Posted by: maisiegrace | March 7, 2011

Margate is revolting

Against Thanet District Council of course! I can’t help noticing that there are some enormous differences of opinion about what is good for Margate between the people, both those who have moved here in the last few years and established Margatonians, and some of the local councillors.

 

At the moment there are more causes and campaigns than you can shake a stick at, although on examining the evidence it isn’t really surprising, given the frightening dumbness of some recent proposals. It really isn’t OK to neglect the seafront for years then run around like headless chickens when the opening of Turner is round the corner. It’s also not OK to want to waste money on an unnecessary buoy in the middle of a roundabout or some rather horrible designs for temporary gardens in the Old Town. And it’s definitely not OK to paint the lighthouse for no reason with no budget to maintain it, or to build houses all over one of Margate’s remaining attractions, the Margate Caves, for a quick buck. It’s also not OK to go against the Local Plan just because Tesco are waving a cheque book. The list goes on with many issues in Cliftonville and, of course, Hartsdown.

The people are revolting in their droves. There are countless community groups springing up and the council is being inundated with Freedom of Information requests. I wonder if they have ever had to deal with such a deluge of forceful intelligent argument before? It must be quite scary for them. And terribly bothersome!

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Responses

  1. Now if they had an idea for signage to the Old Town, that we, the traders have been crying out for, for how long now?! Or if the councillors came down to my shop to see how many people come in and ask when the museum is open…but alas.

    I say that Iris and John often pop in and ask how things are going, but the ones with the power…they don’t frequesnt the Old Town, so what right do they have of making decisions for us? Um, not sure about that one.

    There are a lot of very intelligent, hard working people down here, working for the good of the community and not just looking for 5 minutes of fame. As I have mentioned before, the elections are in May. I see a culling ahead.

  2. But just because you disagree with some initiatives doesn’t necessarily mean that we aren’t doing what we believe is right for Margate. Expressions such as “Quick buck” really only illustrate how uninformed you are about what is actually taking place. I’m all for intelligent argument but at times it can be very hard to find among the rumour and exaggeration that people often prefer as a form of confirmational bias.

  3. Simon Moores, are you one of the Cllrs that do not come into the old town and visit us traders? Probably, other wise you would know that I am Chair of OTAG, work closely with Derek Harding and the council on various enterprises for the old town. As well as work closely with MTP, set up the Old Town website, got signage and promotion in the area, as well as startged the markets here. I can assure you I am very much in the loop.

    I suggest you start frequenting the place, other than taking pictures of it from the air and start talking to the people that really are making a difference. My business has been here for over three years, you are welcome to pop in any time, except Wednesdays. I look forward to meeting you.

    Qing 7 Market Place

  4. Quite aware of who you are and was in the Old Town the other day if you read my weblog at http://www.thanetlife.com

    Stand by my comment on ‘Quick Buck’ there’s a bigger picture here and while delighted to see the Old Town thriving, we have significant challenges to meet with limited budgets and resources. I have every admiration for all those who work hard to support the Town and promote it in every possible way!

  5. There you go Mr. Moores, you have an amazing knack of coming across as a pompous self righteous man – a real representative of the people.
    I am sorry that i don’t have in-depth informed of the inner working of the council or your amazing regeneration plans, all i know is what us poor little urchins hear about brilliant ideas like redeveloping Hartsdown to include a Travelodge, wrecking the lighthouse by painting it red stripes, ten foot high golden lions at the entrance to the harbour arm etc.
    So rather than tell people they are wrong and alluding to include what development and regeneration plans are afoot, why don’t you consult, get across your vision, show some empathy??
    For starters i hope and trust that there are structured plans for regeneration of Margate and the Thanet seaside towns – i do put my faith in the council, but you don’t seem to be getting them across very well. How about some background on what other seaside towns you have looked at for ideas/shared experience? What do you like, what do you not? What do you think can work here?

  6. Thank you Cllr Moores. I am glad my reputation preceeds me. I do read your blog and did note that. I also wasn’t making the comment about five minutes of fame necessarily about cllrs some of which, and I include Iris in thos work very hard for the area. But as I mentioned there is an election coming and if the way you reply to people, in a rather unfortunate arrogant way is anything to go by then, as I say people take notice and may vote accordingly. I also know you like to have the last word on anything so I’ll leave this one here for people to make up their own minds.

  7. Councillor Moores, as you have taken issue with the ‘quick buck’ comment, can you tell me why else TDC would rob our children of a historical asset with so much obvious potential?

