Friday, March 04, 2011

Hartsdown Park, Webcasting and a New Nottingham

For readers who might be interested in watching, the video of last week's council meeting is now online and can be found here. The part of the meeting that concerns the Football Club and consultation on Hartsdown Park can be found at 4:56 here.

Please note council leader Bob Bayford's supporting remarks on the consultation process and Cllr Clive Hart's comments on Dalby Square which attempt to introduce a planning 'Red Herring' into the debate, the size of the beached Whale now in Pegwell Bay. However nobody took the bait on the Conservative side of the floor.

Cllr Bayford's, warm endorsement of Cllr Hart's decision to remain as Leader of the Labour Group can be found at 13:50.

Unfortunately the camera cuts when the opposition play the role of unruly schoolchildren and so all viewers ever see is the Conservative side sitting down until the Labour front bench have finished their barracking.

At minute 110 Cllr Mike Harrison ('I'm a Dinosaur')  starts a small debate about the value of the Internet, new technology and further development of the council website and at 112.35, I attempt to explain what the council is trying to do to leverage this technology to reach out to the people who need it most. I'm sure Michael Child will be interested.

Minute 134.38 and Cllr Poole's big moment and his speech on the state of the economy and the great international banking conspiracy that caused the crisis is possibly the funniest part of the evening and is recommended viewing.

Whatever your political slant or opinions of councillors of all sides, it does show how local democracy works and will perhaps shape your opinions on who you consider the best party to lead Thanet into the future beyond May.

Finally, I see that Councillor Nottingham has a spangly new website and is taking personal credit for the webcasting of council meetings. Funny that, given that as arguably if not demonstrably, the most isolated member of the Labour opposition, I can't say I recall ever seeing him present at any of the meetings which involved setting-up the pilot, which of course lies in my portfolio. It's important to note that as a council, we couldn't justify the cost of 'Live' webcasting and so I opted for the recording of meetings we now have. I will confess however, that I did say once in council, I was grateful  for his support and remain so.

One would have to be politically naive indeed not to remark at the timing of this new web presence, given what appears to be an internecine struggle in the Labour Group. Clearly Mark is making a highly visible statement here and it will be interesting to see how it plays out with his colleagues with only two weeks to go before we Councillors have to suspend all political comment (Purdah) in the run-up to the election.

Those readers who may recall seeing the photo on his new website before may wish to guess at which former Labour leader is now missing from the left-hand side of his photograph. I couldn't possibly comment but it's not Clive Hart or Leon Trotsky either


Anonymous said...

I thought people were requested to speak into the microphones. Pity some people did not as I cannot lipread so it was a waste of time trying to listen to gobbleygook.

DrM. said...

The way the system works is that the speakernon the live microphone and the camera are synched. Opposition barracking causes problems because it cam be picked and impacts the sound quality

Tony Beachcomber said...

Purdah, what a load of nonsense. In other words freedom of speech is suspended by whom?

James said...

Why is it a load of nonsense Tony and why does it suspend freedom of speech?

Bluenote said...

Sadly freedom of speech is much abused and frequently used as a justification for what amounts to ill mannered behaviour. How nice it would be to see our supposed adult representatives behaving responsibly, listening to both sides of a case and reaching informed decisions. Instead we get barracking, shouting down of opponents and introduction of unrelated subjects for the purpose of political point scoring.

Have looked at Mark Nottingham's new site, but have to question who in their right mind would want to watch a TDC meeting even if it were broadcast. I can think of better things to do.

DrM. said...

'Purdah' may become fashioned and goes back a long way but the intention is to create a level playing field where candidates are constrained by rules and self promotional expenses limits.

It's in no way a rsstriction of free speech

DrM. said...

I grant you that council meetings are about as thrilling as reruns of Eastenders but in some circumstances which are seen as controversial or great public interest, it may be useful, as with Hartsdown Park to hear and see exactly what is taking place and what the arguments are!

ThanetReaper said...

Your meetings would be more watchable if I attended.
No bullshit, so imagine how short the proceedings would be?
I too have seen Nottingham's brand-spanking-new-blog. After 4 years of doing f all, he emerges, blinking into the sunlight and starts claiming to have righted the wrongs allover Thanet.
Does he wear his underpants over his tights!
Yes we all believe him. lmao!

itmike said...

I think i will stand for council, i can build websites.

Just another DFL said...

Clr. Mick Tomlinson - he of the "talk up Margate campaign". How about having a word, and between you lot of councilors have a look at what can be done about the high street and seafront.

Rather than put this onto the residents, the councilor should actually do something about the FACT that 37% of shops are empty.
for starters:
1. Don't allow expansion of Westwood Cross, if a retailer wants to set up than they should be pointed towards all the available space in the town.
2. When Travelodge ask to have a new hotel at the football ground, with no bars or restaurant around. Turn down the application and suggest that they redevelop a building in the town centre where the station is, where there are bars and restaurants, where people may want to come to the beach for the weekend!
3. If Primark leave Margate, tell Tesco there you go you can have that as your new Tesco Metro, rather than bend over to let them take the parking land from Arlington House.
This council seem to have no idea what to do to help regenerate the area and pin their hopes on big projects rather than look at organic growth. I have no problem with TC, but an airport nobody wants to fly from, a new train station in the middle of nowhere taking more people away from the centre of town. This out of town developlment mentality is just plain depressing, and shows a lack of creativity or any kind of respect for the town.

DrM. said...

What sort of confuses me is why you blame the council for empty shops? A council exists to provide services, collect taxes and encourage development etc where grants and such like allow. It can force any business in a particular direction if it doesn't wish to trade there.

The retail economy has changed everywhere and Margate is a symptom of a much wider problem. However the development of the Old Town demonstrates that niche development may offer a way forward for struggling High Streets.

It comes down DFL to your not knowing or having access to what I know in terms of facts and figures and projects and initiatives and more and you will have to take it on trust that everything that can be done is being done to regenerate across Thanet.

Anonymous said...

There has been very little news lately regarding the Hartsdown Park issue, the local papers appear to be reporting everything but this at the moment.
What has happened since the public meeting at Westgate, which was a total waste of time, especially as it was so one sided towards the football club and any intelligent questions from local residents were just heckled down with no intervention from the inadequate chairperson.
As i understood it, the club were due to re apply to the council, yet Mr Piper stated they would not do this, When will the public consultation actually take place and when/where does this happen.As a local resident opposed to the development I would like a lot more information on what's happening, I'm just glad that this site is here to be able to ask the question.

DrM. said...

Margate FC is 'Work in Progress' and there's an announcement on their website.

An amended application has been sent to the council and this now has to go through the Planning process.

So really nothing dramatic to report at this time. Consultation is further down the road and would be a consequence of any application for a lease.

DrM. said...

Sorry, iPad predictive typing caught me out in the earlier comment.

Should be "The Council can't"

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the update Simon, please keep us all informed on developments regarding Hartsdown.

Just another DFL said...

Do i blame the council for empty shops - well not directly. But you also say the council should help encourage development and that's where the council can help by ensuring developments are to the benefit of the town centre or help improve the appearance of the town centre and sea front for visitors or potential new businesses.
So point retailers towards the town centre, turn down planning applications that have no benefit to regeneration (Travelodges at Westwood or by the football ground) or hideous tacky ideas for painting the lighthouse.

DrM. said...

You can point them where you like but without the infrastructure and the projected income to support a development, they won't come.

The rest we look at closely and there's a level of support for a cleanly painted light house on the harbour arm