Saturday, January 19, 2008

First Zimbabwe then Margate

"Saint Bob's latest rant creates a storm in 'ugly' town of Margate", the headline in today's Independent newspaper.

The paper writes: "The latest target for the outspoken anti-poverty campaigner is not a national leader or a failed state. It's much closer to home than that. He thinks Margate is ugly!"

The leader of Thanet council, Sandy Ezekiel, challenged Geldof to "spend some time in the town to find out about our regeneration programme" and said the former Boomtown Rats singer would be "an ideal figurehead to help support the drive to revive the fortunes of the resort". He said: "I can't believe somebody of Mr Geldof's stature is saying that Margate is ugly. Of course there are deprived or derelict areas, but we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the country too. Once he's seen those, I'm hopeful Mr Geldof will become a champion for our town. Sir Bob has great connections and knows the value of sustained commitment to a cause – that's where we are with Margate.

"Its regeneration is an important ongoing plan and I am sure Sir Bob would appreciate our ambitions. I'd be very happy to show him around and tell him what we are doing."

This is a story that may run-on for some time and who knows, Sir Bob might accept and become a 'Champion' for the town. Now there's a thought! Rumour has it though that Ramsgate, not to be outdone, is lining-up U2's 'Bono', a potential ambassador of almost equal tact to Mr Geldof.

79 comments:

James Maskell said...

On the issue of ugly Margate, the issue of rubbish collection comes in. I see from a small bit in the Gazette yesterday that Cliftonville West and Margate Central are getting effectively the wheelie bin system without the wheelie bins. I live in Cliftonville West and havent had any information at all, despite what the Council claims regarding introductory leaflets in the two wards. Has there been any consultation on this? Given the number of people who speak foreign languages and have very little understanding of English at all, I can see problems ahead with getting large numbers of the residents to understand whats to happen. Am I duty bound to go through my fellow housemates rubbish to ensure we are following instructions properly?

While recycling quantities are going up (and Im sure the Council will be delighted by this) money will be diverted from fighting low level crime. As we know from the number of contributors who have spoken on the issue on this site, the problems that once existed in the Surrey Road area have now moved westwards to Dalby Square/Trinity Square area. Surely the SSCF fund can be better spent on dealing with the low level crime in that area rather than subsidising Council services in waste collection?

Anonymous said...

Dr Moores and the Tory Group must take the blame for the ugly state of Margate. The 'I don't like Margate' pop star come self serving do-gooder Bob Geldof exposed the groups neglect of Margate.

Dr Moores and his Grandad Cllr Latchford and the rest of them should put their hands up and admit what they have done to our town.


Peter Stoke

( Retired History Teacher )

Michael Child said...

You may be interested to know that the picture comes from the book Ireland’s history of Kent published in 1828 Ireland is most famous for producing fake Shakespeares of his own authorship. Known at the time as Shakespeare Ireland, his history of Kent was slated by the critics when first published. “Irelands history of Kent is a miserable performance, with pretensions to being a county history……….he does not appear to have visited the county…….”

Anonymous said...

Sandy would do better to zip it too.

DrMoores said...

"What they have done to our town" - What vacuous rubbish! - I've only been a councillor since May!

What continues to depress me is that people like Peter Stoke have so little understanding of how local government works and what powers it has. So what exactly have I or we done to our town?

Why is every notable seaside town in the country, perhaps with the exception of Brighton suffering and where will the money and the jobs come from to make things better in one of the top five most deprived areas in the country!?

Finally, do you seriously expect that I or others on the council are going to support decisions that run against the interest of general improvement to the local economy?

Ken Gregory said...

Am I being dim, or perhaps I have missed something?

The council do not employ people to drop litter, dump rubbish, vandalise, or 'Tag' walls etc. This is done by our own residents.
Same with the owners of properties that fall into disrepair. Would any of you allow a property you own to decompose and lose value?

Its easy to blame the council, whatever its political constitution, but in reality its the absentee landlords that allow the mess to happen. The main reason that shops leave the town centres in our towns is the same reason that applies to Canterbury, Rents that are far too high. Go and ask the traders in Canterbury, and you will find this to be so.

Bob G is right that there is much work to be done in Thanet, but we need help from the landlords.

Anonymous said...

Dr Moores you may have only become Councillor Moores in May but you have used your blog to brown nose the so-called Conservaives that make a hash of running our council for a long time. Its not as if you've only become pro-Tory since you were handed a safe seat,is it?

The lady who was a Westgate Tory councillor before you is a true blue Tory rather than an opportunistic fly-by councillor. My point being you are partly to blame for this very un-conservative self serving Council that is destroying Margate.


P Stoke

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that Roger Latchford is Simon Moores Grandfather ! They don't look alike, one is short and dumpy, the other tall and slim.
Mind you, they are both clean-shaven so they MUST be related.
Simon, does your Grandad fly a plane too ?

DrMoores said...

I think I'll treat the last comment with the utter contempt it deserves. As regards the party, I've been working with the Front Bench team as vice chairman of the CTF for some years now, so perhaps I'm a little closer to the principal issues and policy challenges that govern the Conservative party today rather than those of yesteryear!?

Anonymous said...

Very wise to respond to your own posting as if it were not you Dr Moores.

Michael Child said...

