Saturday, April 02, 2011

Normal Service will resume

However not for a week or two, I had a couple of days off last weekend, and enjoyed a  quick break away.

Monday will be posting an announcement.

In the meantime, Bill Furness (Thanet Liberal Democrats) has some interesting thoughts

Margate: the ghost town on the isle of concrete

Margate was unkindly labelled "Britain’s top ghost town" recently by the national press. However did this come about?

It was the present Tory-controlled Thanet District Council and the previous Labour administration that badly let down the residents of Margate – a lack of leadership and vision have failed us all and given us this unwanted accolade.

The increasing expansion and planned construction of even larger shops at Westwood Cross is killing the high-street shopping areas of Margate, Cliftonville, Ramsgate and Broadstairs with its free parking and range of larger shops.

There are no real constructive plans or ideas to combat this attraction to shoppers, and older existing town centres have been left to die.

Even the Margate Caves – one of the town’s last tourist attractions – were shut down and boarded up in very puzzling circumstances, while millions of pounds are being spent on the Turner Contemporary in a bid to attract people to Margate.

This project has a built-in annual loss factor, and I just hope that this vision for the regeneration of the town does not falter or we, the taxpayers, will have to bail this venture out.

We are also lumbered with the plans to build 1,200 new homes on the green fields next to the shopping malls.

This will increase the amount of traffic on the already-congested roads around Westwood – why does the council not use the many brownfield sites in Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs before using up our fast-depleting green fields.

As an example of how things could be done differently – and better – the borough of Eastleigh in Hampshire used up every brownfield area that it could, saving a very large area of greenfield land that would have been needed to build a planned 6,000 new homes.

A visit by our local councillors to Eastleigh borough to see how this was achieved would be of great value to our community – we must stop concreting over fields when there is so much unused land within Thanet’s towns.


  1. I can see Bill Furness has his finger on the pulse of local politics as usual.

    Margate Caves were of course closed by an HSE prohibition notice in 2004 and he still hasn't grasped that Turner is the best possible thing that could happen to Margate's plans for regeneration and is being paid for by someone else and not TDC. A wander around the Old Town is recommended.

    I could go on but happily I won't!

  2. Thank goodness for that...!

    Yay Tony! so you are standing in the local elections too? Lib Dem or Independent?

  3. As a resident of Broadstairs I take exception to being lumped in with Margate and Ramsgate in terms of High Street depravation.

    Businesses do close in Broadstairs, as they do even in the most affluent of places, but they do not stay empty long. Boarded up shops are a rarity and there exists an interesting and varied collection of retail outlets. Yet Broadstairs High Street is probably the closest of the three to Westwood.

    OK, so the previous Labour administration launched Westwood, but was that all bad. In some respects it has stopped a large amount of Thanet money shooting off to Canterbury.

    That initial plan apart, can we really blame councils for shopping streets not flourishing. What exactly can they do about it if the shopkeepers themselves cannot attract trade. Even Vermont in one of the wealthiest areas of the US has more charity shops than anything else.

    Some things are on the up. Margate is looking better and the Turner should bring in trade. Maybe more of the town centre business properties should be converted to residential use reducing the numbers of shops to those that can be sustained.

    Let's all try to be a bit more positive.

  4. Well said Simon, I am not sure Bill understands the Caves issue if he thinks it is a good tourist attraction he is sorely mistaken. As for the housing it sounds good at election time but I doubt if we had been in a different council administration anything would have been different. I must say we had a call fom a council hopefull today whoes only idea he should get our vote was that he lives in the same road. Enough said

  5. Dr Moore

    I do hope that the Turner Contemporary Gallery is successful,
    several businesses are being attracted to the area like bees around a honey pot,although as you point out TDC are not paying for it. we are all paying for it one way or the other.
    The great shame is some of the terrible run down buildings surrounding it,now hastily being tarted up,better late then never.
    I hope that local artists have an opportunity to show their works particulary the best from Thanet school children.

  6. Anon 10:22 Broadstairs seems to have its own Micro Climate regarding shops as does Birchington. Yo are right about converting some of the empty shops but I can show you some in Northdown road that look disgusting and some in Westbrook done to a very high standard it seems the councils building control have different standards.

  7. Well it sounds like you are standing too Tony, Well Done.

    Sorry to end on a down-er! With regard to concreting green fields, were you not singing the praises of a certain Parkway station some weeks ago.

    You must get your manifesto straight.

