Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Merry Christmas from the Westbrook Waspies

Merry Christmas to all our supporters. Your efforts have paid off and now this land has been saved from development. General agreement has now been achieved that it will be managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust and supported by WASPS volunteers to create what could be called the Westbrook Undercliff Nature Park.

So we look forward to the New Year and working with TDC, KWT and local volunteers to create a special place for wildlife and the community. It is hoped to run a volunteer taster day in February so if you want to get down and dirty watch this space for further details.

Dark Forces

Unfortunately another burnt out car has appeared on the site. Can you all please keep you eyes open and report anything suspicious to the police. There are people out there that want to ruin anything good. lets do what we can to stop this trend of dumping cars on this site.

Well done to Councillor Simon Moores for getting the last one removed quickly. Lets hope this one can be removed as soon as it is safe to do so.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Duncan Down

Sunday Afternoon Walk

Last Sunday we went to Whitstable to have a look at another village green. This one is surrounded by housing and not that easy to find. It was land that was saved from development by a Village Green Application.

The following pictures show what can be achieved when the community work with their local Council (Canterbury) and the Kent Wildlife Trust. This site was awarded the Green Flag by Breathing Spaces.


Access is from a number entrances from the housing estate. On entering you are immediately into countryside. There are hedgerows, thicket, a meadow for wild flowers, trees and a number of ponds. There is considerable evidence of wildlife as well as space for people to enjoy walks. I must congratulate The Friends of Duncan Down, Canterbury City Council and Kent Wildlife Trust for creating this haven within a built up area. Despite being within a mixed area of housing there would appear to be no evidence of vandalism and it is no doubt used and appreciated by local people.
Visit the website below for information on this site and others.


Friday, 8 October 2010

Who wants to help with our survival?

The big threat

Some of you may have seen the Panorama program a month or two ago. It showed the importance of bees and other insects and how they pollinate our plants to deliver us our fruit. It showed what would happen if this job was not done by these guys and how this would devastate our economy and the supply of food. We take these little fellows for granted and their numbers have decreased.

Don't get me wrong, I am no tree hugger but it makes sense that we should do all we can to encourage them.

Thanet and biodiversity

Unfortunately Thanet is not well off for open spaces and natural habitats. However moves are afoot to stem the decline and increase Biodiversity. Kent Wildlife Trust has been meeting with our council and looking for opportunities along our clifftops and parks etc. to be used to create biodiversity under the Living Landscapes project. Using volunteers it is hoped that sites will be managed by them to encourage more wild flowers and plants. This is a win win situation as the council gets to save the money they don't have to maintain these areas and they can be used to create natural beauty and biodiversity. The local community will be able to get involved in making Thanet a better place. No doubt this could be part of "The Big Society" which none of us really understand.

The land on Westbrook Promenade is one of these likely areas which are ideal. WASPS have been campaigning to save this piece of land from development and now there is the opportunity to create a valuable natural resource!

It is not certain when agreements will be in place but it would be good to know who is interested.

If you would like to help make this happen please let us know. You can be involved as little or as much as you like. Whether its hands on conservation, offering your knowledge of flora and fauna, administration or fund raising. You can contact us through the e-mail address link at top of this blog.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

September Newsletter

What’s been going on?

Well there has been a lot going on and those that have e-mail have been updated. Where are we now? The site has been assessed by the Kent Wildlife Trust and these are some of their findings.
"The Westbrook site boundary falls within a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). As such it is protected under both European and national law. An assessment by Natural England (in 2009) found that the SSSI area was in an ‘unfavourable but recovering’ condition due to the disturbance effects of dog walkers on roosting and feeding birds.
The site’s grassland is also important as a ‘stepping stone’ for wildlife in an ecological corridor of chalk cliff and chalk grassland sites around the coast of Thanet. These support nationally rare invertebrate and plant species.
At present the site consists of rank grassland and chalk cliffs. A number of interesting plant species were found in small numbers and the site seems to be well-used by a range of bird species, provides an important feeding and roosting point for coastal birds and waders and a stopping-off point for migratory species.
The grassland is predominantly coastal and neutral in nature, but due to a lack of management, has become rank in places with the development of some scrub. Being on a thin chalky soil, it has the potential to support many of the flowers associated with chalk grassland and retains some of these species in places. Appropriate management would create a more flower-rich grassland – providing nectar for a wide range of bumblebee and butterfly species and providing cover for ground nesting (and roosting) birds"

