Saturday, 6 March 2010

SATURDAY NIGHT SNIPPETS

 
Almost missed this KCC Standards Public Notice on Page 31 in this week's IOTG. My eye had been caught by a liquidation notice for the company trading as Indian Princess which was not good to read. However, the KCC notice informs us that the 'spat' over a single yellow line outside a Nursing Home in Thanet is now over. Readers might remember that Cllr Chris Wells had been reported to KCC Standards in early 2009 for not declaring an interest when he opposed a yellow line outside a nursing home. After an interminable amount of time and presumably at great cost to the tax-payer, Cllr Wells has finally been found to not have breached The Code of Conduct. So Mr Bourlet and others went to a lot of trouble over a single yellow line when the matter could have been cleared up quickly. KCC's long drawn out process compares very oddly with the speed of the rejected complaint dealt with by TDC concerning the Bradgate Caravan Park where a planning decision in committee against the advice of officers, had huge financial implications for the applicant. It's a strange world.!

.We now have a TDC mole digging around again on behalf of Strife. Snippets this week include the old news that the much trumpeted 0% pay rise for our Chief Executive last year was not quite what it seemed. ( Amended 24 Mar 2009) 'Mole' has mumbled that no one wants to publicise these figures. Another interesting snippet from 'Mole' was that on Wednesday last, a Services Manager and a contract monitoring officer went off to Brighton for a 'jollie' and dinner as guests of a large TDC contract holder. One hopes that this 'freebie' or entertainment for services rendered on behalf of the community was recorded and authorised by the appropriate Director at TDC. I have asked for more information as I find this sort of thing worrying.
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Whilst some of you may have noticed a gang of youngsters braving the elements on Manston Road on Saturday mornings to plant hedges and trees, Strife has heard that on land close to Cllr Savage's house, The Old Farmhouse adjacent to Mockett's Wood, contractors have been clearing and cutting trees down, which has attracted the attention of a Thanet Tree Warden who intends to look into the matter. Initial reports indicate that felling of diseased trees and thinning of  sycamores has been carried out and that hopefully, TDC's Tree Conservation Officer has been involved. 

As the only Cllr for the ward, living in his ward and being involved in Mockett's Wood and its conservation, I am sure that Cllr Savage is looking after trees that might have Tree Protection Orders, but should not more trees in Thanet have TPO's?  It raises the question as to who is keeping an eye on Thanet's Tree stock?  My understanding is that we no longer have a dedicated Arboriculture Officer and that the last one was put in a position of redundancy in 2006.  When he went on his way, he sent a rather angry e-mail complaining that effectively TDC was not really interested in its tree stock and the environment and compliance with the Town and Country Planning Act and that our tree stock would receive less and less protection. His words written in 2006 are perhaps too true.  (Click on e-mail below to enlarge and read).
 
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16 comments:

Anonymous said...

One wonders whether all this digging around and reporting of alleged irregularities that you do has ever really raised an issue that is illegal or sufficiently noteworthy to merit real scrutiny by the audit authorities Bertie.

And whether your activity is included in the many fruitless FOI questions that that have cost us tax payers tens of thousands of pounds without anything positive to show for it as reported in the IOTG a few weeks ago.

And what it is about your life and relationships that gives you the need to comment negatively on every aspect of a local authorites business in the forelorn hope that it will destroy those within it?

You are truly sad Bertie Biggles.

Bertie Biggles said...

The problem, 23.01 as you know only too clearly from your position, is that irregularities, lack of probity and lack of integrity may not necessarily fall into a criminal category.

We rely on Cllrs and Public servants to adhere to clear Codes of Conduct and that the best way of maintaining high standards is effective internal monitoring. When this fails, as it has on too many occasions in TDC, the question that remains is 'quis custodet custodies ?'.

The specious examples offered by TDC to IOTG as 'time-wasting' F oI's were selected by TDC to bring ridicule; notice that serious searches for information that they try to delay answering or obfuscate were not included as 'examples'. TDC complaining of F o I costs is a knee-jerk reaction from a Council who would rather drip feed its electorate 'tosh' in PR releases rather than comment on why it has failed to investigate a potential loss to the tax-payer of £600,000 on its Housing & maintainance Contracts; why it has given grants to Cllrs spouses; why it has failed to enforce repair of a grade 2 listed Scenic Railway burned down 2 years ago; enforce Planning requirements; write of debts and keep the details secret etc etc.
You clearly do not grasp that TDC is a failed, inept and risible apology for a local authority under its present Leadership and at KCC, is held in contempt.

