Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pet Shop Boys

An overnight mystery raid at Westgate's pet supplies store in Station Road has pet detectives baffled.

The window was smashed and the motive for the crime is as yet undetermined, although a suspect, one-eyed, black 'Staffie', wearing a red bandana and gripping a crowbar between its teeth, was seen fleeing the scene in the early hours of Saturday morning!

Jackie, today's duty manager, tells ThanetLife, this isn't the first time the shop has been targeted and on the previous occasion, the supplies of Bob Martin's expensive 'Flea Clear' were removed from the shelves above the counter.

I'm led to understand that Flea Clear, other than being highly effective against 'Siphonaptera,' is also favoured by addicts who like to sniff or smoke its working ingredient, Fipronil. I can't actually find any medical reference to this but it's not recommended in animals or humans. I would count this as an all-time addictive low, even here in Westgate. Quite possibly it's the high cost of the medicine and the potential re-sale price to flea-sufferers, that makes it attractive instead.

Smash and Grab
If anyone should offer you a cheap packet of Flea Clear to smoke or even to rub on your pet, please inform the Police.

The pet supplies store is of course opposite the location for the proposed new Tesco Metro development in Westgate's Station Road and a planning application appeared online last week.

I dropped-in to the Council offices yesterday for an update and had a word with the the planning department, as I have been asked to represent the objectors to the scheme. I understand that in addition to the petition raised by traders, 500 separate letters of objection have been received by the planning office and I will let readers know of any further news and when it is scheduled to come before the committee for decision.

On a not unrelated topic, I spotted a characteristic 'Smudger' report in the Thanet Gazette, describing the opening of the 'Why Not' micro pub, that I covered in an earlier column here.

As a ward councillor, I was invited to cut the ribbon alongside the Gazette's Thomas Brown and that appears to have peeved the editor. You may recall that much like Tesco and Sainsburys. the residents of Lymington and Linksfield road, asked me to represent them in objecting to the micro-pub's planning application and license but it was however approved by the Council's planning committee.

As a Councillor, if I'm asked to represent or advise a local resident or a business on any Council-related matter, then I'm obliged to do this impartially and to the best of my ability, much like a solicitor in some ways. However, the Thanet Gazette writes:

"Biggles buried the hatchet after trying to put the brakes on businessman, Lee Birch's bid to open a micro pub in Westgate. He endorsed a petition to block his license application and spoke out at a meeting .. sic.. That did not stop him joining Lymington Road residents at the pub to drink humble pints."

Curiously enough, I'm the only politician in Thanet, the Gazette refers to in a consistently derisory manner and rarely if ever, you may have noticed, by the title 'Councillor'. So on this occasion, where I was invited by the landlord, Lee Birch to the opening and to cut the ribbon, with no hard feelings on his part, I'm instead painted by the paper as an opportunistic hypocrite, rather than simply doing the job of representing my ward. On the pattern of the last twelve months, I have to conclude the paper's coverage is becoming increasingly personal and deeply unprofessional.

Finally on a sad and more important note, I was sorry to hear of the death of the Walmer Castle pub landlord, John Teagle. I would like to express my condolences to his family as I'm sure would many other readers of this weblog from Westgate.


James Maskell said...

I agree with you over the micropub, having been at both Planning meetings. You did what was asked of you by concerned residents and Planning considered them, putting in conditions to alleviate the problems. Actually it worked pretty nicely as the owners were happy to accept them.

If that's not what is expected of a Councillor, then I wonder what the Gazette's expectation is...

Anonymous said...

Simon, you say "if I'm asked to represent or advise a local resident or a business on any matter, then I'm obliged to do this to the best of my ability, much like a solicitor". That sir is where you are unfortunately on this occasion totally wrong. You represent all of the inhabitants regardless of political views etc and it is for you to decide whether to support a constituent/s or not. You certainly are not obliged to 'take instructions' from any one side or be in any way be obliged to support them.

Norah Batty said...

Does anyone, other than Councillors interested in any mention of themselves, ACTUALLY buy this rag ? Yes, I agree with you Simon, your observations of them missing your title is glaringly obvious, to the rags discredit. It seems that the basic of manners was not in the reporters' school curriculum. Well, if they will employ uneducated idiots, it is little wonder that the circulation of the rag is so low. Stopped buying it years ago when they became so biased against ELECTED representatives of the Tory party. I can only assume that you are a thorn in their side, and long may you continue to be, hence the disrespect shown towards you !

Simon Moores said...

Sorry 12:25, I beg to differ but would agree that circumstances might have a bearing on the situation.

For example, last week on the special BBC report on homelessness, there several examples of individuals and families seeking help, without much success, from Croydon council. In none of these did they think of asking their ward Councillor for support.

We have three ward councillors in Westgate. OK.. I grant you one is quite invisible to the point of being a joke but if anyone asks for my help, I feel obliged to assist on any council-related matter and as long as no personal or conflict of interest is involved.

What invariably happens with planning matters is that one councillor may be asked to act for one person and the other councillor for the other party, so advice is both proportional and fair.

So "Yes", I represent all my constituents and "Yes", if a I believe a matter runs against their interests, I might decline but in all the cases I have dealt with since becoming a councillor, I've yet to come across one.

Finally, if any member of my ward seeks my advice on a council matter, then I am obliged to offer it neutrally and so perhaps the use of 'Solicitor' might have introduced a little confusion for which I apolgise.

Simon Moores said...

True but having cut the ribbon and not having passed critiicism of late I'm rather surprised at Smudger being so catty

Anonymous said...

Simon, Are you saying that if Sainsbury's had approached you first when they wanted permission on the Canterbury Road, you would have represented their views against your own views and those of most of your electorate. I think not, and neither should you unless you agreed that the development was appropriate and needed. There are times as a councillor when you surely have to say no, you don't agree.

Simon Moores said...

A rather bizarre question as Sainsburys are a company and not a constituent!

My role is to assist and advise constituents in matters relating to local government. More commonly this involves the benefits system and planning issues.