Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wedding Bells for Ed the Red

I read today that Ed Miliband is to marry partner Justine Thornton on May 27th but brother David won't be best man. Not really a surprise, Ed getting married at last that is or perhaps more of a case of being dragged kicking and screaming to the altar to avoid any more media intrusion into his personal life. I assume the vows will be heavily scripted, much like Prime Minister's Question Time, so good luck to him and her of course and to any future little Milibands yet to come.

Give that the ceremony will be taking place outside the comfortable security of London, this is a one time opportunity for any well-wisher, Trades Unionist, anarchist or fellow politician of any persuasion to place an aircraft banner message above Langar Hall hotel near Nottingham. Perhaps a personal message of congratulations from Thanet's Labour Group or even 'The' Cllr Nottingham himself? I have sent a text message giving the RMT's Bob Crow first refusal but anyway you know where to find me!

I've had some emails and a call from the local paper in regard to Margate Football Club and might assume that some confusion may have been prompted by Cllr Iris Johnston's letter in last week's Thanet Gazette. This did cause me some surprise and perhaps a little amusement, given that the club is not in her ward and there being an election just around the corner.

Just to be clear and as I understand matters, nothing has changed. There has been a constructive debate with the club who are now seeking approval for an 'amended' planning application  to build a Travelodge hotel and that is going through a proper process with council officers,with another meeting between everyone involved in two weeks. The matter of public consultation on any lease involving Hartsdown Park remains unchanged and quite why disinformation, which suggests the council has arbitrarily changed its mind on the subject is being spread about I don't know.

Anyway, that enough for now and I'm off to the AGM for Thanet College.


Michael Child said...

Simon I know the Hartsdown Park Margate Football Club issue is a bit out of my area, but my understanding of the issue is that it is the football cub wanting to put a fenced off artificial pitch in the middle of the park, effectively cutting the park in half that is getting people’s backs up.

I don’t think that people are that bothered about the hotel, which is within the football club’s boundary and smaller than the one already granted permission.

There has been some suggestion that the notice of application wasn’t properly displayed in the area where the park is to be cut in half and that the council were at fault, in as much as local people who use the park were unaware of this proposal.

I assume that you have seen the plans and the way the park would be cut in half, with no public access between the new full sized artificial pitch and the existing five a side ones.

Does all this mean that the council are going to address the problem of the park being cut in half, or does this mean that the council are going to go through the motions of consulting local people while ignoring the main issue i.e. cutting the park in half?

DrM. said...


I refer you back to my quite detailed explanations in earlier posts which attracted considerable comment.

Those people directly involved in the matter from both the residents and the football club are quite familiar with the issues under discussion, contentious and otherwise and do not, I believe, need to have them explained all over again.

The council is not going through any 'Motions' as you put it. everything is being conducted properly and transparently.

Michael Child said...

Simon you may have noticed that the council have published a deed of variation to the football clubs lease today, ref F/TH/11/0224 and some other documents including an illegible map on their planning website. Although not published until today this document appears to date from the 10th August last year and does seem to allow the football club to cut the park in half.

I had assumed that your posting about the issue and the plans and the documents being published by the council had some sort of connection and that your intention in posting about it on a public forum was to discuss the issue.

DrM. said...

Yes, it should disappear shortly. UK Planning, which holds and publishes all our local planning information details as it does other councils in the land, is experiencing technical problems and in fact F/TH/11/0224 is 8 ST LAWRENCE AVENUE, RAMSGATE, CT11 0DL and not MARGATE FOOTBALL CLUB, which is F/TH10/0224.

A deed of variation has been published against the wrong application so there is nothing to be concerned about there.

Michael Child said...

Simon obviously I saved the Football Club deed of variation and it is a matter of moment for me to re publish it on the internet should it vanish from the UK planning site.

But still the question remains is it the intention to cut the park in half?

DrM. said...

I really have no idea what you are talking about. The matter has been explored exhaustively by all the interested parties who are involved and so i have no interest in resurrecting the matter here.

Nothing has changed the proper processes are being followed and the interested parties engaged. There is nothing more to add.

Publish what you like, as ive explained its an old document in the earlier comment

DrM. said...

I'm not allowing the comment ive just deleted

1) it suggests corruption and I'm sick to death of such allegations. If the the author has evidence rather than prejuduce, then take this to the police but don't expect me to provide a platform

2) What happens or may happen at Hartsdown will be a subject of proper public consultation and without approval nothing new which may involve the leasing of public land will take place.

Michael Child said...

Simon I am still getting

Description: Please see Application Form
Application No: F/TH/11/0224
Online Ref:
Date Opened: 30 Mar 2011
Status: decided

I can’t find F/TH10/0224. that you say is the right Margate Football club one.

By this I mean newly published documents and maps that haven’t appeared before and that do seem to change the issue, could you kindly have a look at them and see what you think.

You seem to have got into your head that I am trying to be difficult here, rather than just point out that changes have been published today, either by accident or design that appear to effect this issue.

DrM. said...


