Noticing that Thanet ranks 50th out of 370 UK authorities on my iPhone's ASBOrometer, with 214 ASBOs issued and a moderate 26.4% level of anti-social behaviour, it got me wondering about some of our larger neighbours.
After all, getting an ASBO slapped on the meat cleaver wielding, crack crazed maniac next door is a piece of cake these days. But what about council sponsored developments such as Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport, China Gateway, the two huge offshore windfarms, and the Ike and Tina Turner Centre? Are they behaving like good neighbours?
To kick off this occasional series, I thought I'd take a timely a squiz at Thanet Earth. After all, the Beeb are running a controversial docco tonight about immigrant workers, and the more xenophobic Thanet blogs have frequently whined that this massive uPVC conservatory on the eastern edge of the patio of the garden of England only employs foreigners. Indeed, 500 jobs were promised when the project was announced back in 2007. But their recruitment agency, Kent Staff Services 2000 here on the East Cliff's Bellevue Road, seems permanently unstaffed whenever I walk past. And it doesn't exactly imbue confidence to find that, according to their website, they think they're on 'Belview' Road.
So as far as I can make out, none of Thanet's 4,372 unemployed are queuing up there.
We were also promised a visitor centre, but that hasn't materialised either. Thanet Earth's website says: 'We have planning permission for a visitor centre which is still very much at a drawing board stage.' They're not too keen on giving talks or tours to local schools and societies either: 'We very much regret that our capacity for evening talks in 2009 and 2010 has now been reached.' Donations to local charities and voluntary groups? Not a dickie bird.
Then there's the light pollution, very ably captured by this pic on Bertie Biggles' blog recently. What do they have to say about that? 'The two glasshouses which are scheduled to include artificial lights will not be lit until around midnight. In addition to this, those glasshouses are fitted with a system of electronically-controlled blinds which exist to trap the light inside. We have no desire to light up the night sky either! The blinds are designed to retain around 95% of our artificial light within the glasshouses.'
That's not the way it looks when you drive down the Thanet Way at night. The sky's lit up like a U2 concert! And what about the water they're using which doesn't find its way into our lovely aquifer?
So, Thanet Earth. Here's my Good Neighbour rating: