Monday, 31 January 2011

“Anchors Away !”

“A-vast behind, pieces of eight, dastardly deeds are afoot down in Davy Jones’ Locker.

Keel-haul the duffers and make them walk the plank. - Me hearties!”

Well -er actually NO.   It’s true they lost a gold anchor, probably melted down for bling at the lodge and the tall ships have disappeared over the horizon but there are small sparks of glimmering light at the end of a long tunnel.

Plans for replacement of pontoons, London Array HQ under construction, slipways demolition rejected, rumours of the Maritime Museum opening in the Spring, a harbour review, discussion papers on the future of the Harbour, Port and Ramsgate town as a whole. Perhaps the message about “listening to the people” has got through at last, or perhaps it’s just election year (cynical or what?)

Anyhow, it’s about time we raised the profile of the Royal Harbour and realised the potential role it can play in the regeneration of Thanet, not just as a tourist attraction and a fun palace but as a working port, pleasure marina and a Royal historic harbour.

I believe the Ramsgate Royal Harbour is the most important asset in Thanet, dare I say it, even more important for regeneration than the holy grail (TC), so over the next few days I am going to explore various aspects of the Royal Harbour, its history, its attractions, its workings and its future, feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

“How green is your house?”

The recent post at Thanetonline with a link to a Mail Online article exposing the true cost of wind power renewable energy, which shows a huge lake of radio-active pollution in China where neodymium is extracted for turbine magnets, calls into question “Is there any form of energy production which does not harm the environment?”.

I don’t think anybody has much faith in the “green” credentials of nuclear generation and without the mountains and valleys to provide opportunities for hydro-generation, there seems little option but to continue polluting until a really clean solution can be found.

However, on the principle of “what goes in must come out” we should be thinking of new ways to stop the energy being lost, so that less has to be generated in the first place. This unfortunately is not a very “sexy” option to get elected on, so politicians do not shout about it. Also the energy generation companies will not get fat by providing too much energy conservation.

For those unfamiliar “SAP” stands for “Standard Assessment Procedure” the way energy consumption of buildings is measured.

Studies I carried out in 1996 came up with some very surprising results, I am not claiming that they are particularly accurate as they were, in part, based only on nationally published statistics. Their accuracy is not particularly important, as much as the overall picture they paint. The majority of UK housing stock dates back to the two World Wars and beyond, when there were no energy controls. Building Regulations 1965 was the first date at which insulation was required to be included in dwellings, only 45 years ago.

The older dwellings originally built without insulation and improved on an “ad hoc” basis, will continue to provide the bulk of the UK housing stock for decades, maybe centuries to come, there is no possibility of wholesale clearance and replacement. This is particularly relevant in Thanet where so many listed buildings exist, upgrading insulation without harming architectural features is an extremely difficult balance but such a challenge must be undertaken if we are to really tackle the excesses of pollution in modern society.

Friday, 28 January 2011

You couldn’t make it up, could you?

The comedy Cons are completely on the wrong track flogging the latest dead horse in their comedy of errors, funny they didn’t put their overdraft where their mouth is and financially back the scheme. Whilst the other lot, WELL what do I say “pistols at dawn” for a “dool” or perhaps they should have a real Hart to Hart. Is this what we deserve to run our psy-idyllic isle? They spend more time squabbling amongst themselves or with the other lot, than they do looking after our patch. Then they take home our hard earned cash.

Don’t we have a right to expect better of them, not just in the run up to an election but throughout the whole term of their “employment” by us. One thing is for certain, one lot is off the rails and the other’s less of a party and more of a mob. Would you trust your X to any of them? I won’t There is a real alternative vote INDEPENDENT. Just ask Frank.

Good humorous weekend DVD viewing (BBC iplayer) “Le diner de Cons” roughly translates to “The dinner of Idiots”. Spot the connection?

Thursday, 27 January 2011


Really GONE and sadly p**sed.

Some say he’s perfecting parachute-less freefall sky diving, King George VI couldn’t say it at all. Others say he’s eloped with Lucy Mail, twin sis of superstar muppet Miss Piggy. If so the frying squad’ll be on his tail trying to save their bacon before he spreads his porkies worldwide. Lucy’s definitely out of her pen and gone AWOL aussi.

 The Frying Doctor reckons he’s been given concrete boots and he’s holding up a post on the E K strip, he should know he’s got inside info. Still a flylo with the old Sopwith Camel should spot the hump, as long as he doesn’t get his flaps stuck on a bridge.

Me thinks ECR could not hack the fannit climes and scurried back to the plush of his Metro penthouse pad, leaving his millionaire mansion to Rack and Ruin. I’m sure they’ll  fix it up just fine with a good mix of bedsits and one-bedders to rent on DSS.

