Friday, May 11, 2007

Strike a Light

Flicking through the pages of the Thanet Gazette this morning, I'm struck by the impression that arson is increasingly becoming a tool of the local vandals; two examples being the repeated burning down of the allotment sheds in Dane Valley and torching of the Margate Sea Cadets' minibuses. Whether the impression is an exaggerated one or not, the fact remains that as a community, we have a collective problem to worry over, if members of our "yoof" are expressing themselves by torching other people's property.

Arson is a serious crime but at present the pyromaniacs appear able to strike at will and without any fear of being caught. What, I wonder will be burned down next?

One further story that caught my eye, involved a comment from Thanet Council's housing officer, Brendan Ryan, who "Believes that homelessness in Thanet is being made worse because the isle houses other councils' vulnerable people."

This story on page nine of the Gazette is probably one that is worth reading and thinking about a little more, as it illustrates a fundamental problem, the local housing and care crisis, being faced by the council and our community which has had other authorities problems delivered to Thanet to deal with, with visible results in both Margate and Cliftonville.

Thanet is like a small boat moored-up against the massive ocean liner which is London and the South-east. The much larger vessel has run out of cheap cabin space and is starting to capsize under the weight of arriving passengers and the short-term solution is to fill the small boat, the SS Thanet and ignore the Captain's objections that it too will sink under the load.

"Thanet, is effectively picking-up the problems of other councils," says Brendan Ryan but this is a challenge which is inextricably linked to the challenge of local regeneration and one I'm not convinced that we will see a solution to under a new Prime Minsiter, Gordon Brown who may be unwilling to recognise that the South-east can have urgent problems to solve which are equal to those of the poorest London boroughs.


Tony Beachcomber said...

Perhaps the problem with running out of "cheap cabin" space may have something to do with the fact that Captain of SS Thanet is only allowing the building cabin space most people cannot afford.

DrMoores said...

Tony, looking at the both the requirements and the fundamental economics, I don't see that the council can really do more than its doing already. I'm looking forward to a more formal briefing on the subject which is in my diary but how many homes are enough when they keep on coming and demand will continue to exceed available space?

Ken Gregory said...

As an ex firefighter, ex police officer, and also a victim of crime(see todays local) I can answer as to why Arson is becoming the 'weapon of choice'.

A fire destroys most of the 'evidence' Those people who use it to carry out their acts are not usually morons, but highly intelligent folk who have no sense of community. We would stand a greater chance of stopping some of this stupidity if we recognised that those who do it should not be underestimated. (loathed perhaps would be a better way of looking at them )

sue said...

Ken I am sorry to hear about your recent experience.
It does seem that the vandals/robbers are having it there own way.
One thing though. I and my old man have been so cheered and amazed by the wonderful response of Thanet people to our own misfortune. My husband was offered free sheds by O&S and RT Bell (plug intended) and now a third shed offered by a London firm Fairtrade Seeds. The local press have also been extremely sympathetic. Most people in Thanet are lovely generous and kind. Ironic that it sometimes takes what is a horrible, negative experience to find that out.

sue said...

Sorry forgot to say Simon you are so right about the effect this housing policy is having on the fabric of society in the area.
Regeneration will be impossible without a change in this policy.

Anonymous said...

Sue - I know its obvious but what you need is a shed made out of totally fireproof materials.
We had a problem with our large expensive refuse bins being set on fire, they were plastic, now we have steel ones.
No arson attempt has been made on them, I guess we took most of the fun out of it for the kids.
I wonder how long it will be before the new TDC wheelie bins are set on fire? Do they burn well? I suspect so.

Anonymous said...

Grown ups in Thanet seem to have made arson a very useful way to solve difficulties in their business affairs; we should not be surprised that our youngsters are getting in some practice at Sue's expense to enhance their skills as employment opportunities in this field seem available.

Anonymous said...

Do you have cast iron proof that the recent fires are youth based?? If not then I suggest you stop the nasty rumour mongering. And as for the housing. The only people who will be affected are those that aren't rich enough to live in the posh houses in Thanet, therefore, why should anyone care? There is enough housing stock here, it just needs compulsory purchase and refurbishment. I for one have no interest in soul less boxes.

DrMoores said...

I suppose your'e right. While there is a possibility that the arsonists are indeed pensioners in every case, the statistical probability remains that they are young men between the ages of 18 and 27

Anonymous said...

So technically then, as at 18 one is classed an adult you are admitting that statistically arson is NOT committed by youths!