Ken Simon I have only had detailed dealings with TDC over maters relating to the Pleasurama development in Ramsgate, a most ugly blight in the most visible and important part of the town, and in this respect I have found it most deficient as a council. This is the largest single building to be built in Thanet that I know of and the whole project appears to be moving forward without any sort of coordination between any of the agencies involved including TDC I can find no individual in TDC either council officer or councillor able to answer the most basic questions about the project. Now as the years pass with this ugly blight affecting my town and my livelihood I have been convinced that yes it is the council that have made mistakes that they will neither admit to nor resolve. After 5 years there doesn’t seem to have been the most basic investigations into how the site could be used, despite its position on the foreshore no flood and storm assessment has been made nor has any assessment been made as to how close to the cliff one can safely build. Last week work started on the cliff fa├žade paid for by us council tax payers the people supervising the work had not been able to contact the people building the road beneath the cliff (I have since sent both parties each others phone numbers) nor have they been sent plans for the development. Now the last set of plans that I have seen show the new ground level beneath the cliff will be lower than the foundations for the cliff wall, if this is the case who will pay to underpin it or anchor it, to stop it sliding into the road, and how much longer will we have to suffer this ugly blight?

In a way I agree with you that the council is not responsible they appear to have denigrated there responsibility instead if delegated it now Ken you’re on the planning committee, what is going on?

DrMoores said...

I'm just about to remove three comments that include allegations made about a former Westgate councillor which breach the site's acceptable use policy.

I'm not entirely sure why this suddenly appeared 8 months on but sensibly, it's time to move on with the job in hand rather than dwell on the personal lives of others!

Anonymous said...

Why won't Dr Moores answer straight questions? What has he got to hide?



Peter Stoke

Anonymous said...

Too late the newspaper already has a photo shot of it Councillor

DrMoores said...

Mr Stoke, don't be juvenile. I have nothing to hide, rather, I have an acceptable use policy in place here which excludes the kind of personal allegations involving a past councillor that have appeared today.

My role with two other councillors, one of which is an independent, is to represent the people of Westgate, which I do to my best ability. If you would rather see someone else in my place, for reasons of your own, then you will have the opportunity to vote me out at the next local elections.

DrMoores said...

Newpapers are more directly bound by the libel legislation than websites, which have to expeditiously respond to a "Notice & Takedown" (NTD) requirement where defamatory content is involved.

If the local papers were in anyway interested in the insensitive allegation made about a previous councillor earlier, it would come as a great surprise to me.

I think the appropriate expression at this point 1:54 is "Get a Life"!

Ken Gregory said...

Michael, Your view of how the council have dealt with the Ramsgate seafront is, of course, your right. I would say, in defence of both this administration and the last, that Councillors have always tried to get it 'right'. There is ,and never has been, any other agenda.(at least from my view point).

Its easy to use the theory that'they all have their noses in the trough'. Well, if it were so, I obviously got missed.

Lets all get behind a Thanet that is moving on, not get embroiled in party petty arguments, and the politics of envy.

If you want to be part of it, get elected, then stand up and be counted, do not take the cowards way out and snipe from the side line

Ken Gregory said...

Ps, Michael, the last comment was not aimed at you

Michael Child said...

Ken here in Ramsgate one can only realistically get elected a TDC councillor by standing as Labour, my own ward Councillor David Green has tried like me to get answers to reasonable questions about the Pleasurama blight on the town. Effectively although I pay my taxes, I and the rest of the population of Ramsgate have no cabinet representation in TDC, were I an elected councillor I would not be able to represent the electorate in an effective way.

What I do with my spare time for the local community is to provide a local history resource, something that is becoming more necessary as TDC reduce the various publicly funded local history facilities.

Some cabinet members have gone so far with this crazy project as to arm themselves with spades and pickaxes to be photographed by the press pretending that work has started.

Now Ken I believe you are familiar with buildings so understand that a site between a cliff and the sea is a very demanding project and should have someone coordinating it who would be able to inform local people about it, is there such a person?

You were a fireman the approved plans show a ceiling too low to get a fire appliance into the car park under the residential accommodation, they also show no escape for 1,500 people who would be trapped between the cliff face and the sea in the event of an emergency like a tidal surge storm or shipping disaster, you must have some view on this. Suppose that is built to the plans you have approved and over a thousand people are killed or injured are you going to say, “I could see the dangers but didn’t think it appropriate to speak out on the matter.”

I am glad to hear you say that you are not a financial beneficiary of this project, I have often said that the developer being an offshore company where the names of the directors and the company accounts are secret puts councillors in an unfortunate position where it is impossible for them to counter accusations of this nature.

Getting behind a Thanet that’s moving on…………. No I don’t envy any of them, especially those supposedly steering.

Ken I think you will find I snipe from the front and don’t really need to be counted.

Sorry Ken I don’t understand, there is perhaps some other Michael in Thanet that you were aiming at and I er got in the way.

Mr Friday said...

I walked along Margate seafront today and, you cannot say anything else than it is a complete and utter dump.

True, staring out to sea you see the beach which is very pleasant but I think that is there due to forces of nature than any political party's actions.

But look inland to the scruffy and tatty arcades, Arlington House, and the bit which looks utterly terrible is the front where Primark is.

Anyone who says Margate is not ugly is either blind, stupid or following a party line so out of touch with reality it is laughable.

Personally, as unpalatable as it sounds I think TDC should give up on trying to maintain three towns to attract visitors and concentrate all their efforts on Broadstairs and Ramsgate seafront.