  8. Because there is no money, as the outgoing Secretary of The Treasury wrote when Labour left office. Nothing is being removed or robbed as you put it. In fact the whole application for a development is held in abeyance. If you read my weblog, then I’m pretty transparent about the challenges and the figures. If you don’t like what I tell you in all honesty and whether you think I’m arrogant in being candid then I really can’t put the facts I. Any other way. They are, what they are and my job is to keep as many priority services running unaffected as possible. This means I can’t always do what I might like to do with with shrinking funds

    • Cllr Moores, you say: “I’m all for intelligent argument but at times it can be very hard to find among the rumour and exaggeration that people often prefer as a form of confirmational bias.”
      Perhaps you would like to blog about how horribly wrong you got the repair figures for the Caves? You quoted around £250k – and then edited your post downwards – but still saying in excess of £100k. The Friends of Margate Caves recent FOI has revealed the figures, calculated by TDC, to be £55k.
      And, as I told you at our recent meeting, FOMC isn’t asking for a penny from TDC. So please don’t use the ‘it doesn’t matter what the figure is, we have no money’ line. It very much matters what the figure is, as it must form the basis for any meaningful business plan.
      Sarah

      • Sarah

        For someone who is seeking a constructive dialogue with me your words surprise me.

        There is no wrong or right figure because this is an estimate. You will know from your FOI request that the figures offered were an estimate from 2005 and you also will know that six years on, as you were advised, that figure with inflation etc, could be as high as £100,00 and possibly more, if you factor in an above ground visitor centre which, I was speculating on from a personal perspective on my weblog, rather than issuing ‘any official view.

        As I said last week, if you can arrive at a business plan that achieves the funding and support required, then I will be very happy to discuss the matter further. Nothing has changed, the council has no funds available to undertake any detailed research and I can only offer you the estimate given in the meeting by council officers last week, together with the goodwill that accompanied this, with the planning application now held in abeyance !

  9. I have tried to resist responding to this red rag but I can’t. Cllr Moores – your job is ‘to keep priority services running.’ In case you hadn’t noticed, Margate is a tourist town. What does it need then? Hmm tricky one there. Tourist attractions by any chance?

    Here is a fact – the planning application is only in abeyance thanks to public pressure. TDC were clearly planning to sell it off without any creative thinking. How dare you take any credit for that. That’s a statement, not a question.

  10. FOMC is seeking constructive dialogue with TDC, that’s undeniably true.
    A genuine question, and perhaps not one directed solely at you Cllr Moores – but if your blog represents personal perspective, is it irrelevant to that dialogue? I don’t stray too often into the world of blogs, I can’t find the time (or indeed the inclination), so I don’t know the etiquette, or the answer.
    Regardless, I do believe that there are right and wrong estimates. c£250k is wrong. c£55k is right, and I don’t recall anyone suggesting that inflation might account for that £55k figure increasing to £100k (anyone care to calculate what level of inflation that would need?). I don’t recall your estimate being based on making repairs and building a 21st-century tourist attraction either.
    All I asked is for you to correct a mistake. I expect the figure had been supplied to you and you repeated it in good faith. However, the figure was wrong and in the interests of getting the facts right – wouldn’t it be best to simply say so?
    Sarah

  11. The problem here is one of council owned assets, I understand the Ramsgate ones better and I think the council tried this on the Ramsgate ones first, the ongoing Pleasurama site saga being the most notable one.

    I don’t think the solution is in a Labour administration either as we had some of ours destroyed by the previous Labour administration.

    We have lost two major venues that would be similar to Margate losing The Theatre Royal and The Winter Gardens, these were Nero’s that the council just demolished and The Royal Victoria Pavillion, which it is little more than boarded up derry with a coat of paint.

    Westcliff Hall, Albion House and the maritime museum are other examples, and often the viable plan just involves years of council delays that would bankrupt any business with one.

    The excuse at the moment is the economic climate, but this has gone on during the previous eight years of this administration, most of which were during the years of plenty.

    These assets were mostly gifted to the people of Thanet and are held in trust by the council, as they were considered too special to go into private ownership.

    When any councillor offers, the “come up and see me sometime” approach, relating to one of these assets, be prepared for a sudden it’s not in my ward, I am not your councillor as soon as there is a business plan on the table and you find the council is unwilling to cooperate.

    Put together a volunteer based non profit trust and expect cooperation from the council, you are likely to receive as tight a commercial lease as a betting shop or a fast food takeaway.

    I think the problem is one of attitude, in as much as both council offices and councillors seem to see these public assets as belonging to the council rather than local people.

    With the caves I would wonder who it was that involved the HSE and what their motives were, having recently pointed out to the HSE that the council are allowing heavy lorries to drive along the edge of a cliff. The HSE conceded that it is a dangerous practice, but said that as it a council owned structure it is up to the council to decide on a weight limit.

  12. Although I didn’t intend this post as a Margate Caves one, that issue seems to have taken over. It is interesting what you say, Michael, about the assets belonging to the people. I’m inclined to agree. The bonkers thing is that the caves group think it can really work in itself and also for the wider town (have you seen the concept they wrote on http://www.margatecaves.co.uk?). The council, however, had no vision and just gave up.

    Incidentally I have heard that the land buoy and lighthouse plans have been shelved. Is that true anyone?


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