Sunday, 31 January 2010
Despite being challenged by intrepid reporter Andrew Woodman about The Annual Monitoring Report presented to Cllr Latchford at Cabinet only a few weeks ago that shows (from his own TDC Officers) that there is not a problem about meeting housing targets of 7,500 new dwellings by 2026, he declined an interview, reputedly put the phone down and then issued a statement via the TDC Press Office.
When you realise that 1,983 homes have been completed since 2006; that Planning Consent has already been approved for 4,624 and that leaves only 900 for the next 16 years, one wonders if 'Woger' cannot read what his own Officers tell him, when they predict the target will be met 8 years early with a minimum surplus of 700 houses above target! Well, I for one , give him credit as a Lt Col (Retd) for not having the difficulties of his Leader or Cllr Goodwin, with the English language, so one can only assume he is being deliberately misleading.
Let me quote from yesterday's IOTG:
'Cllr Latchford claimed the council needed to identify more land for homes to meet targets.'
What he will not admit to is the farce that EKO LLP has become since it was formed in the Spring of 2008 and that as a 'director' he now has a problem. One of the 'Strife' Team received a KCC reply to an F o I request about EKO LLP yesterday.
In simple terms EKO LLP cost £519,000 to set up; in 2008/9 it cost £473,665 to run; and to date in 2009/10 it has cost £360,000. ( You need to remember that EKO LLP is a joint partnership between KCC and TDC and holds land at Eurokent (TDC) and Manston Business Park (KCC) bought by the tax-payer!) In addition, KCC built the New Haine Road at a cost of £4,368,000 through Eurokent and EKO LLP signed an agreement to pay this back within 2 years of the original signing in 2008! Very soon!
All costs of EKO LLP are shared equally between KCC and TDC so the cost to TDC has been as follows so far:
1. Cost of setting up EKO LLP and running it for 2 years: £676,083.50p
2. TDC's share of the spine road through Eurokent: £2, 184,000.
Now you might understand why NAO is not happy with EKO LLP at KCC and why we should now be worried as TDC tax-payers. The only assets EKO LLP 'own' are tax-payer's land. Unless they sell some land, (valued at almost £10,000,000 in Aug 2008 and worth less now) they cannot pay for their set-up and operating costs or the costs for the spine road. In simple terms, 'Woger' as a director of EKO LLP, needs to sell Eurokent for housing and pdq. It has nothing to do with TDC's Housing targets at all. It is to bail out the folly of ever setting up EKO LLP!
When you wonder why TDC's basic services around the Isle have been cut back; our toilets closed; our streets unswept and bins not emptied, you might like to consider that TDC has spent over £600,000 since early 2008 just on its share of 'running' EKO LLP, yet alone still needing to find over £2,000,000 to pay for The New Haine Rd!
At least our Labour Cllrs and South Thanet MP are onto the need to retain Eurokent for employment,( as the IOTG pic shows below). I womder if they realise as our MP and Cllrs they will have to pay to get a copy of EKO LLP's overdue accounts from Companies House? So much for democracy in Thanet when even our own Cllrs have to pay for information about their own LLP! The real question that needs to be answered, and soon, by all the TDC Conservative Party Cllrs, is what is their view on this whole matter as opposed to The Ezekiel Party view?
Friday, 29 January 2010
With air quality around the Isle being of interest at the moment and with at least 5 sites showing excessive levels of nitrogen di-oxide (NO2), it might be interesting to remember that Thanet was once a location that attracted not only TB patients but also asthmatic children to many small independent schools to breathe our nice clean air. Now we seem to have more asthma cases, lung disorders and lung cancer than anywhere else in Kent.
In December, Tim Garbutt asked the MOD about the fires being burned at Manston by The Defence Fire School. Here is the information he received and please visit www.lovekentloveramsgate.blogspot.com to learn more about lack of air quality and an even greater lack of monitoring:
In 2009 there were 1,009 fires at MOD Manston for firefighter training.About 92,500 litres of foam concentrate was used.Interestingly there was £17k of non-MOD revenue and and a cost of the water of £36k.The water and foam runoff was drained into the sewerage system.Foam wasn't used on any grassed areas and - gulp - monitoring was undertaken by TDC and Amanda Berry.
A member of the 'Strife' team was assigned two weeks ago to 'capture' the effects of the training fires at Manston. The first picture, taken last week, shows the pollution blowing in the normal (SW wind driven) direction over our built up areas and was taken at Tesco car-park in Westwood Cross. The picture below, taken on Tuesday, shows one of two fires sending pollution out in a safer direction driven by an E wind.
Readers need to remember that our prominent winds are from the SW and that the average of 3 fires a day at Manston thus sends pollution over our main urban areas over the Isle on a regular and continuous basis. I am not an expert in these matters but it seems to me that as our Council shows disregard for pollution of our aquifer and pollution in the air, can it really claim to be following sustainable environmental policies? What would an air quality monitor at the main Westwood Cross roundabout reveal about pollutants at 2pm on an average Saturday traffic grid-lock there?
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
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.
Sunday, 24 January 2010
Some readers might recognise my title tonight as being an explaination by one of the anonymous little thugs who were sentenced this week for the horrific and perverted attack on two young boys. What I fail to understand is why they are entitled to anonymity and protection at tax-payer's expense for many years to come, whilst their victims will just have to make the best of it.
There is no doubt in my mind that it is time for the pendulum to swing back in our society,. David Cameron has been lambasted for using this case as an example of how we have become a fractured and sick society but the inescapable fact is that he is correct.
When are we going to wake up to the fact that until we hold people responsible for their poor and criminal behaviour and actually punish them in some way that is a real punishment, we will just get more anti-social and criminal behaviour? What is wrong in naming and shaming? Whilst supporting and working with 'toxic' parents does that mean that criminal conduct is effectively un-punished?
