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

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