Saturday, 24 December 2011


With shopping being in everyone’s mind at Christmas I felt this was a suitable post to read with your Christmas Turkey and a glass of mulled wine. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.
(Click on pictures to enlarge)

The public consultation about this time last year, on the Core Strategy planning proposals, identified the possibility of making Staffordshire Street car park in Ramsgate a key site for the development of an “anchor store” to provide an enhanced shopping experience in Ramsgate town centre. Staffordshire Street car park is adjacent to Cleaver Lane which is an original cobbled street, quite unique and a survivor of “old” Ramsgate.

These two adjacent features provide a unique opportunity to integrate a very special shopping experience within the existing fabric of the town. By providing a series of small shop units fronting the north side of Cleaver Lane an “olde worlde” Dickensian street can be achieved, but enter any of these small shops and they are connected directly into the large new department store beyond, thus creating a wealth of differing shopping environments to suit all tastes

The remodelled site contains a two storey car park at the ground and lower ground floors and a panoramic restaurant at roof level with roof terrace and views of the church spire and town. A solar panel array on the roof provides a substantial proportion of the electricity requirements for the centre.

This is one of five proposals being put forward as opportunities for the regeneration and revitalisation of Ramsgate in the 21st century and in preparation for the 200th anniversary of Ramsgate Royal Harbour. Such schemes will require inward investment into the town and provide opportunities for employment together with an enhancement of the town’s economics.

Sunday, 18 December 2011


A new Ramsgate swimming pool in the High Street has now been APPROVED

The Localism Bill has become law and is now THE LOCALISM ACT.

The Sandwich Enterprise Zone includes money for UPGRADING the Ramsgate Line

There is no money  allocated for building PARWAY STATION..

So NOW is the time for highspeedRAMSGATE

There are many problems which need resolving in St Lawrence and Manston. The airport needs a good rail connection if it is to survive at all, St Lawrence needs traffic management improvements, Our Grade II listed Ramsgate railway station needs a secure future, Warre Recreation Ground requires protection for the future and a solution needs to be found for the improvement of the existing swimming pool. to maintain a good level facilities in and around Newington.

With the new Localism Act it will be possible for local communities to take charge of their own planning requirements and make suggestions for revitalising an area. Here is a suggestion (click on picture to enlarge) which could address many of the communication issues surrounding the airport and the railway. This could also provide a funding opportunity for improvements to Warre Recreation Ground.    Any comments?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

To PARK or not to PARK.

Cllr Worrow has supposedly “seen the light” on the “trivial matter” of free parking versus parking charges and obviously the Conservative councillors are crying “foul”. But when are these councillors going to wake up and see the true situation.  To describe the parking situation in Thanet as an absolute mess, is being kind to it.

We have free parking in Westwood Cross to encourage out of town shopping and parking charges in the Old Town Centres to finally kill them off. Even the Christmas free parking is in obscure car parks not near the town centres.  Minster has free parking and the shops are thriving, other villages have none and the shops have all shut. YES there is a connection between available free parking and shop viability. I live within walking distance of Ramsgate town centre, but on occasions when I have to take a car into town, lack of easy parking just puts me off, so people who have to drive in regularly probably go elsewhere.

The council do not even learn from their mistakes, having cocked–up Thanet shopping by building Westwood Cross, there are still councillors supporting the future cock-up to be, known as Parkway station. Billed as a station for the Kent International Airport it is on the wrong side of the runway and will include, yes you guessed it, a huge car park.

Any moron can work out that an air passenger arriving at or departing from KIA by train will have no car, so who will use this car park. Not the existing commuters because most of them have their commuting arrangements already worked out. There will be an influx of new commuters wanting executive houses built around the station or on the Eurokent site. Ramsgate station will then be downgraded, when all it needs is a good parking scheme to make it more viable.

Back to Ramsgate town centre and Leopold Street car park, this has a 30% usage level with proposals to close two upper floors, when all it needs is good security and appropriate management to make it popular. This could take the pressure off Pier Yard and allow a much more pleasant pedestrian space in front of Clock House (if ever it opens again)

The way parking is handled in an urban environment can have a profound effect on the appearance and prosperity of a town. In some French towns on-street parking is alternating, so on one side of the road, parking is restricted from the first to the fifteenth of the month (see above sign), then the other side is restricted for the remainder of the month . This encourages a free flow of traffic and reduces the appearance of “cars everywhere”.

This post has been written from memory of various encounters with poor parking management throughout Thanet, and I am sure there are many more examples of which I am not aware. So maybe some Thanet councillors will take good parking provision more seriously now they have lost their lucrative allowances over such a “trivial matter”.

Thursday, 8 December 2011



The Promenade Shelters Appeal Charity Shop at 52 Queen Street, Ramsgate, has been open for a second week. The shop was set up last week by Nelson Crescent and Prospect Terrace Residents Association to aid the Ramsgate Society Shelters Appeal and  raised over £ the first week.