But, as you always do, feel free to call me a sad case with a problem in my personal life etc etc. You do your argument harm by doing so.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work, the audit department should be picking all these things up and holding the officers to account.

Anonymous said...

Wise up 23:01. TDC exists only because we pay it to? The FOI (A) is an act and is lawful, TDC has itself to blame by its secret society culture and its cosy relationship with preferred developers.

Mind you a false letter or two and not complying with building at Manston road and the 2 million - and you are saying the audit has not picked up anything!! May I suggest you read up on the EKAP reports and why you are at it tell us why Seeley walked out of the TDC empire with a mighty severance pay?

Anonymous said...

Please Bertie, keep digging around. TDC. both councillors and officers need exposing if there is any question of irregularity. They are OUR servants and should not forget this.
Perhaps 23.01 is a little concerned that expose could implicate them?

Keep up the good work Bertie and team!

Anonymous said...

Take no notice Bertie. Most of us who care about our environment and where our money is going are glad you do what you do.

Michael Child said...

Click on the link to the council’s foi log and decide for yourself 23.01 http://www.thanet.gov.uk/pdf/freedom_of_information_disclosure_aug_sep_09.pdf

I should also add that one of the requests that related to the Pleasurama development was for the report that stated that it would not be safe to use driven piles in the construction of the development.

At the same time as they held this information the council announced that pile driving was to start imminently, I dread to think what would have happened if it had.

Readit said...

Any council or councillor who can associate lack of asset sales with failures in disabled grants certainly needs monitoring closely. Keep up the good work Bertie and best wishes for the private life.

Anonymous said...

If you are applying for permission to do any sort of work on a tree - including just a bit of trimming you now have to apply to the enforcement officer - new title and the forms have to be in triplicate for each tree - so that is a hurdle and may tempt those less than scruplious types not to keep their trees lopped or not to bother to get permisssion - take your pick!

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

Staff at children's services department of Kent County Council face redundancy
The jobs of 260 children’s services staff at County Hall are to be axed in a major shake-up of the authority’s biggest department.

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kentonline/news/2010/february/24/kcc_staff_face_redundancy.aspx



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Bertie Biggles said...

19:07, could I ask that you use my 'nom de guerre' on this site when posting and humour me and by schizophrenic tendencies.It saves me having to edit your posting. Here it is with edit:

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that when a labour government cares more about giving liberty to convicted murderers and staying in power when it has caused more misery to those who find themselves out of work and in debt because of their negligence, that you focus so closely on standards of governance at your local council Bertie. I would have thought that concerns about the disaster that is Great Britain in 2010 would have been a more worthy target for your investigations. Seems to me this is personal?

7 March 2010 19:07

Nothing personal, 19.07. The disaster that has afflicted us since 2003 in Thanet is the root of the problems that impact on my daily existence and quality of life. If we can get a competent, principled Conservative Council in Thanet rather than a TDC 'Parcel of Rogues',that will be a start. The macro picture I will leave to David Cameron!

Thanks for that 19.06. Who is the enforcement officer?

Anonymous said...

You are unable to apply reason or balance Mr.Biggles. Nothing that has happened in Thanet since 2003 from whoever is in power has remotely affected your life and future life as much as the utterly disgraceful performance of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and colleagues. Real lives are being lost in wars that are difficult to justify, and at home a generation will suffer through simple incompetence and idealogical principles that are deeply flawed. I sense that you have personal failings or prejuidices that deeply affect your rational thought. And by giving support to people of labour persuasion locally you give them credit they do not deserve. If you have differences with the local authority you should engage with them to amicably resolve them, or at least understand their rational. What you do currently simply undermines the whole process, which benefits nobody.

Anonymous said...

TDC believe that developers will save this town. You may ask what developers have done for this town. Your example for a start, the Nayland demolished prom buildings, Nash Lane old line destruction of nature, hundreds of flats encouraging more older people to move here putting a great strain on our NHS not to mention the devastation due to neglect and fires. They want to build thousands of new homes covering green land when thousands are empty and decaying and needing some TLC. When will they ever learn.

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

22:16, thanks for your posting! It confirms whispers in the wind! However, I have had to edit as whilst I agree with you, we must be careful about what we say! :

Delete Comment From: Thanet Strife

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bertie
just to let you know dreamland has no
security on site now probe security had to hand over the keys for the whole site today to jimmy's main man Barry moss look out for the ******* ****** and they using a unlicensed man to patrol this site and doing the unlock and lock down of this important site
it will now stand empty for a few more years now ******************************** to get his houses built mark my words
god help Margate now
this news 1st Bertie

8 March 2010 22:16