Monday, March 31, 2008

Could Ramsgate Be The Next Biggin?

With smoke still rising from yesterday's crash site near Biggin Hill, it may appear a trifle unseemly to speculate about what might happen here in Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula should, heaven forbid, one of those 400 tonne lumps drop out of the sky on its way to or from RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport. But people have been emailing me with that question. And you know me, I was never one to steer clear of controversy.

The houses that were destroyed in Farnborough, giving the unfortunate residents their very own unwelcome air show, were about six miles from London Biggin Hill Airport. Which is reassuring, since that would put any similar accident here well out to sea, or somewhere near Herne Bay.

However, only a couple of houses were destroyed by a five tonne Cessna Citation private jet, whereas the jumbos flying over the Millionaires' Playground weigh more than 70 times as much. Furthermore, Bromley Council limits movements at Biggin Hill to 125,000 per year, whereas dear old Thanet Council don't seem to give a flying whatsit. The current agreement governing Manston was drawn up with the now defunct Planestation in 2000, and the council's current line is that they don't need to do anything else until the present owners Infratil ask them to. Training flights a few hundred feet over Ramsgate every 8 minutes? No worries!

Of course, the chances of one of these 'modern and reliable aircraft' (©2008 Dr S Moores) dropping out of the sky onto 40,000 people and hundreds of fine Victorian buildings are pretty remote, aren't they? Well, one of the freight jumbos that flies into Manston belongs to MK Airlines. The people of Halifax, Nova Scotia got a rather rude awakening on 14 October 2004 when a Ghana-registered MK Airlines freighter crashed on take-off killing seven people. The crash investigators put that one down to overtired pilots, who mistakenly instructed the 747's speed and thrust measurements to handle the weight from a previous takeoff, when the plane was 100,000 kilograms lighter.

And, of course, even sophisticated BA 777's drop out of the sky, as we saw at Heathrow in January. I'm off to buy a hard hat!

Click here for report of MK Airlines 2004 crash in the Halifax Star
Click here for latest on Biggin Hill crash on BBC website

My Big Poll Gets Results

Apologies for the headline but I've just spent an hour or so deleting 500 'enhance your manhood' emails which have clogged up my inbox over the weekend, and I think some of it's rubbed off.

Well, it looks as if you do want to see our beloved council's juicy bits after all. So I've dispatched my wrinkled retainer Scrotum off to Staples to buy enough Pritt to glue a small housing estate next to a Kent airport back together, while I rescue the bits from the shredder. For the record, here's the final tally:

Question: Would you like me to expose our beloved council's juicy bits?

Yes - I like a good snigger: 91% (44 votes)
No - I can't think of anything more dull: 8% (4 votes)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Former Thanet Blogger Spotted At Meeting

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Political Editor Hugh Jorgan

Former Thanet blogger Councillor Seamus McSniggles was spotted alive and well recently - at a meeting in Westgate.

Looking fit and relaxed, Tory Councillor McSniggles attended a meeting of the campaign to save Westgate Pavilion (What that? - Ed.). One eyewitness told the Gazunder: 'He wasn't on the panel but was playing the role of responsible ward councillor to a tee, making sure those asking the questions in the audience were handed the mike by him and that sort of thing.'

The eyewitness, who didn't want to be named, added: 'At the end he tried to take control and wrap it all up in a way that made me realise just how slick he thinks he is.' (Are your sure that's not libellous? - Ed.)

Councillor McSniggles, 83, used to run the 'popular but beseiged™' Thanet Spoons website, but retired recently to pursue a lifelong interest in breadcrumbs.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fency That!

Oh dear. I think the hangover's beginning to kick in. That must be the worst pun yet. Anyway, moving swiftly on... Regular contributor Samantha writes:

I heard that the council was going to do something about the dreadful eyesore-cum-flytip-cum-toilet round the back of Granville Court in Ramsgate, so I was pleasantly surprised when several Mears vans turned up in the pouring rain yesterday. However, once the workmen had gone I was shocked to see that all they had done was put up yet more temporary fencing in true Thanet Council style.

