Friday, April 22, 2011

Moving On to May 5th

Sitting in last night's packed council meeting, I noticed that Labour's Cllr Nottingham was conveniently absent but his space was filled by the most mind-numbing bluster I've heard in many years.

I wondered if the Thanet's grim reaper blogger might have been present to watch at least part of the farce and from the look of my blog list this morning he may well have gone unnoticed in the gallery, although one might have thought a cowled figure with a scythe might have stood out among the football supporters.

Naive as I may be, I always believed that when one spoke in the chamber, what one says has to be both informed and truthful and not wild and exaggerated political posturing where the truth has taken an extended vacation to political 'LaLa' land.Finding it hard at times to hide the incredulity written on my face I can only assume that when the political opposition are quite incapable of dealing with figures and facts, they simply retreat into noisy hyperbole and constant childish interruptions disguised as 'points of order'

Just one properly costed objective from Labour's local election manifesto would be good; something that one could debate and take a proper view on. Instead, we have rubbish and dog poo, platitudes and empty aspirations.

Thanks to the opening of the Turner Contemporary and some stunning weather over the last two weeks, the people of Thanet appear more optimistic and feel better about themselves than at any times I've seen in the past ten years. These are difficult times but there is both promise and opportunity and a future path that we can all share. To achieve this or any part of it however, we need vision rather than a commitment to keep us in the heavily trades unionised past, a ghastly sentimental version of Dickens World that Thanet's Labour group inhabits. And that's the starker choice on May 5th. Do we move forward and explore the opportunities now coming our way or do we dig ourselves into some nostalgic socialist view of the late 1990s which never really existed and where many of our problems sprang from?

Let the people decide!


Anonymous said...

We the people are the ones who elect politians and as far as local politics go I would never vote for anyone who does not live in the ward they hope to represent.

Now in Westgate I have 4 local residents to chose from.

I wonder who will be the unlucky 1 as I could end up voting for Labour, Cons and Indp.

Mind you have not been canvassed for my vote yet so still have time to decide who to vaote for.

DrM. said...

It's difficult to get around to everyone but you should have had literature by now and if not let me know and I will make sure you have it.

Readit said...

Will you be canvassing in your Reaper costume Simon?

Anonymous said...

The council have acted improperly on this occasion by not allowing an amendment to the changes Margate FC have made with their Stadium project. They have every right to be treated fairly yet for reasons only known to the council the club find itself on its knees once again despite continued co-operation with the council on this matter. The changes made are & should be allowed through as an amendment according to recent legislation, re-planning applications. Will this council for once do the right thing & stop this continued hindrance to this scheme & actually give the town & the club something to cheer about.The club are in the right here & the council MUST be brought to justice over what seems to be yet another delaying tactic in order to see developers give up & walk away.If this is the REAL reason for the councils stubborness & flouting of the legislation then they are winning the battle but rest asured this club will continue to seek ways of progressing & if that means taking a stand for its rights through the law courts then thats how it should go.... in my opinion.
The council are using foul play & they need to pay the penalty. You took heed of 555 signatures against the project but completely ignore the wish of nearly 5 times that amount who are in favour of the scheme.

DrM. said...

Ken, I suspect that the Reaper is probably delivering Labour party material from the clues so far!

DrM. said...

9:11 Are you a lawyer or a planning officer? I suspect not and are one more uninformed observer with an opinion that simply does not reflect the facts as they exist.

I'm not going to start this debate again. This has nothing to do with personal opinion and everything to do with planning law. It's in black and white and exceptions cannot be made arbitrarily because such behaviour would be subject to legal challenge and judicial review.

If the club disagrees with the decision then it is welcome to take advice and follow an appropriate course of action or appeal. I for one fully support the aspirations of Margate football club and wish it well but planning decisions are bound by law and have nothing whatsoever to do with petitions.

Anonymous said...

NoI'm neither but it is blatantly obvious that on this occasion you are in the wrong.
As for petitions why is it then you stop the advancement of the scheme when 55 signatures deemed it not suitable to them.
Petitions should work both ways surely & not just in the way that the council(or yourself more like) wish for them to be used.
I personally will be going all out to see that your quest for re-election as representative in Westgate & indeed on the council is not successful.If I fail on that then those that elect you & those that you will be representing will have done themselves no favours whatsoever.
If you were genuine about support for the club you wouldnt be floating legislation for your own personal gain.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 55 signatures mentioned above should read 555. Apologies for that error.