We have had a 'toxic' culture in this land for too long (13 years now) that has failed to address punishment and shaming as a deterrent. We have a situation where wriiten policies are spouted by schools, police and any government paid body you can think of, as they address 'Government Targets' and deal with mountains of paperwork and form filling, but fail to achieve what they have written down.
We do not need a paper trail that requires our police to spend 7 hours out of 8, form filling. We do not need an NHS body to explain that an 80 year old lady died in hospital with neglect of her condition and chronic bed-sores because the correct paper trail was missing. Have we forgotten that our schools are meant to look after and educate children?; that our Police are meant to prevent and solve crime and bring felons to justice?; that our nurses are there to look after patients?
Has form filling , report writing and 'inter agency' consultation and referral missed the point that we are actually dealing with 'real' people? I want head teachers to be able to 'punish' errant and disruptive pupils; I want the police to be able to deal with and the Courts punish, errant and anti-social behaviour. I want nurses to treat bed-sores in elderly patients. Is that too much too ask for? It was done 30 years ago for goodness sake.
I am reaching the opinion that the cane in schools is a needed option; that 'birching' as was practised in the Isle of Man has a lot to commend it; that simple good nursing as Miss Nightingale established is what we should return to.
In the mean time the innocent will suffer and the criminal, whether by default or intent, will continue to not be held to account.
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Last night's Planning Meeting was quite interesting. The Ezekiel Party seemed short of numbers and what was surprising was that no substitutes seemed to have been called on in place of Cllr Watt-Ruffell ; not even the permanent substitute from Cabinet, Cllr Tomlinson. No caravan park applications were on the agenda either.
In a reference to 'Strife's ' recent highlighting of Cllr Tomlinsons regular attendance at the previous 6 planning meetings, 'Our Ken' said:
" For any of you bloggers out there (looking at the public seating area) you will note that Cllr Shirley Tomlinson had better things to do this evening'.
It was noticed that Cllr Day (vice chair) seemed lost without 'Shirl', the other half of his double act , being there.
The agenda items had some very interesting aspects. A pair of semi-detached houses in Lanthorne Rd are to become just one as one half was given consent to be demolished to make way for a large building instead. I have to feel sorry for the owners of the one left standing. Cllr Bruce as TDC's Cllr for Conservation and Heritage urged the Committee to turn down the application but his pleas, as far as The Ezekiel Party members were concerned, fell on stony ground.
KCC pulled its application for 175 odd houses on The Hereson School site at the last minute, which would indicate that KCC and TDC might have some disagreement on this matter! It will be worth seeing how the plans for this site eventually work out and what benefits acrue to Thanet.
The agenda item that led to the quote of the evening from Cllr Chris Wells was F/TH/09/0833 at 15 Granville Rd, Broadstairs. You will have to wait for the quote whilst I give you some background.
This site has a fascinating history and complications; not least it seems to be a tale of a developer cocking a snoot at TDC. An application for an extension at the back of the property was originally for 5m. This was turned down. An application was then approved when the extension at the back was set at 3.5m. Residents affected were then amazed to find that the 5m extension was then built. They complained, so the developer put in a retrospective application for 5m again (F/TH/09/0833). This was turned down last night with local residents over the moon! The twist in this tale serves the developer right! If he had built to 3.5m as per his agreed consent, his front windows would have been acceptable as the area was not at the time a Conservation Area. It became included in a Conservation Area prior to the retrospective application so all Conservation Area rules now apply. So we wait for TDC to enforce the demolition at back and rebuild to 3.5 m and the replacement of all front windows in line with Conservation Area rules. Serves the beggars right comes to mind!
Now the quote. Quite a few Cllr were there last night speaking under Rule 24.1(in support of or against, as ward Cllrs etc) and Cllr Chris Wells who spoke to The Planning Committtee urging them to reject the retrospective application, in describing the lack of amenity space at the back of 15 Granville Rd said:
" It is not so much about the room to swing a cat but more about whether there is space to twirl a kitten on your thumb."
My thanks to Antonio Saez in Tenerife for the latest information concerning the Bonanza Express that has been painted twice in Euroferries livery in the past 12 months and has had that livery painted out again by Fred Olsen painter chaps in Santa Cruz, Tenerife. His diagram above shows the route for Fred Olsen that the Bonanza Express is now running. She is running from Santa Cruz, Tenerife to Agaete in Gran Canaria.
When will some organisations wake up to the fact that because of the internet and interested parties easily getting in contact, that 'bloggers' do actually know and report accurately about what is happening. Local bloggers might also be interested to know that it is gossip in Boulogne that Thanet bloggers are being blamed by Euroferries for their failure to get Bonanza E crossing from Ramsgate to Boulogne and spoiling their business plans. It has nothing to do of course, with not meeting the deadlines and fees required by Fred Olsen!
I am sure that all readers will wish Euroferries every success in finding a replacement ship for the run from Boulogne to Ramsgate in late March and look forward to their service starting at last.
In the meantime my thanks to Antonio and please feel free to visit his site and enjoy some lovely photographs at:
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Could I offer an unreserved apology to Cllr Ezekiel on my behalf, the Strife Team's behalf and on some recent commentators' behalf, for having put him in the frame for desecrating that wonderful heritage shared by millions across the world, the English written word. Whilst he may have had two Standards 'raps' and has now started a new fashion trend in the wearing of hats, it now seems he is innocent of littering Thanet's blogs with almost incomprehensible postings.
It would seem that the author of a gathering collection of postings on Strife that have from time to time caused other readers to comment on poor construction, grammar and lack of punctuation could well be down to Cllr Brian Goodwin. I have always tried to glean the argument being presented in a posting and have refrained from being critical of its presentation, but perhaps might make an exception now.
www.eastcliffrichard.blogspot.com you will find an interesting exchange of e-mails. The one that caught my attention was:
great mind you like her other half she will not turn up so we don,t have to worry
cllr b goodwin
It has a certain similarity to this extract from a recent posting on Strife:
atleast he turns up not like the labour party whom to name but two never turn up or wear there robes ,that must tell you something so i would think the people whom write all the rubbish about the laeder
Well, together with a Leader setting the trend in Standards raps and sartorial inelegance, The Ezekiel Party now has a Cllr who is about to join The Rev Spooner (of 'sew to sheets fame') in producing gems of poor prose that could be termed 'Goodwinisms'.