Margate is on its knees and no amount of "pseudo-regeneration" is going to turn it into Kent's equivalent of Brighton or Bournemouth.

DrMoores said...

I used to spend time on business in Dubai and Qatar. If I had the kind of money that's available there, almost as small change, then miracles could be worked above and beyond the existing regeneration efforts. Simply buy-out everyone along the sea front at whatever crazy price they demand and perhaps even acheive the same with the Arlington.

And then really do something both artistic and practical, from a tourism and leisure perspective view with the seafront.

But do I have a spare £100 million or so? I'm afraid not and so with my well-meaning colleagues, who believe it or not, really want to find a solution to the problems that Mr Friday observes, we try and do the best with what little public money we have and make every penny count.

Or do people like me, just "give-up" and walk away and live somewhere else, without the challenges, like Dubai or Australia?

It's all about trying to make a difference, however small, irrespective of being Conservative or Labour or the People's Front for Thanet. However, we have to believe that change is possible, which I believe it is but because of the finances, a relatively slow process over a span of at least five years.

Alternatively, I could simply sit on my hands and watch the tide flow in and out, which is not, I think, what people might expect of me?

Anonymous said...

I amire Dr Moores

he sounds lovely

Timmy Jones

Anonymous said...

Timmy I don't mind but are you a gay?


Mark L

Anonymous said...

Thats for me to know and Dr Moores to find out



Timmy

Anonymous said...

It does not matter what side of the fence you bat for but to say Dr Moores is lovely is not really staying on topic. He sounds like a nice guy but I'm not in to the gay thing myself, but I'm not homophobic either.

Dr Moores what is your view in the gay issue?


Thomas

Anonymous said...

It's a dreamy vista and one that makes you wonder why Thanet Council in its infinite wisdom, does so little to promote the glories of the island and, when it does, gets it so wrong - like blowing millions on a Margate art gallery-cum-turnip few locals want; giving a clandestine offshore company the rights to ruin Ramsgate seafront, and renovating a fake Viking longboat at a further plunderous cost to the ratepayer.

Steve Walton

anon again! said...

anon again!
The 'Primark' area is backed on to the High Street, so that decrepit bit of the seafront reflects from there.
Westwood Cross is the scourge of road users who still happen to live in the vicinity of the damned place. You can build bigger and bigger car parks, but no-one seems to consider the extra traffic on the totally inadequate roads in the area. It was total blind stupidity NOT to have organised these first.
2 Years on, and still the TDC/KCC (idiots) have done absolutely NOTHING to cure this problem. Have they NO backbone to do so, or are they still trying to raise funding for the next waste heap (Turner Contemporary) that they blatantly ignore the priority factors?

DrMoores said...

I don't have any views on "The Gay Issue" but occasionally buy the "Big Issue" from the polite Rumanian who stands outside Somerfield in Westgate!

DrMoores said...

in answer to 9:57.. watch this space.. I understand we inherited the failure to plan properly for the traffic around Westwood Cross but how many times to I have to keep telling people that the Turner Contemporary funding is unrelated to the local council budget!

Michael Child said...

did you get the James BLUNT edition?

Michael Child said...

it would take a brave council to just rejectt it

DrMoores said...

One last thought for today, is that I frequently see readers confusing "The Council" with its officers and "Councillors"

Without passing too much comment on the Byzantine nature of local government, what I would say is that the second, the councillors, exist in the twilight zone between the bureaucracy and the people. It's my job to try and ensure that the people who voted for me are not "run over" or treated unfairly by the former. In practise, you might be surprised at how difficult and time consuming this role can be. Local government is like a huge steam engine with its own inertia and altering its direction in even the smallest way involves rather more than standing in front of it and shouting "Stop".

Tony Beachcomber said...

Simon, perhaps it would help in the Turner center dabate if it is made clear who will be resposible for the day to day management. Plus who will be accountable for the expenditure when it is up and running.

Finaly, will TDC be displaying any of its art collection in the center. Now the Webb painting from the library entrance has a 100,000 value, plus all the collection is going on a new data base and I expect revalued.

anon again! said...

anon again!
10:27.
I find it impossible to believe that the Local Council will not be resposible in any way for any funding of the Turner Con-temporary.

DrMoores said...

I'm sorry, I'm not going back into the Turner expenditure for every new vistor to TL that asks and believes that it has something to do with TDC. There's chapter and verse on this on the website in regard to the source of funding, so please look it up!

Anonymous said...

With further reference to the state of Margate, and the building and funding of the Turner Centre, I was a young resident, in fact, growing up in the fifties and sixties so I remember the great hype, etc for Sunley and the tower block together with the shopping arcade and car park. The back-hander of a circular information centre built as a sweetener at the entrance to the station, was approved by the then local councillors, hence the mess we now have.
I guess we should ask what is par for the course for “sweeteners these days?
Also Margate residents would be wise and ask questions on why is the dual courage-way is to be taken away on Fort Hill, I suspect and believe the problem is the archway below is unsafe and rather than repair or maintain it, by just cutting away the road it s cheaper and makes more room for Turner.
Councillors please consider Dreamland cinema which is a listed building, before it catches fire. Consider this for the Turner Centre, near car part lots of vacant shops for spin-off industries, mini-galleries etc.
Finally on the subject of the Ramsgate development why cannot the roofs of the hotel and flats be in line with the cliff-top walk and designed and built to be landscaped with planters and paving. Look at the pictures on the WWW of the hotel behind the Casino in Monte Carlo. This would provide a tasteful outlook for residents in Wellington Crescent similar to the Wills Garden further along, beside the park.

