Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Euroferries Ramsgate to Boulogne Ferry Will it Won't it Happen.


"Euroferries wants to build a new coach station at the Port of Ramsgate"

Read more: http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/Euroferries-plan-new-coach-terminal-Port-Ramsgate/story-24422446-detail/story.html#ixzz3NNFOfBI2

On 7th November 2014 The Isle of Thanet Gazette reported the above. On checking this blog today I discover several recent hits on my last year's article on this subject. At that time the proposed ferry vessel Austral Hull 270 was down under in Australia. Checking today it appears to be in Poole Harbour. Check out this link.

Is this a coincidence following rumors alleging that TDC were having confidential talks about the port?

So putting 2 and 2 together and making 5 I looked forward rather in hope than anticipation that maybe at last Euroferries could pull this off and Ramsgate gets its ferry to Boulogne.

Then hope is dashed when I find according to Shipping TV:

"Austal’s high speed ropax ferry hull number 270 has been bought by Condor Ferries, who will be operating her between the UK, the Channel Island and Europe. She’ll be sailing from the UK port of Poole starting March 2015".

So that looks like a non starter or maybe there is more news round the corner.

Has anyone else any further information?

Saturday, 20 December 2014

It’s going to be Lonely this Christmas

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas from the last of the Westbrook Turnstones (very few visiting this winter).
Looking forward to the New Year, this could be an important year for the future of Thanet. January starts with the consultation on the Local Plan. This reads like a cut and paste job with figures thrown in for good measure. Ticking government boxes it plans to concrete over our island with 12,000 new houses.
The Beach Management Plan as part of the Destination Plan will also be up for consultation.
The future of Manston airport is still an on going topic despite attempts to dig it up and create a developer’s paradise. Unfortunately I am not sure our present council are up to the job of decision making and do not appear to have the ability or legal expertise to influence events.
Looking at the bigger picture Gatwick and Heathrow are now coming in for mounting opposition to expansion. The recent software glitch with the air traffic control shows us how intricate the 3D chess game is that is played out in our skies. Should someone not be saying “what if there were twice as many aircraft in the skies over Gatwick and/or Heathrow and it happens again”? Surely there is a safety question to answer. Davis may want to look at his report again and not discount other airports. Maybe Manston should be mothballed for the time being until the game pans out or there is an integrated transport policy for the South East.
I feel sorry for Roger and Laura who have fought so hard for Manston whilst Government Ministers have paid lip service preferring to leave things to market forces. Personally I believe the decision over Manston is one of public interest and national importance and the Government should step up to the mark. If it does not Thanet could easily turn purple.
Looking forward to the spring we will no doubt be faced with election frenzy or even apathy as many people will opt out of voting as they cannot see suitable candidates. This could be dangerous with politics of the extremes taking over.
For as long as I can remember Thanet has been an unemployment black spot and ever more appears to continue to be so. Regeneration needs a kick on top of what is already happening. Maybe we need a “Thanet First” movement but I do not see it coming.
The local plan talks about action on Climate Change but ignores the work done by the CC2150 Project where the local community worked on plans and visions for the future. Is this really a local plan for Thanet or just another report bought in from expensive consultants?
Development plans for Thanet seem to place nails into its coffin. The port access road at Ramsgate was completed after the ferry closed. The Pfizer access road was completed and most of Pfizer closes. Now the airport has closed the Manston Parkway is planned to be built. We seem to be doomed by a lack of joined up thinking.
I am now going to put away my crystal balls as they only depress me and I want to enjoy Christmas.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Friday, 12 December 2014

Westgate and Westbrook Residents' meeting December 2014






Tom King, chairman and councillor, forty members, and KCC Cllr Jeff Elenor.

The chairman welcomed all to the meeting.


Apologies had been received from Chris Smith.


1)      Village Green (Town Green) Application Outcome.  Tom introduced Graham Rickett who spoke to the meeting about the application which commenced over three years ago. The application was successful however the land had been donated to King Ethelbert School by KCC in 2010, and an appeal against the finding had been made, and since rejected.  A further appeal for an oral hearing had been made against KCC, but the Judge had concluded that there was no case for review, and the seven days period  for appeal against this  had now elapsed.   Local residents have chosen the name “Linksfield Town Green”, and there are plans to apply for lottery fund money.  There are seventeen varieties of butterfly present, and the Holm Oaks are ideal for egg laying.  Kent Wildlife is to help manage the area, and a community page is to be set up to inform residents what may be found there.
2)      Thanet Local Plan.  Tom informed the meeting that this is being  put together and will be referred to for future decisions.  Birchington, Westgate, Garlinge, Manston, and Westwood are included, and strategic sites for 1,000 houses have been identified each side of Minster Road across from Birchington to Garlinge. This has been identified as much of the necessary infrastructure is thought to be already in place.  Consultation is to take place from 5th January to 20th February 2015, Tom would like to see a longer period as these are such major works, and public meetings should be held.  There will be road shows, drop in meetings, and information on the TDC website.  Both KCC Cllr Jeff Elenor and Graham Rickett said that present footpaths should continue to be used, and would become an issue.  There is concern about sufficient cover by Doctors and Dentists for the increasing number of people, and that residents need to be kept informed.  It was noted that the Thanet Plan had not featured in the local press.
3)      Parish Council.  At the recent TDC meeting the PC for Westgate was ratified, and it was agreed that the Charter Trustee System for Margate will continue.  Tom said he had been observing some local parish councils and these seem to have achieved very good results, which bodes well for Westgate.  The Parish Council will be elected in May 2015, and during the first year will formulate a list of services to provide.  James Brazier reminded the meeting that the precepts would be increased and the assets of the Charter Trustees will be split.  Tom thought the improvements would be well worth the extra precept.    


