Readers since 2008 will know that Bertie had a 'bee in his bonnet' about the unsightly and ill thought out TDC fencing around allotments in Thanet that began in Culmer's Land Broadstairs, and which then spread around the Isle. The funding for this fencing came from the sale of Manston Rd allotments but TDC has yet to explain what it has done with £2.1 million having spent £900,000 on allotment fencing.
It gives me no pleasure to see that the industrial security fencing put around Chilton West allotments did not prevent thieves from breaking into 65 sheds and making off with over £1,000 of kit. The picture above is from this weeks IOTG ( a much improved paper and congrats to the team there) and shows Dave Nimmo who represents the allotment holders at Chilton West. It would appear that it is the third time Chilton West has been 'done' and Mr Nimmo is quoted in IOTG as follows:
'Mr Nimmo believes the fence put up by Thanet Council is not enough of a deterrent'.
I hate to say that this is no surprise to me. I pointed out to 'Our Leader' in 2008 at Cecil Sq and to assorted Broadstairs Cllrs and others in Culmers Land, that a simple spanner is all you need to take out a section of this fencing; that unless you put a concrete base under it you can excavate a simple access groove in the soil below it and the bottom line was that a false sense of security is generated if you rely on such fencing.
There are far more effective ways of improving allotment security and it would help if TDC had a dedicated 'allotments officer' as many other authorities do and a co-ordinated joined up approach as suggested by The Allotments Assoc. I put some suggestions on http://thanetstrife.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-are-we-securing.html
So throwing £900,000 at allotment fencing was a rushed ill-thought out TDC 'policy' that is now being shown to be ineffective. I came in for much criticism from allotment holders 2 years ago for suggesting that this industrial fencing would be a waste of money and that a combination of measures was what was neeeded. So now we have Mr Nimmo talking of further expense with video-cameras and Cllr David Green supporting this.
Why stop there, gentlemen? Go for triple concertina wire; guard-dogs on running leashes ; goon towers; search-lights and permanent security men. Of course this is absurd.
It would have been better to have put in cheaper, less visually intrusive fencing; planted blackthorn and hawthorn hedging and have TDC fund a replacement and repair scheme when theft and damage occurs. The Isle would not have unsightly eye-sores dotted around and the tax-payer would have had better value for money,as would have the allotment holders. The basic problem is that TDC has no joined up policy on the whole issue of its allotments and this false sense of security will persist as sadly will further damage and theft.