Anonymous said...

Permission given for the Promenade Pub to be built specifically AGAINST the terms of the legacy.

An attempt to develop part of Dane Park specifically AGAINST the terms of the legacy, prevented only by a vigilant local history expert who bothered to find the original records at Whitfield.

Permission given for 1000 houses at Westwood,specifically AGAINST the will of the local people.

The compulsory purchase at tax payers expense of house on corner of Eastern Esplanade and Surrey Road Cliftonville. Conversion to "a highly desirable seafront development" begun months ago,scaffolding erected,site deserted for at least 4 months now.

Permission given for demolition and development of former St Georges Hotel Cliftonville. Building demolished, site empty and devoid of activity for 6 months at least.

Library trashed by hopeless and ill conceived conversion.

Tagging and smashed seafront shelters doesn't really compete does it?

Matt B said...

I feel almost compelled to bookmark this page as an example of our inability as Thanet bloggers and blog readers to stick to a single easily debated topic.

BTW: I think he was right.

DrMoores said...

10:18 you need to take your catalogue of ills up with government and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister rather thn with the council!

Michael Child said...

I think that where the council fails us is by not using the funding that is available to try and turn the trend of our collapsing tourism. A case in point is the swimming pools, the money is there to rebuild them put them on the seafront near the beaches and you add to the tourist attractions. In this area someone in Canterbury considering a day at the seaside would be more likely to opt for a town where the facilities were adjacent.

By the way the gap in Margate seafront where the buildings burnt down presumably it was insured, why wasn’t it rebuilt, or did the money go the same way as with the Pleasurama fire in Ramsgate.

Michael Child said...

Back to the ugliness, one would have thought that the lesson that should have been learnt from acts of architectural obscenity such as the 60s brutalism of Arlington House, is for the council to insist on buildings of the style of those surrounding them using traditional building materials.

This fundamental rule should be applied to Turner (K9s head without ears) Pleasurama (Titanic portholes but no lifeboats) we just don’t have to accept buildings ugly enough to win architectural prises containing art ugly enough to win art prizes.

Tony Beachcomber said...

For all rendevous site watchers, on my blog is 2 maps of the site, one 1897 and 1879.

Gerry Potez said...

I can't agree to MC's thoughts that buildings should be in keeping with their surrounds and made of traditional materials. This is why we end up with stagnant societies because it doesn't just stop there, it effects everything we do. There are thousands of examples of beautifully engineered homes that whilst different to all that surrounds it are still able to take their place in society. You can't tell me thousands of bungalows look nice in Birchington for instance, or that mock tudor semi-detached houses are original and pleasant to look at? Planners lack bravery....though some now have locked on to the huge range of options available to the modern developer. Take a look at one example: http://www.hivemodular.com/

Paul Wells said...

A BLOT ON THE LANDSCAPE

As a result of reading a letter in the Isle of Thanet Gazette on Friday, I went down to Culmers Land in Broadstairs to see what has been going on there over the Christmas period. I think what has happened is quite awful and I attach a composite picture of the footpath entrance into Culmers Land from Alexandra Road as it was in October 2007 and as it now is.

In 1998 Broadstairs & St Peters Town Council asked Trees for Thanet if it would plant 250 hedgerow trees to help screen the allotments fence and make the walk through Culmers Land from the car and coach park to the harbour more attractive for locals and visitors. 21 young volunteers carried out the task one Saturday morning in February and the young hedge was hand weeded by volunteers for the next two summers until the plants became established . As the picture shows, a rather nice wildlife hedgerow was produced.

This work has now been ruined by the most insensitive, ill-conceived and poorly placed security fencing you are ever likely to have the misfortune to come across. Whilst, I fully support the requirement to install secure fencing to prevent the scandalous attacks of vandalism that are the scourge of all allotment holders in Thanet, what has happened at Culmers Land is a disgrace and shames those responsible. Those responsible have created a barrier that has turned Culmers Land into a prison-camp with the only thing missing be-ing ‘goon towers’.

The new fence has not been built on the boundary fence of the allotments but upto 5m into the small park area and as a result cannot be screened by fresh planting in front of it as it borders the tarmac footpath. Why was it not constructed on the original fence line or was the work involved in clearing the old one away and lopping some insignificant trees too much bother? If it had been sited properly, the hedgerow planted in 1998 would have automatically have screened it and further planting would have been possible where necessary. I am sure this type of security fencing can come in a range of colours; was green not an option? This fence is on the main pedestrian route to Viking Bay beach for coach visitors and is utterly out of character for a Victorian picture post-card resort and greets visitors to the town! What regard has been paid to Thanet District Council’s motto ‘Thanet is beautiful, lets keep it that way’?

My enquiries with TDC Planning Dept have revealed that no Planning Consent was applied for this monstrosity as it was meant to be 2m high (and thus avoids the need for consent). I measured the fence at 15 points yesterday and all heights exceeded 2m 35cm and so this fence is in breach of planning regulations. I have already lodged a complaint with the planning Dept at TDC and urge your readers to do like-wise.

DrMoores said...

