Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Westgate and Westbrook Residents Association Minutes

Next Meeting to be held on Monday 9th June 2014 at the Westbrook Bowls Club.

Should be an interesting meeting following the election and closure of Manston.









Tom King, chairman, thirty three members, and KCC Cllr Jeff Elenor.

The chairman welcomed all to the meeting.



Apologies had been received from Pam Lucas, Rosalind Morton, Chris Smith, Tony and Pat Snow, and Tony and Sylvia Sykes.



These as circulated were adopted on a prop. by Derek Smith, sec. by Don Eacott, and signed.



There were no matters arising.



Chairman Tom King spoke about various events that had taken place during the year:

1)      KCC Councillor. Following elections Cllr Jeff Elenor had been made welcome, and had attended all W&WRA general meetings.

2)      Marc Lawrence Memorial.  Tom reported that a great deal of work had been necessary and problems sorted out, but it was now agreed by TDC that this will be installed in June at the memorial in Sea Road.  A service will be held which will be conducted by the local minister.

3)      Thanet Families in Need.  The food bank collection box in the Bake House has been useful and will continue to be available.

4)      Railway Footbridge, The Grove/Station Road.  This has now been refurbished and repainted after much communication and consultation.  Network Rail are open for suggestions as to the best use for the community of the land at the bottom of the bridge.

5)      New Waste and Recycling systems were introduced in November, for some residents it has worked well but there have also been some complaints.

6)      Village Green Registration.  This had been successfully passed at the enquiry thanks to Graham Rickett and residents of Ursuline Drive and area, and is to be for the use of all.

7)      Tesco Application for a Store in Station Road.  This had been contested and a petition produced with many signatures.

8)      Christmas Lights.  These and the switch on event had been delivered well by the lights committee and were supported by the W&WRA.

9)      New Year Lunch.  This was again held at St Augustines and ninety people attended.  Thanks go to those who worked to organise it.

10)  Westgate Pancake Race.  This was much enjoyed by children from local schools, and Tom thanked Cllr Keith Coleman-Cook and the Rotary Club for their input.

11)  Members.  Tom recorded with regret the deaths of Gladys Tebbutt and Barbara Whitlock, and that Brenda Sheffield has had poor health and moved away to be with her family.


The future:

More children’s playing facilities are required on the north side of Canterbury Road, and the old putting green at St Mildred’s Bay would be a good site.

Governance Review.  This is being carried out and could lead to a variety of options including a possible Westgate Parish Council.

Poor TV reception, our local MP has been contacted with concerns of residents in many parts of the area.

Finally Tom thanked all who had helped and worked for the W&WRA during the year.     


Questions:  In answer to a question it was confirmed that the addition of the name of Marc Lawrence would show his name and the year of his death as with the other names already on the memorial. 


The chairman was then thanked for his work over the year.



The report was given by Samantha Secomb.  A few copies of the accounts,  unaudited, were made available.  The accounts had not as yet been finally balanced, some of the difficulties arising from the fact that there had been three treasurers during the year.  An excess of income over expenditure of £1,210 had been made leaving a (Co-op) bank balance of £6,364.  Further work will be carried out to obtain balances now and in the ongoing year.  The treasurer was warmly thanked for her work by the meeting.



Derek reported that the three issues had been produced during the year, and the next one will be in July for which copy is required by early June.

Tom congratulated Derek for the excellent magazines and he was warmly thanked by the meeting.



Margaret reported that four cards had been sent out to members, and was thanked for her work in this office. 


Rosalind had sent a brief report, read out by the minute secretary.

Membership numbers had held up well, most of those who had left had either moved away or suffered ill health.

Thanks are due to the road stewards for their hard work, new road stewards are urgently required both in Westgate and Westbrook.

This year membership cards are in blue, and there will be a different colour for each year.  Also this year there is a standing order facility available for payment of subscriptions as some members find this easier.

Tom recorded a vote of thanks to Rosalind.



KCC Cllr Jeff Elenor said that in his first year he had been finding his way and thanked the W&WRA for welcoming him to their meetings and had been pleased to help provide trees and benches locally with part of his councillor’s grant.



Chairman Tom King asked Don Eacott to take over whilst all committee members stood down.     The following nominees had been proposed and seconded, and were duly elected:--


Chairman                                         Tom King

Vice-Chairman                                 Mick Rooney

Secretary                                          Richard Charlton

Treasurer                                          Samantha Secomb

Minute Secretary                              Chris Whittingham

Editor                                               Derek Smith

Social Organiser                               NO NOMINATION

Membership Secretary                     Rosalind Morton           

Sunshine (Visitor) Friend                Kath Bonner

Press Officer                                    Richard Charlton

Committee Members                       Abigail Carden

                                                         Ron Rolfe

                                                         Chris Smith

                                                         Stephanie Sutton

                                                        Mavis Vaughan                        


Community Governance Review.

James Brazier thought that this was most important for local communities, and had brought in copies of the questionnaire (last return date 2nd June) issued by TDC.  Residents could express if they were in favour, or not, of a Parish Council for Westgate.

Tom said many local residents were not aware of what Community Governance is, some but not all may have the facility to go online and find out.  Reasons are needed to show why Westgate could be better with a Parish Council.  Margate might opt for a Town Council.

Chris Wyer reminded the meeting of the extra cost of parish and town councils which could be up to £37 to £45 extra council tax.

Alternatives could be community groups such as residents’ associations.

Abigail Carden recommended that options should be clearly set out and then local residents asked their opinions.

It was suggested that posters showing “Parish Council for Westgate?” should be put in the W&WRA notice board and elsewhere to encourage people to express their view.