 Agreement was reached for the shop to stay open for a second week until 10th December, and it has been doing a good trade in the second week. 


.The shop is open 10 to 4 each day . Any support would be most welcome  and thanks to Pearson Gore,Estate Agents for the loan of the shop.

Saturday, 3 December 2011



The Promenade Shelters Appeal Charity Shop at 52 Queen Street, Ramsgate, looks set to stay open for another week. The shop was set up last week by Nelson Crescent and Prospect Terrace Residents Association to aid the Ramsgate Society Shelters Appeal and has so far raised nearly £2000. 

 Agreement has been reached for the shop to stay open for a further week until 10th December. We need more items to sell and volunteers to help within the shop for two hour periods. The shop is open 10 to 4 each day except Sunday 10-2. Any support would be most welcome  and thanks to Pearson Gore, Estate Agents for the loan of the shop.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

BACKDOOR planning.

Getting “the cart before the horse” is becoming an art for Thanet planning policy.

Planning application  F/TH/08/0400                         APPROVED
Industrial development at Manston Business park (China Gateway)  

Planning application OL/TH/11/0910                       BEING CONSIDERED
Land at Haine Road (Eurokent)                       
New application  for change from Industrial to Residential

Planning Application  F/TH/11/0874                       BEING CONSIDERED
Ramsgate Slipways Redevelopment

Ramsgate Port Master-plan                                       DELAYED

Night Flights Consultation                             REPORTED AS IMMINENT

Core Strategy Consultation                                       DELAYED
Approval of Local Development Framework and Airport Expansion

If you are wondering how this list of various planning events affects you, well when finally Thanet District Council get around to approving their Core Strategy Local Development Framework all the major planning decisions will have already been taken

Eurokent can safely be given residential approval now there is industrial space at China Gateway although no go ahead has been agreed by Core Strategy agreement

Leisure development may be let into Ramsgate Harbour before details of the Master plan are available.

Night flight expansion may be approved before the airport expansion itself is approved by the Core Strategy.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

DEVALUATION by any other name.

On the television at the moment, we hear that the EURO is in crisis and that the government should consider pulling out of Europe, I have never heard such codswallop. In 2002, soon after the EURO was invented, I had occasion to change a considerable amount of EUROs into POUNDS. I received 62 pence sterling for each EURO exchanged. That was the going rate when the EURO was born.

If I wanted to repeat the same exercise today, I would get approximately 90 pence sterling for every EURO exchanged. This means that in less than 10 years the value of the POUND has dropped by 25 per cent against the EURO. So when you hear the EURO is in crisis spare a thought for the poor old POUND.


                     read DEVALUATION !!!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

What kind of town do you want to live in?

 One that looks like this?
Or one that looks like this?
Volunteers are working for your town right now

We need to win funding for the shelters restoration
Please go to:-

Register, receive an email to confirm your registration

Log on and vote. We need every vote for Ramsgate,

Only 12 days left to VOTE 

Your vote could be worth £6000

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Cinderella on Sea

                                                         “THE  RATEPAYERS  TEARS”

Ville Views blog says, us Ramsgatonians live in a beautiful place, therefore we should shut up and keep playing second fiddle to Margate. This is a typical view of Ramsgate, stated by an outsider who knows nothing about the town. Ramsgate’s downfall is its beautiful location and setting, visitors are enchanted by it and do not see Cinderella beneath its beautiful exterior.

 The odds have been stacked against Ramsgate since 1974 when local government re-organisation created Thanet District Council with a voting advantage of 60/40 in favour of Margate. Since then Cinderella’s fortunes have rapidly declined as all the attention is lavished on its ugly sisters. Ramsgate has even been struck off the tourist map with the closure of its Visitor Information Centre.

Fortunately for Ramsgate, it’s a bit like “Marmite”, it seems that depending on where you live in Thanet you either love it or hate it. Those who hate it put obstacles in the way of its success; those who love it volunteer their time and effort, free of charge to ensure its survival and progression. One thing’s for sure, the more obstacles that are put in the way of Ramsgate’s re-generation the more the town’s volunteers rally to keep it functioning.  There are more volunteering groups in Ramsgate than you can shake a stick at and even the Town Councillors donated their expenses to the good of the town.

We in Ramsgate have a marvellous opportunity to illustrate that “Localism” can really work and take charge of our own destiny to thwart those faceless individuals who are jealous of Ramsgate’s magnificent beauty and resilience. 

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

One small step for Ramsgate.

The first week of August 2011 will see two promenade shelters on the Ramsgate seafront cordoned off in preparation for their complete restoration. This work is a pilot scheme by the Ramsgate Society, the first part of a larger project to restore 14 shelters which has been two years in the negotiation stage but is now nearing fruition. These two shelters will be out of action until early October 2011 when they will be returned to public use in a fully restored condition.

