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.


  1. Ken I took part in the first stage of the consultation, when does the second part come up?

    With China Gateway where the 106 seems to be impossible to comply with in any way that makes sense, my understanding is that the clock stops on the planning application they have passed so that it stays valid in perpetuity, do you know if that is correct?

  2. If we oppose every project where are the jobs going to come from, Ken? Thought you were Independent but you sound awfully like just another member of Thanet Labour.

  3. Michael,The second stage is scheduled for the end part of 2011 followed by a hearing with an Inspector for the Secretary of State, where it must be demonstrated as a "sound" document

    A planning application is valid in perpetuity once it has been started, I believe one of the buildings has been built but last time I looked on UK planning I could not find the right application number, if you know it please let me know.

    Bluenote, I am not saying I am against all these things, China Gateway 2 & 3 I oppose because they are on both greenfields and an aquifer.

    The airport should be allowed expansion as a "good neighbours" airport taking into account, environmental concerns but not be given carte blanche to 6 million passengers without adequate controls and a proved need.

    Parkway station is totally useless and should be replaced with an airport terminal station if sufficient need can be established. If not an integrated transport system should be developed based on the existing stations.

    7500 new houses need to be monitored extremely carefully to ensure that they are really all required. If there is a need then brownfield sites should be utilised as a rule and further encroachment on to greenfields resisted.

  4. Sorry, Ken, but that still sounds like Thanet Labour. Oppose Gateway, oppose Parkway and support Manston so long as it is so restricted in usage that no company could run it profitably.

    On the housing you want it on brownfield but from your original post seem to be against it being built on industrial development sites. That's confusing and already sounds like politician double talk.

  5. Bluenote, you can lable me under whatever banner you wish but the fact remains I am not a "party animal" and never will be.

    If elected, I will have the honour of representing Thanet Villages, I have taken the temperature in the area and feel the stated policies accord most closely with the wishes of residents in the ward. I represent the peoples' views not my own.

    YOU may be willing to sacrifice the Thanet Villages to the fortunes of Margate but I certainly am not.

    All the policy adjustments I invisage are both practical and economically viable without creating harm to the locality. I will encourage profitability at the airport without harm to associated industries such as tourism.

  6. Ken, I am not prepared to sacrifice the villages or any part of Thanet simply in the cause of commercialisation and it is disingenuous of you to suggest otherwise. I do, however, worry how we will ever reduce our high levels of local unemployment if every proposal is opposed.

    Manston is a good example where, even Cllr. Mike Harrison a few months back was posting on his blog site about night flight hysteria. Then when it became Labour policy to oppose night flights, he promptly got as hysterical as the folk he had been criticising.

    It is not about constant freighters thundering over at all hours but simply being able to handle the odd landing and take off out of the normal hours. It is nothing like the levels of RAF operational or USAF days and many of us, and the holidaymakers, lived with that OK.

    Mind you, if by taking this stance you take the anti-airport votes away from Labour, then be my guest and good luck to you.

  7. Bluenote, I feel you are deliberately misintepreting my comments to prove your anti-airport theory.

    I am not anti-airport just realistic about its potential, the loss of the airport would be a greater disaster than its moderate expansion. If the airport is profitable it does not have to be the biggest just for more profit.

    What I am against is disjointed and ill conceived policies. I have yet to hear anyone with a good argument in favour of Parkway station. At any level it just does not work and surplus money from essential line upgrading should be spent on existing station upgrades or an airport terminal station.

  8. Ken, I am most definitely not anti-airport and do not know where you got that idea from any of my comments. I think a flourishing regional airport could do wonders for east Kent generally, but I do agree it is probably never going to be massive.

    What concerns me here, and I have been back in Thanet for over a decade now after working away, is that every proposal from the Turner Contemporary to Thanet Earth has brought out the anti-brigade and, in case you had not noticed, it is the same people time and again.

    It was no different when we had a Labour council for they had to contend with the Anti-Westwood Save Our High Streets mania.

    It would be nice if sometimes people here could grasp opportunities and move forward rather than opposing, usually because the Tory TDC or the Labour TDC support it. That is where Independents might make a difference, but not if they are just going to seek the anti vote like the political opposition do.

  9. Bluenote, I know you are not anti airport, nor am I.

    The problem is the Core Strategy document gives "carte blanche" to 6 million passengers for the airport whether or not that is feasible or environmentally desirable.

    It also provides a totally impractical station on the wrong side of the runway and addresses none of the issues regarding loss of use to existing stations.

    This sort of planning will not provide jobs it will only provide Infratil with an open cheque when they sell the airport.

    Far better to have an integrated phased plan with agreed milestones to be achieved before a further increase is allowed.

  10. Someone care to remind me how much of a dent in local unemployment China Gateway 1 promised and how much it has actually achieved?

  11. It is not so much how many jobs may or may not be created by any one project, but the fact that without projects there will be no reduction in Thanet's unemployment levels.

    In comments so far we have covered the big issues like Manston, Gateway and Parkway, but elsewhere there are, or have been, campaigns against the Albion Hotel's new landscaped garden, the Broadstairs community centre, the Arlington Tesco, the Turner Contemporary and even the new blazer badge for Ramsgate's grammar school federation.

    The names of the same old protestors come up over and again in local press letters, articles and campaign group press releases and one is left to conclude that Thanet has an element totally opposed to everything. They seem to think that doing nothing is an option, yet the same people are not slow to complain about Thanet's deprivation.

    I do not envy you, Ken, seeking to enter the world of local governance for I reckon in Thanet you are in a totally no win scenario.

  12. Yep I must concur with Bill on this Ken as we need employment but you seem opposed to most efforts to change things. I feel Thanet has enough people stuck in the past without you joining them. Come up with some changes please.

  13. Don, I agree totally with both you and Bill, Thanet needs jobs but not at the expense of destroying its character completely.

    Clutching at straws and agreeing to anything which promises jobs will get you nowhere. Thanet Earth illustrates that very well.

    What is needed is a sensible plan to revive Thanet's fortunes based around its existing assets, Turner Contemporary, Margate Old Town, Broadstairs, Ramsgate Royal Harbour working together with Manston Airport in harmony not at each others' expense.

  14. Ken.

    Spot on. A realistic recognition of what can sensibly be achieved without selling the family silver.
    One of the main reasons that Thanet has become so deprived is the farming out of the economically inactive by London Boroughs which was so beloved of the seaside local authorities in the last few years of the last century, coupled with over-reliance on single employers such as Pfizers to provide work for all. The local Council is at least trying to do something about HMOs; the legacy of the shift from holiday resort to London dumping ground. No amount of Anthea Turner Centres, Parkway Stations, Chas and Dave Airports or China Gateways is going to alleviate the root cause of the problem. The real problem is getting people to admit to the problem.

  15. I note that most that exhort you to come up with something new and accuse you of being stuck in the past have singularly failed to suggest anything constructive themselves. "Anything that brings in jobs" is the mantra; hardly original or indeed very practical. Laura Sandys' integrated transport policy, very much akin to your own thoughts, is at least a new idea.