There being no other business, the chairman closed the AGM at 8.26p.m.
General Meeting
These were circulated, and adopted on a prop. by Mick Rooney sec. Stephanie Sutton, and signed.
1)      Westgate Sign.  A vote of thanks was made to Darren Ellis for cleaning the graffiti from the sign.
2)      Village Green.  The application had been successful, following an enquiry.   Graham Rickett and the community are to be congratulated.  Seventy one residents had attended the enquiry all supporting the application.  There had been a somewhat inaccurate press report.
3)      Governance Review.  There had been poorly attended information meetings at TDC.  Sam Secomb suggested enquiring with Parishes where local governance had been successful and also unsuccessful.  Tom agreed to ask Cllr Bob Grove if he could help. 
1)      149, Sea Road.  Application for permission to erect a two storey detached house and garage
2)      33-35 St Mildred’s Road.  Retrospective application for internal and external alterations.
1)      Town Pride Awards.  These awards, by Margate Civic Society, included the pair of new houses in Ethelbert Square which received a plaque and certificate, and a commendation for the restoration of Forest House in Westgate Bay Avenue.
2)      Westgate Heritage Centre. The next talk entitled “The Waterplanes come to Westgate” takes place on Saturday 7th June at 10.30am at St Saviour’s Church. The centre is open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings during the summer.
1)      TV Reception.  Stephanie Sutton had been informed by Sir Roger Gale MP that technicians are working in the area.  The chairman asked members which roads had been suffering with poor reception, and a list of such roads was made.
2)      Temporary Fence at Lockwoods Yard Site.  Chris Wyer told the meeting that the enforcement officer had said that replacement of the fence with a brick wall similar to the original one had gone to appeal, and the costs of enforcing this could be considerable.  Tom King thanked Chris Wyer for dealing with this and had also been informed that the fence is only temporary.
Monday 9th June 2014 at the Westbrook Bowls Club.
There being no further business, Tom King thanked all for attending and the meeting concluded at 8.47pm.


Monday, 19 May 2014

The Stress of Losing Manston Airport

Transport Chaos as Government Leave it to Economic Forces 
I was probably one of the very few people that stayed up to watch the Roger and Laura show on late night Parliament a few weeks ago. Sad I know.
The debate followed HS2 debate and after all the MPs had left the chamber with only the transport minister left to hear and reply it was left to Roger to speak. Sir Roger laid out his case for Manston with clarity and dignity supported by Laura.
The minister played lip service and dismissed Manston quoting that it was down to the forces of the market.
This means that our transport policy is now in the hands of big business even though it is against the public interest.
Having just been on holiday and flying from and back into Gatwick I am reminded how our transport system including airports has descended into chaos.
A flight of a few hours to a sunny destination is now a thing of the past. A flight at 6.45am now means leaving home at 2.30 am. On traveling up the M2 you find signs saying that the M25 is shut from junction 3 to 31. Panic what route now? Stress starting to mount now. Wonderful technology flawed by human error (think it should have read 30 to 31). Arrive at parking at 4 am transfer to airport by 5 am. Queue for check in. Then on to security to undress and display all my worldly goods.
Had to throw away my bottle of water in case I blew up the plane with it. Finally get through to departure lounge to join hoards of people. So decide to have overpriced breakfast in order to have somewhere to sit.
Next proceed to gate. After a walk of about a mile made it to the gate to join fellow travellers and finally board plane. Stress now subsiding and ready to enjoy my holiday.
Return to Gatwick pleasant flight landed 12.50 pm. Leave plane walk mile back to passport control. Join 500 yard queue to passport hall. Stress mounting again. Finally arrive at hall and nice man says electronic passports this way others that way. Join extensive queue for electronic passports believing fast track from those without the luxury of new passports. How wrong could I be as I watched masses of people being processed much faster than the high tech queue. Finally get to the new kit. Chaos again as no one knows what to do. After instruction by attending staff it still means that so many travellers cock up the procedure.
Finally get through thinking that all the baggage would have been on the baggage claim conveyor and only ours would be left just going round and round. Oh no hundreds of people gazing at the baggage claim screen saying WAIT. To add insult to injury there were posters advertising the virtues of another runway at Gatwick. I wished I had a felt tipped pen.
Wait we did with increasing numbers of other passengers. Message comes in sorry your bags are still on the plane and will be unloaded soon.
We wait staring at the screen. Nothing happens. Eventually another announcement saying they are on their way. Another 10 minutes pass and screen announces number and a mass of people descend to baggage hall. Stress now high but the end is in sight. Fight to retrieve cases before they disappear. And off we go to customs who do not stop anyone for fear of anger or assault by passengers. Another long walk to pick up bus to car park now with queues because of delayed passengers. Crammed and hot journey back to pick up car. Man on coach said wait was nothing compared to last night with 4 hours delay on baggage.
Nearly there now just got to drive home. Oh accident on M25 and more queues. Eventually home by 5 pm. Wonder why I bothered to go on holiday.
Sir Roger's point that using Manston, Londoners could get from London to Manston and have their bums on a plane seat in an hour and a half seems to me a very strong argument for carriers to base their business at Manston. With Dover a cruise terminal and a high speed link there is so much potential.
My experience tells me that Gatwick does not deserve an extra runway as it continues to operate in and cause chaos now. Another runway there in my opinion is a road to hell.
Thanet has been a high unemployment black spot for as long as I can be remember and deserves better than continuing to be dragged down and down by bunches of asset strippers. Building houses on the airport site is just adding insult to injury.