I dont know how many different ways i can explain that UK planning is not TDC. The council uploads its applications which are then hosted and published by UKPlanning

I wrote earlier that my information is that UKPlanning is experiencing problems this week and the Hartsdown document is the consequence of a transposition. Kicking off (pun) some kind of conspiracy theory really isnt helpful and i have no intention of Looking into anytning as absolutely nothng has changed.

Anonymous said...

"while ignoring the main issue i.e. cutting the park in half?"

Mr Child if you cared to look at the plans shown at the meeting at the Pavilion, or on the football website or as shown in the local paper or study the planing application on the UK Planning site you will see that the park is NOT cut in half and there is plenty of room for anyone to stroll across Hartsdown Park to Tivoli Park and back again

DrM. said...

UK Planning tell me the fault has now been corrected and the reference number should now point at the correct document. By sheer coincidence it was the year reference in F/TH/ 'YEAR', '10' rather than '11' that pointed a Ramsgate application at the older Hartsdown document

Michael Child said...

Simon 10.37 sorry about the delay in replying, my day off today and I have been otherwise engaged, I should like to make it clear that I am not trying to be mischievous here, nor do I have any particular motive as I rarely use the park.

My main interest is to separate what is actually going on from the myth and rumour surrounding this issue, I think the primary concern relates to the amount of the park that may be lost to the public and that the park may be split by the addition of a new artificial pitch which I understand will be fenced off, with no public footpath between it and the already fenced off club and five aside pitches.

The initial plans I saw for this came from the UK Planning website that the council uses to publish its plans, then this series of documents that I haven’t seen before was published, apparently inadvertently on the UK Planning website, showing one plan that seemed to split the park even more and another that was illegible. I have published them all at  in the order that I have mentioned them. These have now vanished from the UK planning website and may have been some sort of error or outdated plans.

I then did as 10.37 suggested and looked at the plans on the Margate Football Club  once again these plans do seem to show the new fenced pith extending pretty much right across the park.

What I don’t understand is, which plans they intend to develop to and if there is any public access between the fenced off pitches. If either of you understand, perhaps you can explain, if not I will ask the council’s planning department.

Andrew said...

There's something very sad about Simon's first paragraph. It's sad that politics has so divided the Miliband family that the elder brother cannot be the younger one's best man. It's sad that a Thanet blogger should seem to take some pleasure from this; I have no doubt the vows will be identical to those that all other couples make on their wedding day - I wasn't aware that we were allowed much latitude in this and I certainly wasn't aware that wedding vows were written by political parties. And this from someone who is constantly harping on about the trivial nature of Labour comment!!
And no, I consider myself well to the right of Red Ed or anyone else in his Party. Just once in a while it would be nice if politicians laid off the personal attacks. He is, after all, only embracing one of the supposed Victorian values

DrM. said...

Michael, other than mischief, after all you live in Ramsgate I really can't grasp the sudden interest in football matters.

Everything has been explained very clearly to everyone directly involved and debated with fierce interest. I'm not directly aware of any restriction on public access and it is after all a moot point because it would involve a subject of public consultation anyway!

DrM. said...

I'm not taking any pleasure.. it's a straight newspaper quote...!

Anyway, one might wonder if Ed would have popped the question or indeed even bothered to sign his own child's birth certificate if he hadn't been pressured by public opinion?

If Bob Crow wants to put a banner over the wedding then I can make it up to him!!

Anonymous said...

" these plans do seem to show the new fenced pith extending pretty much right across the park."

just leaving 100 yards in which to squeeze through to cross Hartsdown Park!!!!

ascu75 aka Don said...

12.05 how much space does it take to get anyone through. I dont know of anyone who cant get though a 100 yard gap.

Michael Child said...

Simon this isn’t a sudden interest, I first posted about this issue on 16th July last year, see I may be wrong as your tagging varies a bit but I think this is about six months before you did.

There are a mixture of issues here, one being a TDCIT issue, which is really about notifying people about issues that effect a lot of people, like changes to a public park, at the moment the council don’t even publish a list of new planning applications on their website, let alone one with all the applications that only effect immediate neighbours sifted out.

I do my best on and this isn’t easy because the council’s planning website, as you point out is prone to errors. When things go wrong in my efforts to this I don’t get any help from the council, in the last case not even a timely reply.

You may of course think that in putting notifications of the latest council documents, that I can find, on the internet has some sort of hidden motive, but frankly it doesn’t, I don’t link to some of these document because they are so badly published that I can’t.

Another issue here is the way planning applications notices are displayed, to say after the event that no one knew about it because the notice wasn’t displayed in the immediate area of the development appears to be no defence. I believe that Thanet developers have cottoned on to this and have strategies to take advantage of this situation.

Over the application that splits the park up, because of some error mine or the council’s I missed it, the people who use the park missed it too as there was no notification notice in the park. Obviously the council passed the plans before anyone effected knew about them and I suppose these plans will stay in the background until they expire.

What you are saying I think is “trust the council” trouble is that their track record in terms of looking after the interests of local residents leaves something to be desired.

12.05 and Don I think one of the problems here is one plan shows about a 100 yard gap and the other hardly any gap at all.

DrM. said...


This gets a bit wearing and I doubt that people have the time to read such a ramble!

