Last year I had a bit of a run-in with those Thanet Tree Huggers, who I accused of playing right into the hands of Ramsgate-polluting Oozalum Airlines and Manston owners Infartil by accepting £3,000 worth of 'environmental' funding from them. But Amy, one of their leading lights, has sent me a copy of a recent email written by Chief Tree Hugger Paul Wells concerning the offensive fencing that has gone up around the allotments in Broadstairs, and I have to admit they've got a point.
Presumably Amy is familiar with my soft spot for rubbish railings, given my incessant, er, railings against the temporary fencing along our East Cliff here in the Millionaires' Playground. Of course, I couldn't ordinarily give a monkey's about Boredstares, but the same email was sent to true blue councillor/doctor Biggles for publication on his Thanet Life blog, only to be promptly buried on page 98. The same page where all criticism of the ruling Tories ends up.
I therefore make no apologies for reprinting Mr Wells' email, and a couple of his photos, in full:
As a result of reading a letter in the Isle of Thanet Gazette on Friday, I went down to Culmers Land in Broadstairs to see what has been going on there over the Christmas period. I think what has happened is quite awful and I attach a composite picture of the footpath entrance into Culmers Land from Alexandra Road as it was in October 2007 and as it now is.
In 1998 Broadstairs & St Peters Town Council asked Trees for Thanet if it would plant 250 hedgerow trees to help screen the allotments fence and make the walk through Culmers Land from the car and coach park to the harbour more attractive for locals and visitors. 21 young volunteers carried out the task one Saturday morning in February and the young hedge was hand weeded by volunteers for the next two summers until the plants became established . As the picture shows, a rather nice wildlife hedgerow was produced.
This work has now been ruined by the most insensitive, ill-conceived and poorly placed security fencing you are ever likely to have the misfortune to come across. Whilst I fully support the requirement to install secure fencing to prevent the scandalous attacks of vandalism that are the scourge of all allotment holders in Thanet, what has happened at Culmers Land is a disgrace and shames those responsible. Those responsible have created a barrier that has turned Culmers Land into a prison-camp with the only thing missing being ‘goon towers’.
The new fence has not been built on the boundary fence of the allotments but up to 5m into the small park area and as a result cannot be screened by fresh planting in front of it as it borders the tarmac footpath. Why was it not constructed on the original fence line or was the work involved in clearing the old one away and lopping some insignificant trees too much bother? If it had been sited properly, the hedgerow planted in 1998 would have automatically have screened it and further planting would have been possible where necessary. I am sure this type of security fencing can come in a range of colours; was green not an option? This fence is on the main pedestrian route to Viking Bay beach for coach visitors and is utterly out of character for a Victorian picture postcard resort and greets visitors to the town! What regard has been paid to Thanet District Council’s motto ‘Thanet is beautiful, let's keep it that way’?
My enquiries with TDC Planning Dept have revealed that no Planning Consent was applied for this monstrosity as it was meant to be 2m high (and thus avoids the need for consent). I measured the fence at 15 points yesterday and all heights exceeded 2m 35cm and so this fence is in breach of planning regulations. I have already lodged a complaint with the planning Dept at TDC and urge your readers to do likewise.
One final point. As our local biblio-bloke Michael Child has discovered, the new railings destined to eventually grace our cliff top will not be of the heritage variety. Let's hope we don't end up with a similar abomination to the one they've erected in Broadstairs.