Paul's picture won't work in a comemnt section so you will have to use your imagination I'm afraid!

James Maskell said...

Anon 10:18, The building on the corner of Surrey Road is being done. It hasnt been abandoned. Ive seen workmen going in and out. It needs a lot of work. I remember looking at the letter on the front door shortly before the Council intervened. It was a long list of work needing to be done...

Anonymous said...

I have also been following the growing campaign against the terrible mess made in Culmers fields in Broadstairs, by the erection of a fortress like fence in front of a lovely hedgerow.

Would it be possible Dr Moores to publish the comments raised by Paul Wells above as a seperate strand, as it is rather lost on this one?

This does seem like a subject that is going to provoke a lot of local interest.

Cahz Jones

Paul Wells said...

I tend to agree with you Cahz but then I'm just a little agitated over this issue. I was disappointed that Simon put my item to him up as a 'posting' (No 45) on an old story but that's his perogative as Editor.

Trees for Thanet's young volunteers have been working for 11 planting seasons trying to improve areas of Thanet around Birchington, Manston Recreation Ground and Culmers Land and the youngsters responsible for the planting at Culmers are now in their mid to late 20s and will be unimpressed with what has happened down there. All I can say is that if you have seen Meridian News today and yesterday you will have seen that the work goes on and Shottendane Road will soon have its hedge back and a large number of wild cherry trees!

To return to the issue of Culmers Land, I have had a busy day discussing the issue with some involved with the issue and they have been courteous and as helpful as possible. TDC Planning has been back to me with the fact that they gave it approval as not requiring Planning Consent (despite its height and sensitive location) as it was effectively an internal TDC initiative. I have been back to them to ask for clarification on the fact that Broadstairs & St Peters (responsible for Culmers Land) is a Parish Council and that Culmers ,unlike all the other TDC sites is NOT TDC property and that the Parish Council should be treated as any other private citizen and that the 2m rule should either be adhered to or Planning Consent be applied for. I await clarification in due course.

I just ask myself, this simple question: If I was the private owner of Culmers Land Alotments and erected the fence in the location and size that it is, how soon would TDC, quite rightly, be on my case with instructions to move it back to the correct boundary and comply with height regulations? Very quickly I should imagine!
In that case, TDC and the parish Council should apply exactly the same standards for its own work as it would for the citizens they serve, the people of Thanet. this fence needs to be moved back and reduced in height to still give adequate security to the allotments.

Paul Wells

DrMoores said...

Paul
As I mentioned in my reply to your original request, I'm not sure it merits its own story/thread but I may be wrong. My recommendation was that you approach the Broadstairs councillor who has the land in his ward to take the appropriate action and then if that doesn't have the appropriate effect, in regard to the planning issues then by all means come back to me to broaden the publicity.

Paul Wells said...

Simon,
I have e-mailed all Broadstairs & St Peters Parish Councillors displaying e-mail addresses on their council site ( some of them are of course double -hatted!) and Bradstowe Ward TDC Councillors. The more I dig into this, (sorry about the unintended pun) the picture seems to be that Cllrs may not have been particularly involved in the detail of what, where, when and how, and TDC officers and Town Clerk may have just got on with it based on broad approval. I am sure the result has probably horrified some of them as much as some allotment holders and Broadstairs people I have spoken to. I hope that common sense prevails and that despite some extra cost, everyone ends up with a secure fence for the allotment holders and an attractive recreation area and walk through.

Paul Wells

Anonymous said...

So, when do you decide what merits a thread! When it might possibly be against the ruling party! Shame on you! What a shame you did not stand as an independant councillor, then you could have done your best for Thanet.

Rather than toe your party line and put up any thread that was against the Labour party, you could have done something for the people of Thanet!

The mess at Culmers Field is going to blow up in peoples faces, do you not have your own views anymore?

This was a good blogsite when you, an intelligent and balanced person, saw through the party polital rubbish!

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, Broadstairs is part of Thanet, even if you do not regard our problems of being of any interest!

DrMoores said...

"So, when do you decide what merits a thread?"

When it's my weblog! It's rather like saying to the editor of the Gazette, "So, when do you decide what merits a news story?"

I have added the story to a thread. It has provoked some comment and I'm not convinced at present that the size of the fence is of sufficient interest to create a standalone story - That's it.

I also replied at 10:03 that if the story broadens then it might be worth revisiting as a standalone story. So do try and keep up!!

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that whatever kind of fence is put up, someone (probably NOT an allotment holder) is not going to like it. People don't like their hard work and money trying to grow vegetables being trashed by vandals either.
If the fence id unsightly to a few it's tough.

Paul Wells said...

1.59, in a way you are probably right! The point about this fence is that an ill-thought easy erection was opted for rather than clearing away the line of the original boundary fence (a small walnut pailing fence)and placing the fence there. This would have required some ground and vegetation clearance and lopping of trees but would have been automatically screened for half its length by a hedge planted 10 years ago at behest of Broadstairs & St Peters Council; the very purpose for which the hedge was planted! The other half , if it had been placed correctly would have had space for planting in front of it. If you want to see something absurd (Simon didn't post the pic sent to Thanetlife)go to Eastcliffrichard.blogspot.com and see the new security fence now screening a natural wildlife hedge. This is what the issue is about!
Paul Wells

DrMoores said...