When will our council properly get to grips with these problems? What they have done is the equivalent of putting up barbed wire around a dog turd and saying: 'Job done!' I attach some photos for your blog.

Well, I must say that I prefer the more salubrious sobriquet 'barker's nest', Samantha. But I take your point.

Before Thanet Council's clean-up operation

After Thanet Council's clean-up operation

Green Piece

Lumme! My item about Charlotte Green getting the giggles on Radio 4's Today Programme yesterday has already attracted almost 12,000 25,000 30,000 viewers on ECR TV! That's more than treble the viewers your ratepayer-funded Kent TV gets in a week!

So in true BBC style, here's a repeat.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Arcade Flames

As promised, photos of the Tivoli arcade conflagration on Margate front late this afternoon. Well, er, not so much a conflagration as a small bonfire judging by these shots. According to my eyewitness damage was pretty limited. There were, however, rumours circulating that someone had entered the building and thrown some sort of firebomb down on the floor. Charming.

Update: Kent Police have now confirmed this was an arson attack, and are looking for two men seen escaping in a blue, D-reg Volvo which was later found burnt out in Grosvenor Place. Ten people were in the arcade at the time, and £0.5m worth of damage was caused to slot machines. Click here for more details on Kent Police website.

For latest story click here.

Margate's Burning (Again)

Unholy smoke! Just had a call from one of my chums in the Arsonists' Playground to say that the front's on fire again. Apparently four pumps and a turntable have been in attendance for the last half an hour or so.

This time it's the Tivoli arcade, which has been closed for a few months. Yes, well, er, that seems to be the usual pattern of things around here. Should have some piccies for you later.

Update: Kent Online are now reporting 10 pumps and 60 firefighters, but despite initial reports of people trapped no-one found inside and the blaze is now out.

Charlotte's Corpse

Cripes! It's every performer's worst nightmare! Did anyone else hear normally straight-laced-sounding Radio 4 newsreader Charlotte Green cracking up on the Today Programme this morning? Apparently some joker in the studio had whispered in her ear that a newly discovered, 150 year old recording of somebody singing Au Clair de la Lune sounded like 'a bee in a jam jar', and it all went downhill from there.

Take a listen. And I defy you not be be cracking up too by the end of it!

Rank Hypocrisy

Yet more evidence of the marvellous, reinvigorating effect that Westwood Cross is having on the economy of our local towns!

As you know, leisure group Rank has upped sticks from our splendid, listed Royal Pavilion here in the Millionaires' Playground to re-install its casino in a shed up Westwood Chaos, leaving the Pav in a right old state by all accounts. The building was leased to Rank by the the predecessor of our beloved council eons ago, when even Brucie was in short trousers. Reader 'Walter of Ramsgate' has done a Freedom of Information search at the council asking how they intend to go about getting the place ship shape and Bristol fashion, and they've replied thus:

A lease was granted by Ramsgate Borough in 1969 for a term of 75 years on a fully repairing and insuring basis. The lease is covered by the various Landlord and Tenant Acts. The Council, as landlord, is aware of current disrepair and a full schedule of dilapidations has been prepared. The Council is looking to the tenant to address these in accordance with the terms of the lease and provisions of the relevant Acts. Costs associated with remedying the disrepair should be borne by the tenant either in directly undertaking the works or via the judicial system.

Meanwhile Rank have been treating City types to tours of their new Westworld Cross casino-cum-shed, according to Guardian Unlimited, in an attempt to prove they've got a full house of people wanting a, er, full house. GU's Market Forces Live reports:

Take up of good quality electronic bingo offer appeared to be high. The casino used the G Casino format we have seen elsewhere, designed to appeal to a mass-market audience. We saw no radical new departures last night but we did see a business with ideas for the eventual improvement of its product.

Overall there was a good atmosphere in a club with a pleasant design and it was easy to see why admissions were running above budget, particularly after a brief look at the centre of Margate where what was not run-down was boarded up.

Seems like one of those self-propelling prophecies to me!

