Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Harriet Watch

I had hoped to  give an unorthodox 'Welcome' to Labour's Harriet Harman to Margate this morning but there's a certain reluctance on the part of Harriet or indeed, local Labour, to share her time of arrival with me.

Apparently the austerity-bashing Harriet is "looking forward" to meeting young KCC Cllr, Will Scobie, in order to offer him some kind of blessing I assume. All rather reminds me of last night's Borgias series on Sky. Meanwhile, young Cllr Scobie is reportedly 'calling on the organisers of the airshow to donate some of the profits to local charities following disruption', while in turn, I'm calling on on the 23-year-old to give some of the the profits of being a full time career politician to charity' and perhaps even find a proper first job, rather than choose to pursue the gravy-train and live-off Kent's hard-pressed taxpayers instead? Perhaps that's a backward and old-fashioned view! I wonder what Harriet thinks but her welcome may well be lead by Thanet's own Diversity Champion, John Worrow in tandem of course with the inimitable Cllr Iris Johnston.

While Harriet causes political havoc in Margate and Cliftonville, promising, well anything, from any future Labour government other than a modicum of financial common sense, North Thanet MP, Sir Roger Gale, has sent me his current view on the constantly developing Arlington/Tesco story and I've published this below.

Sir Roger writes:

"I have received a couple of dozen identical letters from people objecting to the Secretary of State`s decision to grant conditional consent for the plan to develop a supermarket and other facilities on the Arlington House/Arlington Square site adjacent to the railway station in Margate.

Almost without exception those “objectors” have clearly been sourced from one common database and are not on the electoral register in my constituency which means, I have to assume, that most of them do not live locally.  What is more significant, and has become clear since the Secretary of State announced his determination, is that few if any of those who are now campaigning against the proposals have read anything other than, at best, a summary of the Inspector`s report.  I suspect that the majority have based their observations on doctrine rather than fact .

There will always be those who prefer the grievance to the solution but I believe that if people are going to oppose a particular scheme then they have a duty to come up with a better, and funded, alternative.  What I have heard to date is a lot of “motherhood and apple pie” with little or no thought as to how one of the most significant eyesores in Margate, located at the very transport gateway to the Town, might be addressed.

I have said publicly that I hold no particular brief for Tesco.  I have opposed three of that company`s developments in my constituency in areas where I believe that a supermarket presence would have a deleterious effect upon local businesses. Not only do I not believe, though, that a supermarket will damage the embryonic regeneration of Margate High Street – a process that I believe owes rather more to the Turner Contemporary effect than to the  fleeting  efforts of a transient  television presenter – but there is a real prospect that the regeneration of the western end of the Town will enhance the footfall throughout the central area and benefit the whole seafront and High Street in complement to the Turner  gallery and the Old Town.

The supermarket, whether we like it or not, is the financially-backed anchor tenant that is needed to underpin the entire private-sector funded scheme. I have heard of no other person or company willing to put his or her money on the table and to back a different proposal to put  an end to what has been far too long a period of dereliction.

Had those who have raised objections, however, taken the trouble to read the whole report as I have then the reaction might have been rather more thoughtful.  While the Secretary of State has given the go ahead in principle all of the fine detail  (as in the case of the “China Gateway” project in which some former local Councillors invested so much as yet unrewarded time and effort) stands to be approved by the Local Authority.  Under the Annex relating to conditions “Approval of the details of the layout, scale and appearance of any land identified as the `outline application area` shall be obtained from the Local Planning Authority in writing before any development of that part of the site....is commenced” and  “  no development, apart from demolition, shall take place until details of the eastern elevation of the superstore and associated boundary details have been approved in detail by the Local Planning Authority”.

Further conditions relate to site characterisation and remediation, an assessment of potential risks to human health, property, adjoining land, ground waters  and surface waters, and the ecological system and a specific requirement for an archaeological survey of the site prior to construction.  There are pre-conditions relating to the period of construction and further conditions, subject to Local Authority Approval, for landscaping and lighting.   All of these, and other requirements, were recommended by the Inspector, Alan Novitsky, in what has been a painstaking and thorough investigation and report and his recommendations have been accepted, effectively in full, by the Secretary of State in his determination.

It would be good to think that those whose knee-jerk reaction has been hasty, negative and in some cases motivated by a desire for further controversial self-publicity, will now take the trouble to study the potential contained within the report and work to secure, within the three-year time schedule, the realisation of a project that is really beneficial to a Town for which most of us have a very deep affection.

This is not an “anything goes “ solution to Arlington  but rather one that is going to involve all of those concerned, and particularly Thanet`s District Councillors and Officers,  in some painstaking negotiations. In that process they will have, whatever their political affiliation, my wholehearted support in the interests of the whole of Margate."


Anonymous said...

Sir Roger does so love the comma. Quite drives me mad, to distraction, and now I rarely bother, if ever, to read what he has to say, either on here, or in the newspapers.

John Holyer said...

Anonymous 3:20 PM

Really, is that it? Your comment has been an immense contribution to the debate on this subject.

Anonymous said...

At least I didn't get out of breath, and also better informed.

John Holyer said...

