Saturday, December 01, 2007


It appears that Thanet's expeditionary delegation led by council leader Sandy Ezekiel to China has arrived home safely, and according to the leader, the Chinese are keen to get things moving.

Disappointingly none of the local papers, reflect how tough negotiations must have been in China, perhaps a small glimpse, of the condition our boys were working under is given in this week's Isle Of Thanet Gazette, where on page two a photograph shows, what I surmise to be Sandy Ezekiel, being forced to hold a business discussions on the great wall of China.

Right now, it looks as if it Chinese businesses are doing Thanet a favour, and maybe they are but maybe it is worth showing some attention on the roles played by KCC, SEEDA etc. because I suspect, we might see a bit of taxpayer money subsidising all this.

Anyway well done to our local representatives, presumably good manners and diplomacy (and possibly censorship), will prevent us from ever knowing the full story of their journey


  1. Thanet Council rather than swanning off to China, should be trying to talking to potential businesses to rejuivinate the High St, which is almost a ghost town.It is rumoured that Primark will also close down soon, what's left? TDC Conncil inaction and parking restrictions/costs are further providing the final knife to the Town. Many Thanet residents have parking permits etc but are not allowed to park in the central carparks in margate, they would be encouraged to visit the town centre if the current restrictions were lifted. On the other hand relaxtaion of parking restrictions would inconvience TDC employees parking in thier free parking spaces. TDC does not seem able to understand or have the imagination plans to sort the High street. As a result of the China visit, Will now we soon see the High St being transformed into the biggest China Town outside London etc wit the new year celebrations etc. China has lead the world in rejuvinating it's ecomony and cities/towns.One can only hope that TDC has learnt something about rejuvination from the visit!!

  2. I'm sure that Sandy Beach deserved a break from the "constant round of meetings". I wonder how many breaks there were, though. I wonder how many meetings there were and how long they were. I wonder how much wining and dining took place. I wonder if Thanet Council has paid any allowances to the absent councillors. I wonder, as you say, if public money went into this venture from any other sources.

    Well, it is the season of wonder and enchantment. Good that it came early for Tory Councillors Ezekiel and Latchford.

  3. "Thanet Council rather than swanning off to China, should be trying to talking to potential businesses to rejuivinate the High St"

    I don't believe that 8:03 other than having no grasp whatsoever of the facts is living in the same Thanet as I am!

    As for absent councillors allowance!! what utter rubbish! If we can leverage as many as 1000 news jobs from the visit I would count that as a result, wouldn't you!

  4. Hooray if Thanet council actually produce sustainable employment from this venture, to be honest I'm not that bothered whether this trip was a "jolly" or whatever.

    I just wanted to put it in context. I'm fairly sure that the image of beneficent, Chinese business men is not entirely correct.

    "There is no such thing as a free lunch"

    I think I have seen from one of my contributors the hint of how horrendous a foreign business trip can be and this is probably true and if it weren't for the fact most weeks I work out in the wind and rain go from day shifts back to night shifts so I'm frequently replicating "jet lag" type symptoms.

    I doubt that our intrepid explorers suffered much more than the inability to get a decent Gin & Tonic.

    The high street issue is relevant Simon since our public servants, you know those we pay for like the chief exec and his colleague probably have the same free parking privileges as ever one else employed at the council.

    So presumably now these chaps are back they might well be depriving High Street traders of potential customers, by occupying Mill Lane car park.

    Maybe Simon you ought to look to the bigger issues on occasion, like the parking in margate rather than how you are single handed are saving westgate from god knows what trivia.

    Anyway I've just woken after spending 10 hours out in a howling gale in north london getting in around 7am ( atypical weekend fo r me)(I'm not complaining I enjoy it) , so please excuse a slight grumpy response. Have a nice day!

  5. "Maybe Simon you ought to look to the bigger issues on occasion, like the parking in margate rather than how you are single handed are saving westgate from god knows what trivia."

    I do look at the larger issues Tony and being closer to facts, understand that the challenges that face us on a local basis are rather greater than arguments over free parking spaces.

  6. For Traders in Margate the fact that council employees have commandeered Mill Lane car park thus forcing potential customers out Margate is outrageous.

    Tories are ment to help foster business, it seems Thanet conservatives have gone native and presumably are at the beck and call of "officers" rather than the other way round.

    Simon just name one issue where Sandy Ezekiel or for that matter Roger Latchford been at the forefront of local issues.

  7. "Commandeered" I don't think so Tony. Our local government is in the centre of Margate and we have to provide a means of accomodating the employees at their workplace.

    Do you have an alternative idea?