Click here to see Rank report in Guardian Unlimited
Click here to see photos from City analyst visit to Westwood casino

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Have A Go On My Poll

I've received a sackload of emails (two) begging me to whip my Pritt out and start gluing together all fifteen pages of that Thanet Council internal consultation document I put in the shredder last week. Blimey, what a dull lot you are!

Still, in the interests of democracy I've popped a quick poll in the sidebar on the right. You've got until midnight on Sunday to make up your minds. And remember, it's totally anonymous - no 'trails of breadcrumbs', guaranteed. I would urge you, though, not to vote yes. Otherwise I'll be spending all next week with sticky fingers!

Turneround Moscow

While you lot debate whether there will or won't be actual Turner paintings in Margate's proposed Turner Gallery (see Open F-All Hours below), one place that is going to get a lend of the master's splendid daubs does indeed begin with an 'M'. Unfortunately it ends with an 'oscow'.

Apparently, Russian millionaire Alisher Usmanov, who owns 25% of Arsenal Football Club, has underwritten the enormous insurance costs of putting on a Turner exhibition, and now Moscow's Pushkin Museum will display 112 oils and watercolours for three months this coming November.

The Turners are currently on display in Dallas, and I detect a pattern emerging here. It would seem that, in order to get Turner's works displayed in your home town, you need to be in possession of great quantities of oil, gas and millionaires. Well, oil we might be able to scrape off the beaches. Our council can provide the gas. And Ramsgate's got the millionaires! Sorted!

Click here for full story in The Times

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Starfishy Business

As the local papers tend to follow up my jottings on a regular basis, I thought I'd return the compliment and have a little delve into a story they've been running.

Thousands of dead starfish have been washed up recently in Pegwell Bay, providing an unexpected feast for the KFC gulls. Well, at least it's temporarily keeping them away from the bin bags in Augusta Road. But there's been a mass debate over what's caused the mass extinction. Some wags have put it down to the adjacent Viagra factory, and posited that they've rogered themselves to death after some kind of aquatic orgy. Others have put it down to the tons of poisonous slag from local coal mines that was used in building the apron of the now defunct hoverport, and which is now leeching into this SSSI.

However, having pensively sucked on a couple of Fisherman's Friends I've come up with another theory. It seems the starfish feed on mussels. And the mussel beds are regularly trawled by local fisherfolk looking for a lucrative catch, dragging up our five-fingered fishy friends in the process. Hence the feast for the flying poodles. Rotters!

Click here to go to angling forum on dead starfish in Pegwell Bay
Photo: Reader Steve
Faded stars: Pegwell Bay at the weekend

Prevention Of Ascension To The East Cliff

Tooling around my manor on Easter Monday, it was gratifying to see our marvellous Edwardian lift here on Ramsgate's swinging East Cliff back in action. Especially after last year's debacle when the opening was delayed until May for want of a spare part.

So imagine my dismay when yesterday I discovered it was shut again. In honour of this on/off arrangement I have re-edited last year's inauguration video and bunged it on ECR TV. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Open F-All Hours

Presumably some joker has erected this 'Businesses Open As Usual' sign during the ongoing, er, improvements to Margate's Lower High Street. Probably the same joker who's put a stuffed dodo in the window of the defunct M&S, now rebranded the Turnip Contemporary Project Space, along with what look like a few nostalgic pairs of undies, tastefully tarted up with neon lights.

Actually, this shot is very similar to one that appeared in last week's Gazunder under the headline 'Traders Fight To Save Town Centre Shops', about a petition to completely pedestrianise the street, which you will have read about here first (natch). The story also reveals how Margate Renewal Partnership has set up a new website aimed at getting developers to invest in the town.

A quick eyeball of the new site reveals that Margate is 'about to boom', and that the Old Town is 'becoming hip and fashionable'. The Turner Contemporary will, according to the fantasists at MRP, be 'an international art gallery of world class design celebrating the life and work of one of Britain’s best loved artists, JMW Turner'. No mention of stuffed dodos or illuminated pants. Or the fact that none of JMW Turner's works are likely to get within 100 miles to the place.