On 24 August, 4 of us met with Councillors Roger Latchford, Simon Moores and with Doug Brown, who is the TDC Major Development Officer.
We presented to them how we thought that this site could be used, if it was not handed over to a developer. The presentation was well received. The TDC believed that our aspirations for the site were similar to theirs.
The most attractive and viable option is to set up a project with the Kent Wildlife Trust to eco-manage the site and to plan its continued use to the benefit of the community. Consequently, we might be eligible for funding to help create biodiversity and, to this end, we would involve local volunteers and schools. A balance could be created between current users; for example, dog walkers and the wildlife. There is also a possibility of adding an additional bench (or two) bordering the promenade and, maybe, a picnic table (or two) bordering the car park. These would be vandal-proof and made from re-cycled materials. Part of the site would be managed to maximise wild flowers and, at the cliffs at the back, to set up some wood-piles and projects for schoolchildren to get hands-on conservation.
The TDC has taken this land off the Asset Disposal list to allow these ideas to be developed. It seems, therefore, to be appropriate to ask for a delay on the Village Green Application while negotiations and investigations into funding and partners take place. I believe that we could create something of real value to Westbrook and wildlife. Please send me your comments and/or offers to help to:

Friday, 27 August 2010

Star Attraction for the Next Resident's Association Meeting

Westgate and Westbrook Resident's Association

The next resident's association meeting will be at 7.15pm on Monday 13 September 2010 at the Westbrook Bowling Club Pavilion (the place where we vote). The last two meetings there have been lively affairs with residents getting hot under the collar about several issues affecting them. The chairman Tom King told our intrepid reporter that our council leader Bob Bayford will be coming to the meeting to meet residents. Its really good to see our council reaching out to connect with local people. Come early if you want a seat.

WASPS Update

A group of WASPS met with councillors this week and presented an alternative vision for the site on Westbrook Lower Promenade to that of putting it in the hands of a developer. The meeting was very constructive and it is hoped that provisional details can be made public at this resident's meeting.
We will keep you posted of any developments.

Monday, 16 August 2010

A Whiter Shade of Green

Grey moves to a whiter shade of Green at TDC.

Well done councillor Green for persuading Thanet District Council (TDC) to look again and consult with residents over the Highfield Road site in Ramsgate (picture left).

TDC also get Browny points this week from the Open Spaces Society because they have removed the Chine at the Western Under Cliff, Ramsgate (picture right) and saved it from the asset disposal list. So are they really changing from grey to a whiter shade of Green?

Bob Bayford has said he will review existing sites under the hammer of asset disposal and has agreed to a meeting between some of his cabinet and WASPS to discuss ideas for keeping the Westbrook Prom Site, green. I will report back to you later on the outcome of this meeting.

Something tells me this could be the start of something good. Well done TDC. It just shows what working with residents can achieve. Keep the good work up.

Has anyone heard any news of what is happening with the Montefiore site lately?

Thursday, 12 August 2010

When will they ever Learn?

Another one bites the dust

Another open space for disposal Highfield Road, Ramsgate along with Dalby Square and a great chunk of Hartsdown park.

Thanet is already very poor for green open spaces so why are we disposing of more?

Councillor Chris Wells says "One figure about life expectancy in the area being 17 years lower than the best in Kent has already been widely publicised. In today’s society, to still have differences like that is appalling. We need and will do whatever we can do to change them.”

Err!! Open Spaces have a direct effect on our health and well being. Selling them off to developers does not help.

No wonder residents are revolting. At the Westgate and Westbrook Resident's Association last Monday a motion was passed deploring the Council's action of passing plans for a football stadium and taking a large chunk of Hartsdown Park.

Laura Sandys Talks about a green Thanet. Maybe she should take a look at what our council is doing as green fades to grey.

Many of our open spaces were acquired under the Public Health Act of 1875 for the well being of its residents so is it right to put them into the hands of developers?

