Monday, January 21, 2008

Railing Against The Council

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.
Thanet is beautiful, let's keep it that way!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a died ( probably dead!) in the wool tory, I have read your blog with amusement over the years. However, I have grave concerns over the mess that has been made of Culmers Field, and fear that there is something a little untasteful going on , not only with the Stalag fencing, but also with the lack of interest being shown elsewhere!

The good Dr (Biggleslife.com) has always raged against the machine, but for some reason ( Tory councillor amigoship possibly ) has decided that Mr Well's observations regarding the mess at Culmers is not worthy of comment!

I wonder why! Is it that he cannot stomach critism of his own beloved party, of which I am a life time member! Or does Thanetlife only bring up articles that he wants to pontificate about!

Live long and prosper, I think that your site is becoming the only genuine opinion site for Thanet!

There, I've said it! I'm still truely blue, but disgusted at what is being done in our name!

Chaz Jones

Anonymous said...

I know someone who lives in Boredstares who has recently moved to a period cottage overlooking this fence - they are naturally very upset as when they first went to view the house it looked out on to the greenery seen in the first photo.

Lucy Mail said...

Personally, I think we only have ourselves to blame for allowing the French (who we've beaten in every war that we've ever had with them) introduce fencing to this country, in the first place!

It's not much good getting all touché about it now.

Anonymous said...

I walked through last week, it used to be a little gem, a hedgerow for goodness sake! what, and i am sorry to say, MORON did that?... while your at it why not cover the beach in oil and tarmac over the flower beds. Who has benefited from this, who owns the company, who awarded the contract etc etc...

Bleak Mouse said...

Direct action is called for Comrades- let's form a picket!

Anonymous said...

Pallisade fencing does not come cheap and this lot must have cost a fortune. It would probably have been cheaper to hire a security firm to patrol the allotments. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

If die-hard Tories are finally beginning to see some of Biggles's "excesses" he does have something to worry about. As he has fairly observed, it (Thanet Life) is his blog, but he is VERY politically selective over what appears on it. It is full of anti-Labour material - ok - but anything that challenges him or his (Tory) Party is eiother ignored or gets a very tart response from "the editor". Trample there if you dare!

Anonymous said...

Oh puleease! The days of pwetty white picket fencing in the nice villagey willagey of Bwoadstairs is over!
People want little erbs to stop vandalising their plots! This fence ought to do it. Where do you think you live?

Anonymous said...

2.04 you miss the point entirely. It is not the fence but where it has been placed and the fact that it us necessarily high! If it had been placed on the original boundary, half of it would already be screened by a hedge and the other half could have been planted for screening by those nice young tree-huggers of Trees for Thanet even if they take shekels from Oozalum Airways.

Anonymous said...

Is the picture real? TDC hase erected a big steel security fence to screen a hedgerow planted 10 years ago to screen the allotments boundary fence? It could only happen In Thanet! Madness!

sue said...

If the local Broadstairs folk don't want it, we at the Dane Valley site would be happy to have it around our plots INCLUDING the goon towers.

Anonymous said...

You should be getting one, Sue. Talk to Paul Verral at TDC. I am all for allotments having security but the Culmers Land site could and should have been thought through and sited properly; thats whats upsetting the locals and allotment holders! It just a big piece of meccano on closer examination; get a flat bed and a few of the Dane Valley digging fraternity and go and take some section from Culmers over to your place. Broadstairs folk would be delighted.

Anonymous said...

Biggles thinks no one is really bothered about the 'we exempt ourselves from planning regs that the rest of you plebs must abide by' TDC interpretaion of their horrible blot on the landscape in Boredsatirs. If you are concerned go and say so on his strand "Zimbabwe then Margate" but be prepared to dig into 60 odd posts first; he has tried to bury the story.

Anonymous said...

The same happened on the Promenade we used to have a lovely previate fence, then comes the council in name of preventing yobs and removed it leaving the stumps. Then someone preumably decided this was a HSE issue and then put up a temporary second fence. Who is making these decisions and wasting ratepayer's money and why are the public not consulted!

Anonymous said...

Our council is schizoprenic. On the one hand they put signs up everywhere saying Thanet is beautiful, then they go and do this sort of thing.

Schizophrenic may be a bit harsh, probably more like a lack of any joined up thinking. What this place needs is a strong leader like Ken Livingstone. Anyone up for the job of Thanet Fuhrer?

steve said...

Although Ken Livingstone's empire is crumbling around him as we type, he is the person to get rid of the blazer brigade at the helm of the good ship (but listing) HMS Thanet.

He would decimate them.

(I hate him, by the way, but have a grudging respect for his can do attitude.)