Sunday, November 11, 2007

Shining Through

Watching the BBC Politics show today, I'm struck by Labour's latest 'mantras', as delivered by Cabinet Office Minister, Ed Miliband. If you were watching too, then you may have remarked at the number of times he repeated "Shining through" in regard to the Prime Minister's strategy and the arrival of "New Government'; I assume to place blame for any past mistakes firmly with the 'Old Government' of Tony Blair. "Nothing to do with us mate... we're 'New, new Labour' not the old mob, you know, Blair, (Brown - oops), Blunkett, Byers, Clarke and so on!

Meanwhile, full marks to Thanet South MP, Dr Steve Ladyman, who told the BBC that the people of his important marginal constituency were "inspired by Gordon Brown's vision.'

That's the 'new' Government vision I assume?

Would anyone who is indeed inspired care to comment?

On the Turner Contemporary, it's interesting that the BBC managed to include it - at least by name -and then say absolutely nothing about it, focusing instead on the 'Towner' gallery in Eastbourne. The gallery presence in the latter town apparently adds £16 million to the local economy, which is an encouraging figure for Margate for all those looking towards Turner for regeneration.


Anonymous said...

Yes it is a shame more was'nt mentioned about the turner gallery especially as the arcitect David Chipperfield has just won the stirling prize.The new design is fabulous and myself and friends cant wait.exiting times ahead.A Local Lass

Anonymous said...

An interesting Freudian slip.

Thanet ? Turner round and exit.

Anonymous said...

anon again!
I dunno, all these digs at the Labour Party and 'Ruling' Government.
People have such short memories when it comes to all the cock ups, Fraud incidents, Wars, and downright corruption, the last Conservative ruling party led us in to.
I remember most of it, being of excellent mind and body throughout the Thatcher/Major 'reign.

Nethercourt said...

£16M!! Is that all? We in Kent take a more holistic view I'm sure and have pumped much more than that into the wider economy already.....

Wonder where it's all gone?

Anonymous said...

5.41 so because the tories cacked some things up it gives the present government the right to cack things up even more and on a global scale.
Interesting spin from Labour.
Is this the "inspiring new policy" then?
Watt Tyler

Mr Friday said...

Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to how we measure the impact of "regeneration".

For example, we keep hearing about the "regeneration" of Margate but how do we, the public, judge whether or not we have been "regenerated" ? If it is down to external investment then how much are we expecting ? If it is down to jobs created then how do we factor in those which would have been created anyway ?

Can anyone shed some light on this for me ?

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Mr Friday I share your cynicism. I've seen Margate "go downhill" for the last 30 years.
How on earth can the proposed Turner Contemporary regenerate Margate.

a. Where will the hoardes of visitors stay? There's no decent hotel stock in Margate.
b. Where are all the pleasant shops and restaurants where for the masses to patronize when they visit? Answer - Ostend or Calais
c. Margate is a pathetic shadow of it's former status as a leading seaside resort.

When we have a local council full of visionaries who can see the "big picture" ,have big business mentality, then Margate may just get somewhere.

Sorry Simon, I can't agree with you on your comparison with Eastbourne. The two towns are light years apart

Cllr David Green said...

Maybe the BBC concentrated on the Towner because it actually exists!
Difficult to film a virtual gallery.
Perhaps Simon would like to comment on the still multi-million funding shortfall surrounding the Margate flagship, and the question we cannot mention concerning the likely running costs?

Tony Beachcomber said...

The recent tidal surge on the back of a northerly gale proved that the sea defence work carried out in the 1980's and early 1990's has worked. Especialy the ledge constructed in 1987 at full length of the base of the Rendevous car park, which deflects some of the wave power back into the oncoming wave and so on.
What surprised me was that the area where the proposed Turner Centre is to be constructed was closed to the public over the high water period.I suspect it may have been a pecaution to prevent sightseers from ending up in davy jones locker. On the other hand based on friday's evidence the area is exposed to the risk of mild flooding probably equivalent to a thunderstorm and the proposed new building will be in for a few salt water baths.

Mr Friday said...

It wasn't intended completely to be a cynical point but a genuine question on regeneration impact.

There is an awful lot of public money being pumped into places like Margate in the name of regeneration and I often wonder how we should measure the success or otherwise ?

I was only reading an article yesterday on regeneration where a Government think-tank acknowledged that some places had, in fact, declined, after millions of taxpayers money had been pumped into them.

It seems to be that an awful lot of faith is being put in the Turner Centre as the catalist for Margate turning the corner. It is almost like placing all your chips in the pot at poker.

One cannot stop wondering if there is a Plan B ?

Tony Beachcomber said...

In the Margate Museum in the Marine Palace file is a pictorial account of the 1897 storm. The file is something i put together over the years.
About 95% of my collections is know housed in Margate Museum and has been intergrated into their system. I thought they should have it while I am alive, than wait until after my ashes are scattered on Margate beach.