Please feel free to draw 'Goodwinisms' to my attention as you browse comments here or on other blogs.
Monday, 18 January 2010
What an interesting week; Bonanza pic at last of the new paint job; a bicorn/ beanie combo, indiscrete revelations on an insecure Facebook site and wheelie bin chaos.
As Policy 25 of TDC's Core Strategy has been in the news, some news on CGI (formerly CGP), would be appropriate as they would appear to be primary beneficiaries of TDC's folly to propose to allow building on agricultural land all over Thanet, if 'jobs' are dangled in front of TDC. Share price not good yet at 15.5p but they managed to raise £148,391.74 in cash for general working capital in Dec by issuing 1,507,283 shares at 9.45p. A lot were bought by Mr Wills and Mr Prosser which indicates they have had to put their own money in to keep things rolling along. This appears to have triggered a drop notification of HSBC Holdings as a % of total shares from above 8% to 7.9%. Unless Chinese money can be attracted to buy and set up on Manston Business Park soon, the winter cereals will be harvested in Aug 2010!
Having banged on about Eurokent not being needed for housing for the 2026 traget of 7,500 new dwellings in Thanet for some time and revealing that TDC Cabinet ignores its own TDC Officers reporting this to them (Annual Monitoring Report April 2009) it was nice to get a reply sent from Planning Dept at TDC to one of the Strife Team's request for info. Here is an extract:"I understand that at March 2009 we had granted permission for 4624
units that have not yet commenced. I cannot confirm whether these are
all on sites that have not commenced, ie it may be the case that sites
with permission for 20 units only have 1 or 2 completed at present.
The significance of this snippet is critical to the lies about Eurokent needing to have houses on it to meet the Housing target! TDC already has 1,983 completions of the 7,500, and these 4,624 (if proceeded with) means that by 2014 alone 6,607 dwellings will have been built. That leaves applications between now and 2026 for only another 993 dwellings and ALL TARGETS ARE MET.
Whilst on the subject of Planning, a Strife Team Member followed The Planning Committtee around on Friday as it went site visiting. (Only 6 Cllrs out of 15 were able to attend) He reports that 'Our Ken' was not too pleased to see genuine Conservative Cllrs like Cllr Hayton and Cllr Bruce tagging along and that abruptness from 'Our Ken' towards his experienced and capable predecessor as Chair of Planning, verged on rudeness. Our suspicions about certain Ezekiel Party Cllrs not really knowing where their Wards are, were confirmed on Friday. About to leave Lanthorne Rd to go to Oaklands Ave in St Peter's , a person asked how to get there. 'Our Ken's response as ward Cllr for this Ward was " Up past where there used to be a pub." Perhaps 'Our Ken' needs to drop in for a pint with his constituents sometime at The Red Lion, which is still there and 50 yds away from Oaklands Avenue!
Now to straws in the wind.
I was amazed at the pic of 'Mauwice' in 'two hat' mode at the annual Blessing of The Sea Ceremony last Sunday. Then a thought struck me. He looks very unhappy and was it just the cold? If I had frozen my butt off as Council Leader for the 7th time at this ceremony, and I knew it was my last time, would I be tempted to say 'Sod it. Wont be here next year, so may as well keep warm'?
So Strife Team members have been tapping sources all over Thanet for past 24 hrs and it seems there may be changes coming about shortly. The straws in the wind they have caught would indicate Clive Hart and his Labour colleagues could lose their prime vote attracting ally for 2011, Cllr Ezekiel, in the spring. The question is will he retire or resign?
The next question is, will The Ezekiel Party try and retain its position of leading Thanet's Conservative Party in the year upto 2011 by 'blessing' a successor or will there be a genuine Leadership Election and a clean up of Cabinet and Planning? Will they achieve a simple baton change or will there be a new race?
It's about time Thanet had some proper Conservatives in key positions rather than 'ex Labour chancers'. We need the return of a Conservative Party that the traditional conservative electorate will support in 2011. We need a capable and principled new Tory Leader, a new Cabinet and new Planning Committee.Whispers would indicate that Ezekiel Party loyalist Cllr Bayford would like to take on the 'baton' from 'Mauwice'; the result would be an Ezekiel Party without 'Mauwice'!
We have now started a 'pool' in The Strife Office with the following names in the hat: Bayford, Bruce, Gideon, Jarvis, Moores, Wells and Wise. Will have to get on to Dickie (www.eastcliffrichard.blogspot.com) to see if he can run a 'cast your vote' thingee on his blog for these 7. Sadly we lack the expertise to set up that sort of thing but at least we still have an excellent tea-lady, in Edna.
Sunday, 17 January 2010
Well done to Michael Child! Go over to www.thanetonline.blogspot.com to see an excellent set of pictures of The Bonanza Express in her new Fred Olsen paintjob. This confirms the 'Strife' report of 6 Dec 2009 that the 4th paint job since the saga began has now happened. I show previous paint jobs above and for Ferry Watchers, a pic of Bonanza Express in Euroferries colours is likely to be a collectors item!
The really odd thing is that Euroferries are still showing that I can book a crossing in early April! On what? Not another paint job on its way for the paint abused Bonanza Express?
The Planning Committee of any Council that acts as a Planning Authority is probably the most critical committtee in any District or area as its decisions must be seen by the average man/woman in the street to be unbiased and without predetermination, as the decisions of this committtee can lead to exceptional pecuniary advantage or disadvantage to applicants making Planning Applications.
What is TDC's recent record in its formation of The Planning Committee? Poor, I would argue.