Anyway, ECR if you’ve got Virgin Mega on your Med gin palace and you‘re still listening into the fannit blogs, we hope you’re not missing us, we’re not missing you, NOT, init.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

WRONG place - WRONG time

Tarmac Thanet News


£10 million government grant applied for, to tarmac two more green fields in Thanet. To be topped up with £500.000 from Infratil. As the heading says WRONG place – WRONG time, remember that other planning blunder called Westwood Cross which succeeded in decimating the old town centres. Well now we have the next one, Parkway Station, one green field for the station and a second for a commuter car park !
Air passengers arriving or departing at KIA and travelling by train have no need for a car park.

Wrong Place
If  Manston airport desperately needs a high speed rail service to facilitate expansion then a KIA terminal station should be built on a  branch line into the airport, adjacent to the massive empty car parks already there. The branch line could then be used for freight services off-peak. This would reduce the need for China Gateway and the flood of lorries known as logistics. If the airport does not have sufficient passengers to support its own station then airport coaches can just as easily go to Minster or Ramsgate Stations, there would be little difference in the journey time

Two more green fields lost to tarmac.
Another large car park in the countryside
Ramsgate and Minster stations redundant, HS1 will stop at Margate and Parkway.
Coaches will circle Manston Airport day and night, if the airport expands
Constant pressure for new residential development around the new station
Cliffsend to Minster will become one sprawling suburb by 2050.

Wrong Time.
In these current austere economic times, to spend £10.5 million on another “status” white elephant is foolhardy, just think how far £10.5 million pounds would go to the regeneration of Thanet, if targeted at the existing infrastructure and amenities.

This reminds me of a true story from when my wife was a teacher. The school where she taught received a designated grant to build a new cycle path to the school, although only a few pupils cycled to school. The grant was received and the path constructed, but there was NO money available in the school to replace 20 year old text books, which the children used for their learning.   Fund allocation gone mad!

Let’s have some “joined up thinking”. on this project, the existing Ramsgate swimming pool is being made redundant and the fear is that it will be replaced by housing development, so spend less than £10 million on a superb new sports facility on the site, which can have an integral car park used for sporting events at weekends and a commuter car park during the week, which is just alongside Ramsgate station and parking income can pay for the sports ground upkeep.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Fiddle -er on the roof ?

Porta-cabins  falling from Jumbos over Ramsgate? 

No!  Just your average dormer window extension, in Thanet.

One coming to your street soon?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Open for business - Closed to tourists

With the 2011 tourist season almost in sight, it is interesting to see the frantic preparations to get Ramsgate ready for the onslaught of visitors to Thanet (read Margate) triggered by the opening of the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery in Thanet (read Margate).

  The Ramsgate signage is all in place to direct hoards of uninformed visitors to the Ramsgate Visitor Information Centre where they can get acquainted with all the details of the latest attractions in Thanet (read Margate).  Just as well Thanet has an award winning Visitor Information Centre, oh but that’s in errrr Margate. Even the alfresco waiting area is empty in Ramsgate and the only hoards to be found are hoardings. Is this what we pay our council tax for, could not £17+ million have lifted the whole of Thanet as a tourist destination.

Strangely enough the real council slogan “open for business” has an ironic twist with TDC providing little or no support to business in Ramsgate. There are more shops thriving in Ramsgate than there are in Margate, without the council’s help. If they give help similar to that given to the Community Pharmacy Gallery in Margate then perhaps Ramsgate is better without it.

Just a quick reminder about a news flash, some six weeks before last Christmas, was it £40,000 ? to be shared around the old towns to spruce up empty shops. How many empty shops have been given a facelift in Ramsgate (Answers on a postcard please to Cecil St, Margate) What this current administration fails to realise is that “Margate needs Thanet” more than “Thanet needs Margate”.

It seems that the only type of council business conducted on the south of the Isle is employment for the “boys with the black stuff”.

Watch this space for future editions of “Tarmac Thanet News”

Saturday, 22 January 2011

I saw it in the tea cups

NO - I am not claiming to be psychic and I don't read tea leaves but I do like a nice"cuppa"tea. One thing which struck me when I first moved to Thanet was the poor water quality. I moved here from South Suffolk which boasts one of the most modern reservoirs in the country, Alton Water, which was built in the 1970's.
Alton Water was constructed by damming and flooding a river valley. A listed watermill and cottages were removed, brick by brick, from the valley floor and re-constructed in the Museum of East Anglian Life where they are still today. Construction of the reservoir was an upheaval at the time but now it is a country park with wading birds, sailing, fishing, country walks and cycling. This is what I call an integrated plan for the future, which I think is lacking  in Thanet.

Coming back to the tea cups, they are both empty cups from my two cups of tea this morning. The one on the left was brewed using bottled water from Waitrose and the one on the right, brewed from tap water which had passed through two filters, installed in my home to improve water quality. As I said in the title, everyday I am reminded that water quality is not the best advert for Thanet.

This topic is particularly relevent at the moment, when the Environment Agency is consulting on run-off water from Manston airport being discharged into Pegwell Bay, it seems the choice we have is either preserving an outstanding SSSI, which is Pegwell Bay, or continuing to contaminate our drinking water. Well at least Waitrose will benefit from increased sales of bottled water.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The First Post

Welcome to this new Thanet blog, I hope you will find it of interest.