Of course, here in the Millionaires' Playground we're reduced to our now inevitable, council-inspired role as a port/landing strip/lorry park. The website crows: 'Major investment to radar and lighting at Kent International Airport by new owners Infratil to improve the longest and widest runway outside London, — one of the few capable of landing Jumbo 777's' (sic) — says we are ready for take-off.' It's enough to make you airsick!

Click here to go to This Is Margate website

Monday, March 24, 2008


As if to prove the old GSOH has been running in the family for decades, Eastcliff Senior spotted this on our luncheon outing to Boredstares today, muttering something about sheltered accommodation for the elderly. No wonder he was voted TV Times 'Best Newcomer of the Year' 1978!

The Truck Stops Here

Now that those blighters at the council have put up parking charges, I presume they're using the additional income to sort out the problem of lorries illegally camping on Ramsgate's swish Western Undercliff. Which is, perhaps, why they've started parking on the Eastern, um, Overcliff.

Oh well, who cares? It's a much better day than yesterday, and the old Eastcliff Mater and Pater are driving down from Kensington for lunch and a tour of the (building) sites. If you recall, it was thanks to their stalwart disregard for parental devotion that I became the 'middle class, patronising pratt... who feel he has to explain things to the people of Thanet because we're too thick to understand current events' that you all know and love today! Hurrah!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Square Comment

Snuggled up here in the old cliff top mansion in front of a few blazing logs, bumper pack of bathroom tissue at the ready, I've been going through the Sunday papers.

Ordinarily, of course, I wouldn't touch one of Mr Murdoch's publications with a very long barge pole, but they'd run out of proper newspapers at the Costcutter so I had to make do with the News of the Screws. Well, it might come in handy for those frequent trips to the smallest room in the mansion, I figured.

And blow me down if there wasn't a huge splash about Margate. Not the kind of arts regen and cafe culture story our beloved council would like to see, though. No, 'Street of Spongers' screams the headline. The NoW hacks have been knocking on doors in Dalby Square, politely inquiring what people do for a living. The answer to which appears, unsurprisingly, to be 'not much'. If they'd knocked on my door, I would have been minded to ask them whether they had nothing better to do for a living than knock on people's doors and ask them what they do for a living. But hey-ho, that's journalism for you.

It all sounds rather familiar. Does anyone recall erstwhile Gazunder hack Nick Dorman's story about Margate in The People last June? It created quite a stir. That was headlined 'Sun Scroungers' and detailed the surprising number of ne'er-do-anythings in, er, Margate. The town was even re-christened 'Sicknote-on-Sea' in true tabloid style.

However the similarity doesn't end there. I see the NoW story has been co-written by one Jennifer Wiley who is, yes you've guessed it, a former Gazunder hack. Oh how we used to titter over her 'Jen and Tonic' feature about the Isle's watering holes. Seems like she hasn't got a good word to write about the place these days!

Click here for News of the World story

No Business Like Snow Business

Holy Sundays! It's snowing like a good 'un here in the Millionaires' Playground. Looks like we'll all be dreaming of a white Easter.

Following the application of industrial strength doses of K&M, you'll be pleased to hear the old Eastcliff derriere has healed enough for me to nip out for ten minutes to bring you this photo. Needless to say last night appears to have been the one night this winter that Kent Highways didn't cover the roads in a two foot thick layer of salt and grit, so some of the back streets are looking a bit grim. I'll be cosying up with a blazing fire and a couple of rolls of Andrex for the rest of the day I think!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Beer Yesterday, Dire Rear Today

Urgh! This will have to be a quickie! I've got an important, erm, appointment to attend. Must have been those council chips I scoffed half way through the afternoon. I'm sure it's nothing to do with the ten pints of fine ale I quaffed.

Talk amongst yourselves for a bit. Must dash!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Beer Today, Beer Tomorrow

Hurrah! It's Easter! And what better way to celebrate the true meaning of Easter than getting bladdered on Nadger's Old Wobbly and 199 other splendid beers, ciders and perries at the annual Thanet GuzzleFest? Well, I can't think of think of a better way, even if you can.