The first ominous sign was the removal in 2008 of Cllr Bill Hayton by The Ezekiel Party prior to the most significant planning application to be made in Thanet for many a year; The China Gateway by CGI (CGP). At the same time The Ezekiel Party stifled any comment by the public at Site Visits by changing the rules. As is reported elsewhere, this led to a site visit for China Gateway, where member's attention was not drawn to the fact that they were standing on the final protection zone of our aquifer and its pumping station only a few hundred metres away.
Things were to get worse. Two Conservative Cllrs quite clearly had concerns about China Gateway in 2008 and voted with Labour members to refer the China Gateway application to Full Council. The two principled Conservative members, Cllr Alisdair Bruce and Cllr Mike Jarvis then found themselves 'sacked ' from Planning Committtee in May 2009 at the first opportunity that The Ezekiel Party and its Leader could get rid of them.
Readers should remember that no whip should apply to Planning Committtee decisions and that decisions should be not predetermined but decided on the night after careful consideration, debate and listening to all the arguments for or against.
If you look at my 'Gallery' above of the core Ezekiel Party members of The Planning Committee, you will see an ex- Labour Planning Chair as Chair; a property developer as Vice-Chair (Day & Son); a member whose husband is a property developer; and two husband and wife teams; the Sullivans and the Tomlinsons.
"Hold on Bertie", you might say, Cllr Shirley is a Cabinet Member and as loyal an Ezekiel Party member as you can find, but she isn't a member of Planning. Isn't she , I reply?
Look at these attendance figures at Planning Committee below, and then tell me she is not a 'de-facto' member of The Ezekiel Party Planning Committtee:
Since Cllrs Bruce and Jarvis were 'cast into the outer darkness' for not doing what was expected of them in Aug 2008, Mrs Tomlinson, a Cabinet Member and reliable Ezekiel Party member, has sat on every Planning Committtee since July 2009. How does she manage an attendance on Planning that is more than The Vice Chair you might ask? (6 out of 6 consecutive meetings)
Quite simple, she sits as a 'substitute'! :
on 15 Jul for Mrs Russel; on 18 Aug for Mrs Sullivan; on 16 Sep for Mrs Sullivan; on 21 Oct for Mr Crotty; on 18 Nov for Cllr Goodwin and on 16 Dec for mrs Russell.
on 15 Jul for Mrs Russel; on 18 Aug for Mrs Sullivan; on 16 Sep for Mrs Sullivan; on 21 Oct for Mr Crotty; on 18 Nov for Cllr Goodwin and on 16 Dec for mrs Russell.
You might also be surprised to find that the Agenda for The Bradgate Caravan Park Application, where her husband Mick Tomlinson has had connections in the past with running disco's there and was on Planning Committee on 21 Oct, shows that Mrs Tomlinson 'called in' the Planning application as Cabinet Member for Tourism. The Agenda states that the Tourism Officer supported the application and:
'Cllr Mrs Shirley Tomlinson requests that Planning Committtee considers the proposal with regard to Thanet Local Plan PolicyT3 which supports caravan parks across the island and tourism considerations in general'.
What a surprise then that Mrs Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member, should then find herself sitting as a Committee Member (as a sub for Cllr Crotty) on Planning on 21 Oct to make a decision on the Bradgate Caravan Park extension for a further 51 mobile homes on vital agricultural land, and urging the case to approve the application contrary to the advice of a professional planning officer of TDC whose advice was to reject the application for the same reasons The Planning Committtee in 2008 rejected it.(That was when Cllr Bruce and Cllr Jarvis were Conservative members, before being kicked off planning.) The minutes show this:
(h) F/TH/09/0515-Bradgate Caravan Park, Manston Court Road, Margate CT9
Change of use of agricultural land for the siting of 51No. static caravans.
Moved by Councillor Mrs Tomlinson and seconded by Councillor Mrs Sullivan that:
“application F/TH/09/0515 be approved as the economic benefits of the proposed
development would outweigh the concerns that had been raised at the loss of agricultural
land, the visual impact of the proposal and the sustainability of the site. Members were
satisfied that the proposed improvements to the access as well as the arrangements for
water supply and disposal were acceptable, and overall that the proposed development
is acceptable when judged against the policies contained in the development plan,
subject to the imposition of appropriate safeguarding conditions ”
Will need to look closely at DVD of 21 Oct meeting now together with TDC's Planning Protocol that outlines very clearly the procedure to be followed when Planning Committee act contrary to a Planning Officers recommendation!
Saturday, 16 January 2010
Readers of the IOTG may have missed the above picture taken last Sunday at the annual Blessing of The Sea Ceremony by Thanet's Greek Orthodox Community in Margate. Young Louis Gomes swam into the sea to recover the cross as The Archbishop of Canterbury attended the ceremony at The Epithany.
Cllr Sullivan wears his Margate Charter Trustees robes and bicorn hat with pride in the freezing conditions.
It is a pity that our principal Civic Leader in Thanet, Cllr 'Mauwice' Ezekiel saw fit to make a mockery of the occasion by wearing his traditional robes and bicorn hat like a 'chav' from Newington Estate. With two raps from Standards for 'conduct unbecoming his office' should we really be surprised by this?
What next? David Cameron at The Cenotaph in November with a 'Kiss Me Quick' hat?
Thursday, 14 January 2010
My thanks to contributor MK for this lovely picture of an urban fox in Ramsgate, taken a few nights ago.
For foxes it is that time of year for vixens to attract foxes and my daughter rang me at 2 am the other evening to ask me to come over to her house as some-one was banging her wheely bins and scrabbling around outside her house. The culprits were not burglars or Thanet chavs but a fox and vixen caught in flagrante delicto!
On the subject of love and passion and Facebook security in general, it is just possible that our former Margate Mayoress might like to consider her Facebook site details and who her 'friends' are, as the cautionary tale below highlights so wonderfully.
I finish, this evening with a joke sent to me by a new contributor to Strife.
Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken wall for TDC. One from London, another from Dover and the third from Thanet.