The two lucky shelters are the centre one of three, east of the Granville Theatre and the prominent Westcliff shelter on Government Acre. The remaining twelve are scheduled for works beginning early in 2012, in batches of four, that is four on Eastcliff, four in the Paragon and Nelson Crescent and four remaining on the Westcliff.

These shelters are being funded to 90% of the cost by a Townscape Heritage Initiative Grant, jointly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Thanet District Council. It is up to the Ramsgate Society and people who care about Ramsgate to raise the remaining 10% of the cost of works. The Ramsgate Society already has raised sufficient funds for the contribution towards the pilot scheme, but will require assistance from the many businesses, organisations and people in Ramsgate to complete the whole scheme. It is now up to Ramsgate to take the first small step towards it’s own regeneration. This project will demonstrate how we can take charge of our own environment and make it better for the whole community. Hopefully, it will be the first in a long line of projects to make Ramsgate a better place to live and visit.

For more information and to get involved visit

Friday, 3 June 2011

Buckets and Spades at the ready.

One of Ramsgate’s big events is happening this Sunday, 5th June, The annual “Bucket and Spade” run will be travelling from Faversham to Government Acre in Ramsgate, arriving from 11.00am onwards. It promises to be a great event and the weather might just hold out long enough for it to be a glorious day.

It is organised by ROMMCC (Ramsgate Old Motor and Motor Cycle Club), there will be many veteran and vintage cars and motor cycles to view. Along with motor related stalls, side shows and live music etc, a really good event for all the family.

The Ramsgate Society will be staging an exhibition about Promenade Shelter Renovation, Ramsgate (Heritage Regeneration) Trust Ltd and Ramsgate Tunnels Group., together with a fund raising competition to win lunch for two at the very popular Eddie Gilbert’s Restaurant.


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Night Flying consultation NOW would be inappropriate and maybe illegal.

Your ‘aving a laaff!

Infratil pay an “independent” consultant to trot out the same old figures contained in their two year old Master plan and some sections of the population in Margate jump up and down like the coming of a second Messiah. Is it not a coincidence that the publication of this report coincides with the formation of our new hung “parliament”?

Ask yourself some simple questions.

Why is Manston the only airport in the UK which needs night flights to expand?

Why does Manston think it can attract planes at night, when it cannot attract them during the day?

If Manston can create 3000 “imaginary” jobs for 24 hr operation, why can they not create 1500 ”real” jobs by daytime operations?

Why does Prestwick, Infratil’s other UK airport only support 300 jobs for 1.8 million passengers?

The answer to all these questions is the SAME. Infratil has no intention of providing either 3000 jobs or night flights. They just want to hoodwink the council into agreeing to everything and then sell the airport to some unscrupulous operator who will utilise these concessions to our detriment.

So why the headline?   Night flying is an expansion of the airport beyond the existing planning agreements. Airport expansion has not yet been approved within the Core Strategy document “Shaping our Future”, which itself requires a second public consultation and approval by an Inspector from the Secretary of State. To stage a consultation about night flying expansion before approval of airport expansion would certainly be inappropriate and would pre-empt any decision by an Inspector, this may prove illegal.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Where have all the flowers gone?

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have Ramsgate’s flowers gone?
Not long to go
Where have all the flowers gone?
None on the seafront, yet again?
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Friday, 20 May 2011

Margate – or bust.

I had a couple of visits to Margate recently, one outside the Turner Contemporary and one inside. The outside visit was a walk around the Old Town area which has been nicely restored and provides an interesting backcloth to TC. It was Wednesday morning so things were quiet but on Thursday when I returned it was a bit livelier. What struck me from an architectural point of view was the thin veneer of prosperity which has been added to the seafront facing the TC. This will be extended towards the railway station with the renovation of Dreamland Cinema, maybe Tesco’s new superstore and eventually the Dreamland vintage amusement park.

Behind this veneer are acres of derelict and semi-derelict premises which in years gone by would have been buzzing with holiday makers or supporting the establishments who were accommodating the holidaymakers.  Now those holidaymakers have gone elsewhere there are just too many buildings to find practical uses for their future. Where this happened in Northern towns, the councils purchased many with the help of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and bulldozed them, making parks and open spaces between the remaining buildings. This approach was not considered a success up North so it is probably not the best solution for Margate.

What is needed is to make the seafront “relevant” again. People used to flock to the seaside, they do no more. Children were allowed to roam free; they are now permanently supervised by protective parents. The whole nature of society has changed. If a Middle Class mum wants her children to go swimming, dancing, ice skating, horse riding, or whatever, she puts them into a car, takes them there and brings them back.