I notice that Will has become quite the little activist, with his nebulous campaigning against 'facism' and 'pot holes'. I often wonder who is pulling his strings. In my view his heart is not in the task. He looks bored. I expect that he would like to cease dancing to the tune of others, get a proper job and have a bit of fun. He is wasting his youth, and he knows this.

Anonymous said...

So, Will is being criticised for doing too much, while others are being criticised for doing too little. Presumably Simon does neither too little or too much?

Simon Moores said...

Rather like the three bears then? Somewhere in the middle perhaps?

But then I haven't made a career choice, based on political friends and influence rather than talent, which involves living-off the taxpayer from day one!

John Holyer said...

Anon 8:32am,

Let me be clearer. Will is doing nothing more than proclaiming vacuous platitudes, put into his mouth by others in order to fulfil their own political ambitions. He is being set up as the front man. I've watched him. He looks bored.

He would be advised to go far away, get a job, experience life and then return to politics a wiser man.

Unless he is scared and prefers to live off the state.

Simon Moores said...

Hot off the press. Having being blessed by Harriet, young Will has now put his name in the hat as the Labour candidate for South Thanet for 2015. "My public needs me etc"

Anonymous said...

Just because he doesn't act demented like Driver and Woorow doesn't mean he's bored. Have you seen Bayford or Hart in "action"? They're not exactly animated either!

As for him being a "career" politician, is there anything wrong with knowing exactly what he wants to do with his life at a young age? All I can see here is envy over someone who's achieved so much at so young an age instead of TRULY "living off the state" like so many others.

Simon Moores said...

No job.. no life experience to speak off. Never really left home. Parochial at best. No quite sure about life experience envy.

At his age I was already at a US University and was looking at rather broader horizons than counting potholes in Thanet.

Never got much farther than the St Nicholas roundabout and from his Linked-in profile seemingly worked at the bank of mom and dad. And he wants to be the MP..

Envy? You must be joking!

John Holyer said...

Anon 10:56,

Try reading my posts again. You should realise that I do not envy Will. I pity him. He is being manipulated by others so they may live their lives vicariously through him. He knows nothing of the world and yet seeks to govern.

Anonymous said...

In other words Simon he's achieved more in politics by his mid 20s than you're ever likely to do.

Simon Moores said...

err No!

In my mid-twenties (1984) and look it up, I was already on a Parliamentary committee on education with Shirley Williams, Anne Softer and Professor John Rae and I'm already a Conservative PPC which very few people realise!

John Holyer said...

Annonymous 11:54 pm,

Admit it. You support Will because he is the Labour Candidate, and this is all the qualification he needs, in your blinkered view.

If I am wrong then please state what it is about him that you consider would make him a good MP?

Anonymous said...

Will's head is full of book learning and brainwashing from his own environment. He has no real life experience. The gift of Mayor was once a reward for long service, not any more. If he is to stand for Thanet South then he will at least have a mountain to climb. And it is unlikely that he will be the youngest Prime Minister, Pitt the Younger was 24 when he assumed that office, and I believe the Prime Minister has to be a member of the governing party, so a long wait then.

Anonymous said...

No John Holyer, I support him because he's a rather dashing and handsome young man!

Anonymous said...

Double standards here Simon. You commented that the UKIP intake at KCC were all older, that didn't suit you - despite your MP being 70 - yet you also complain that Scobie is too young ! Which one is it ? Or should all politicians fit into your neat little category of aged over 40 so that they have some life experience, and under 70 so that they don't walk around breathless and appear wrinkly like Gale ! You can't have it both ways, too young and too old, perhaps you would enlighten us as to what you think the ideal age is to pursue a political career ? In reply to the sarcasm of John Holyer (Holyer than thou), I, too, am fed up with the overuse of commas in Gales Views AND why is it that he insists on using words that are not always in everyday English ? Trying to make himself appear clever, I suspect so. What does `DELETIOUS` even mean ?

Simon Moores said...

Having had experience of the workplace, life beyond Thanet and made a go of challenges rather than safe opportunities not handed to him by his father Cll Scobie, Iris Johnston or Clive Hart might be a good start.

Put another way, if he were my son, just imagine the howls of outrage that might come from Labour!

Anonymous said...

I think you will find the word is deleterious anon at 4:32. If the best anyone can do is query the number of commas in the piece, or invent words in order to denigrate the views of Roger Gale then he must have made some telling points. A bit like Balls replying to Osborne, no alternative ideas so he pokes fun instead.

John Holyer said...

Anonymous 3:38,

And for this shallow reason you consider him qualified to be an MP? Surely not?

I'm sure your flippant remark could have an .. 'ist' attached.

Anonymous said...

"A bit like Balls replying to Osborne, no alternative ideas so he pokes fun instead."

Or a bit like Moores blogging about Scobie!

Anonymous said...

Ah ! Nepotism. Where would Scobie-Doo be without it ! Why doesn't his Dad buy him a new suit ? Actually, now I come to think of it, he does have that 'Mummy chose my clothes' look about him !

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Jodie should guide him on fashion though maybe too busy looking after the kids! This lad certainly seems to like responsibility even from the shelter of the parental abode.