They go with a TDC Officer to examine the wall. The London contractor takes out his note-book and gets scribbling into it as he measures the wall in detail. "Well" he says, " I figure the job will run about £2,000: £900 for materials; £700 for my crew and £400 profit for me."
The Dover contractor does some measuring and figuring and then says, " I can do this for £1,600: £800 for materials; £500 for my crew and £300 profit for me."
The Thanet contractor doesn't do any measuring or even get his pencil and notebook out but leans over to the TDC Officer and whispers, " £3, 600".
The TDC Officer, incredulous, says, " You didn't even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?"
The Thanet contractor whispers back, " £1000 for me, £1000 for you and I hire the guy from Dover as a sub-contractor to do the job."
"Done", says the Officer. And that is how it all works.
What an interesting tale, the 2008/9 TDC Asset disposal proposals have become. We now have 3 Village Green Applications at KCC from HOOT, Dumpton Park Drive and now Westbrook Against Selling Promenade Site (WASPS), all because TDC just do not get the picture locally.
Could I suggest readers visit www.westbrookwasps.blogspot.com to see how well the campaign is going to stop TDC selling off a rare piece of open space between the concrete promenade and chalk cliffs at Westbrook by Barnes Avenue Car Park.
The history behind the campaign is interesting. The original proposal document from TDC was vague to say the least about exactly what was being proposed to be sold off for development. It turned out to be the large rough grassland site beside Barnes Ave Car Park. (see picture above). The locals who use this grass area were annoyed to say the least and got organised with Beach Warden Tony Sykes getting a web-site set up and getting over 140 local residents involved.
They even had a meeting with Mr Ellis of D J Ellis (an approved TDC contractor) who had put the idea to TDC ('Wodger' perhaps) that 12 luxury eco-pod chalets could be sited here to provide accommodation for visitors to the TC; i.e. The proposal was to put a 'caravan park' on the promenade in Westbrook!
The local electorate turned to their local Cllrs who happened to be Mike Tomlinson (Ezekiel Party) and spouse of Cabinet Member 'Shirl' and Cllr McCastree ( Thanet's only Ind 'Con' and reputedly a developer). E-mails were not responded to and to this date, these 2 local Cllrs have failed to talk with, meet with or even discuss concerns, that over 145 local residents in their ward have raised. They have utterly failed to grasp their role as Ward Cllrs in that they have a duty to take concerns of their electorate to Council and represent them, even if they incurr the wrath of the Leader of The Ezekiel Party!
These two Cllrs might need to be reminded of the 2007 Election results in Westbrook Ward. This normally 'safe' Conservative Ward polled 567 votes for M. Tomlinson but Ind McCastree polled 433 votes and excluded Payne (Con) on 432 votes. Do the incumbent Ezekiel Party not realise that in Westbrook as elsewhere in Thanet, they are upsetting their traditional electorate and 'politicising' them to become organised and a coherent group who have become dis-enchanted with The Ezekiel Party?
The story gets even better, however. Cllr Iris Johnston lives in this ward and as a private local resident has been in contact with WASPs. Word of this got to The Ezekiel Party's Deputy, 'Woger' who then penned this scurrilous sentence to Cllr Mark Nottingham in a letter:
' Barnes car park, a completely under utilised piece of land, suitable for a 'Holiday village' development of a few luxury Chalets was identified, and what happened then, your Group immediately opposed the sale of this piece of land and by applying for Village Green status effectively blocked the proposal you are so firmly in favour of.'
Now, whilst I understand that 'Woger' is reputed to froth at the mouth if you mention ECR in his hearing or leap like Salar The Salmon if Iris Johnston's name is spoken or even become apoplectic if he hears the word 'Bertie' , he should have realised that WASPs are non-political and are just simply pee-ed off with TDC for even considering such a hare-brained scheme.
My understanding is that Clive Hart has written to 'Woger' stating that he cannot understand what 'Woger ' is on about and quite rightly denies any political involvement in Westbrook WASPs. WASPs also deny any such 'political' interference. In a letter to 'Woger' Clive Hart has said :
'I can assure you that the Labour Group have made no collective decision whatsoever (one way or the other) on this particular matter and that to my knowledge no Labour member has had anything to to do with applying for Village Green status. I hope you will correct these inaccuracies ASAP. '
It would seem that a sense of paranoia now stalks the Leadership of the Ezekiel Party. They utterly fail to understand that you risk your local traditional support with a mad scheme to put a caravan site on an area of rare grasses and flowers below Thanet's chalk cliffs that is used by locals to sun-bathe and picnic on and walk their dogs through. It is fully utilised not just by humans (who happen to be your electorate) but it also has winter visitors like rare snow buntings and shore larks, sheltering and feeding on seeds etc. It is a rather special wild-life habitat and enhances our beautiful coast line.
I leave you, dear reader, with a quote from 'Mauwice' himself in last week's IOTG concerning his thoughts about our environment and you might wonder how it matches his ideas about D J Ellis running a 'caravan park' on Westbrook promenade: " I love the country side here and I love the beaches'.
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
The Ezekiel Party and Leadership at TDC has been trying to promote the idea of 600 luxury homes on the Eurokent Site for almost 2 years and now wishes to re-designate Eurokent from Employment Land to 'Residential' within The Core Strategy. Because they would thus create their own shortfall in employment land, they have stuck Policy 25 into The Core Strategy, which means any development that promises 'loads of jobs' will be able to be approved and ride over all other policies protecting Thanet's open countryside.
Before Christmas we had 'Mauwice' in Council saying ' You tell me where we are going to build 600 houses if not on Eurokent ' and the same phrase repeated by Ezekiel Party Cabinet Member, Cllr Moores on BigNews Margate.
Have they forgotten/failed to read/ did not understand The Annual Monitoring Report April 2008 - Mar 2009 that was Annex 1 to Item 4 on the Agenda for TDC Cabinet on 4 December 2009 that they all attended and were given documentation for? It was only 5 weeks ago!
