Friday, April 06, 2007

Westwood Cross Housing Estate gets lucky!
What are the chances of finding anyone, who supports the new housing estate at Westwood, slim, how about 22, impossible you say, well the gods must have been smiling on the developers last night because of an incredible coincidence, found possibly the only 22 people in Thanet prepared to back this scheme and luckily they all happened to be in Thanet council chamber.

I thought that I would attend last night's extraordinary Council meeting the purpose of which was to decide on the outline planning application for Westwood Cross, since there was nothing on telly.

Now I won't attempt to give you a verbatim report, for the simple reason unless you happen to be a councillor or council functionary, what goes on at Council is frankly a mystery. Example as I sat down in the public area of the Council Chamber, I was distracted from staring out of the window, by what seemed to be a muted kerfuffle.

There appeared to be some mumbling about predetermination, some excitement about who could and who couldn't talk, during the meeting, then once the meeting had started, or maybe in the preamble leading up to the debate, several councillors had to withdraw, because they apparently had e-mailed the Council which was interpreted as expressing an outside interests? You may well be confused, as I am, and before anyone sues me I may have got this totally wrong.

I'm fairly sure that the Labour group, (who were all apparently individuals with a free vote) seemed a tad excitable as well they might, because what I think occurred is that they fell foul of codes of conduct, introduced by this Labour government.

Now loyal readers of this blog will remember, last year's controversy resulting from implementation of the Government's ethics and standards in local government when at least one councillor felt pressurised as a result of guidance given by a council officer, with the implied reference to the Standards' Board of England. Basically John Prescott introduced legislation which was supposed to improve standards in local government but as had the opposite effect.

Anyway back to the meeting, not surprisingly traffic continues to be a major problem as far as Westwood Cross housing development is concerned, the council have managed to agree some very minor improvements to the road system, which will mean that traffic will now have a new road to queue in, prior to joining the Margate/Ramsgate Road.

One point which has yet to be made about traffic congestion, around Westwood, it's not just the new housing estate contributing to horrendous traffic, but nobody has mentioned Thanet Technical College joining the travel to work melee with its new Westwood campus.

Something else that surprise me was the casual reference to Westwood town?

There seemed to be a lot of balls being talked, but maybe the most ridiculous was the Tory group referring to Labour as being political? I thought councillors were politicians even the Tories.

I was surprised to note that Tory councillor Bill Hayton, reads councillor Green's Eastcliff Matters, but then it is a good reference to our local political system. Whilst on Local bloggers, I may have imagined it, but I thought I saw our friend Simon Moores, perhaps picking out where to sit once elected to Westgate.

Anyway the vote when taken the vote was 22 in favour and 19 against which appeared to be all Tories for and Labour against.

You have to admire the Conservatives, either for their guts or stupidity I think a lot of voters will not take kindly to this decision. Even with the so-called concessions that have been wrangled out of the developers, the road system cannot cope and with an additional 1500 vehicles shoehorned into Westwood Cross, it won't get any better


  1. Ah Tony, you miss the key issue, as I missed you in the public gallery yesterday evening. The Labour party was arguing for 1000 homes on this site, and refusing to endorse the current plan of 1020 or perhaps 1060 homes. Thus it is fair to say both political parties ended in favour of the development, the labour members were struggling to find grounds which made it look like they were against - for reasons I will leave you to decide.

  2. There's also a new hotel, casino and cineplex for the road system to cope with, let's not forget that!

  3. Chris you were one of the better performers, hopefully a man with your ability to deliver the party line with such authority and conviction, will transfer to The Thearte Royal once open for your parties next big drama hopefully in the lead role.

    I assume that all that proceedural nonsence was related to that Standards Board nonsence.

    I thought I saw reports of you being sent to Coventry or was that Newington earlier pleased to see that your standing in Viking again GOOD LUCK

    I had seriously thought about standing myself, might have a go when the first "paper candidate" jacks in.

    ECR what about bingo for the likes of me. I doubt that will be a problem since traffic should be quieter at night. I just hope that any cinema has heating for the winter and air con for the summer and no surly kids yapping through the films.

  4. The evening before (planning committee)was even more bemusing regarding the standards code when an objector had to remove himself which meant as it was a drawn vote the chairman got to vote twice.

  5. anon 9:36 Its ironic that a standards code should make the councils behaviour seem tainted.

  6. Nice to see 22 people with backbones and looking forwards not back , now bring on the new houses

  7. Chris Wells should speak for himself, not attempt to speak for the Labour Party.
    I can only speak for myself, there was no whip on this from the labour side.
    I want to support a development of upto 1000 houses because I think it would help with economic development and because we need the affordable housing.
    However I will only support it if the highways problems of the whole area are sorted out, and we get at least 30% social and affordable house. What was on the table on Thursday did not deliver that, so I voted against.

  8. I actually feel Westwood exemplifies what's wrong with the conservatives in Thanet and Kent.

    Yes we need housing but you cannot just deal with one issue at a time, you could in theory build 10,000 houses in a field but you cannot with out provision of services and infer structure.

    Tories effectively have a rather stupid "that will do approach" when if fact it bloody well wont.