I was deeply disappointed to see that the public toilets in Westgate were expensively 'trashed' this week and in the most disgusting manner imaginable. With public money in increasingly short supply, this type of primitive vandalism hurts the community that has to pay for the repairs and begs searching questions about the disturbed mental state of the youths responsible.
Westgate residents may have noticed over the past couple of months how much more vibrant the village has become in the middle of a recession. A very good new coffee shop in Fredericks, a new family butcher and green-grocer and a Somerfield transformed into a Co-op to name but a few changes with more to come.
In times like these, what helps a business survive is being different and catering to niche local needs, instead of attempting to compete with the larger retail chains. This is the problem that Margate High Street has suffered badly from, while Birchington and Westgate, to a lesser degree, have managed to maintain a local identity and loyalty.
There are still a couple of empty spaces in Westgate and talking with a friend last week, I fondly reminisced over Howes, the hardware shop that I recall was the magical source of paraffin and all household hardware items, much like a more modest version of Goodwins in Westbrook. If people 'shop local' then the whole community benefits as successful small businesses improve the look and feel of the town. So perhaps we have a small Westgate renaissance underway, which would indeed be something to celebrate in the run-up to Christmas 2010.