Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Margate Traders Up In Arms 2

One of my spies has sent me the following full account of last night's meeting between traders in the Arsonists' Playground and Thanet Council:

TDC fronted up their chief executive, chief financial officer, cleansing and planning people for this meeting. Sandy was also there, making sure everyone towed the party line. Steve Ladyman also attended, but Roger Gale was noticeable by his absence.

First up there was a lot of talk about the credit crunch, then a load of stuff about street cleaning in Cliftonville, which seemed irrelevant. Then it was on to the big issues but by then most people had already been bored into a stupor. Arlington House is apparently out of their control, but they are considering boarding up the car park (what a welcome for visitors!). Dreamland is also out of their control, but they seemed pleased to have 'secured' the Scenic with the new fencing.

There is apparently no way they can now develop the M&S building, which currently houses Turner Contemporary, due to the economic climate. They do, however, appear to be cock-a-hoop at the 19,000 visitors the TC has brought in this year (most of whom have been bussed down from other parts of Kent on free trips). They may develop the upper levels of the M&S building but I happen to know they are in a very poor state.

Construction of the new Turner Centre is out to tender, there seemed to be some confusion as to when building would start with council officers saying four weeks, and Sandy saying 'before Christmas'. Again the credit crunch means the full development planned for the Rendezvous site will not be possible but they will go ahead with the hotel. Which won't go down too well with other hoteliers in the area. And anyway, wasn't there a hotel there in the first place, before they knocked it down for the Turner development?

Worst of all was an announcement that they will be trialling pedestrianisation in the Lower High Street for 18 months. This seems to have been as a result of an aggressively run petition by Kaylene Health Foods recently, who have subsequently pissed off to Cliftonville! Questions about why there couldn't be a consultation first were just brushed aside. None of the traders seem to actually want this - six months of roadworks earlier this year with no through traffic was enough to kill off most of them. I suspect it's a cynical move to get the rest to relocate, so the Lower High Street can become Luxury Apartmentsville!

Iris was there, of course, and had her Watt Tyler moment when she thought the whole thing was drawing to a close!


Anonymous said...

An interesting take up of the event, as someone who also attended, the report was quite balanced, but no reference to Iris the red rose political outburst on how much better things were when her group was in charge pity the electorate did not agree with her statements at the last two elections.never mind dear

Michael Child said...

Why the council should allow and actively encourage shops and leisure facilities to be built out of town defies all understanding. I think a lot of the multiples that have moved to Westwood Cross will find that they can’t generate enough turnover to survive there, because the infrastructure limits footfall and will probably close leaving the devastation of Margate town centre as the only tangible sign of their existence.

It’s quite simple really if you want a town that doesn’t resemble a war zone in the third world, don’t use Westwood Cross.

Anonymous said...

Well 4.27 if things weren't better two elections ago (can't see how that could be possible) at least they weren't any worse!

Anonymous said...

me I will always use westwood X if given the chance, the shop assistants in the town centres are soo rude and lazy. If not allowed to use westwood I will go to canterbury or ashford. Why are our shop staff in the town centres so rude and thick.?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the free parking trial (Saturday afternoons only) (Margate only) has made any difference?

Anonymous said...

I think local people might have been more supportive of Westwood if there had ever been any credible plan for what to do with the old town centres. As far as I remember, the only plan (if you can even call it a plan) was RN's tip of the slung, where he revealed that they wanted a 24 hour "culture". (So much for claims that things were much better with the other lot in charge - it was them that gave us Westwood in the first place).

I have been to Westwood once or twice but I have found it to be pretty poor. If you go with a shopping list, you will rarely get the things that you want. I find that I can get most of the things I need in Ramsgate, and the prices are reasonable. I suspect that local people are increasingly supporting Ramsgate as they are fed up with the traffic around Westwood.

On the other hand, shops in Broadstairs, Cliftonville and Margate are clearly in dire straits. It is somewhat ironic that the areas worst hit by the creation of Westwood are represented by Councillors who were most vociferous in supporting the development of out-of-town shopping. If anyone is annoyed about the decline of their town's shops, I would strongly advise them to examine their Councillors' voting record on Westwood, before electing them again.

Anonymous said...

This meeting, looking at the leaflets distributed to local traders, was going to be a complete waste of time, and not constructive. Alot was said of the credit crunch, with more poeple going to be spending more holidays in the UK, Margate is in a poor state to take any advantage and Tdc had the money to Turn things around. Visitors see a town with nothing to do, vandalism, shops with smashed windows, ie the pie shop the lastest target.Night clubs closing etc etc Has anyone ever seen any visitors in the M&S building, there wasn't any last saturday morning?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

What a white elephant the M and S building seems to be, in-epetitude of the highest scale. We wouldnt have needed an asset sell-off if they had not bought this.
Problem is no-one seems to be held to account. Dream on Sandy thinking Margate is on the up who are you kidding.
Interesting to see when Rokka and Cavillino open up as their banners herald?

Michael Child said...

5.46 It may not have occurred to you that the staff in the multiples at WC would not be allowed to be rude to you, whereas an independent like myself would. Perhaps it’s not that the town centre staff are rude to other people, you may be as it were, be a special case.

Eastcliff Richard said...

2:02am - I don't mind the odd swear word but that went a bit too far.

Anonymous said...

Westwood Cross is always blamed for the demise of the Thanet towns.
Sure, some of the high street retailers have moved out there leaving empty shops in Margate. but Ramsgate and Broadstairs seems to be surviving okay.

Lets face it Margate is turd. No body has any money there to spend even if there were any shops open to begin with.

I can't quite understand why anyone would want to live in Margate by choice. People should cut their losses and move to Ramsgate, Broadstairs where people seem les fed up

Anonymous said...

really?The jazz festival was packed out with people on the piatza on the front enjoying the fabulous music sunset and all the pubs and cafe's were full to bursting.It is like that most weekends,we have miles of glorious sandy beaches and things are beginning to change for the better in the old town.
"we are all in the gutter but some of us look and see the stars"

Anonymous said...

Pedestrianisation is a great idea.
Better than having to run the gauntlet of vehicles parked on the pavement with no tickets.
Hopefully to be followed by the same on the sea front.

Anonymous said...

Shops suffer because they are crap shops.