I will repeat.. UK Planning is not TDC it provides a web-based service to local councils which could be better and is a re-direct link from the council's web site. Take your problems up with them please!

Hartsdown Park is being sorted out quite properly by those directly involved and not surprisingly you are quite wrong on several points so do stop 'Stirring the pot'

The Gent said...

Michael, I think Simon has given you enough answers and your harping on is getting pretty boring for the rest of us. Why not knock it off now, there's a good chap.

Anonymous said...

Well I had the time to read such a ramble & I happen to think that Michael is making some valid points.

On a slightly different matter Simon, are you aware that the new tourist map at Droit House is full of errors & will TDC correct this in time for the TC opening?

DrM. said...

I was not aware of the tourist map and its errors but I will pass on your concerns. Thank you

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for Mr Milliband's new wife. (is she optically challanged?)

Michael Child said...

Simon with UK Planning this is a private company that the council is buying a service from on our behalf, as UK Planning isn’t a government department I can’t take it up with them. I have taken it up with the council’s planning department over a number of years and received lots of promises but no action. Ages ago I suggested the simple and economic solution that the council had rubber stamps made with the scales on and stamped the plans with them, so we could at least determine measurements when viewing them online. My understanding is that your cabinet remit covers this issue and with your IT experience you must be able to see that the service that the council is spending our money on isn’t working properly. In the normal commercial world the solution would either be some sort of refund combined with an improved service or a change of provider.

With Hartsdown as I say I am not trying to stir the pot, just ensure that people are aware of aspects of the issue that they could otherwise miss.

The Gent, trouble is that I am a Thanet council taxpayer and as such I am contributing to funding this.

3.00 thanks for the support, these planning and asset issues are not simple and as such require more text than one would like.

DrM. said...

Well there's no point in taking it up with me Michael. Its the best we have available in the the circumstances and as like every council in the land we have no money to set-up a competitor to the central plannning portal. Im sure they are very much aware of our concerns

So I suggest you give it a rest for now as suggested earlier

ascu75 aka Don said...

Simon what exactly do the IT department do because I and others have mention many times they are not good and there seems to be no mprovement. As for Michaels concerns they are valid, if the service that is being paid for is not working it is a waste of money and you keep saying you need to get value for money. It just seems any web based service from TDC is not the best available. My main concer is tourism and the service you use at Visit Thanet could be better and is often critisised yet no one does anything about changing it maybe it is endemic in TDC that we dont deserve better. I am sorry but this wont go away and I doubt Michael or others will stop stirring the pot untill this is cooked and something better is served up.

DrM. said...


We need to be sharing a common point of reference and without this it's very difficult to explain to either you or Michael.

Firstly, a council offers public services which it is obliged to provide under legislation, the front-line, so to speak, but provides a large number of services which it is not.

In the interests of saving money, many services are outsourced, shared or consolidated and Visit Kent is one example.

IT focuses on customer services, revenues and benefits which represent our 'Mission Critical' systems. Web services are broadly outsourced and constrained by a raft of Government standards, so what you might knock-up on your weblog in the latest version of free product X, may take several years to work through the central Government standards process.

TDC is in fact highly efficient and I receive the monthly reports showing throughput and performance across the spectrum. If one of these drops, then I ask why. If something can be improved, I also ask questions.

Tourism is not in my portfolio but most recently the council won an award and so while I'm sure many things in an ideal world could and can be improved with larger budgets and greater resource, we are constrained by what we have at a time when we are making a necessary £1.8 million in savings over the next 12 months.

I'm a great proponent of the web, as is Government but without money and the skilled people who can be diverted away from the really important front line systems role, we do the best with what we have and that should be recognised.

ascu75 aka Don said...

So Simon what you are saying is the council wont or cant be bothered to advertise the Turner Centre, which is possibly the most important single project for Thanets regeneration in any promenent position on either the TDC or the Visit Thanet website. The cost of doing so is so prohibitive that it will make an impact on the 1.8 million you keep harping on about. I am not sure what you pay the bods in the IT department but if spending half an hour entering an article on the front page of the TDC website costs are that prohibitive I surgest you could find all of your savings by sacking the IT department and putting it out to tender. What is being discussed here is not rocket science it iis the reputation of Thanet, if a visitor Types in Thanet in a search engine you and your website as costly as it may be are the first port of call and if your site cant be bothered to make a reference to the Turner it looks in my mind that it is such an insignificant event the local council cant be bothered to mention it. If this is the case all of the council members that will be attending the lauch are more that two faced they will be hypocrites. Either the council wants to promote regeneration or continue in the manner it is at present and ignore the Turner Centre, I can honestly say with elections for local council looming they will all be at the lauch parties and saying how much they love Art and the Turner but to me and many others who look at you two main websites we can see no proof of this.

DrM. said...

No Don, that's what you say. What I said was, I thought, quite clear and involves having a common frame of reference and a much clearer grasp of what a council does than you have.

You've been told before that the TDC website is separate from the tourism website so quite why you insist on following a dead end argument I don't quite know and quite frankly, I'm not prepared to debate any further.

ascu75 aka Don said...

That is OK Simon have a good Mothers day, did anyone book you to wish Ed and his wife well?