Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Bridge Too Far?

Westgate residents may wish to know that the application to convert the former Bridge Hotel in St Mildred's road into single, self contained flats, was approved by the council planning committee despite an objection by Cllr Goodwin.

The only possible means of objecting to the change of use was the parking argument but as highways department had approved the application, the committee had no choice but to pass it but, I understand, for commercial sale - an important point - rather than for use by social services. If I can clarify this a little further I will add a comment.

Coming-up again soon is the Harold Avenue appeal, as reported in the Thanet Gazette this week and I would remind readers that as a councillor I am unable to express my position without comprimising my ability to act as a local representative voice at any future planning meeting.

However and given the publicity and local feeling surrounding Harold Avenue if you wish to express a view on the subject, please send me an email to cllr-Simon.Moores(at)thanet.gov.uk and I will open my own file on the case. Residents can always ask their councillors to speak for them at a meeting if they wish.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I regard built-up areas as suitable for housing and if that means losing big gardens and the spacious suburban feel to an area, so be it. This has got to be a better option than building on green-field sites.

Anonymous said...

referance the bridge hotel is it not better to have this building in use than empty were vandels do there best to smash it up
or just leave it empty is that what westgate won,t it is better to use than not use

Anonymous said...

The problem with increased housing density in existing urban areas is that the infrastructure cannot cope.
In Garlinge now the Doctor's surgery has closed its lists due to increased numbers.
For the last several years they have been operating with one permanent doctor and an everchanging locum, now they will not take on any new patients at all.
This leaves us, the people of Garlinge and Westbrook, without any local doctor.
Westgate surgery is the only one in that locality, they are also so busy that good patient care is difficult for them to provide, although they seem to do better than Garlinge.
Westgate Surgery won't take anyone from outside Westgate so thats not an option for us.
Where can we go? First of all we lost NHS dentists, now its doctors.
It can't be their level of pay causing a shortage, public records indicate that GP's now earn in excess of £100,000 per year and don't have to work late , nights, or weekends for it, they used to but not now.

James Maskell said...

Anon 2 is right. I attended the meeting. The parking argument, while right, bearing in mind the proximity to transport links, meant that the parking issue wasnt as important. There is limited parking on site.

Anonymous said...

Thought Westgate Residents Association was unhappy about more 1 bedroom flats. Why didn't they object or do they just talk about objecting and preserving Westgate?

James Maskell said...

There was wide belief on the part of the Councillors that if the Bridge Hotel didnt find a better use it would simply shut down and be a derelict building in the heart of Westgate...

Tom King said...

Regarding the Bridge hotel,as the other ward councillor attending this meeting,i was the only one present that spoke against the application.Cllr Goodwin in fact supported the proposal for change of use, as did all others, with the exception of Cllr Poole who abstained.I felt that more time was needed to try and re-establish the Bridge hotel as a going concern and in doing so retain an original service in the centre of Westgate.There are too many services in the village falling foul of 'change of use ' and being replaced with offices and estate agents and building companies.
In reply to anon 6.39,i think you'll find this proposal is for TWO bedroom flats- i'll ignore the other remark.
Regarding Harold avenue -the Residents Association have be representing the whole road for the last six months through the media,radio,meetings and professional independent advice and are at this moment at the fore front of leading the campiagn to to stop this further destruction of Westgate and residents lives.

DrMoores said...

To allay the fears of some readers, I spoke with the council leader yesterday and he assured me that Westgate is certainly not being positioned as a substitute for Cliftonville West in regard to the demand for one bedroom flats, a phenomenon that we all recognise has done so much harm to Cliftonville. The preservation of the village and its character is an issue that I'm sure that all three Westgate councillors agree upon.

James Maskell said...

Cllr King, your comment is incorrect. Cllr McCastree (Independent, Westbrook) voted against the Bridge Hotel application, the only Councillor to do so. Fair enough I guess. He asked a few questions regarding the planning rules and how they apply so its not like he was voting blindly.

