Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fantasy Island

I heard, with some amusement today, the Prime Minister, insisting that new powers given to police and local councils were sufficient to deal with the problem of drunken anti-social behaviour in our towns.

It would be nice perhaps if a zero-tolerance attitude to alcohol consumption in ‘zoned-areas’ like the centre of Westgate was enforced but I’m told that invariably, our thin-blue line resources are required to deal with more important problems elsewhere in Thanet.

As a result, I’ve written the same letter to both the Chief Constable of Kent and Gordon Brown, pointing out to the Prime Minister that I believe he is being misled. It’s more likely however that there is a rather more proactive attitude adopted, and more resources available to deal with alcohol-related public order offenses in Whitehall than there is in Westgate or even Broadstairs? I’ll be interested to read any reply!

Meanwhile, back in Westgate, you’ll recall we have been experiencing “sign-blight”. This involves the distribution of “To-Let”, “For Sale”, “Let” and “Sold” signs in a density that has given rise to complaint. I’ve visited one particular agent twice now to politely point-out that they are, in my opinion, “taking the ***” but to no avail, so now I’ve had to ask the planning enforcement officers to intervene.

This is annoying because the council planning officers are busy enough without having to remind a local estate agent of the law concerning the placement of such signs. You might have thought that two personal visits from a local councillor; one of these carrying a broken sign, might have been enough to encourage a little cooperation but apparently not.

Maybe this is simply indicative of the general malaise; the prevailing atmosphere in our society today. I’ve got this funny, old fashioned idea that a ward councillor exists to lobby for the community and act as the local intermediary between the people he or she serves and local government, with all its legion regulations and services. To that extent, when a councillor asks for cooperation from police or local government or business it should be present in all cases because without this, people would have good reason to feel disillusioned over the increasingly visible failings of our democratic process.

That said, there’s probably no point in posting my letter to Gordon Brown because of the impending national postal strike, so I might just drop it in by hand on Monday.