DrM. said...

How can it be 'Blatantly obvious' I'm in the wrong?

Just to remind you, planning decisions are not taken by an individual but by a properly formed and cross part planning committee.

As a Cabinet Member, I make no planning decisions but oversee policy and process.

In this case council officers both legal and planning deliver an opinion and I am bound to note their advice when a decision is made involving accepting or rejecting any amendment to an application.

Petitions may inform a planning committee decision in regard to opinion but they are a factor among others, first of which is planning legislation, which the council is required to follow.

So instead of castigating me perhaps instead you should thank me for keeping you informed of the process all along the way and for the transparency which has surrounded it.

Anonymous said...

Just give the club some hope,some help,instead of hindering them all the time.
The amendment SHOULD have been allowed.You & I both know that. I'm sorry but until I see co-operation from you & your buddies you won't be getting any thanks from me or my vote & I live in Wesgate.
If I DO see that you will indeed get thanks but at this time its a big NO NO Im afraid. You have to earn respect & so far you are nowhere near to that.
Sorry to disappoint!

DrM. said...

I don't know how many different ways I can try and explain this before you understand.

I can't allow anything.... It's not in my gift. Any decision on the validity of a variation to an application is determined by officers' interpretation of the planning legislation, some elements of which have changed since the original application in 2006.

If the football club's request had passed the test for such matters then it would be another story but it didn't and the advice given is that a new planning application is required for a Travelodge.

Anonymous said...

Plus another big fat wedge from the club for going through the full application process.(How much does it cost these days?)
You SURELY must have bled them dry so don't expect them to be filling your pockets anymore & dont talk to me like I'm a complete idiot.Half idiot I maybe but not a complete one.

DrM. said...

Margate Football Club is a business which wishes to build a hotel on public land adjacent to a ground it leases from the council.

The emphasis here is on 'Public Land' and I have no idea what the cost of the application process would be as it's not relevant to any discussion involving process.

You keep referring to "you" and "your pockets" as if I'm part of something I'm not. I'm a councillor, I represent local people as an intermediary with local government, which is the council.

As a cabinet member I oversee policy and process to ensure that services deliver good value for money and follow well-established laws guidelines and procedures. I have a real job and being a councilor is a part-time democratic activity which involves serving the community in which I live.

DrM. said...

I should add that the matter now goes back to the council's Cabinet for review and so you can be assured that the club is being treated properly and fairly but without special favour because the council will be judged by all parties in regards to decisions involving Hartsdown Park

Anonymous said...

Some folk seem to have great difficulty taking on board facts. They prefer to just keep repeating what they may well believe is correct and no amount of explaining will make any difference.

Sadly, the whole Thanet Labour campaign is based on non issues in the main and twisting around facts to place the current council in a bad light. Meantime they lack true vision and costed policies themselves.

On the Thanet Labour blogsite a succession of slanted opinion articles, mainly written by Clive Hart, invite comment but any questioning their stance are not published. I know for I have tried. What must be depressing for them is the almost total lack of supporting comment as well.

The evident abilities and sharper mentality of Mark Nottingham are noticeable missing from Labour's campaign and I, for one, will not be voting for them this time.

Anonymous said...

The facts are that an amendment should have been granted & the council know it. (There IS proof on that). No ifs or buts.
They are the facts buddy so don't let this councillor come aviator fool you.
You get YOUR facts right.
As for prepeating oneself you only have to read Mr Moores comments everytime he comes back with a reply

DrM. said...

An amendment to what?

The present situation may be disappointing but is quite clear on the legal advice given. This is that the proposal to build a hotel at Hartsdown Park by Hartsdown Development Company is not, the council is advised, a minor change, both in terms of its nature and appearance.

The council must first and foremost act within the law. However, I am equally committed to ensuring that there is full public involvement in decision making on planning matters.

I can't change this and the council can only follow its legal advice. If you have 'proof' that such legal advice is incorrect then please share it with me or indeed the Hartsdown Development Company, where it can be dealt with properly and by those more familiar with the planning process and planning law.