Regardless of ECR headlining the fence story as evidence of some kind of Tory plot, because it's found here and not in a separate story on its own, I repeat, in it's present form, I don't believe it merits a seperate column. Some readers appear to have missed the point that the story has been published here and has not in fact been covered-up. Indeed, quite because it appears here, it has enjoyed considerable publiciity which it may not have attracted if I had ignored it completely!

This is presently a TDC planning department issue and unless I'm misinformed, the planning department has nothing whatsoever to do with the Conservative group, even though some readers are trying to claim so by whipping-up a frenzy elsewhere!

But everyone loves a good conspiracy story so perhaps I'll think twice before publishing anyone's letter in future!

Paul Wells said...

Simon,
The last information I was given by TDC Planning Dept was that Parks Department queried the need for Planning Consent in regard to height and were advised that none was needed as it was a TDC 'in-house'operation to put fences around all allotments. I am still awaiting a response to my enquiry concerning the fact that Culmers Land was not TDC land but Broadstairs & St Peters 'Parish Council' and whether the advice given was thus valid in respect of The Culmers Land allotments fence. Unless you know otherwise, it would seem that this issue is not a Planning Issue, unless TDC plannings advice to Parks Dept was wrong in respect of Culmers Land and this is now being looked at.

The issue is one of a fence installed by contractors on detailed instructions, not of Councillors but by Parks Dept and Town Clerk and installed badly in terms of impact, lack of screening and appearance, at a sensitive site in the heart of Broadstairs.

I fully support the need for a security fence at allotments and it gives me no pleasure in criticising those responsible for the erection of the fence at Culmers Land ,as I know their intentions were good.
That does not alter the fact that its positioning was wrong and it is now an intrusive eyesore; perhaps our Councillors and those involved, now need to recognise this fact. From recognition and acceptance that 'this was all a bit of a rushed and botched job' will come the will to do something about it. Yes, it may be costly to rectify but that should not preclude doing the job properly.

On the issue of whether this story is deserving of its own 'slot' or not; that is entirely your editorial perogative. However, the wading through of 45 old and well read posts to get to it could be considered by some over in Ramsgate to be the editorial equivalent of 'burying it'! Thanetlife has been in the forefront of bringing to peoples attention 'proposed blots on the landscape' in regards to unsuitable planning applications; I can understand why some might consider that the creation of a new and real blot on the landscape in Broadstairs by our own Council might warrant a greater profile on Thanetlife.

Paul Wells

Anonymous said...

"So, when do you decide what merits a thread?"

When it's my weblog! It's rather like saying to the editor of the Gazette, "So, when do you decide what merits a news story?"

With respect to you and your blog site, Dr Moores, you set this site up, and you invite comment!

It is rather lame to then start baulking when people start disagreeing with you!!

"It's my football and I want it back, boo, hoo!"

If you cannot take the fact that people, possibly as intelligent as you, and I do say possibly, may take a different stand to yours, then I suggest you do something else other than run a blogsite inviting comments!

Burying a story deep in a different strand is hardly being helpful is it!

Thanet ( as in Thanetlife ) does imply that you cover other areas other than Westgate. Or is it only when there is the chance of having a dig at the opposition party!

DrMoores said...

The story wasn't buried 12:13 it simply did not merit - in my opinion - as the editor - a separate story entry. If it had, I would have run it. Perhaps I'm supposed to run every letter about every item, including planning disputes that people send me.

It's a fence, it's not a caravan site or a block of flats. it's an item of mention and interest, perhas even concern to local residents but nobody else has contacted me on it until now.

It is not, from where I sit, a news story which merited an instant contribution of space on my weblog!

It is not a political story either!

Paul Wells said...

I agree with you Simon about it not being a political matter;it is just plain incompetence and ill-thought out construction without any regard for its impact. It becomes a political matter when the problem is not addressed. I will send you an e-mail with more detailed pictures that will clearly demonstrate that this is not 'just a fence'. TDC 'waived' planning considerations and ineptly and crudely had it erected. If its 'just a fence' would you happily accept it down at the green area close to your home? I doubt it.

Its not a local issue yet?; this is just the lull before the storm erupts and Thanetlife was given the story first.

Paul Wells

Eastcliff Richard said...

What is is about TDC and fencing? For almost three years that hideous Heras temporary fencing has disgraced our lovely East Cliff over here on the posh side of the island. Now this abomination in Broadstairs.

'Thanet is Beautiful'? Give us a break!

Anorak Fence Spotter said...

Finger strain, waiting to scroll down here to leave a comment. It may not be burying a topic but its close. ECR, you are right, what is it with TDC and fences? If the fence in Broadstairs is such an eyesore, and the picture we cannot see except over at your blog, indicates its pretty bad, why is it not being looked at? We could organise an open bus tour of Thanet's TDC Ghastly Fences as the latest tourist attraction. We could include the fencing at Dreamland that never got planning Consent either.

DrMoores said...

Just a thought! I did make one of my rare forays over to the ECR site yesterday and left a comment of explanation against his story, where it was suggested that I didn't print photos of fences for sinister "political" reasons. That comment was not published.

Perhaps I simply found a photograph of a fence uninteresting and the person who sent it has already conceded that it's a planning issue which requires resolution and I agree but not necessarily through this weblog!

Anonymous said...