The minutes of the last meeting, (10th November 2014), which had been circulated, were adopted on a prop by Don Eacott sec by Dave Morris, and signed.


1)      34, Westgate Bay Avenue.  No applications for planning had been received for this site.  Part of the front wall was still  down.

2)      TDC Chief Executive.  Details of this post are at present subject to total confidentiality.

3)      St Mildred's Bay Slipway.  TDC Officers have agreed to place railings at the side of the slipway to improve safety.

4)      41, Royal Esplanade.  The planning application for this site has been withdrawn. 


KCC Cllr Jeff Elenor:

1)      Zebra Crossing.  In answer to questions Jeff said that the design and  costing for the crossing in Westgate Bay Avenue are being planned, the precise location has not as yet been decided, and such consultation does take time.  One member who thought that Westgate roads were becoming more dangerous thought there should be speed limits of 20mph and more crossings as in Birchington.  Jeff has given all his grant to the Westgate crossing which hopefully may have an island to help pedestrians.  Other members thought there should be enforcement of no parking next to the crossing and round the corners of the road junctions.    

2)      Station Road.  The new surface has been well received, but it was disappointing that it had already been dug up for works to the gas supply.

3)      Airport Capacity in the South East.  There had been hostility to a proposal of a third runway at Gatwick, and a minister is coming down shortly to look again  at Manston.

4)      Relocation of Margate Market.  This will now be in Cecil Square.

5)      Thanet Plan and Developments.  Alongside these, 106 agreements could be beneficial to the area and should be considered.

6)      Thanet Sewers.  These are due for servicing and repair.

7)      Local Children's Nurseries.  It had been brought to Tom's notice that a local children's nursery had had notice of funding to be discontinued.  Support was asked for and many members signed the petition at the meeting.  Westgate, especially with development possible, cannot afford to lose nurseries.


1)      2/62, Cuthbert Road.  Application for permission to erect external staircase to rear first floor.

2)      Westbrook Road.   Application for HMO.  Refused. 


Samantha Secomb presented the accounts, fully audited and in order.

The current bank balance stands at £6,543 and from this it will be possible to make a donation to the Westgate Community Association of £1,000, subject to the agreement of members.    Since this year the Charter trustees are not supplying a Christmas tree for Westgate, one has been purchased by the W&WRA for £300.   Business rates for the office space in the Town Hall Building of £196 have been paid.


Derek thanked those members who had sent in articles, and requested more for the  next edition.



MEMBERSHIP                   None


Westgate Heritage Centre (in St Saviour's Church).  Next meeting is Saturday 3rd January at 10.30am when there will be a talk by Dr Dawn Crouch about the Tower House, Canterbury Road.


Richard told the meeting that last month's report had been published in two halves on consecutive weeks, so he will condense the next report.


1)      Quiz Night.  November's quiz was good and the next one is in February.

2)      Christmas Party.  This Wednesday.

3)      New Year Lunch.  Sunday 11th January at St Augustines.  A few places still available.

4)      Trips/Outings.  Ideas and suggestions welcome for next year's programme,  there is a list in the Bake House.


1)      Councillors.  It was noted that, though invited, very few councillors attend W&WRA meetings, and members asked if attendance records for the year could be made available.


 Monday 12th January, in the Westbrook Bowls Club.


There being no other business the meeting concluded at 8.40pm.


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

1,000 New Homes for Westgate

Residents' Meeting 8th December 2014

A bombshell was dropped at the Westgate and Westbrook Residents meeting last night. Chairman Tom King reported that the Thanet Local Plan policy on housing was to build 10,000 homes in Thanet of which 1,000 will be build at the south end of Westgate and Garlinge on green agricultural land.

The proposed development would stretch west of Minster Road to Quex and to the east to Garlinge and Dent de Lion.  Houses on the East side of Belmont Road which at present back on to farmland will back on to a large housing estate.
A plan of the proposed development can be found on this link at page 26 and details page 59 of attached document. http://democracy.thanet.gov.uk/documents/g3938/Public%20reports%20pack%2027th-Nov-2014%2019.00%20Overview%20and%20Scrutiny%20Panel.pdf?T=10

This document is 256 pages long and contains many other controversial plans. Opinions expressed last night at the meeting were that a public consultation of 6 weeks in the New Year is not enough. Looking at the plan to read it all would probably take longer than reading "War and Peace." Having skimmed through the many pages there does not appear to be any reference, correct me if I am wrong, to where we are going to get the water to supply all these dwellings and where is all the sewage going. Southern Water cannot cope with current demands I hate to think what the building of 10,000 home will do.

Another area concerns Westbrook and the suggestion to use 'Barnes' Westbrook promenade car park as a coach park. This is ridiculous when we are trying to develop tourism. Coaches should be able to drop off and then coach parking should be provide away from the coast. This would leave our tourist sites more accessible. This car park is used all the year round and is often full in the summertime. Fill it with coaches and tourists will then be parking in the surrounding streets. The Beach Management Plan has suggested this site be used for motorhomes so there is a conflict there.

I would suggest that you read this plan and participate in the consultation. The future of our towns and villages depends on it.