Wednesday, 11 February 2015

No to 1000 homes at Westgate and Garlinge




Representatives of the Westgate and Westbrook Residents Association protest on the steps of Thanet District Council last Friday morning. A petition of well over a thousand signatories and hundreds of protest letters were handed in. This will force a debate by full council on the proposed 1000 houses at Westgate and Garlinge detailed in Thanet's Local Plan.

The petition is still on going and can be signed at the Bake House and several shops in Westgate. Protest letters can still be sent to the council or handed into the Bake House.

You only have until 6th March 2015 to respond. You can do so by completing the online questionnaire, sending a protest letter, signing the petition, downloading a questionnaire and completing it to email the Council, obtain a paper copy at the council offices to complete and hand in to the council offices. If you require any help with a response contact Westgate and Westbrook Residents Association.
Further information is obtainable from ‘The Bakehouse’ in Westgate or online at ‘Westgate Development Concerns’ where you can join the on line petition.

Further help

Westgate and Garlinge Development Concerns

Drop-in Help Sessions

There is still time to make your views known!

If you would like some help:

to write your objection letter to Thanet District Council
                                                                (Deadline March 6th)


to sign the E-petition on Thanet District Council’s website                                                  (Deadline 31st March)

 Come along to one of these drop-in sessions:

All 10.00am – 12.00pm at Westgate Pavilion

 Saturday 14th February

Saturday 21st February

 Saturday 21st March (e-petition only)

Saturday 28th March (e-petition only)

 No need to book in advance. Just come along

More details of on line petition :

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Thanet Local Plan Referred to Plain English Campaign as a Poor Form

Is Thanet's Local Plan Consultation Fit for Purpose?
A complaint has been received by the Plain English Campaign.

This is copied from the Plain English site:

Poor form
Last year we received numerous Golden Bull entries regarding overlong or badly written (or both) planning consultation forms.
2015 will probably be no different. A Thanet resident has sent in a complaint about a 263-page planning consultation document which is 'very hard to understand'. There's also a questionnaire, which runs to 99 pages.
It's worth pointing out that Thanet has the highest number of residents over age 65 in Kent. How likely is it then, all things considered, that many of Thanet's residents will read and respond to the consultation?
We've highlighted this issue before. When it comes to anything involving matters that will change the local environment, which local residents will be paying for, such planning documents and questionnaires need to be short, clear and easy to understand. No-one is going to, or should be expected to, read 263 badly written pages, or have two screens open in order to answer a questionnaire.
The resident who contacted us suggested that 'the reason it has be set out like this is to reduce the responses'. Could it be that the planned changes are likely to be unpopular, so the less everyone knows about them the better? That would make sense, and has certainly been the case in the past.
You can read this document online (or download as a PDF), and also view the questionnaire on the Draft Thanet Local Plan to 2031 - Preferred Options Consultation page of Thanet District Council's website.

Consultation Software Problems

For every question you answer you get the following email : I have been swamped with around fifty so far.

Thanet District Council Online Planning Consultations

Draft Thanet Local Plan to 2031 - Preferred Options Consultation

This is an automatic message. Please do not reply. Your response has been received.

Thank you for your participation.

You may view your response at any time using the following link. You may also change your response at any time until the questionnaire closes.

Other Problems
On returning to the questionnaire I have found it has lost some of my responses and I have had to enter them again.

With all these problems I can understand that most people will give up. I would therefore allege that this consultation is not fit for purpose.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Thanet Local Plan Beware what Slips Under the Radar.

The major issue on this plan is housing but there are many other smaller issues that could easily be lost in the mass of  paragraphs and pages.
This is one instance that nearly got past my observation and for Westbrook an important issue.

"Policy TP05 – Coach Parking
Land at Vere Road, Broadstairs and Palm Bay, Cliftonville, as identified on maps 24 and 25, will be retained for use as coach parking to serve the tourist trade. 195

Within Barnes Avenue Car Park Westbrook, as identified on map 26, land will be identified and safeguarded and retained for use as coach parking to serve the tourist trade.

The Council will consider the need to identify a site to accommodate demand for coach parking at Ramsgate."

Westbrook lower promenade.
Barnes car park

 Barnes car park

Westbrook Undercliffe Town Green Next to car park
Slope to car park

Car Park is Fully Used

This car park is fully used by local people and visitors. During the winter it is used by local people some of who are disabled who like to park and observe the sea and wildlife. Others park for short walks along the promenade or to access the Town Green. It is a point where horses can be brought for access to the beach. In the summer months this car park is packed. It is used for launching boats and jet skis. It is an ideal point for cyclists to park their cars and join the Viking Cycle Way. Others come to sea fish off the promenade or just to walk the coastal path.
The car park adjoins the Westbrook Undercliffe Nature Park one of the few natural open spaces in the area.
Under the Beach Management Plan it was suggested there could be some limited overnight parking for mobile homes to increase visitors stay in Thanet. The attraction was the view of the Turner Centre and coast.

It does seem ridiculous to designate this car park as a coach park when there are far better alternatives near to Margate seafront. For instance there is a large area on the All Saints Industrial site where Kandoo is situated. Admittedly there are a few potholes to fill but there is plenty of space. There is also a large area on the Arlington site of empty parking since Tesco got into trouble.

This is another instance, may I say, of a lack of local knowledge on behalf of the author of Thanet's Local Plan.