What game is going on at TDC and why do 'Mauwice', 'Woger' and Colin Fitt continue to claim that Eurokent needs to have luxury and executive housing on it to meet the requirement imposed on TDC by The South Esat Regional Plan 2009? Here are some extracts that were part of the 'brief' prepared for 'Cabinet' by hard working TDC Officers, that clearly have not been grasped by The Ezekiel Cabinet or have been completely ignored:
'The Regional Spatial Strategy ‘the South East Plan’ was adopted in 2009. It sets total provision forThanet District at 7,500 net additional homes (375 per annum) over the period 2006-2026. The remaining requirement over the period 2010-2015 (calculation as per Annex 4) is 834 net additional homes.
In conclusion, the supply of deliverable housing over the period 2010-2015 exceeds the
requirement for that period by 293%.'
'The levels of actual and projected dwelling completions over the full period are such that it would not be necessary to aim to deliver more homes in any year above the set annual rate. Indeed, projected dwelling completions in the next few years beyond this AMR period substantially exceed housing requirements.
This, in turn is manifested in a reduction in the quantity of homes needing to be delivered year on year to meet the total requirement to 2026 (the ‘manage’ line). On the basis of this trajectory the total requirement to 2026 would be satisfied 8 years ahead of that date, and by 2026 projected delivery would exceed requirements by 714 dwelling units.'
Projected net additional dwellings up to the end of the South East Plan Period
Monitoring and Comments
In the current monitoring year (2009/10) 1164 dwellings are predicted available for delivery. Over the remaining period to 2026 a further 5067 dwellings are predicted available.
Notional target met and exceeded.'
The Officer preparing the report makes the point that the figures only cover large sites with 5 or more dwellings and 'make no allowance for windfall permissions , which historically, have represented a very significant proportion of supply (of dwellings) delivered in the district.'
If you would like to read the report and grasp what it says in detail, try the link below:
So Officers are reporting ' WE WILL EXCEED THE 2026 TARGET BY 714 DWELLINGS AND HIT TARGET 8 YEARS EARLY' and yet 'Our Leader' and his cronies claim otherwise. The only conclusion is that not only are TDC's Councillors being misled over this nonsense at Eurokent and the need for it to be 'housing' but through comments in the local press, the public is also being misled and misinformed by TDC's Leadership.
Monday, 11 January 2010
The latest PR blurb from TDC about waste collection has now utterly confused me. Whilst I accept that a little bit of snow in Thanet has affected Collections, it is interesting to see that last year's Christmas & New Year Programme, (see pic above) had less days of no collections and at least took blue (recyclable waste) away with black bins. Mind you TDC did come in for stick about treating recyclable waste as the same as land-fill waste!
This year in contrast has been reduced to a fiasco by a number of factors. More time off for the waste collectors ; no Sat collections nor on Wed 30 and Thu 31 Dec which to the best of my knowledge are not public holidays; no blue bins with black bins and of course a smattering of snow.
TDC's PR team and its Press Releases have become risible and perhaps the staff are superfluous to requirements as they invent fatuous quotes for cabinet members. The latest offering today about bin collections is contradicted when you ring TDC. So when will the debris of the Biggles Household's Festive Season be removed? Well it seems that my blue bin might be emptied on Fri 22 Jan (last empty was Fri 18 Dec) and that my black bin will be emptied this Friday 15th Jan; or it might be emptied sooner, so do I leave it on the pavement?; and any overflow of household rubbish wont be picked up according to PR 'blurb' but customer services says it will if I leave it out. All very confusing.
We can always blame a smattering of snow,I suppose, for this chaos and be charitable about Cabinet Member Shirley Tomlinson who clearly spends too much time as a member of The Planning Committee, instead of keeping a closer eye on her own brief.!
UPDATE - 14 JAN 2010
My thanks to Clrr Chris Wells for this update.
For those on Thursday/Friday collections its BLACK BINS this week; next week and put your BLUE BINS out on Thu 28th and Fri 29th. (With a bursting Blue Bin that was full on 26th Dec the Biggles household has had to suspend recycling for a whole month, until Fri 29th)
A 'Strife' team member attended a meeting on Saturday last, in St Andrews Church Hall, Reading Street, Broadstairs called by residents fed up with traffic hurtling through their village.
Here is his report.
Cllr Crispin Crotty, Conservative, Beacon Ward came under fire from a very irate female resident following his short address to the meeting. Here is what led up to her outburst.
A hundred residents had made their way cautiously along un-gritted roads and ice-covered pavements to the church hall to voice their concerns over the continuous traffic dangers in the narrow village streets. A thriving community with its church, post-office and pub and two schools close by, Reading Street has been the scene of damaged property, wrecked cars, near misses from cars mounting the pavement, cyclists upended and recently, an elderly pedestrian taken to hospital having been knocked off her feet by a car whose driver claimed he'd 'only being doing 10mph'. As the front of the car was seriously damaged, some doubt was cast on the alleged speed.
One resident has had her garden wall demolished SEVEN times in four years by speeding vehicles and HGVs. (see the picture below!)
Many residents gave accounts of how they saw the problem and the possible solutions. Some graphic accounts were heard and one speaker criticised The Planning Department and Committee at TDC for allowing more development without taking into account the resulting increased traffic. There is no continuous pavement and in places the pavement is at the same level as the road thereby giving no protection to pedestrians.
Dr Stephen Ladyman M.P.spoke from the floor saying what he would now do, who he would speak to and how he saw the situation could be dealt with. So what caused the anger from the fur-hatted female resident?
Cllr Crotty, the only elected Conservative Councillor present ( his fellow Beacon Ward Conservative Councillor, Cllr Lawson, is on extended winter holiday ,in Gibraltar, not Panama and neither Conservative KCC Councillor attended) said he 'would try to speak to the relevant people'.
"I'm disgusted with you" said irate female resident. "I want action not words". Round of applause from the audience. As one member of the audience said, "I thought Cllr Crotty was going to burst into tears."