There are many financially secure families, living in private houses on Thanet estates, working probably in Canterbury, shopping at Westwood Cross and only going to the beaches when the weather is baking hot. Run down historic town centres have little effect on their lives. We must make the seafront relevant again by introducing family orientated and supervised entertainments and also have a serious re-think on car parking strategies

Monday, 16 May 2011

What is Art?

Since the opening of the Turner Contemporary there have been two main questions buzzing around the Isle blogs. Was it worth it? – and – what is art?.  I think I will leave the first question for you to answer yourselves, otherwise I may be accused of damaging the tourist intake potential.

So – What is art?  I have been involved in architecture all my working life and the general consensus about architecture or “art in the built environment”, is a building becomes architecture when it contains qualities which lift it above the mundane. Therefore a Barrett house “may” not qualify but the TC building definitely would.

Many people have described the TC building as a large shed and it does have some “shed-like” qualities, but equally it has some architectural qualities. The six mono-pitched roofs facing out to sea are best viewed from the air (see Thanet Life) otherwise, on the ground, only three sections can be seen at a time. The glass cladding is an interesting finish but as yet I have not seen a convincing photograph of its reflective qualities, mimicking the Turner skies, as promised. It seems to have a blank grey appearance imitating a good Margate fog. I just hope the graffiti artists do not want to make a contribution to the Turner collection.

Architecture, similarly to art, does not have to please, you can love it or hate it but I suppose the main thing is, it should stimulate a reaction. The Turner Contemporary, either the building or its contents are certainly causing positive and negative reactions, so they are therefore stimulating and both should be considered art.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Election Reflections

From the blog that gave you “Thanet Independents’ Day” even if it was more by luck than judgement and only included 1 new Independent out of the additional 14 who were standing. A mop with a red rosette would have been elected in Ramsgate, such is the strength of feeling against night flying.  Anyway, I am now confident that drastic revisions will be necessary to “Shaping our Future” the Core Strategy document to 2026 to get it approved by a hung council.

What is the future for the new council? We all find out on Thursday, but it seems to me there are three possible outcomes.

1. The “three wise men” could sell out to one party or the other making them “not very wise men”. But being acquainted with the two returned Independents I feel a sell-out is very unlikely because they have strong independent opinions.

2. Case by case approval or opposition to each policy, as and when it is presented. This is the most likely initial way forward, but it will be a fragile stand-off not appreciated by the main parties.

3. An alternative scenario is that Labour and Conservative could make a show of working together in order to side line the Independents, making them irrelevant to proceedings. Pity there were not more elected Independents, a 20,20,16 mix would have been very interesting.

So what is my prediction for the leadership, let me see, where is my crystal ball?  Not much chance of a public elected leader I don’t think.  The fog of a negative AV vote is clearing and the local Conservatives are glowing in favour of proportional representation, is that a “U” turn or what?  In the absence of a more suitable candidate, I think Cllr Bayford will return to his seat of power, but more importantly I would like to see a cabinet with one Independent, one Labour and one Conservative, that would completely neutralise party politics whilst providing a balanced decision making forum for the good of Thanet.

Let’s wait and see what Thursday brings.

Friday, 6 May 2011

PUZZLED in Thanet.

After the initial shock of defeat had sunk in, the next stage was a post mortem on the strategy employed and I have to say, I do not think I could have done anything differently which would have made the outcome any better for my chances, or stood in another Ward where my chances could have increased.. I chose Thanet Villages to contest because I sincerely believe the biggest future threat hangs over the rural / urban balance of Thanet.

Watching the ballot papers being counted this morning it became obvious that I was scoring well on many papers but nowhere near as highly as Bob Grove. There was a large block vote for all three Tory candidates which gave them a sound base and the protest vote was going to 1 Independent (Bob) and two Labour candidates. Labour is never strong in the villages but this combination of 3 votes deprived me of contesting even one Tory for fourth place.

Funnily enough the overall election result was close to what the Independents were hoping for, a hung council but not with as many Independents as would be desired.  It would appear in Thanet, as some incoming comments on this blog had suggested “no party = no vote”, this also seems the case in Central Harbour and Eastcliff Ramsgate where Independents lost all seats to Labour.   On the other hand, there was an overall vote of “no confidence” in the Conservatives previous record, without extending a majority to Labour, so Thanet voters are searching for a new way which neither party seems to offer, as yet the voters do not have confidence in Independents to provide that new direction.

Unfortunately, the train is leaving Thanet at high speed and the people are on the wrong platform.

It is now up to the three elected Independents to try and get the whole council working together, let’s hope they can achieve something. Good Luck to all three.

C’est la vie.

Just returned from the count and found I have been unsuccessful in being elected, I would like to thank all those who supported me and voted for me, but it wasn’t to be on this occasion.

Good Luck to Bob Grove, Mike Roberts and Linda Wright.

Thank you all

Ken Read

Saturday, 23 April 2011

West by Sou’west

Water to the North.
Water to the East.
Water to the South-East.