It all kicks off over at the Mike and Bernie Winter Gardens in Margate at noon today. Stretchers at 10.30pm. Then you can do it all over again tomorrow. Admission £3 (£2 Saturday). I was a guest of honour last year, and apart from a slight attack of beer-à-rear on day two, which I put down to the council catering, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Hats off to the organisers of what is fast becoming the Ile's cultural event of the year!

Click here for Festival website

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Charity Begins At (Your Executive) Home

Yikes! Now I've heard it all! Presumably these people are the caring, sharing face of property development here on the Ile de Thanet. They've emailed me to say they're launching a new, fortnightly publication whose 'main aim is to help our local community by donating all of its profits to charities, good causes and redevelopment in the Thanet area.'

They've got 261 members on their Facebook site, and a sneaky peek at their website elicits the following:

The magazine is sponsored by Skyblu Studios Ltd (Who they? - Ed.) to help bring the best of what Thanet has to offer to its residents and tourist (sic) alike by supporting the ever growing changes and improvements going on around the community. We intented (sic) to support the redevelopment of the district and the many charity and non-profit organisations that help to make Thanet thrive.

They continue: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Mauris ut elit. Sed eu pede. Morbi quis ante a pede feugiat egestas. Etiam feugiat mi in pede. Aenean massa sem.

Oops! I guess that bit must still be, er, under construction. Oh well, Rome wasn't built in a day!


Waiting to get the old barnet trimmed down at Sweeney Todd's (next to the pie shop) yesterday, I idled away the time casting the Eastcliff mincers over this week's issue of yourthanet, one of the 1,200 local freesheets. But I must say I almost choked on my Murray Mint when I came across yet another yourthanetblogger item featuring His Councillorship from the north of the Ile.

He's been there every week for the past month. Now he's even got his photo on it. It's enough to give you the pip! And how can he be a blogger, when he's not blogging on his blinking blog? Oh yes, I forgot, he's billed as 'author of the popular but beseiged (sic) Thanet Life weblog'.

Well, considering he suspended it himself, I'd hardly call it a 'seige'. I mean, it's not quite Leningrad, is it?

Eyesore Tour Boosts Isle Economy

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Tourism Editor Wee Ken Brake

Thanet is set to welcome more than a million visitors this Easter weekend - all due to its growing reputation for eyesores.

An enterprising coach company has set up a tour of the island taking in its most famous sites for sore eyes. The brochure says: 'With millions of pounds in grants over the past ten years, Thanet is now firmly on the eyesore map. Where else could you take in so many delightfully derelict sites in just one day?' The itinerary includes:

Margate - visitors are met at the station and begin their tour with breakfast at Arlington Square, followed by a trip around Dreamland with its famous car park and knackered old roller coaster. 30 minutes for shopping in Lower High Street or enjoying the peace and tranquility of the new library.

Cliftonville - board the coach for the short trip to the island's eyesore capital for lunch, pausing briefly to admire the Lido.

Broadstairs - short break to walk along the Culmers Land fence, followed by a 'discomfort stop' at the vandalised conveniences.

Ramsgate - the grand finale of the tour. Visitors can explore the fly tip behind Granville Court, before marvelling at such World Heritage Eyesores as the Pleasurama site, the Marina Restaurant, the Royal Pavilion, the derelict former Motor Museum and the Western Undercliff illegal lorry park. Tour ends with walk along King Street (security provided).

Eyesore Tours can be contacted on 01843 577000.
Photo: Reader Samantha

Day trippers enjoying the Granville Court eyesore in Ramsgate

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bollock Dropped

I have received the following email concerning my recent post about Kent TV:

Dear Mr Eastcliff,

I just wanted to point out that comments you’ve made regarding Nigel Dacre , Ten Alps and Kent TV on your blog are factually incorrect.

Although Nigel did indeed step down as MD of Ten Alps Digital last year , we have a consultancy contract with him and are working together on a number of projects. Nigel remains as Ten Alps Project Director for Kent TV – a project to which he and Ten Alps are obviously very committed.

I would be grateful if you’d correct your inaccuracies and the suggestion that Nigel no longer has anything to do with either Ten Alps or Kent TV.