Its a tough call regarding the Bridge Hotel as since we want high quality hotels it would seem contradictory to be changing the use of a hotel such as the Bridge Hotel for residental use. The problem is that if its unlikely that the Hotel can continue as a going concern, arent we just temporarily putting off the inevitable? I think the Planning Committee made the right decision.

Anonymous said...

it makes me laugh when i both read in the press and on the thanet life page what a wonderfull thing this residents ass is in westgate .
object to everything in sight, don,t they wont to go forward and in doing so let people come to westgate and see just what a great place it really is .
they will if they carry on like the way they are put people off
coming here to live . perhaps that is what they won,t

i think it is time they took off there dark glasses and looked just how great westgate is with all its new buildings .this is the 21st centrey is it not

Tom King said...

My apologies to Cllr McCastree.
With regard to the Bridge hotel,in my view with the promise of 1000 jobs from China,proposed expansion at Manston and the need to increase tourism to Thanet,then existing hotel space such as that at the Bridge should be given more time to re-establish itself as a going concern and therefore retain also a original part of Westgate and its history.
Westgate is losing too many of its charactor buildings by either demolition or,in some ways just as destructive,'change of use' applications.

James Maskell said...

When assessing a planning application, it should be based on its merits rather than its weaknesses. While I completely understand your desire to see Westgates hotels and Westgate in general to thrive, its hard to justify refusing this application because they hoped that the Bridge Hotel would recover and flourish. An appeal would be made and the developer would win pretty easily I would think.

The planning rules aren't fair by any means, but its not the Council's role to break them.

Tom King said...

Sixty five per cent of all appeals are lost by the developer and take roughly five months or more to come before an inspector,which would have given the Bridge a year to have maybe re-established its original function.what should not be overlooked here is that Westgate is a conservation area and newly extended but that has not deterred developers targeting a perfectly good house in Harold avenue for demolition to be replaced with two blocks of flats anymore than it did when Eventide house was demolished and left as an enormous hole which it still is today.If we are to feel the protection of conservation areas then they must have real meaning and not allow charactor buildings like the Bridge, circa 1880, be consigned to history in a matter of months.

James Maskell said...

On the other hand, the recovery might just be a pipe dream...we just dont know.

As Ive said, each application must be assessed on its merits first and foremost. The application was for 12 two bedroom flats with good transport links. The only solid reason for refusal appears to be because its in a conservation zone (Im not from the Westgate area so I dont know for sure if it is). I would think the Government would place a greater priority on the creation of new housing than on the retention of historical buildings, however hard-headed that sounds.

You cant win 'em all, Cllr King.

Anonymous said...

OVER THE YEARS IT SEEMS THAT THE RESIDENTS ASS OF WESTGATE WOULD LIKE TO SEE WESTGATE SHUT DOWN
AND STAY A PLACE ONLY FOR THE VERY OLD AND NOT LET THE YOUNG PEOPLE WHOM WON,T TO LIVE IN WESTGATE HAVE THERE NICE HOME .ALL THE ASS WON,TS AND KNOW IT SEEMS THAT CLLR KING WILL FIGHT FOR WESTGATE TO GO BACKWARD OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS .MIND YOU THATS JUST LIKE THE RES ASS IN WESTGATE. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANY YOUNG PERSONS THERE NO AND YOU NEVER WILL IT SHOULD COME INTO THE 21 CEN

James Maskell said...

Lets not be too hard on Cllr King. He campaigned for election on the basis that he would stand up for the retention of the history of Westgate. It doesnt mean he wants Westgate to be backwards.

Another good thing about this application and something that might be a crumb of comfort for Cllr King is that the Bridge Hotel isnt going to be demolished. The building will remain.

Tom King said...

anon:3 47 I think it would be more constructive if you I and simon worked together for the benifit of Westgate as its ward councillors. Your attacks on the Westgate residents association and the contribution that its made over nearly 50 years for the benifit of the local area are cheap and uncalled for and I don't intend to give the oxygen of respectability to any further remarks of this kind from you.You were elected to serve the people of Westgate,not to attack fellow ward councillors.