played there! if the tories bothered to see what went on in their wards a little on the ground knowledge would go a long way! its the sheer arrogance of it all that beggers belief!

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember a proverb regarding throwing stones and living in glass houses. The TDC office building is one big glass house