" Tasteful galvanised steel that glistens and shimmers in the bright sunlight"

"Planning regulations busting height that towers above you"

"Poor positioning that the very best of fly by night cowboy contractors can give you"

" Allotment security that Guantanamo Bay would eat their hearts out for"

THIS IS JUST NOT FECING,
IT'S TDC FENCING

Paul Wells said...

Simon,
I have not conceded that the issue of the security fence at Culmers land is 'a planning matter'. On my 11.02 posting I said that " it would seem that this issue is not a planning issue unless TDC Planning's advice to Parks Dept was wrong". This whole debacle seems to have arisen precisely because it was not a planning 'issue'; TDC exempted itself from normal planning regulations and procedures and the job was done quickly and without due thought and consideration. If only it had been a planning Application issue! This would have made the whole business open to close scrutiny and inspection by the electorate, interested parties and their councillors.
Whether this was wise, with hindsight, is a matter for Councillors to sort out and instruct officers in Parks Dept to rectify if they so direct. It is a mess and needs sorting.
You are being didingenious when you state "Perhaps, I found a photograph of a fence un-interesting"; the issues involved are far more serious than such a flippant comment deserves. I cannot believe you fail to realise the 'farcical'situation of an environmental group, Trees for Thanet, being asked by Broadstairs & St Peters Council to help it screen an unsightly fence around allotments at Culmers Land in 1998 with a wild-life hedgerow,which is then fenced in 10 years later, once it is mature, by an unsightly huge security fence; by the very same Broadstairs & St Peters Town Council (aided and abetted by TDC Parks Dept and TDC Planning Dept). What message does this give to our young people trying to improve the local environment in some small but positive way?

Paul Wells

DrMoores said...

I repeat Paul, I found the story and the photograph of a fence to be of no great interest from my own editorial perspective. It is a planning matter and I have had no part in it and there it rests.

I published your letter in good faith and now you have had the publicity you required. Now what else do you want from me?

Paul Wells said...

Nothing at all, Simon.

I am perfectly happy for you to exercise editorial control on what you post and what you do not. I have said that this is entirely your perogative on a number of occasions above.
At 9.28, I am just drawing your attention to the fact that I have not conceded that this is a planning matter; unless it has now become one! I am still in communication with TDC Planning Dept and there does seem to be an issue on who has responsibility for the 'ground' at Culmers Land but that is not massively relevant as the 'Fence' is an actuality.

However, your previous editorial policy and articles concerning potential blight and blots on the Thanet landscape from Westgate to Ramsgate would lead me to consider that the issues behind what has happened at Culmers Land would in fact be of interest to you and Thanetlifers and be consistent with your past editorial perspective.

I still maintain that this is a monumental and unnecessary 'own goal' by TDC that perhaps our elected representatives can collectively sort out. I am aware of and understand the constraints that you must respect and adhere to in your capacity as a TDC Councillor,on an issue like this but I hope,as I am sure that you do ,that sanity and commonsense prevails.
Best wishes, Paul Wells.

Karen said...

In february 1998, at the age of fifteen I helped plant what turned out to be a magnificent hedgerow at Culmers Land. It was really rewarding to see the hedgerow develop over the last ten years. It made a real impact to the area. I am shocked and appalled that the Thanet District Council has erected such a hideous fence in front of the hedgerow with complete disregard for it being there. Why not put it behind the hedgerow on the original fencing line? It is ugly,unecessary and completely ruins all the hard work put in by young volunteers. What example does it give to the young volunteers of today who are continuing to do the same good work and trying to keep thanet beautiful?
In my opinion - as someone who planted this hedgrerow - the news of this fence does merit a seperate story entry.

Anonymous said...

Im 20 years old and have lived in Thanet all my life. Firstly, I'd like to second what Karen has just posted.

This story certainly merits its own entry.

Secondly, and without getting into the whole political debate, I'd like to simply express my opinion, that which I feel is probably the same opinion that many, many young people in Thanet have.

TDC don't make Thanet a nicer place to live, they do the opposite! They spend our money in ways that simple irritate young people. This story is just one more that gives young people of thanet that opinion. Theres not much respect for thanet council among the teenagers, not because we're all idiots sitting around train stations who simply resent authority. No, this is the case because a lot of young people resent the fact that they grow up in an environment that gets uglier year on year because of TDC.

The same "help keep our area clean" bins exist in Bristol, as do said idiots that resent authority. Nevertheless, Bristol is tidy, has far less graffiti, has little rubbish rotting on the street and generally is a lovely place to stay. The reason? I'd say there's not the same view among teenagers. They realise that a lot of time and money is spent making the environment a nice place to live, and they are grateful for that.

Not the same story in Thanet: almost every town is scarred with graffiti that mindless idiots love to spray. Theres always rubbish along Margate highstreet collecting in the doorways of shutdown businesses. Margate is a mess, and it's much the same story for the rest of Thanet. Not only do young people resent the council for the ugly environment, but they also go and ruin the little environmental work that young people can get involved in.

Having recently driven along the back roads like the Shotendane, what a fabulous job the Trees for Thanet group is doing!! Imagine if you were a young person: having spent endless saturdays digging holes in the ground and weeding hedgerows, how would you feel if a group of people (claiming to make Thanet beautiful!) came along and put big fences in front of it? Well, I'm sure you wouldn't have much respect for that group.