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Westgate and Westbrook Resident's Association

The next meeting will be 7pm on Monday 9th August 2010

Again the association will be meeting at the Westbrook Bowls Pavillion following the success of the last meeting at this venue.
At July's meeting the group showed strong support for WASPS' campaign. Other issues like Hartsdown School and Hartsdown Park were strongly debated and action planned.

There will be an update on the current issues affecting our Village Green Application so I hope you will be able to make it.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

"The times they are a changing" or are they?

Sorry but my sixties roots are coming out in titles these days.
This is part of a press release put out by TDC about Bob's first sixty days.

"It does not make for an easy time, but already Mr Bayford is making his mark on the leadership of the council.
He intends to conduct a review of all properties and sites for sale under the council's asset disposal programme. Failure to listen to public opinion over the sale of sites, including Montefiore tennis courts and Albion House, was a criticism levelled at the last administration.
Mr Bayford pledged all sites on the list agreed for sale but not actually sold would be reviewed, but he warned: "It is entirely possible that we will end up concluding that the sale will go ahead anyway, but we will review each site."
He added: "The lengths that people are prepared to go to to protect these sites may mean that we have misjudged public opinion."
The review will consider the value of each site in light of the current economic situation and whether another use can be found for them by working with local people."

At last it appears that TDC are starting to listen. So far so good and I hope that a line is now being drawn under the last regime. No doubt "the answer is blowing in the wind" and bending a few ears or could it be letters like this one.

"To whom it may concern.
We are writing to object to the disposal of land adjacent to Barnes Car Park (west) Westbrook Promenade. We have lived in Westgate for 21 years now, and in that time have enjoyed walking our dogs along this area, and now they have passed on I like to sit and read my book while my husband fishes from the prom. This area is known for our bird life and nesting. I also see visitors having picnics and young children playing in safety.
Please do not take this away by developing this land.
Yours sincerely

Name and address supplied."

Monday, 5 July 2010

You Don't Know What You've Got Until its Gone

A pleasant walk on a summer's day. Its almost like being in the countryside. I hope you enjoy these pictures taken today.

The site was alive with insects and birds today. Several bees and assorted butterflies. Tried to get some pictures of the many grasshoppers but every time I got close they hopped it.

Make the most of this if TDC get their way it will be turned over to a developer.
Support WASPS Village Green Application and save this site.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Land Adjacent to Barnes Car Park

Consultancy report by WASPS: Economic and Social Study of Asset Disposal

Cost to TDC £0


This parcel of land lies between two busy bays. It consists of chalk grassland and has a backdrop of interesting chalk cliffs. It is an informal green space which has become a haven for wildlife.
The coast where it lies has SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) designation and is adjacent to a European marine site. The recent Marine and Coastal bill has significant implications which require careful consideration of all coastal sites.
The land is in part an historic landfill site.
There is a high risk of flooding according to the Department of the Environment.
It is an important site for the Turnstone population that winter here and which use this land to roost on in bad weather.
The site is used extensively by local people for leisure activities like dog walking, bird watching, kite flying, etc. and it has well trodden paths by walkers. Dog walking is banned on the adjacent beaches during the summer.

Proposal for Disposal and Development

According to TDC’s Asset Manager the proposal is to lease this land but it cannot be a disposal unless it is in excess of 11 years. He states that the disposal would not be freehold or a long lease. For the purpose of this report we assume it to be a short term lease of 12 years.

Likely Development Potential

The potential for development of this site is minimal, if any, with the flood risk and suspected contamination of this land due to landfill.
Any development would also be heavily restricted by environmental issues and restrictions by Natural England.
“Site will not involve significant built development. Any use will be community related.” Thanet Matters issue 37. May/June 2008.
Any commercial enterprise would be ill advised to take on a lease any longer than 12 years due to rising sea levels; therefore the income would be low. Bearing in mind that the estimated freehold value of the Montefiore site in Ramsgate was £45,000, a 12 year lease on this land must be worth considerably less.
Any development would need planning permission and there would be considerable opposition from local residents.

Potential Costs of Disposal

1. Cost of dealing with contamination due to landfill £20,000.

2. Legal costs of lease £2000 (even if done in house).

3. Legal costs fighting Village Green Application £20,000. Based on HOOT enquiry. (There are 110 witnesses for this village green application).