The clue is in the name “Isle of Thanet”, before draining of an area around the River Wantsum in the Middle Ages, Thanet was in fact an island.  Access onto this” island” is still from one direction only, West by South-West, a corridor where all land based communication must pass.

This has certain repercussions for the prosperity of the area, everything and everyone has to enter and exit from one direction, which makes for an amount of isolation. This is a geographic fact of life which cannot be changed, so when planning for airport expansion we must factor into the equation that the airport has a catchment area one quarter the size of an inland airport. This is a good reason to plan for moderate expansion and not be too over ambitious about its growth potential. This is not to say that a thriving airport does not have a part to play in the regeneration of Thanet but it will not single-handedly be Thanet’s saviour.

The degree of isolation caused by Thanet’s island status has a certain allure to tourists and this should be promoted and encouraged to build on the foundations set by the Turner Contemporary.

Another factor which is overlooked when planning a massive airport expansion is our newly acquired HS1 train service joins the main high speed line at Ashford where it competes with Channel Tunnel traffic for space on the high speed line. Trains from Thanet will always be considered secondary to the cross channel services.

We need a reality check and some solid research into these aspects of airport expansion to establish what is feasible and what is fantasy.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Conservative Manifesto – REVEALED.

Just in case you do not wish to wade through the whole 36 pages of the Conservative Manifesto to verify that the items which I have identified as Core Strategy policy are in fact contained in the Conservative manifesto. Here they all are:

Your Conservative Council supports the expansion of Manston Airport subject to suitable environmental safeguards.

The TDC Scrutiny process will inform your Conservative Council’s Cabinet of areas to be included in a Night Flying Policy.

Infratil will be invited to resubmit a modified Night Flying Policy provided this can be supported by a robust economic justification for any change to current operating hours of 7am to 11pm. This will then go out to consultation with the public. That consultation will inform the Council’s decision regarding night flying.

The Conservative Group will propose a free (unwhipped) vote on the Policy, as we believe that public opinion should be paramount in this important issue when voted on by Members of the Council.

COMMENT: A vague description of airport expansion without mentioning 6 million passengers. The vote mentioned in the  last sentence would benefit from more Independent Councillors.

PARKWAY STATION Transport Links and Infrastructure

 Securing commitment of sufficient funding to enable by 2014 the construction of Thanet
Parkway Station and a minimum reduction in rail journey time of two minutes.

COMMENT: A commitment to the station by 2014.  Grant funding by KCC has already been applied for.

CHINA GATEWAY Marketing Thanet………………….

Thanet Thrives – supporting the establishment of more small and medium sized businesses, by making available the necessary land and facilitating the provision of modern efficient business units at realistic and affordable prices.

COMMENT: A vague reference which would allow the construction of China Gateway.

7500 NEW HOUSES Providing housing opportunities and choice for the residents of Thanet
- Making sufficient land available through the development and planning process to meet the housing requirements for Thanet (6,000 homes between 2001-2016).

COMMENT: 6000 homes by 2016 becomes 7500 by 2026 in the Core Strategy.

So nothing NEW in the Conservative Manifesto then – All in “Shaping our Future” last year.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Chinese Puzzle?

Much publicity was generated about the Thanet District Council delegation, which visited China in 2008 with the supposed intention of securing Chinese investment in the China Gateway project. Three years on, with no commitment by the Chinese to support the venture and a fragile financial predicament of the development company , no sign of economic advantage from the East Kent Opportunities LLP backed venture has filtered through to Thanet.

In fact the planning permission for China Gateway Phase 1 still remains outstanding and not approved because of real concerns about discharge of effluent from the factories and warehouses into septic tanks above Thanet’s underground drinking water supply.

Grandiose schemes like these are “pies in the sky” and it is very unlikely they will come to fruition. The number and type of jobs created by this sort of venture are not accurately quantifiable and by no means secure. Take the example of M&S Westwood Cross for instance, on the face of it, a creator of many jobs, but when the number of jobs lost at M&S Margate is deducted, the picture looks far less rosy.

The only way to job security is economic prosperity for the whole island and whilst Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate continue to look run down and unattractive to both visitors and prospective new residents alike, the Thanet malaise will remain. Grants are available for regeneration on a large scale like Turner Contemporary or on a small scale for garden planting etc. We need a council sympathetic to the needs of the whole community and with the energy and determination to make it happen rather than sitting on their hands and saying “it can’t be done”

Friday, 15 April 2011

The Big Issue? - 7500 Homes

This is a rather interesting and emotive subject. The figure of 7500 is copied directly into the TDC “Shaping our Future” document from the South-East strategic plans as the allocation for the Thanet area, however this must be reduced by the number of current residential planning approvals not yet constructed, which I understand is a considerable proportion.