Could it be that Cllr Crotty hasn't faced an angry public meeting before or did he assume that being in a Conservative stronghold he could fob off the locals with empty promises?
(Ed: Although a South Thanet Ward, it is interesting that here we have yet more traditional 'conservatives' unhappy with the lack of representation and support from their Conservative Ward Councillor. Why on earth did he not call in his Conservative KCC colleagues to attend? Highways are a KCC responsibility after all!)
Sunday, 10 January 2010
My congratulations to Saul Leese and Rebecca Smith at IOTG for putting the spotlight this week on TDC's Core Strategy and Policy 25. In the process they have highlighted the obfuscation, confusion and squirming about issues by 'Our Leader', 'Woger' and TDC's lead officer on the matter, Colin Fitt.
For those who are not upto flying speed on this issue, a brief reminder is needed. TDC's current Local Plan was completed in 2006 and allocated more than enough employment land for Thanet for the next 20 years at Eurokent and Manston Business Park. The situation concerning Thanet's designated employment land is supported by The South East Plan. However, even before Thanet's new dwellings figures were increased from 6000 to 7,500, TDC (together with its own little 'quango' without democratic control, EKO LLP) has been trying to change the designation of the Eurokent site from 'employment land' to 'housing' and began this process in April 2008. There are numerous paragraphs in the new 'Core Strategy' devoted to changing Eurokent's designation for 'housing for aspiring people' (expensive housing out of the reach of most in Thanet) and a Policy 25 is introduced that effectively states that any site on farmland can be developed in Thanet by 'over-riding' all other TDC policies if it 'promises' lots of jobs. Now forgive me but my understanding is that 'jobs' on offer has nothing to do with whether a Planning Application should be approved or not and is not part of The Planning Protocol.
Anyway, back to the IOTG article.I can imagine the situation where intrepid reporter Saul Leese went into to the luxuriously carpeted 'Ezekiel Towers' in Margate last week to 'interview' Colin Fitt and perhaps found a little 'cabal' of 'Mauwice', 'Woger' and Colin awaiting his questions?
Let's highlight some nonsense from 'Our Leader':
Obviously riled that Save Kent (CPRE) has criticised Policy 25 and a change to Eurokent, this is the petty nasty comment elicited: " People at Protect Kent have nice jobs and homes......." (How many houses do you have in Thanet, Cllr Ezekiel? Your Cllr declaration of interest in 2008 at TDC showed a finacial interest in 4 or was it 5?)
"I love the countryside ..............." ( There is no evidence of this as Thanet Earth, an industrial estate in every sense blots the landscape and huge warehouses given planning consent almost up to Acol, could do so shortly.) " Thanet Earth is a good example that showed benefits for the people in Thanet" ( Importing Spanish tomatoes and employing exactly how many local Thanet people? The facts are that most employees are foreign EU workers. So who is benefitting from Thanet Earth?) " We have had a lot of debate over the policy ( Policy 25) and it doesn't open the floodgates to building on a large scale." (What nonsense. He knows perfectly well that CGI owns some expensive farmland for China Gateway Phases 2 and 3 and you could hardly describe their declared proposals as other than building on the large scale! Mr Colin Fitt gives as an example, justifying Policy 25, just such development on the large scale!)
Lets now see even more utter tripe from our twice discredited Leader's, Deputy; 'Woger'(whose 'jumping like a salmon ' antics at Edinburgh Woollen Mill make him discredited also; let alone his antics concerning housing in Berkeley Rd): In answer to a question whether Protect Kent's concerns were justified he replied,
" This is just the first stage. They must submit a planning application." Of course they have to Cllr Latchford but if your Policy 25 says they can develop on agricultural land ,they will cite Policy 25 as justification for an appeal if you say they can't!) In answer to a question about ensuring jobs for people in Thanet, 'Woger's reply was " China Gateway can only employ 10% Chinese." (So despite numerous unminuted meetings with CGI, a visit to China organised and hosted by CGI, Cllr Latchford denies the 'Concierge' Proposals for Chinese Managers/ key workers and their families and the initial idea that 500 homes would be needed. for them. Each employee and family would be subject to British Immigration requirements any way, would they not?.)
Now to Mr Colin Fitt.
He seems to justify Policy 25 with the specious argument that it is there to 'catch the eye of planning consultants of major companies'. He said, " For example, if a company like Sanyo suggested a 'green wedge site' like Dane Valley Margate to build a factory, we would suggest somewhere else. These types of companies send out planning consultants and we believe that if this policy (Policy 25) was not in our core strategy they will think we're not open for business". ( Mr Fitt knows perfectly well that there is no way any company would even consider development on a protected by TDC Policy site in a 'green wedge'. What he assumes already is that he will not be able to say, 'we have just the site you need at Eurokent' which is the present situation, because Ezekiel, Latchford and EKO LLP are hell bent on making sure that Eurokent has housing on it (more lucrative) instead of employers employing workers.)
When asked by Saul Leese about how TDC could ensure that a Policy 25 development on farmland would lead to jobs for people living in Thanet, Mr Fitt replied, "There is the possibility of putting in place a legal agreement stipulating a percentage of jobs for people living in Thanet." ( Pray tell us how TDC can do this , Mr Fitt, in the face of EU and UK Employment Law?)
When asked about Housing Targets set by Govt, Mr Fitt replied, " We're told by the Government to ignore existing planning applications......" ( Really Mr Fitt? Where does it say this? Could you substantiate this extraordinary statement? He fails to mention that completions are already 2 years ahead of target , according to TDC's own Housing Audit and that it is not TDC ( other than EKO LLP who want to build houses on Eurokent) but private developers who have lead the way in exceeding the Govt's targets in thanet and will continue to do so.)
When pressed to explain why Eurokent (in the Core Strategy) should have 600 houses instead of being used for commercial development, Mr Fitt replied: " We designated the land at Eurokent for business 15 years ago. Its a good location for housing. They can walk to shops and schools." ( Notice how the question is not answered. He ignores the fact that Eurokent was included in the Thanet Plan 2006 for commercial development and that The South East Plan states that TDC should maintain it for that. It's a good location for housing for EKO LLP and Rose Farm Estates' profits, Mr Fitt, whilst you have failed to attract and have even actively discouraged development there for employment?)
I am flabbergasted with most of these comments by this ' long past sell-by date' Cabal at the top of TDC. As previous 'Strife' posts have tried to illustrate, TDC does not having a 'housing requirement deficit' even with the 2009 change in goal posts. There is no sound justification for housing on Eurokent and Policy 25. I hope all our TDC Councillors view these proposals for the sham they are. If Policy 25 is incorporated into The Core Strategy, stand by for industrial sprawl all over Thanet's remaining open and highly productive farmland as it is a 'charter' for development and ensures that China Gateway Phases 2 and 3 can proceed or any other development that CGI or any one else has in mind. Profits for developers like Rose farm Estates and CGI appear to have a greater priority with the present leadership at TDC, than helping to feed its population in 20 years time. I wonder why? To paraphrase Protect Kent's, Brian Lloyd, 'what an unusual approach to employment development.'
Thursday, 7 January 2010
An interesting problem with some modern gas boilers has come to my attention in the past 24 hrs as the 'Big Freeze' continues. As mains gas pressure drops, as it did yesterday, many boilers close down and do not fire up again. Fine if you are at home but leaving an empty house with bolier setting on low heating as you jet away from temperatures of -17C could lead to some problems awaiting your return!
Despite this Government being in power for 13 years, it has failed dismally to address strategic gas supplies that are needed for electricity generation, home heating and cooking. We have only about 14 days worth of reserve stored in Centrica's Rough Field in the N. Sea and in a number of underground salt storage areas in Yorkshire. Most sensible countries aim for 80 days of strategic gas reserves and the Chinese set themselves a goal to have 90-100 days of oil and gas reserves.
'Sound- bite' Government and 'the just in time' mentality could give us all a major headache in the next few days or so. While the media has been concentrating on the'white stuff' with all its pretty pics, how many of us realise that there was a crisis in late December when electricity generators had to cut back on gas use to maintain mains pressure to householders? We are now in the middle of at least two weeks of some of the lowest temperatures recorded in the UK for over 20 years and what is striking is that almost the whole country is affected, unlike in normal hard winters.
Gas main pressure went down yesterday again and I have a pessimistic thought that our strategic gas reserves are going to be found inadequate. Should the worst happen look out for power cuts and your boilers and gas cookers not having that welcoming blue flame burning to heat your house or cook your food. What will be a Labour Government's chances in an election in a few months time if this happens? As low as the temperature at RAF Benson?
Tuesday, 5 January 2010
I am perfectly happy, as an ex-serviceman, for Anjem Choudary of Islam4UK and any demonstrators he can organize, to march through Wooton Bassett. We either live in a democratic, multi-cultural society or we don't. Where more Muslims attend Friday prayers at mosques up and down the land, than do C of E members at church on Sunday, then perhaps it is time to realise how this country has changed. They are fellow Britons are they not?
We must not allow our respect for our dead servicemen and women, who died serving their elected Government's political wishes in Afghanistan, whilst under equipped, under-manned and ill supported by that very same Government, blind us from the reality of war. The 'enemy' dead and severely wounded were Afghans fighting on their own soil; the many hundreds of innocent civilians caught up in the conflict who have lost their lives or who have been maimed , were just ordinary people trying to eke out their lives in the best way they could. Are they not all victims? In an odd way, Mr Choudary reminds us of this dismal reality.
Of course Islam4UK are being deliberately provocative. So how should we respond? We stoke the fires that give warmth to racism in this cold land if we demonise our fellow Muslim subjects of Her Majesty, however misguided we think some of them are.
Yes, let Mr Choudary carry mock coffins through Wooton Bassett to remind us that the victims of war are not just 'our own brave heroes' but let him do it in a town that has empty streets as the good people of Wooton Bassett shut up their shops, close their doors and draw their curtains closed.
A far more emphatic comment is thus made than the pathetic posturing of a Prime Minister who as Chancellor and then Prime Minister has under-manned, under -equipped and under- paid our young men and women sent to Afghanistan to die and be maimed, purely to satisfy his predecessor's posturing on the world stage alongside a discredited US President called Bush.
Monday, 4 January 2010
This eyesore of a dangerous, flytipped and insecure site at 85 Albion Rd, St. Peters, Broadstairs needs to be sorted by TDC and quickly. It is close to the recent problems in Victoria Rd where houses are falling apart as a result of settling from chalk workings.
It does beg the question as to why the three Ezekiel Party Cllrs for the ward, Cllr Ken Gregory (Chair of Planning), Cllr Zita Wiltshire (Cabinet member) and Cllr Jason Savage have not spotted the problem and done something about it! Do they walk around their ward?
It has insecure fencing as the pictures below show and is accessible by children who can gain access and fall into the deep excavation in the site. Surely TDC , at the insistence of the 3 Ward Cllrs can make the owners clean up the site and put secure fencing around it?
This should be easily done as this site has just been the subject of a planning application. ( Please go and look at F/TH/09/0941 dated 22 Dec 2009). E-ssured Cars UK Ltd, would like to infill and cover the site in tarmac to make 25 car parking positions for car storage, with access through Livingstone Road. This has got to be good news, as the idea of housing on it might not be sensible given the problems in Victoria Rd. What Albion Motors next door think about this, will be interesting to see.
I am often accused of being cynical but I find it interesting that E-ssured highlight the fact that the site is presently a fly-tipped mess, in their application and thus locals would support any improvement!
Well, Ward Cllrs and TDC, over to you. You might like to make sure that E-ssured clean up this site and make it secure quickly before a child has an accident; particularly after neglecting this eyesore for so long and to do so before you are prepared to support their Planning Application.!