  8. Once again Bill Furness is right,
    we must stop building on greenfield sites whilst we have vacant buildings and building plots in Thanet,building extra houses next to westwood cross will increase the amount of traffic and cause even more traffic jambs.

  9. Readit,

    Is Tony standing in the elections?,if he is and stands for the Liberals in Dane Valley he could win,this is a three way marginal ward,his party only lost by a few votes at the by election.
    best of luck if you do TONY.

  10. I am working free for Desperate Dan O'Leary (Desperate Dan the junk man) concerning the murder of his son David in Margate three years ago.

    There was a moment of light relief on the phone when he told me how his Margate High Street shop is trying to get rid of bric a brac and replace it with exorbitantly priced art. So they can market the second hand shop as the "Earner Centre".

    On Turner opening I think you may see a penguin handing out leaflets at the Turner Centre indicating that the earner centre, just up the high street has free entry free wine and free cheese which may be holding a free wine and cheese invitation that day to all customers walking up from the Turner Centre to the Earner Centre.

    I understand that some urban art is planned for the built environment in the locale with pictures of the former and current Chief constables and details of the cocked up police murder inquiry.

    No picture of the woman Det Supt case officer seem available so I think a large picture of Olive Oyl may have to suffice annotated "Photo awaited".

    If those pictures appear as wall art they are not advertising so will there be a planning consent hiccough ?

    I don't know why a Penguin. Maybe the only theatrical costume available.

  11. Just a correction for Simon the turner is being paid for by someone else not entirely true, the money is coming from us via our own tax contribution and lottery ticket purchases you would think a Tory would understand that.

  12. Lib Dems? are they not the political chameleons who put the tories into power? Scum bags the lot of them!

  13. Why do you not realise Tony, joining the Lib Dems is like jumping off the Titanic onto an Ice Cube?

  14. Tony

    As I have mentioned elsewhere, fractionally, so Seeda, KCC, The Arts Council and of course the Heritage Lottery fund are chipping in but it's not something the people of Thanet are paying for to the extent that it appears on any Council Tax bill. Mind you if you buy enough lottery tickets you might notice it!

    Please do run in the local elections as I for one would dearly love to see the change in attitude once you realise what running local government actually involves from the inside as opposed to criticising freely from the outside.

  15. 418 & 420 anon I have been a liberal all my adult life, so your comments are as shallow as some local politicians, particularly the one who is now a Tory cabinet bod at tdc but had worked for pretty much every other political party

  16. I'd love to see the Labour group fail to get a majority, then the local papers could use the headline 'Sad but Inevitable'...
    and point out all the failings of Clive Hart and his deptuy Alan Poole which led to that outcome. Especially the one about putting forward proven failed councillors as candidates.
    I know sometimes parties have to scrape the bottom of the barrel but there was no excuse when the had stronger ones to choose from.

    I'm all for AV then this wouldn't happen as there'd be no such thing as a guaranteed safe seat in certain areas. Parties would need their strongest out on the front line.

  17. Sorry Tony, put the first part of last post in wrong thread and then got carried away. I think its great you will stand for Lib Dems. I'm liking them more by the day.
    Ok, didn't agree with way they joined to Conservatives and intensely dislike what Conservatives are doing for vulnerable adults but am glad the Lib Dems are there reining them back a bit.
    We don't want normal service resuming in our local politics. Both Labour and Conservatives are clearly corrupt and get rid of anyone who is a threat to their own cosy club. We need Lib Dems, Greens and independents to challenge the Status Quo and make them accountable. Shame Nottingham won't be there with you but C'est La Vie. Stand up and be counted Tony but don't be 'normal'!

  18. Its reported in KCC council meetings minutes that the Turner is going to cost £2.2 million a year to run. The Arts council is putting in £500,000 and KCC £1.2 millions, plus KCC is paying another £100,000 for maintenance (since it owns the building) and will also give another £100,000 towards the educational program. Looks like that with help from patrons, a bit of rental income from its functions rooms and even charging the expected visitors of 140,000 an entrance fee of £15 it will always be a drain on the public purse. A bit steep fee for children.
    I am sure there are better ways that KCC can spend £1.4 millions for the good of all of Kents residents.

  19. There are no plans to charge £15 entrance fee, yet more disinformation and gossip masquerading as fact, welcome to Thanet.

  20. The comment about the Turner's running cost stated "even if" they were to charge £15 per head. That would be the level needed so that the Turner paid its way with 140,000 visitors.
    The first exhibition may be free but I am sure that will not always be the case.

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