Also approximately 1600 units are planned for Greenfield sites in and around Westwood Cross to complete the overall town planning concept.  To add to the complication, approval in December 2010 of planning policies DM1 and DM2 could substantially alter the mix and availability of properties in Thanet.

DM1 states that unless there are justifiable reasons, houses should be built in Thanet rather than flats. DM2 encourages reversion or conversion of existing flats into family houses. Now that is all quite commendable to redress the balance of family homes versus one bedroom, minimal standard flats and it is essential if “yuppies on HS1” are to be attracted to live in Thanet.

It is ironic however, and an illustration of the difficulties for planning legislation that a recent application, only months after the introduction of DM1 and DM2, is for 7 luxury seafront apartments of generous proportions at Ramsgate. The building housing the flats, overlooking the sea, is interesting modern architecture and far more appropriate to the area than 7 town houses would be, it is also unlikely to attract DSS tenants. The progress of this application should be an interesting one.

On top of all this, we have a need for social housing in the villages so young local residents are not forced to move away but not a general expansion of residential development in the green spaces of Thanet. One little considered offshoot from HS1 could be an influx of new commuters, taking advantage of the improved journey times to London. If Parkway station is allowed, pressure will mount for new housing developments surrounding the new station.

“Shaping our Future” was first drafted as a consultation document only a year or so ago, but since that time  the shape of the future has changed somewhat and a radical rethink on housing will be necessary.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

“Margate Industrial Estate?”

Jumbo jets landing every half hour, 24 hours per day, spewing out 600 passengers per hour (divide 6 million by the hours in a year) driven in a dozen coaches continually circulating the airport and mingling with commuter traffic to get to Parkway station car park, where the “ Manston Express” leaves every 20 minutes to cope with peak demand.

Juggernauts thundering along the Thanet Way, to and from an ever expanding China Gateway, marching across open fields, towards a creeping Westwood Cross, until it finally meets up in a continuous urban sprawl across the whole of Southern Thanet.

Is THIS the price we want to pay for getting Thanet back to work?

Or is there a better way? -  An integrated transport and tourism plan. (ITTP)
ITTP can combine moderate development with a revitalised tourism scheme for the WHOLE of Thanet. This will attract new residents, with greater disposable income, to take up family houses, created by planning policies DM1 and DM2, benefiting from the new proximity of Thanet to London using HS1. The Turner Centre will be a focus for a renaissance in Thanet tourism, visiting the scenic delights of the whole island from Minnis Bay to CliffsEnd.

Yes, you can say it is scaremongering!  Yes, you can say it will never happen!

But unless we get the document “Shaping our Future” amended, it is written into all our futures by 2026.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Towards 2026 and beyond -.”Shaping the Future”

The forthcoming election will take voters in Thanet to 2015 but the document “Shaping our Future” is the proposed plan and policies to 2026. The document is long and often technical so I have listed the policies with a simple summary so you can judge how they affect you. Some of the policies are GOOD for Thanet others need amendment, I would like to help Thanet Villages have a real voice in the negotiations.
Please read "Crouching Tiger - Hidden Dragon" for the background information.

DCS1 - Overall aims of job creating development, airport expansion, new houses,
              Westwood Cross expansion, revitalising Margate and Cliftonville West

DCS2 – Manston Park Business Park development (uses B1, B2 &B8)

DCS3 – Allocating land for Airport Expansion (up to 6 million passengers per annum)

DCS4 – Allocating land for “Airside” development and Airport Expansion

DCS5 – Land North of B2050 for Airport development

DCS6 – Land allocated for car parks in Airport Expansion.

DCS7 – Parkway Station adjacent to Cliffsend

DCS8 – General expansion policy for Westwood Cross

DCS9 – Further development of Westwood Cross town centre

DCS10 – Wider commercial development – North East of WC town centre

DCS11 – New Haine – High density housing (400 to 600 units) and business uses

DCS12 – Nash Road, North West of WC town centre - High density housing (1020 units)

DCS13 – Westwood Technology Centre – relocating Thanet College plus B1 uses

DCS14 – Improving sports facilities at Jackey Bakers.

DCS15 – Regeneration and development of Margate Town Centre and Seafront

DCS16 – Development of Cliftonville West

DCS17 – Ramsgate Waterfront development

DCS18 – Ramsgate Port development

DCS19 – General clause allowing development for economic enhancement.

DCS20 – General clause on allocation and placing of development

DCS21 - Maintaining Green Wedges – essential development only.

DCS22 – High quality design for new development

DCS23 – Energy efficiency in new developments

DCS24 – Placement of development for business use, Manston Park, Manston Airport
                New Haine and Westwood Technology Centre.

DCS25 – Economic development outside designated areas (China Gateway 2 & 3)

DCS26 – 7500 new houses by 2026, 20% on Greenfield sites around Westwood.

