Monday, June 25, 2007

The Way Forward

The new corporate plan for Thanet was approved at tonight’s extraordinary council meeting and this deals with the key themes that provided the basis for the Conservative Group manifesto at the local election. I’ll return to this in a moment but suffice to say that the Labour Group attempted to introduce an amendment, which was subsequently outvoted, which would have had cross-party working groups dealing with each item subsequent to adoption; in principal stopping the delivery process until they were happy with it.

Fair enough, you might think, that’s what one expects from politics but there was one item that came-up for discussion and that was the Nayland Rock Hotel. - see earlier story with Mick Tomlinson's comments -

Apparently, central government has been quietly working on the plan to turn the hotel into a closed-detention centre for immigrants for over eight months, without any consultation in Thanet. It’s a salient topic because the new corporate plan states: “The council will review its allocation policy to give appropriate priority to local residents and discourage the inward migration of vulnerable people to Thanet”.

There’s more but fundamentally, the council has, like the people of Thanet, had enough of the disproportionate “inward migration” which has created so many problems of crime, anti-social behaviour and deprivation for the island.

Council Leader, Sandy Ezekiel invited the Labour Group to join the Conservative Group in challenging the Nayland Rock proposal; a firm “Over my dead body” response to the Home Office to any idea of placing a detention centre on the opposite side of the bay from the Turner Centre.

To my surprise, the opposition declined to criticise the plan, quite the opposite in fact. The Nayland Rock is apparently a legacy of John Major’s government and not this government’s fault; ipso facto, that’s alright then and “Let them come” or that’s how it appeared to me.

Now I believe that we have been more than generous in our provision for the “needy” in Thanet and the new policy is one that takes a more pragmatic and direct approach to the challenge. The people of Thanet have had enough and it’s time we took sensible steps to take our island back if we are to have any chance of economic regeneration over the next five years.

The remainder of the corporate plan elaborates on those themes that most concern local people. Keeping Thanet “beautiful” and clean, safer neighbourhoods, economic prosperity, decent quality housing, healthy and cohesive communities and of course, creating a modern, efficient and responsive council, keeping its cost base down as far as possible so that council taxes stay low.

Sitting around in working parties sounds like good democratic practise but when there is a plan, focused on quite specific outcomes to improve people’s lives, then we need to get on an deliver and not waste time squabbling over the minor details. From a personal perspective, we have to start dealing with a number of very urgent challenges today, rather than tomorrow and tonight’s meeting marked the starting point of a strategy that I'm happy to sign-up to and which I expect to deliver real and measurable benefits over the next five years. (Photo Airads)


Anonymous said...

If thanet is made a lovely place to live for its residents, then visitors will follow. I am amazed that the Nayland Rock issue did not have the full condemnation of EVERY councillor of whatever political orientation. TDC is about Thanet not national political posturing!

worm said...

It's quite interesting that in all this discussion about the issue, the owner of the hotel has not been mentioned. Presumably, these plans could not have been made without his agreement. I know he doesn't give a stuff about Thanet from his beach in the Bahamas or wherever but how about some naming and shaming? Just so's we know who is equally to blame.

Tony Beachcomber said...

I read Mick Tomlinson opinion on the Nayland rock, I like the bit about Margate's reputation being damaged especialy when I read todays Thanet Times. The only people damaging Margate's reputation is the leader of TDC and MP Roger Gale. They use the hysterical term "Prison", I mean that is really over the top considering there are no firm proposals regarding the Nayland Rock. They are both handling this very badly as their judgement is clouded by the politcal attack on the government. What people want is words of wisdom and properly thought out responses not hysterical dribble aimed at earning political brownie points. In some ways the Conservative party has not changed and to be honest the responses are so predictable - ignorant and hysterical.

Cllr Ewen Cameron said...

Well said Mick. I will certainly be with you on this one, as,I know, will all the Conservative Group.

With regard to Tony Beachcomber's comments above, these are based on apparent errors of fact or understanding (I will pass over the obviously slanted comments otherwise - we are all entitled to express our opinions). As he has used the word "ignorant", I will do likewise.

The Home Office's proposals are firm, and place the use of the hotel squarely in the status of what I would view as a "prison". It is proposed to be a detention facility, albeit one in which detention will be a self-imposed discipline. A prison without guards. A nice thing to have on a holiday beach?

If anyone would like such a facility on their own doorstep, I would be happy to place them in touch with the Home Office, to ensure they place this unit is sited somewhere more appropriate.

Perhaps Mr Beachcomber would like to comment on Labour's miserable record of achievement, as in so much else, in expediting deportation of failed asylum seekers? I welcome the principle of our providing a safe haven for those in genuine fear of persecution. But, when due (and extremely slow) process has run its course and failed applicants are still here - why?

Oh - it's "drivel", not "dribble"

Tony Beachcomber said...

To describe the Nayland Rock as a prison is a gross exageration of the truth and you know it Cllr Cameron. The hysterical manner in which the Tory group is handling this issue is damaging Margate's image more than the facilty itself, surely there is a better way of handling this issue. Personaly if had the power you have got I would certainly approach this issue in a different manner taking into account the damage hysterical headlines would do to Margate. But it is more about Conservatives scoring political points than caring about Margate.

Tony Ovenden

Tony Beachcomber said...

I see the Turner Centre appears to be poppping up quite a lot, is this the same Turner Centre that the Conservatives led people to believe was funded by the council when in opposition. But now they are in power it is externaly funded.

Anonymous said...

i quite agree with you worm and mick. we cannot let this is the wrong site,no other seaside town would let this happen.things were just starting to get better with the turner gallery new shops in the old town jazz festivals etc.i cannot believe this is even being considered..PLEASE let us all unite and stop this now..

Anonymous said...

i quite agree with you worm and mick. we cannot let this is the wrong site,no other seaside town would let this happen.things were just starting to get better with the turner gallery new shops in the old town jazz festivals etc.i cannot believe this is even being considered..PLEASE let us all unite and stop this now..

Anonymous said...

This issue is about Margate.Tony beachcomer is the one that is making it political.I and many believe Roger Gale cares about Margate and it"s regeneration. he is not trying to score points-unlike you Tony.By saying the Nayland Rock is going to become an open prison for failed asylum seekers is not being 'hysterical' it's being realistic.We are a seaside town that is trying to regenerate itself and this will do nothing to help ,quite the opposite in fact.Do you honestly believe investors and developers who are looking to come here will find this an attractive proposition?The regeneration of Margate is dependant on them.This is apart from the traders that have already invested in Margate.If this happens it will be the death of many businesses who are dependant on visitors to the area.Also the Nayland Rock's close proximity to the railway station will put many visitors,especially families, off coming to margate.We feel this is very short sighted of the home office and the owner of the hotel who obviously does not give a damn about Margate,and clearly does not live here.The whole issue is one of the inappropiateness of the location.