Jo Phillips
Director, Communications
Ten Alps plc
9 Savoy Street

Under the new Responsible Blogging regime on this site, I'm happy to oblige Ma'am! Give my love to Nige!

Davy Jones' Locker

In Memoriam
Captain Birdseye
Popular Nautical Character

So, Farewell
Then Captain Birdseye.

'Only the best
For the Captain's table',
That was
Your catchphrase.
You seemed
To know lots
Of kids who liked

I once ate
27 fishfingers
In a single

After the 19th they all tasted like cardboard.

E.C. Richard (29)

Council Springs A Leak

As regular readers will know, I am now a convert to the Church of Responsible Blogging. Amen. However, TDCers still seem hell bent on emailing me confidential documents from our beloved local council.

Take the one in front of me. Fifteen pages outlining a root and branch restructuring. I mean, what am I supposed to do with that? Nope, the only responsible course of action is to put it in my gold-plated Fellowes high security micro-shredder. I'm sure you lot would find all that guff about 'asset management', 'staff reviews' and 'toilet provision' tedious anyway. Wouldn't you?

Separated At Birth?

Reader Peter File (not his real name I suspect) writes:

I wonder if anyone else has spotted a similarity between the logo for Margate's planned Turner Contemporary gallery and the symbol for the European currency, the Euro? Are they by any chance related?


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

ND The MD Quits KCC TV

Lumme! If I hadn't been taken off the air for five weeks, I might have spotted this one a bit sooner! I see my old TV chum Nigel Dacre has quit his post as head of much-criticised (by me) Kent TV. The internet based channel was launched due to unpopular demand by Kent County Council last year, blowing £1.6m of your lovely taxpayers' smackeroonies in the process.

Follicly challenged Nigel, brother of Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, quietly departed Kent TV in, um, November 2007. Last December £229,000-a-year KCC Chief Executive Peter Gilroy announced that he was 'very pleased' with the number of people watching the channel - 109,000 in the three months since its launch in September 2007. Or to put it in context, a daily reach equivalent to 0.000118% of EastEnders.

Nifty Nigel, as his colleagues never knew him, is now setting up his own Web TV channel, but said he had very much enjoyed working at Sir Gob's Ten Alps production company, which is responsible for Kent TV. Ah well, now that Nigel's only making plans for Nigel there'll be more time for tennis I suppose. If I recall, he used to get me every time with a rather wicked backhand!

Click here for full Guardian story

Monday, March 17, 2008

Thanet Chief 'No Looker' Say Experts

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Archaeology Correspondent Tim Team

Experts have uncovered the 4,000 year old bones of a Thanet chieftain. The Iron Age burial was discovered during excavation of the 3m sq ft Thanet Earth greenhouse project on the west of the isle.

Head archaeologist Professor Mick Beard told the Gazunder: 'We were amazed at this find. We've spent ten years digging up stuff for Channel 4 and found cock all. Now we've dragged over this old cabbage patch and discovered a skeleton complete with grave goods!'

A beer mug and other status symbols were found in the grave, indicating that the Bronze Age body could have been that of a high ranking official. 'He would have stood about six feet tall, but he was really no beauty,' added Professor Beard.

Artists have now reconstructed what Thanet's top man may have looked like.
Thanet chief 'really no beauty'

Click here for full story on BBC website

The Madness Of Margate

I tooled over to the Arsonists' Playground on Friday to attend one of the Theatre Royal's excellent monthly comedy nights. My hilarious old chum Matt Welcome was on the bill, fresh from the London circuit. And headlining was Harvey Oliver, fresh from the, er, caravan park circuit.

I don't think he'll mind me saying that, as it's part of his highly entertaining act. And he did cope in spectacular and side-splitting fashion with a drunken female heckler from hell. All the acts were very complimentary about the Theatre Royal's refit, courtesy of the Uranians, with only one of them pausing to ponder why the boxes had been boarded up in the process.