DCS27 – Changing shops to residential in the Old Town Centres

DCS28 – Affordable housing incorporated in developments of 15 or more units
                30% in urban areas except Broadstairs, 35% in Thanet Villages

DCS29 – Preference for houses not flats in new developments

DCS30 – Lifetime standards in new developments of 15 units or more

DCS31 – Restriction on converting existing houses to flats.

DCS32 – Provision of land for gypsies and travellers

DCS33 – New development compatible with transport, social, physical and green

This is only a summary and may not contain every aspect of a given policy.

Items shown in bold have a direct effect on Thanet Villages.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Six million passengers.

Before I get all the anti-airport accusations let me say that I am in favour of a “good neighbours” airport,  partially because the repercussions from airport closure would be far worse than allowing reasonable expansion.and I also think the airport has a part to play in Thanet regeneration.

What I disagree with is an immediate permission for 6 million passengers, whether or not they will ever arrive.  Passenger numbers this year were approximately 30,000 so an increase to 6 million is a 200 fold increase, the present annual number of passengers would be handled in two days if the Infratil Masterplan expansion came to fruition. Although even Infratil have downgraded their maximum numbers to 4.7 million.

Assuming an average of 100 passengers per plane it would take 60,000 planes to shift that number of passengers. If the airport was working 365 days in the year it would equal 164 planes per day, 14 planes per hour on a 12 hour day or 7 planes per hour on a 24 hour basis. This does not include any allowance for planes carrying freight.

Before you accuse me of scaremongering, I am not saying this is going to happen, all I am saying is that this level of expansion is, at present, included in the Core Strategy document, “Shaping our Future”

If  a person put in a planning application for one house and was granted permission for  100 flats, you would think that ridiculous, but 6 million will be granted to the airport even if they never can achieve half a million.Unless we get it changed!.

A much better solution would be to grant 250,000 passenger numbers (10 fold increase) with safeguards before any further increase is accepted. Further permission for increase can always be granted , but numbers cannot be reduced once granted.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Crouching Tiger - Hidden Dragon.

You may have forgotten about the Core Strategy document in the fever of an election campaign but just remember that it awaits to bite back as soon as the election is completed.  This ill conceived document still contains China Gateway Phases 2 and 3, Airport expansion to 6 million passengers, undefined freight and night movements, Parkway station and 7500 new homes.

Assurances have been given that the 7500 homes will not be added to the Thanet villages but proposals have been put forward for changing the use of the poorly developed Eurokent Business Park into residential development. This would reduce the future industrial site availability in Thanet and consequently strengthen the case for China Gateway Phases 2 and 3 to be built on Greenfield sites in rural Thanet.

All this is happening on top of our drinking water supply reservoir.

We need to be extremely vigilant about the progress of this document through the various stages of consultation to ensure it is a “sound” document when finally presented to the Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for final approval.

Friday, 1 April 2011


Just as well I published my April Fool’s post this morning, it might be the only advertisement the poor old Turner Contemporary gets, even if it was by implication.

I have to thank Don at Promote Thanet for highlighting this, but with only two weeks to go to the grandest opening in Thanet for many, many, many years, there is no substantial mention of it on either TDC website or Visit Thanet.

Is it, they have no interest, financial or otherwise in the project? Is it, that their IT department is crap NO non-existent? Or is it, they just don’t care? No doubt we will be told by the usual semi-official  blog sources that the services are “farmed-out” and they have no control over what is published. How many businesses get sub-contractors to do specialist work for them, it is not rocket science, but a sub-contractor is expected to carry out the work efficiently and in accordance with agreed requirements. Get your act together TDC and publish the opening, even I can manage it in my spare time.

In case anyone out there does not know what I am talking about

 ( remember you heard it here first (well not quite))

Thanet Art Gallery “opening” soon.

Chalky Walker and his outside broadcast team are oiling their tripods and polishing their lenses in preparation for the big opening event, Local people are excited to see the result of 12 years of hoardings around the site and have high hopes that the finished product will live up to their full expectations. Chalky will be out interviewing visitors and getting their views about the future regeneration potential from such as local masterpiece.

The opening ceremony will be conducted by GO’D who is a larger than life figure in the area, expected to hold back the waves and get the sun shining especially for the event and also for the hoards of local people expected to turn out for the well-wishing.  It is hoped that the blue skies of Thanet so often revered by famous artists will decorate the ceiling of the new gallery.

Numerous local artists have been commissioned to provide a colourful array of varied artistic talent from Thanet and beyond and the response has been overwhelming. My own meagre contribution (see picture above) will have to remain in cyberspace and at the wrong end of town (Whatever happened to my board Gerry! :-()

The “Van Gogh Alfresco” commonly known locally as the Great Wall of Ramsgate “opens” on the 23rd of April 2011 at 3pm, so put that date in your diaries. Where’s my diary? ….. ah! yes…only 22 days to go!

Oh, you thought I was referring to …er … the other…………………………..