    There is more than one car park in Margate and I find that when I have to drive, I find no problems parking in any of them!

  8. Simon
    Its quite simple make these employees pay for their own car parking like presumably most workers in Margate expect to do.

    As I say thanets conservatives seem to have gone native as far as pampering local government employees.

    I would have though that a tory like yourself, might just side with local business, along with your colleagues, you seem to confuse providing public service with business.Its not.

    If council employee's can park for free why not those who foot the bill.

    As to finding another car park, why should resident not be able to park in the most convenient carpark for the high street.

    Presumably since your a councilor, I now subsidies your parking as well, Cheers!

  9. Simon Tony, a few thoughts on the town centre issue as I am very much involved in the problem, talking to local people as I do all day in the bookshop, the falling apart of our town centres is probably the most important local issue at the moment.

    Now I know that local government has very little money to spend on this issue, however there are two things they could do that would help.

    Firstly they could look at planning permissions for converting shops to other uses, if they were to send out a clear message that shops stayed shops the rents would have to reflect the amount that can actually made trading in our town centre sites. In Ramsgate we have recently lost our indoor market, it was a thriving enterprise that had just been rejuvenated by an expensive refit, however the owner found that he could get a much better return letting it as a bar and restaurant.

    Secondly they could have a total review of town centre car parking, here in Ramsgate we have lost a massive amount of on street parking, including most of the spaces on the seafront, often in streets that used to have a lot more traffic.

    While foreign investment may have benefits past experience suggests that large companies are inclined to suddenly pull out when it suites them leaving lots of local people without jobs.

    The small businesses tend to remain until they have to leave, we are fast moving into a situation where it is impossible to make a living from an ordinary shop in our town centres. If you get a moment take a look at shopkeepers now tend to talk about how long they can survive. What do you call a town without shops and what do you do in one?

  10. I assume Dr Moores is the guy who is also a local conservative councillor. If so, his comments seem so strong I wonder if he is trying to push everyone away from this council trip - to deflect attention from it. Why? He does comes across as a bit rude, calling other comments "utter rubbish". Can't he just say he disagrees?

  11. In fairness to Simon, I am occasionally abrasive, having met him he seems a reasonable sort of bloke.

    It's easy to confuse criticisms of a persons politics, philosophy etc. as personal attacks which they are not.

  12. Why not relocate the council offices to Westwood Chaos? They've moved everything else there. Then they could close Margate down for good and be done with it.

    Or perhaps they're worried about the amount of time it would take them to get to work?

  13. Dr Moores, Do all TDC employees live in areas with no public transport?? Concil workers should be encouraged to use public transport, and Thanet is well served by such. Providing free parking does not encourage employees to use public transport. TDC will hasten Margate's decline further by TDC'S annoucement today that parking fees will increase. This should have been offset by a contribution from TDC'S employees towards their annual parking cost which runs into hundreds of thounsands. TDC does not grasp that parking charges are damaging local trade and thus employment.

  14. Dr Moores, Alternatives? Thanet has very good public transport, do TDC employees live beyond the reach of these services. By providng free parking there is no incentive for TDC employees to use public transport. TDC annoucement today of proposing to increase parking fees will further damage what's left of Margate. TDC fails to grasp the impact of parking fees on the High St and local employment. People using a car will simply not visit the High St. Why go there when Westwood is free etc. The annual cost of TDC's free parking is several hundred's of thousands,employees should contribute towards this cost, and this would offset any further proposed increase in parking fees and this would benefit the local economy and employment.

  15. I am a trader in Margate, talking to other traders, Margate they all say trade is bad at the moment. The word reccesion commomly crops up!! TDC incresing parking charges...If parking charges were installed at Westwood Cross less people would go there, increasing them in Margate will put the final nail in the coffin for Margate. One can only wonder what they achieved in China, as they don't understand the local commercial issues!

  16. Well put anon 07:07 I hope that thanet council wake up to the problem on the doorstep.

    Walking around Ramsgate one thing that distinguishes it from Margate is that you can actually park there.

    Its noticeable that no expense has been spared on Mill Lane carpark its just unfortunate that it has been hijacked purely for Council use only.

    Margate traders ought to arrange some sort of protest, perhaps arrange for joe public to park in the carpark before our heroic bureaucrats turn up for work.

  17. As a trader in Margate I would be more than happy to speak to other traders and organise a protest. It is time that TDC was shamed for the free provision of parking and how this costs the ratepayer thousands which could be spent elsewhwere, and how it affects the commercial trade in the town. We note that Dr Moores has not made any further comment on Alternatives for TDC'S employee's travel to work.