It's a bit of a joke in Thanet, teenagers are bombarded with slogans, and told that they can make a difference! So they do just that, try to make a difference. And then comes along the very authors of the slogans who preached that children in schools can make a difference and in a one hypocritical swipe - ruin what those teenagers have worked so hard to do. WELL DONE! KEEP UP POLICIES LIKE THIS TDC, YOU'RE BOUND TO GET TEENAGERS ON YOUR SIDE!!

DrMoores said...

Two comments from 3:34 grabbed my attention:

The first:

"TDC don't make Thanet a nicer place to live, they do the opposite! They spend our money in ways that simple irritate young people"


and

"Not only do young people resent the council for the ugly environment, but they also go and ruin the little environmental work that young people can get involved in."

A council exists to provide services, which include keeping the environment clean and tidy, as far as possible and within a limited budget. It doesn't set-out to "irritate" youn people but simply has a wider remit and more challenges and costs than people realise.

Ewen Cameron said...

I confess I slightly lost the will to live on this thread about half way down, and missed the bits about my patch – Broadstairs.

On the allotments issue, we seem to have a bit of a two-way pull with some plot holders wanting fencing, others not. There has been a formal request for an improved gate, though.

The Council’s not there to do things people don’t want, and the Officer dealing with this is trying to arrange a plotholders meeting to determine what the consensus is.

As regards the Vere Road car park footpath, I agree it’s hardly aesthetic. The reason the fencing wasn’t put up further back was that it would necessitate grubbing up an old and well established hedgerow, and it was felt this would be rather unpopular.

It looks like we can get some EAP funding allocated for buy and plant hedging plants, which, once they are established, should improve the appearance somewhat.

In the medium term, the best development for this path might be the Broadstairs Traffic Plan Phase 2. At the recent multi-agency meeting on the development of the plan, the under-use of the car park, and the need to improve both it, and the footpath were pretty much common to everyone there. This implies lighting and maintaining it properly, In its present state, I would want my wife or daughters going down there on there own at night, and I suspect others would probably feel the same.

Quite what funding we can win to do this remains to be seen, but it’s on the “to do” list as far as I am concerned.

Regards to all

Cllr Ewen Cameron
(Bradstowe Ward)

Anonymous said...

HOLY HEDGEROWS BATMAN,and there was I thinking that this matter did not warrant it's own thread!

Just goes to show doesn't it, the good Doctor is not always right!

Physician heal thy self! Oh, off course, your not a real Doctor are you! Just looks good in the publicity shots!

Anonymous said...

Nasty comments do you no credit, 11.17 although you do have a point about getting down the list to see Cllr Cameron's comment!

The Vere Road fencing section is down the slope on lower ground and as a result its reduced visual impact can be easily sorted as Cllr Cameron suggests by planting; there is sufficient space in front of it. The real problem that has to be addressed is found when you walk up into Culmers Land from the Vere Rd car-park!
PFW

DrMoores said...

"HOLY HEDGEROWS BATMAN,and there was I thinking that this matter did not warrant it's own thread!"

11:17 sounds familiar to me but he really needs to pay attention. But it is a long thread so I will give hm the benefit of the doubt!

Should he wander back through the thread, he will see that much of the activity here and elsewhere, on other weblogs, surrounds some kind of political conspiracy theory involving a buried story.

Rather like "Occams razor" - 'All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best' - it was simply a matter of reading the story, not finding it particuarly riveting but doing the author a favour by posting it to a busy thread to see if it would provoke further comment.

It did,it received the attention I'm sure the author of the letter wished for. The appropriate ward councillor is now involved and overall it's a good result.

So please try and keep up in future 11:17 or simply go back to where you came from rather than trying to make mischief!

Anonymous said...

Interesting to see there is still activity down in the depths! A pity about the lack of a picture though, Doc. Had to visit ECR which is not normally a pleasure, to see what all the fuss is about. The pictures illustrate why some are up in arms. This type of fence normally consists of sections bolted on to up-right posts;not riveting but a bit more like Meccano.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Dr Moores, you say: I did make one of my rare forays over to the ECR site yesterday and left a comment of explanation against his story, where it was suggested that I didn't print photos of fences for sinister "political" reasons. That comment was not published.

The reason your comment was not published is presumably because you bottled it and refrained from pressing the PUBLISH YOUR COMMENT button. As regular readers of my blog (unlike yourself and, presumably, the previous unenlightened commentator) will know, I have never censored comments that do not fit in with my view of the world. Not even when one of your well-rounded Thanet Lifers added the Wildean bon mot: I'm f*cked off with left wing c*nts like you.

What a shame the same cannot be said of your good self!

DrMoores said...

Grow-up ECR!

What others choose to write on your website is not my concern.

The comment presumably disappeared into Blogger hyperspace. They occasionally do, I've discovered!

Anonymous said...

Christmas bonhomie was shortlived by the look of it and good to see that two editors of excellent Thanet blogs are 'mixing' it down in the depths with fellow zombies buried in "Zimbabwe then Margate". We humbler mortals can just sit back and 'enjoy' as normal friction is resumed! I must say it would have helped to have had a separate strand and a piccie; as Ewen Cameron said on another post that he did not know this fence business was going on down in the depths. What a pity that the most commented on 'post' in Thanetlife's existence will soon disappear into archive history.

Anonymous said...

Thanks ECR for sending me this way! this fence business seems rather rum; better take dog for walk in Boredstairs and have a look. Got to get out of here though, first!