Michael Child said...

As I have regular conversations with the environment agencies officers who produce Thanet’s flood and storm assessments because of my concerns about the Pleasurama development, I asked about the situation with The Turner Contemporary in this respect, they told me. “It’s ironic that the architects have done a thorough and comprehensive storm risk assessment for The Turner Contemporary which is non residential, whereas none whatsoever appears to have been done for Pleasurama.

So frankly if the people at the Environment Agency are happy it’s fairly unlikely to be damaged in a tidal surge storm. What worries me however is the glass cladding that I don’t think will stand that salt sprayed location well.

Watching the rapid deterioration of Margate from Ramsgate where we lost all of our leisure facilities and most of our major shops earlier than Margate and are recovering from being a leisure destination to a desirable residential town, there are lessons to be learnt.

If you are hoping that you will get some sort of leisure based economy to return to the town it is essential to offer something that provides a day of entertainment for ordinary families. The Turner Contemporary does not appear big enough to be able to this nor does it integrate well with the remaining leisure facilities. You need to look at the scale of the busy tourist destinations in the area the nearest being Dover Castle to appreciate what I mean.

At the moment Margate is a town with an excellent beach and the potential offered by the Dreamland site which is both central and large enough to produce a worthwhile tourist destination, once its gone, its gone and you have to settle for a residential town by the sea with one fairly small art gallery.

Anonymous said...

One only has to look at the High St and see how the regeration so far has failed, there simply is nothing for visitors to do in the town, few decent shops and more shutting down, no cinema,expensive parking. The gallery may put Margate on the map for a short term, but visitors need more variety than this, TDC and Co need to do far more and have failed Margate businesses,residents, visitors etc.

Anonymous said...

Margate needs Variety to attract people to the town. One only has to look at the High St to see haow regeneration has failed and more shops are closing down, and the current traders are also suffering badly. We have no cinema, expensive parking etc etc. Residents and visitors need more variety than an art gallery to attract them back to the town, they want decent shops, carparks were they can park cheaply and also find a space as the central ones are full of council permit holders.TDC AND CO seem happy to allow the town to decline further. The newly installed road signs POINT to Westwood, visitors have more to do there than Margate!

DrMoores said...

"TDC AND CO seem happy to allow the town to decline further"

I despair of the rubbish I hear on a regular basis on this weblog. If you think you can do a better job, then run for election next time!

A great many people are trying very hard to make things better with very little money and scarce resources. Margate is no different to most other seaside towns in the country which are in decline and need help which government is unprepared to give.

TDC has no control of market forces and many of the key spots in the area are owned privately.

Do you for one minute think we all get together and think of smart new ways of dragging the area down or instead, look for any opportunity to pull it back up by its bootstraps?

KCC are in charge of road signs.

Anonymous said...

Ask Roger De haan to get involved, only his millions will or could do something on a scale that is truly 'regeneration' and it should be pointed out to him that Margate is a much better bet than Folkestone. Apparently mutterings from Folkestone tell me that a lot of the regeneration projects have not been all they could of been.

Anonymous said...

What a difference a couple of years make.

Interesting reading going back through some of the archived posts you made Dr M about regeneration of Margate and the Turner Centre.

For example..."Tonight, I listened to Sam Thomas, Thanet District Council’s “Regeneration Officer” at a CIBAS event, “Inspired Thanet”, at the Media Centre in King Street, Margate and wondered at the size of the gap that sometimes occupies the space between imagination and reality."

Or perhaps...

"Of course we need regeneration and the efforts of the arts community who assembled at the Media Centre tonight but I don’t quite see how the miracle of The Turner Centre will bootstrap Thanet as the new Brighton unless we start by telling eighty other local councils to stop dumping their Social Services problems on our doorstep and to give us their artists instead. But then, would the introduction of a thousand Tracey Emins’ make Thanet a better, more cultured and more prosperous place in which to live?"

Or perhaps my first line should read - "What a difference a stern party-line makes"

You were at your best Dr M when you were raising some tough questions (like us) about TDC and its efforts to turn Margate around - it is just a shame that the spin and Sandy Ezekiel's brainwashing has had such an impact on you.

DrMoores said...

Brainwashing implies some kind of programme of persuasion, which doesn't exist in this case. In all honesty, when one has to work from the inside, perceptions are a little different.

Our options here in Thanet are extremely limited. I grant you that some things can be done better and improvement made - they always can - and I will concur that a reality gap frequently exists where big projects are involved. However, we have our backs to the wall and a restricted choice of economic and financial direction. So we either throw up our collective hands and agree to live in a decaying environment or try very hard to deliver a result with what's on offer. Personally, I prefer the latter course of action!