4. Seeking permission from all the interested departments £2,000.

5. Any development will mean loss of vegetation on cliff face. This will destabilise the chalk cliffs requiring scarping. Cost £10,000.

6. If development later removed cost of reinstating site to prevent dilapidation. Cost £10,000.

7. Costs of Consultants, contract management and planning. £10,000.

Social Costs

1. Loss of an informal green open space which is enjoyed by many people for recreation. Thanet is poor in this area having less than half that recommended by English Nature. Destroying open spaces affects local resident’s health and well being.
2. There would be a loss to nature and the knock on effects on our survival and those of birds and insects important for natural balance.
3. Loss of an opportunity to create bio-diversity on this site involving the community and schools.
4. Overdevelopment of our coast will have a negative effect on more diverse tourism.
5. Likely to cause an increase in vandalism.
6. Rising sea levels will put demands on the council to increase the sea defences similar to proposals for Margate in order to protect site. If left alone this would not be necessary.
7. The cycle trail passes this site. Development would conflict with cycling and make the trail less interesting.
8. Loss of confidence in council and democracy in Thanet.


The figures given for costs are estimated and could be more or less but it is very likely that disposal of this land will cost considerably more than any likely financial gain.
I think questions should be asked as to the viability of this disposal. The council could be making a big mistake.

The residents of the surrounding area are very opposed to this development. They are one of the highest council tax payers in Thanet. Their demands are very few on the council’s resources. Would it not be beneficial if this land was preserved for their enjoyment and that of others?

If this land is left alone it will cost the council very little in maintenance. In fact it is likely that funding could be attracted to create biodiversity on this site.

It could provide an opportunity for community involvement.

Apart from the economic costs there are serious social costs.

It would be extremely difficult to develop this site in view of the need for wildlife protection, environmental considerations and other legally binding restrictions.

Balance sheet.

Likely cost of disposal £74,000

Even if the costs estimated are half it is probable that we end up with a loss to council tax payers.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Spot the Land Competition

Click to enlarge


1. Appeared in TDC's Thanet Matters two years ago.
2. Caption Land at Barnes Avenue.

Any Clearer?

Answers to TDC on postcards please.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Westgate and Westbrook Residents' Association

New Venue For Association

The Westgate and Westbrook Residents' Association, who are supporters of WASPS, are going to vary meeting places between Westgate and Westbrook. Tom King the chairman of the Association said "we represent both Westgate and Westbrook and want to encourage more people from Westbrook to be involved with the Association. To facilitate this we will be meeting at Bowling Green Pavilion at Westbrook on 12th July 2010 at 7.15pm."

There are several incidents of concern in Westbrook and the relevant authorities need to be made aware and be kept in check. The Association has a record of getting things done. Whether you are a member or just want to check it out you will be most welcome.

Friday, 4 June 2010

TDCs Asset Disposal Policy Attacked

Click to enlarge.

Well Well Well. Would you believe it a legal bill of £20,000 and still rising fighting residents trying to preserve a green open space. Well done to the Isle of Thanet Gazette (28 May) for persevering to get the information that TDC did not want released. Others have estimated the cost to the taxpayer more like £80,000.

Today's IoTG (4 June) letter page has a mass of letters condemning TDC's asset disposal policy.

It appears a great shame that local politics is not doing us any favours. The loss of green open space is a social cost to all of us. I quote from the Open Spaces Society "Selling green spaces is a false economy. If you rob people of their playgrounds they are much the poorer. Green spaces help to keep people healthy—it’s far better to spend on prevention than cure".

TDC's recent record on green open spaces is not good. We need a change of attitude before developers cover our island in concrete.

We now have the Marine and Coastal Bill. I wonder if anyone has looked at that in relation to asset disposal of coastal sites. We wouldn't like our council to do the wrong thing.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Bluebells Under the White Cliffs at Westbrook

Well I had not spotted these before but there would appear to be the start of a colony of bluebells on the proposed village green. Not being a plant expert, ain't these supposed to grow in woods and not on the coast? Are they our English native ones or those Spanish ones and how did they get there? Was it birds or do we have an urban gardener? Whatever lets enjoy them whilst we can.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Open Spaces Press Release




The Open Spaces Society,(1) Britain’s oldest national conservation body, has deplored plans by Thanet District Council to sell off open spaces, which will be discussed at an extraordinary cabinet meeting next Thursday (20 May). The cabinet will hear from members of the public on its ‘potential asset disposal sites’ and will take a decision on the sell-off at a later date.