Not that it's all titters in Margate. Oh no. Far from it. A late night walk down the lower High Street after the show had me wishing I'd forked out the 100 smackers to be accompanied by Fat Kev, my security adviser. It seems one of the many boarded up shops has been transformed into a loosh nightery appropriately dubbed The Madhouse. Out of this fine example of regenerated cafe culture stumbled a gaggle of rowdy youths who promptly spewed up whatever it was they had consumed across the newly widened pavements. Meanwhile the establishment's bouncers, who had presumably not bothered to remove these, er, gentlemen before they reached such a state of ill-humour, looked aimlessly on.

And what's transpiring over on the pier? In the gloom it looked as if all the jolly paintwork (see picture above) which we apparently paid an artist chappy £56,000 for only last year, is being obliterated by the Pineapple Properties development, which we're subsidising to the tune of lord knows! Kuh, anyone would think Thanet was made of money!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tip's A Snip At £2.4m

Regular contributor Samantha writes:

For some time I have been trying to draw the council's attention to the dreadful eyesore round the back of Granville Court. This site, which abuts a conservation area, was granted planning permission by TDC in 2004 for a block of flats, since when it has been allowed to become a festering hole by its owners, Oakleigh Developments Ltd. of Rochester. The boundary fence blew down more than a year ago and has never been properly repaired. The site is full of health and safety hazards, including deep excavations, and attracts fly tippers.

Attempts to contact Oakleigh Developments have all resulted in dead ends, and I notice that they are overdue at Companies House with this year's annual return and annual report. Now the site is up for auction on 31 March by Ward and Partners with a guideline price of £2.3-£2.4m. Of course, this price reflects the fact that planning permission has already been granted, and still has a year to run.

What annoys me is that all my attempts to alert Thanet Council and my local Councillor, David Green, to the state of this site, which blights what is otherwise a pleasant built landscape, have been ignored. They have never even bothered to respond to my emails. With gas cannisters and other hazardous waste on the site, and with the school holidays approaching, it will not be long before a curious teenager suffers serious injury if you ask me, as the site is wide open.

What does the council's Planning Department do when it gives these developers planning permission? Walk away and never darken their doors again? It seems so, and it's a disgrace. If you ask me, they are asleep at the wheel. I have enclosed some photos for your excellent blog.

Update: According to the Ward and Partners website (click here), the sale has since been withdrawn.

Friday, March 14, 2008


A spot of catching up to do following the recent lacuna/hiatus/interregnum (That's enough Latin - Ed.)

But rather than perform any actual research into the number of pro- and anti-council stories in our leading local paper over the past five weeks, I'm awarding them 100 penalty points for their complicity in spreading uncorroborated muck over the fertile plains of Blogland recently. Plus I don't like the way the cheap new paper they're using wrinkles up like a cross-Channel swimmer's scrotum ten minutes after you've left the newsagents.

See - Responsible Blogging at its finest!

Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again

Although having been accused of Glitterite tendencies in the past by less savoury elements of the Thanet blogging community, maybe I should rethink that headline.

So, you may well be asking questions like: 'What about Club ECR?', 'Why isn't he festering in jail?' and 'How did those big holes get in my Warburtons Seeded Batch Loaf?' Er, well, maybe not the last one.

The truth is, dear reader, that after a long, dark night of the soul (courtesy of P&O Cruises) I have become a convert to the Church of Responsible Blogging. Yes, I know it sounds like a one way ticket to Dullsville, but there you have it. There will be no more mocking, negativity, or, indeed, gloating on this blog. Sordid comments about pillars of our local community will be deleted. End of. And if any pillars do find themselves objecting to what I write, they can do what other sensible people have done in the past and rectify the situation via the comments facility, or by emailing me. The address is at the top of the page. If you don't want your email mentioned on this blog, just mark it NOT FOR PUBLICATION.

Not that I have received any such communication recently, or found rozzers from Her Majesty's Metropolitan Police knocking on my door having followed a trail of, um, Warburtons breadcrumbs. No. What you see before you is a chastened, wiser, and hopefully more Christian millionaire celebrity. Amen to that.

PS: Just to prove I've changed, I've even got rid of those pointless exclamation marks!

Click here for a long, hard stare at my other organ The Isle of Thanet Gazunder