Monday, 28 March 2011

Immortality? – I don’t think so.

 It must be that “certain age” or the current blogging vacuum caused by pre-election blues. It got me thinking about the wider issues of life. No, I am not feeling suicidal just contemplating the absurdities in life. Marches in London complaining about cuts, overshadowed by anarchists’ mayhem, whilst is Japan orderly marches to protest about nuclear proliferation giving no hint of the natural destruction which caused the situation.

The UK government tells us the country is on the verge of bankruptcy whilst still finding money to pursue wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya, still pretending there is a “great” in Britain. Bankers still drawing colossal bonuses although it is near impossible to ring your local branch or get the manager to return your call. World population projected to increase from about 6 billion to 9 billion although there are still people starving and the natural resources are being exhausted at an unsustainable rate.

Nearly every man, woman and child on the planet depends for their very existence on the internal combustion engine, in its many forms. These engines all require oil to function, remember the oil refinery blockade in the year (I think) 2000, the country was on its knees in 3 days. One natural disaster in the UK, on a similar scale to that in Japan would cause civil breakdown and I don’t think the British population would be as law abiding as the Japanese.

The government buzz-word is always economic growth and I understand that recession is not good but sustained growth, like perpetual motion is against the laws of both physics and mathematics so we should not be surprised when recession bites back occasionally.  Every pound, euro, dollar or yen gained by someone, has to be lost by someone else, resources are finite so we should be managing them for the future, not fighting over them.

I suppose it answers the question ”why no immortality?”, firstly we have to die so somebody else can inherit our space on Earth and secondly this generation of idiots has to die off so the next generation of idiots can take over and make all the same mistakes over again and invent some new ones.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


With one Thanet blogster claiming he is gagged behind his seven veils of Purdah and others too busy throwing their toys out of the pram, to write about it. It must mean that the dark clouds of an election are looming. Pre-election blues have set in, when councillors feel un-loved and need to prove to their electors that they have only the elector’s interests at heart. 

One interesting discussion on Big News Margate revolved around whether this quiet period was just the lull before the storm or orchestrated to give the voter a false sense of security. Everything is rosy in TDC-land and don’t say anything which may rock the pram, otherwise ALL the toys may fall out.

Purdah has successfully been defined on Thanet Life as OFFICIAL statements about council policy, so there is no good reason why all the candidates in the forthcoming election should not be completely open about their own and their party’s policies. So feel free to ask awkward questions from all the politicians – IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT THEY HAVE IN STORE FOR YOU

Friday, 18 March 2011

“BATTman returns”

 The BATTmobile was spotted in Ramsgate today, and boy, does the town need saving from the scourge of party politics. The unscrupulous dealings of the comedy Cons is only outdone by the suicidal in-fighting of the rose tinted lefties. 
FRANK BATT is just one of many INDEPENDENTS standing as candidates in the forthcoming local elections.  He is a prospective INDEPENDENT candidate for Ramsgate Central Harbour Ward, where he lives and he is standing for both Ramsgate Town Council and Thanet District Council. His election pledge is to work on behalf of the people of Ramsgate and Thanet, not for any party whip.

There will be sufficient independents standing all over Thanet to drive a wedge between the two main political parties in Thanet and put a stop to the posturing, bickering and rhetoric which wastes so much time and money at council meetings. With sufficient support for the INDEPENDENTS, the vested interests of party politics can be thwarted and a community based governance be re-established for Thanet.

Vote for FRANK BATT and vote for THANET, not party politics in the forthcoming elections. I will be highlighting many more INDEPENDENT candidates in the coming weeks, so watch this space!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Chronicles of Narnia.

Having read that the transformation of “Matthew” into the “Dawn Treader”, was taking place today in the harbour, we wanted to see what was involved in the work. Large amounts of plastic and a purple ”Narnia” sail had been fitted when we arrived and the ship was beginning to look suitable for its forthcoming entrance into London.

Also to be seen in the Royal Harbour was a fishing vessel on the quay having its bottom painted, together with one of the pilot boats suffering a similar fate just adjacent to it, the fishing vessel was surprisingly large when beached, mainly because of its deep draft.

On the other side of the inner harbour, concrete pontoons, finished earlier in the week were hardening. These pontoons are apparently for the London Array. My wife was most impressed that concrete could be made to float, the pontoons certainly looked substantial and heavy.

Having wandered around the Royal Harbour for about half an hour, it struck me that it is quite a magical place, like Narnia. These were not exhibitions put on for our benefit or for any tourists but REAL work being carried out in a REAL harbour. One day soon we may be thankful for TDC’s neglect of the harbour, at least it hasn’t been turned into a yuppie bankers’ paradise where bloated bonuses are spent on overpriced penthouses because the water casts rippling sunlight on the ceiling.

With continued protection this working harbour could become more unique than any yuppie playground.