Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cash-Strapped in Westgate

I've just come in from Westgate where I can confirm the cashpoint in the town is still out of order. Thanks to the Thanet Strife weblog, I only discovered this today; as you know, I have been away this week.

Bertie Biggles writes: "Cllr King has been trying to get Cllr Latchford to help in getting a second ATM for Westgate. Cllr King has managed to persuade the owners of the building in the pic to allow an ATM to be installed but is having problems getting Nationwide or another provider to install one. Its all very complicated, but Cllr King (Ind) battles on, on behalf of Westgate with what seems precious little support. Is it because he is the last of the Mohicans, oops, last of The Independents?"

To set the record straight, the Westgate single cashpoint problem is a matter I discussed with Cllr Latchford last summer. I then approached both the banks and the building society and asked if we might have a second one installed in the village, as the existing unit frequently breaks down or becomes the target for criminal gangs trying to steal credit card details.

To cut a long story short, the reply I received was that we have two more cashpoints less than a mile away at the petrol station in the Canterbury Road and more in Birchington. The fact that some people, in the absence of a cashpoint, can't walk the distance to a second is not recognised.

I was told that the request would be considered and heard no more on the subject.

This is visibly a commercial decision. Councillors of any party can ask the banks and building societies to be helpful but the matter has, I'm afraid, little or nothing to do with the councillor's primary role in acting as an intermediary with the council in the delivery of public services.

I happen to be inconvenienced with everyone else when the cashpoint is out of order but beyond asking the banks politely, there is very little that I or Councillor King or indeed, Gordon Brown, can do to make them a little more respnsive to public needs at this time.


Peter Checksfield said...

Another thing that needs addressing is the lack of a Paypoint for Garlinge. Those people who use gas & electric pay-as-you-go meters now have to travel either to Westgate or Westbrook to charge their cards up, a 15 minute stroll even for fit & healthy people (there was a Paypoint in the shop / post office in Canterbury road but it's no longer there).

Tony Beachcomber said...

Simon, you are right on that one, the effort it took to get the cash point you already have was on par with Moses part the Red Sea.

DrMoores said...

A quick Monday update for you.

I walked-up to the cashpoint this morning, which is still out of order and bumped into Cllr King who tells me the hard drive of the machine has failed.

These are basically Windows 'boxes' running Windows NT and like any PC they fail from time to time.

Cllr Latchford has gone into the Nationwide in Margate and complained "officially" on the part of the council. Subsequently, Nationwide Building Society Head Office has called back and promised an engineer on scene to fix the problem today and rebuild the machine if necessary.

Finally, Cllr Latchford and I have written to Roger Gale MP to ask if there is any mechanism through which he can apply pressure on the 'Banks' to ensure that we have both a reliable system in Westgate and preferably a second cashpoint.

I hope that helps.