Says Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the society: ‘There are plans to flog off at least two open spaces which are of immense importance to communities. These are Chine (Western Undercliff) and the Eastern Undercliff car-park at Ramsgate.

‘These open spaces provide recreation and enjoyment for local people and visitors. Thanet is depressingly poor in green spaces. According to Thanet District Council’s 2006 plan, Thanet has less than half the acreage of green space per head of population recommended by the then English Nature. This sell off would make matters much worse.

‘Selling green space is a false economy. Rob people of their playgrounds and they are much the poorer. Green spaces help to keep people healthy: it’s far better to spend on prevention than cure.

‘We deplore Thanet’s decision in 2008 to dispose of land on Westbrook Promenade, and we are delighted that local campaigners, Westbrook Against Selling Promenade Site (WASPS), are claiming village green(2) status for the land, to secure their rights of recreation there and to ensure it is safe for the community to enjoy.'

‘We urge Thanet councillors to resolve not to sell off any more green spaces in the district, but instead to manage and care for them in the public interest,’ Kate concludes.


Notes for editors

1.The Open Spaces Society (formally the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society) was founded in 1865 and is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. It campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths, and people’s right to enjoy them.

2.Land can be registered as a town or village green if it has been used by local people for ‘lawful sports and pastimes’ (ie informal recreation) for 20 years, freely and openly. Anyone may apply for registration. Once registered, the land is protected from encroachment and development by section 12 of the Inclosure Act 1857 and section 29 of the Commons Act 1876. Local people have a right to enjoy the land for recreation. WASPS’ website is http://westbrookwasps.blogspot.com/


CONTACTS: Kate Ashbrook 01491 573535 (work)
07771 655694 (mob)
Kate Ashbrook
General Secretary
The Open Spaces Society
25A Bell Street
Henley-on-Thames RG9 2BA
tel 01491 573535
email: hq@oss.org.uk
website www.oss.org.uk
registered charity 214753
Sign up for the Commons and Greens Seminar on 1 July

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Green Exposed

At last signs of spring and summer as the beach huts are removed from their winter resting space. The green can now be seen from the car park on Westbrook Promenade.

Unfortunately this has exposed a mass of litter that has accumulated behind the huts and the car park is very untidy. TDC have been made aware.

This week there have been several birds using the green including rock pipits. Unfortunately there are several more but I could not ID them. If there are any birders please let us know what you see using the green and cliffs.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

How Green is your MP?

Now the election is upon us it begs the question whether we vote for the party or the MP. It is a great pity that party politics are involved in local councils. In a local election I thought you voted for a candidate that would represent the people of your ward. It appears to me that this is not the case. Those who represent a party have to follow the party line to the extent that it overrides their duties of representing ward residents. It also excludes those Independents who try to do the right thing but are kept out of the loop due to the parties. It is a shame that the current TDC Conservative lead council have upset so many local people with their Asset Disposal policy and desire to cover Thanet in concrete. I am in no way suggesting which party you vote for but if voting for the MP and not the party then Roger Gale appears to me to be a jolly good chap. However looking at what happens at TDC if that represents the face of conservatism in the country one has to ask How Green is your MP?

This was sent to me by the Open Spaces Society:

Open Spaces Society’s ten-point action plan for candidates in the 2010 general election

The Open Spaces Society is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. We campaign to create and conserve common land, village greens, public paths and open spaces, throughout England and Wales. Our members include individuals, organisations and local authorities at all levels.

We advise on and assist in the protection and enhancement of paths and open spaces. We are by law consulted on all applications for works on, or exchanges of, common land, and for the alteration of public paths.

Paths and open spaces are vital to us all. They provide opportunities for quiet recreation close to home and further afield, they promote health and wellbeing and, by their use, may generate income for the local economy.

