I’m glad to see that the Labour Party have finally discovered ThanetLife, so to avoid any allegations of bias on my part, here are a couple of local opposition stories, passed in my direction by the party, in the shape of Clive Hart, this morning:
“The Labour Group on Thanet District Council kept its word with the residents of Margate and Thanet by again trying to convince the Council to adopt the very reasonable recommendation, made by an independent Planning Inspector for the Local Plan, which strongly came out in favour of Dreamland remaining as an Amusement Park. The Tory Council agreed in January this year to allow other uses including housing for the site.
Leader of the Labour group, Cllr R Nicholson said, “We warned the Tories in January this meant the end for Dreamland as a place to attract visitors to Margate. The inclusion of housing effectively renders the site as uneconomic for anything else, a view supported by the Planning Inspector. Last night we tried again to persuade the Tories but they all seem scared or unwilling to stand up for Margate. Neither were they willing to pay any attention to local views on this matter, which overwhelmingly supported keeping Dreamland alive.
My colleagues and I now see a slow but unstoppable death for this site with housing and a few leisure connected businesses remaining in the near future. Margate and Thanet was let down badly by the Tories, not for the first time and no doubt if they remain in control then residents will continue to be effectively ignored.”
The Labour Group was also shocked by the Conservative Group attempt to change, at the last minute, the recommendation on the adoption of the Local Plan. At least three times an additional recommendation was read out and each time it was different. Council officers had to come to the rescue of the Tories to make any sense of the proceedings.
The Labour Group argued strongly that this was the wrong time and way to change a document that had taken five years to write and although most of the content was in fact set out by Labour members on the council they were unable to support this last minute change and therefore in the public interest did not support the Local Plan.”
“The Labour group on Thanet District Council were unsuccessful in trying to make the Tory administration keep to promises previously made to Thanet residents and businesses over the type of development permitted at the Westwood area.
When agreement had been initially approved the Council promised to do what it could to protect the interests of small shops in our town centres. One way to do so was to agree the units being built in the Westwood area were of a certain size. Now the Council has given the go ahead for smaller “high street size” units to be developed.
Leader of the TDC Labour Group, Cllr R Nicholson said, “Labour was determined to stick by our word. Whilst we of course fully support development of retail at Westwood we felt we had to try to get the Council to keep promises previously made. Although the action taken last Thursday is initially limited, the Tories have now agreed a precedent and all future requests will be hard to deter, if not impossible to resist now.
However I and my Labour colleagues will, not like the Tories, give up on the town centres and we will continue to work tirelessly with local Town partnerships to enhance our local shops in all areas of Thanet. We need local businesses in local areas for our local residents.”