Last night, it was decided that the question of land management at Hartsdown Park be referred back to TDC Cabinet and so this has absolutely nothing to do with aviators or anyone else fooling anyone!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

There IS proof.I didnt say I had it,but I AM aware of it.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same planning laws that have just been changed by the Conservative Government????

DrM. said...

Then 2:06 what you have is not 'Proof' but 'credulous opinion', no different to proof of intelligent design over evolution or aliens having crashed at Roswell.

If such proof existed. do you believe that expensive legal time would be wasted unnecessarily?

But to bring you gently back to the point again, this is not a question of proof but a matter of legal opinion in regard to planning law.

As 3:51 has correctly pointed out, some small changes were introduced by the Conservative government to remove some of the red tape surrounding planning legislation and to make the process a little easier. So what may have been true in regard to an application in 2006 may be the subject of small changes in regard to a variation in 2011.

The council can only properly interpret and discharge its duties under the law as it stands not as it might have been in any time in the past.

Anonymous said...

So if the planning laws have been changed to make it easier why are the local Conservative administration putting up more obsecles which flys in the face of what the national Conservative party are trying to impliment

Anonymous said...

I will never vote tory again if they build on our beautiful views of Hartsdown park.The football club were an inch away from being wound up by the taxman last year.Please don't let the council put any more time or money into this project.

DonW said...

Interesting isn't it that the Hartsdown Park development has Council permission to build a 90 something bedroom hotel based on the 2006 application but not the 60 something hotel which has been requested via the amendment which TDC keep blocking?

What would happen if the developers now sit back and look at the situation and say "OK, we didn't really want to build the bigger hotel but we have permission for that so let's take the risk and go with it."?

How will the Council then respond to local residents who say "why have we got this three storey hotel when we thought the plan was only for two?"

Some might see it as necessary due process I suppose, I just see it as common sense but then I'm not involved in planning legislation so what do I know!

It was, by the way, my first experience of watching local government in action. To say I was unimpressed would be a profound understatement. If these are the people that are charged with bringing Thanet out of the doldrums then God help us! I do at least now know who I wont vote for in the upcoming election.

DrM. said...

9.22 There is no political decision here as the result would be the same if Labour or LibDems or ZanuPF were in control. It's a planning matter which is subject to legal advice under planning legislation.

The Conservative government introduced some changes to give planning a lighter touch but you need to move away from your focus on a football club which is arguably invisible the process and instead focus on a variation on an existing application by a developer on public land which is subject to the law as it presently exists.

It is whether that variation passes the test which counts and council officers have said not under the regulations

DrM. said...

This was my first experience of a last council meeting before an election and apparently this is how the opposition always behave.

In regard to the hotel. The football club has permission to build what it applied for in 2006 and this included a number of other good things such as a sports club which persuaded he planning committee at the time that the application passed the test of local economic benefit

It is precisely why they are unable to build this and would prefer to build a different hotel which has caused all the fuss almost six years later when Hartsdown Park is now the focus of a new land management policy.

Anonymous said...

"I will never vote tory again if they build on our beautiful views of Hartsdown park..........Please don't let the council put any more time or money into this project.

5:56 AM"

And I will never vote Tory again if they dont allow it and continue to blame "the system" if delays

Anonymous said...

are the labour voters in thanet thick or have a problem understanding what is said ,the football club need further planning concent to go aheadand what ever the labour party say they are wrong or just sad ,i hope the people of thanet understand this and will see senceall the huffing and puffing both hart and johnson do is getting them nowhere only laughed at

Anonymous said...

how true 10.57 is it seems the labour party can only huff and puff i think it shows just what a weak lot of people they are having sit thouhg the last full council meeting i was totaly ashamed of the labour group and as for there so called front bench what a joke i can now see why hart was kicked out of k.c.c.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't the Labour front bench that looked pathetic.I think Mr Moores may have misunderstood Dons post somewhat.
You two people who posted above obviously had your blinkers on if you were there to witness affairs on the night.

EX-Labour Votere said...

Think 7:14 should have gone to Specsavers or at least taken the rose tinting off his glasses.

Thanet Labour Group are shabby in the council in their conduct in the same way that they are in dealing with their internal affairs. Any true Labour supporter should be up in arms about the way Mark Nottingham has been treated.

Anonymous said...

4000 seated stadium used fortnightly by 300 people grow up and smell the coffee