In this general election we aim to get parties and candidates to commit themselves to the following:

· a right of appeal, and a requirement to provide suitable alternative land, before public open space is taken for another purpose,

· law change to give county and unitary authorities a duty to take action against unlawful works on common land,

· legislation throughout England and Wales to enable people to reclaim ‘lost’ commons for the common-land registers,

· a timetable for processing town and village green applications, so that legitimate applications are swiftly resolved (and mischievous ones swiftly rejected),

· requirement to include on planning-application forms questions about the existence of public rights of way, common land and town or village green within or adjacent to a proposed development,

· law change to require an independent review to protect users’ rights when there is an opposed order to gate an alleyway, and to prohibit the use of permanent gating orders,

· repeal of the provision for seeking changes to footpaths and bridleways in the magistrates’ court, as this is intimidating and costly to members of the public,

· swift implementation of the new English coastal route and associated access land (the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009),

· greater use of agricultural subsidies to secure new rights of public access, and ensure existing public paths are not obstructed,

· all public paths in England and Wales recorded, open and easy to use, with a formal definitive list of all public highways, from roads to footpaths.


Kate Ashbrook
General Secretary
The Open Spaces Society
25A Bell Street
Henley-on-Thames RG9 2BA
tel 01491 573535
email: hq@oss.org.uk
website www.oss.org.uk
registered charity 214753

So if you want to find out how green your MP is ask them to comment on that. I would add that WASPS are not political in any way but questions need to be asked at a time when votes are being wooed.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Open Spaces Society Slate TDC

From the Open Spaces Society's web page. Link http://www.oss.org.uk/we-slate-thanet’s-plan-to-sell-beauty-spot/

"We slate Thanet’s plan to sell beauty spot
18 December 2009

We have objected strongly to plans by Thanet District Council to sell its land below Ramsgate’s West Cliff in Kent. Thanet Council has consulted local people about this and we are backing the objection by our member, Pegwell and District Association, and many individuals.

This lovely area of wild greenspace, at the far end of the promenade, is of immense natural beauty and rich in wildlife.

It is much valued by local people as an area where they can escape and dream by the sea. It is tranquil and scenic with lovely views along the coast. There are very few areas which are so wild and undeveloped.

We consider that it would be a tragedy if it were sold and developed, and we have urged the council to retain it so that it can be enjoyed by people and wildlife."

Thanet District Council 2006 plan shows "There is an existing level of provision of 0.95 ha per 1000 population. This equates to 1.05 ha per 1000 population less than the national recommended level of provision i.e. English Nature Standard. The recommended minimum standard of future provision for Natural/Semi-Natural Greenspace is 2 ha per 1000 population; to raise the current level and location of provision, given the nature of the district, could be achieved by the introduction of the new community woodlands, consider the development of a country park at Quex and
introducing semi natural greenspace into existing parks."

Maybe I do not understand but does this not say that Thanet has less than half the open spaces that it should have? So why is TDC acting like a vandal and trying to dispose of sites like this and others like our proposed Village Green at Westbrook?
The Westbrook site and Ramsgate site are both on our coast. They are too valuable to lose to tacky developments that we are used to in Thanet.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

WASPS Resolve to Fight on.

At a packed meeting last night in Westgate it was agreed to carry on our campaign to register the land adjacent to Barnes Car Park as a village green.

Tony Sykes reported on the result of the period open for representations. He reported that there were several letters of support and one objection from Thanet District Council. The suggested response to this objection was read out to the meeting and was unanimously agreed.

Councillors Tom King and Dean McCastree were at the meeting and pledged their support to the campaign and a message from Iris Johnston was read out pledging her support.

The campaign is a two pronged attack, one the Village Green application and two a petition objecting to development on this site and consequential denial of continued public use. So far there are over 250 names and it is growing fast.

A representative from the Thanet Countryside Trust made suggestions on how this site could be enhanced to provide bio diversity. It could also become a community project to enhance its use by local people.

When initial enquiries were made to TDC about this site it was stated that the land would be developed for community use. A chalet park is hardly community use.

Disgust was expressed about the fact that TDC had engaged a barrister at taxpayers expense to harass elderly witnesses at the public enquiry in respect of HOOT's campaign in Ramsgate.

The fight goes on. If you want to support us contact us on the above E mail link.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Obtained Under FOI Act

Barnes Car Park

"A sensitive site within an area identified as an internationally important coastal designation (Local Plan Policy NC2). English Nature must be consulted.

