Friday, July 20, 2007

Locals board at Hartsdown

Having a minor interest in matters local and political, the opportunity to attend, KCC's Thanet local board, proved irresistible, particularly when weighed up against the evenings dross on a television (a close-run thing).

For those of you unfamiliar, Thanet local board, is a twice monthly meeting where mainly old people meet their local county council representatives and hear what a bloody marvellous job that they're doing on our behalf.

My main reason for attending being the fact, this is one of those gatherings apart from funerals where I am still considered a young person (relatively).

Now this last performance at Hartsdown Technology College, was as ever a mixed bill. The meeting was opened as previous ones, by Mr Bill Hayton who acts as master of ceremonies at these events.

The first to address the meeting was John Hayward marketing director of Turner contemporary, reprising the role of David Chipperfield by giving us a repeat performance of the presentation penultimate design phase for the new gallery (I have never been a fan of school productions but this wasn't too bad). Of course as ever, there is still a great deal of resistance to the whole concept of the gallery, personally I believe things have moved too far, to criticise at this point.

Then we had a presentation on the role of police community support officers and community wardens, which was helpful to the likes of me, since until this meeting I was unaware, that PCSO's and community wardens had different roles, and the latter not surprisingly being more community related in a community sort of way.

The big finale, the Highways update proved somewhat of a disappointment, since the average age of the audience, must have been in the late Sixties or early Seventies. I had been looking forward to some tough questions regarding the hitherto lacklustre performance of Kent council, in the connecting me and others with the outside world. Obviously Chris Maw (programme delivery manager from Kent Highways services) came prepared to deal with the elderly residents of Hartsdown area and this is where the Thanet local board becomes a big let-down.
These meetings are supposedly for the benefit of the whole Thanet Community, but a Highways update that only looks at the immediate area of Hartsdown is focused too narrowly, for Thanet residents as a whole.

I wonder if this is deliberate, in common with many people of working age, I use the local roads, to get to work and in my job, (ironically since I work on the railway) there is no alternative. As with most things transport is an area where local government, is doing its damnedest to make life difficult, apparently KCC will shortly be doing what ever they can to slowdown and disrupt journeys around Hartsdown. Since the audience is largely of that age that no longer goes to work, an extra 10 minutes on their day hardly matters but for those of us who work every additional 10 minutes is a killer.

It's a pity that the audience for this type of meeting, is so skewed towards elderly people, also it would be nice if these meetings could be publicised more, looking at the KCC's website for the Thanet board, it was interesting to note that nobody felt it necessary to publicise either the time of the meeting or the location, perhaps someone will rectify this for the next one. I only found out about this meeting, as a result of reading David Green's excellent Eastcliff Matters blog.

Met briefly Linda local blogger, the thought occured that although most bloggers have written or read each others blogs but never met. I wonder whether a meeting of Thanet's Blogerati would make for an interesting evening, well I will leave that thought hanging. Just imagine the clash of personalities ECR & the Dr for instance, we could all pat each other on the back for either being witty, entertaining, informative, inspirational etc a bit like er .... a Local Board meeting.


  1. I'm actually quite nice to the Doc in real life, did he but know it.

  2. Thanet's traffic is simply absymal, Broadstairs, Westwood, etc Any new traffic planning from KCC Highways Dept should be srcuitnized by residents as it will inevitably make things worse! Local residents are consulted but their concerns are often ignored. It is the local people that understand the situation best rather than a KCC Highways Planner siting behind a desk. It is time KCC and Local councillors, Bill Hayton in the case of Broadstairs woke up and considered more the needs of local Thanet residents before approving the traffic plans and the effects thay have on the local community! And also consult local residents after changes have been made, rather than just consulting local businesses etc. In Broastairs, KCC also seem to treat revenue raising from the motorist to be a priority over road safety and in the case of Thanet Council, any improvements to the appearance of Chanos Sq a historical Sq is denied because it is a revenue raising prority. We will attend the next meeting and ask KCC and also Cllr Hayton some difficult questions!!

  3. Yes it does appear to be a lot of older people in attendance, but did you care so much about what was happening when you were younger? I know I am not so young anymore, but have been 'nominated' to attend these meetings by the parish council at Manston which I report back to if anything interesting should occur! See you at the next meeting, they are usually 6.30 for 7 start!!