The majority of the site is covered by Policy SR10 (protected public open space), an area of land adjacent to the car park to the east is not included within this designation.

The coastal location will result in the need for a flood risk assessment, the Environment Agency will require consultation.

The site is within an area designated an intermediate beach where policy SR19 applies, this permits development of a limited range of basic facilities, eg beach huts and kiosks, subject to satisfactory design.

The proposed scheme proposes limited development on an equivalent area of land to that omitted from the public open space designation, locating beach huts or similar accommodation adjacent to the cliff and a franchise/ building for, eg Sea Scout use with adjacent open areas, probably on timber decks to reduce environmental impact.

Areas adjacent could be retained as open space, with the remainder of the site protected for nature conservation purposes, possibly including habitat creation.

The existing car cark would be retained and improved, with coach parking and realigned parking to serve the beach huts and the franchise building, with a bins tore provided in the south west corner."

It is a great pity that it took a Freedom of Information request to find out what TDC was planning. If they seriously wanted to consult local people why did they not openly publish their ideas. Please send your comments on plan.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Thanet Countryside Trust Pledge Support

The Thanet Countryside Trust field officers visited the land on Westbrook Promenade (proposed Village Green) today. They have identified rare grasses and several other plant species. The conclusion is that this land should be saved from development. They are going to continue their studies into the spring and summer as more plants appear. Pieces of land on the coast like this are important to nature particularly insects and birds. This particular site would be ideal to develop biodiversity and become a nature reserve.
I would like to thank the trust for their support also their intention to help us lobby the council.

In the meantime here are some of the delights to look forward to in the spring and summer (pictures taken last year).

The campaign continues to save this special place for the continued enjoyment of local people. Support is growing day by day.

Monday, 18 January 2010

"Under Utilised"?

'Barnes car park, a completely under utilised piece of land, suitable for a "Holiday village" development of a few luxury Chalets was identified, and what happened then, your Group immediately opposed the sale of this piece of land and by applying for Village Green status effectively blocked the very proposal you are so firmly in favour of.' (Thanet Strife)
The above attack on counsillors supporting our application just shows how poorly informed those making decisions are. There are 115 forms lodged at KCC showing that this land is very well used by local people and has been for a very long time. If the councillor concerned had taken the time to visit the site first thing in the morning he would no doubt have received comments on his scheme by the many dog walkers or perhaps on a sunny day when people picnic, fly kites and admire the wildlife. He may also meet the people who walk the site most days and pick up all the rubbish. If he was not able to visit the site he could view it on his computer on google maps satellite view (follow link on right for Google Map) which shows clearly well trodden paths across this land.
If a 'few' chalets (12) were placed on this site it would deny all access to those using it now and ruin it forever.
One of our contributors sent me this information "The sale of land West of Barnes car park has been on the council agenda before. It was rejected.
If I remember rightly the issues raised at the time were , the natural habitat, rising sea levels and exposure to storms". So what has changed?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Bertie Biggles Fires on TDC

Westbrook WASPS appear to have caused a political storm not of their making. Counsellors are fighting like the seagulls feeding on the dead crabs in our bay. See report by Bertie Biggles on the Thanet Strife Blog link. http://thanetstrife.blogspot.com/ or follow link on this blog
He certainly knows how to place his punches. Westbrook WASPS are not a political organisation we just want to preserve a lovely area of green on Westbrook Promenade for continued use by local people and keep developers from ruining this rather special place. All this political wrangling just goes to show what a sorry state local politics have become.
WASPS are very determined to fight to the end to stop development on this land.
Come on TDC you can either fight the application and waste more council tax money or do the decent thing and register it voluntarily as a Village Green yourselves. This way you will regain some credibility with your electorate. You may even get extra funding. Could this be a win win situation for all or has 'common' sense been lost forever.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Crab Disaster

For those of you walking on our village green or on the beach you will have noticed large numbers of seagulls circling and its raining crabs. A victim of the cold weather is the beautiful Velvet Swimming Crab washed up on this bay not doubt suffering with crabby hypothermia. There were literally thousands in large heaps on the beach. This follows after a similar incident last year when the weather turned cold. Some were only just alive and unlikely to survive especially the onslaught of hungry seagulls.