Monday, 30 January 2012

Running On Fumes

Easing back a bit on the blogging recently and this is likely to last for a couple of weeks. Looks like everyone else is doing similarly...

Cabinet (2nd Feb) agenda out:

First up is the “Still Running 3” item about runaways, where the report says that using what’s already there is a better option to setting up a new Working Party. I agree with that recommendation. Specifically relating to looked after children, there are already a number of different Groups involved with this and an extra one isn’t likely to improve things. I’m not saying that TDC shouldn’t be looking to help where it can but that when it does, it has to be focused. I commented nearly 3 years ago on this and proposed the relevant Cabinet Member being involved in an “overwatch” role. Looking back at it, while I don’t think it was an awful idea, it doesn’t quite fit in with the Council’s own position. The Cabinet Member (in this case Cllr Iris Johnston) should really be ensuring that there are sufficient facilities for those needing help, working with the KCC counterpart to ensure the delivery of services is maintained properly.

Next is the scheduling of consideration of the half hour free parking in Birchington. I touched on this during the Full Council preview last month. Discussion dates can now be pencilled in for Overview (March 6th), Cabinet (29th March) and Full Council (19th April) and the new set up will take effect on the 4th June. 

The Statement of Community Involvement comes up afterwards with a consultation to come there.

On the issue of consultation and in particular Manston, it’s clear the report places serious doubts on the evidence produced to support night flights. As much as consultation was promised, if it’s clear that it’s not going to happen, consulting on it is a pointless thing to do and a waste of resources and Labour might as well have simply returned to sender.
On the pre-determination rules which caused the Labour Group such trouble that they changed their policy to one of free choice before making it clear that their manifesto was the choice all along, those have now changed. Basically as long as a Councillor declares themselves open minded, even though they are blatantly biased, its cool.

Hartsdown is next and the final decision on the leases. If the item lasts longer than 10 minutes, it'll be too long…

Budget Monitoring Report and a look at previous Overview recommendations, which might get a little debate but unlikely to be anything serious. A look at progress against the Interim Corporate Plan too which is worth a look at then the press and public get the boot…

 ...because an intriguing discussion about a Housing Intervention programme for Margate Central and Cliftonville West comes last which is a big thing for the two wards and with serious implications for both TDC and KCC. I will come back to this when Ive had a bit more time to mull this over.

Sadly I cant make this meeting, nor the Full Council meeting later in the month so there wont be a results show, but Im sure we’ll hear plenty about it Friday morning regardless!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Sparrow Castle/Cowper Road, Margate

I regularly walk around Margate specifically to see how street cleaning and rubbish collection is going and I'm becoming more concerned at the increasing frequency of dumped rubbish in the Cowper Road/Sparrow Castle area. Given the YMCA building is not in use, it’s become a dumping site now, so much so that in the car park there is a TDC Enviro-Crime sticker informing people that it's being investigated. It was put there months ago... The two wheelie bins and the handful of black sacks to the left of them in the first shot were put out two days ago.

The FixMyStreet website has numerous complaints of rubbish being left on Sparrow Castle (its been a problem for years). A local businessman back in July had to sort it out himself.

The broken glass has returned to the Lord Byron Alleyway, strewn along the right hand side of the following photo:

...and the unbeatable black sack has returned to Dane Park. 

Friday, 20 January 2012

Labouring over Budget, Conservative Scrutiny

Labour got its Budget, the Conservatives got their way over Ian Driver's lost seat and Margate FC fans got a serious case of arse ache… Good to see Tony Flaig standing sentry in the Chamber last night. Always nice to have fellow bloggers appearing. Even better to see a full house in the Chamber.

The public gallery was the vast majority Margate FC fans so logic would dictate that Margate FCs lease item should really come first. Instead the agenda was followed strictly and the fans had to wait considerable time before their time came. I see no reason why mercy couldn’t have been shown there and the item bunged up the agenda, after the A&E item. We knew the Budget was going to take a good while anyway.

First up the A&E presentation from Stuart Bain. There was concern from Members about the distance and how this would impact upon the effective treatment of those patients being rushed to Ashford. Best question was the sobering one from Cllr M Tomlinson asking whether he would have survived his cardiac arrest years ago with this new system.

That one done with general agreement about it, we moved onto the meat of the meet starting with the Leader’s Report, or not, as it was withdrawn from the agenda. Chair Cllr Doug Clark decided that as this was an Extraordinary Council meeting, it wasn’t necessary.

Then onto the Budget debate. This debate dragged on for an hour and 40 minutes so bear with me. First up the starting statements which were in essence the same speeches I’ve heard in past meetings. The Red Rose had her say about how money should be used to help the most vulnerable and brought in a bunch of documents including a 2001 anti-poverty strategy, the Portas report and others (Iris?) for others to read though throwing them on the table in front was a tad overly-dramatic. 

Hart made a truly grandstanding speech. Very old style Labour speaking directly to his own Group rather than the Conservatives, including a comment that people were being “hoodwinked by the Big Society game”. This I will definitely come back to in a future blog. Cllrs Harrison, Fenner and Poole continued this Socialist theme as expected with attacks over “Tory bankers” and comments about whether private or public money was better.

The Conservatives in response argued that there is real concern about “top-slicing” and therefore the money should be kept as a reserve in order to fill a possible funding gap. Cllr Gideon again made a very good point that civic pride isn’t always about fundraising. The Conservatives proposed an amendment to go back to the original budget. Labour tried to have it thrown out as they didn’t have the document on them even though they had to have read it at some point when coming up with their own changes to it. Eventually the Chief Exec listed the differences of which every single one had already been talked about in previous debates.

The amendment was defeated and the meeting was to move onto the next item until another amendment was proposed to redirect the £185,000 being used from the New Homes Bonus fund to go towards services for vulnerable people, unemployed and wider community. This one didn’t really have much traction and was defeated after some sharp debate, revolved around advice given on whether the NHB could be used to pay for someone to be employed. Cllr Wise being accused of recording the meeting on his phone by Cllr Poole. In fact he was looking for a message relating to that topic. Yes, that was the sort of behaviour last night…

Some comments were made regarding the subsidising of EKO. I missed that section, so I hope a Councillor will fill me in obviously bearing in mind the rules about restricted info. Along with that I’d love to know what NHB money had already been spent by the Conservatives [19 Hawley Square bought from Orbit for £75k - living nearby, I definitely agree with that decision. Difference is that the money can be recouped with its eventual sale].

In the end Labour got their Budget passed, and the Margate FC fans were able to have their moment. A lot of debate over who/what was to blame for the delay in dealing with the leases. We’ve seen the arguments online so I won’t bore you with them. Margate FC’s press release gives the results which now return to Cabinet (as the decision makers) for final sign off. It was stated during the meeting that an offer had been made to Cllr Binks to work with the Labour leadership in helping with this. Whether this cross party working is a sign of the future, it remains to be seen.

I know fans really want to see the 125 year lease, seeing that without it the development cannot go ahead. I’ve said before and I still think it’s the case that once a first lease is granted and the thing built, it’s extremely unlikely that TDC would refuse a lease again on the site. That’s why I think that the length of the lease is perhaps a red herring.

The final item of what to do with a problem like Ian. Labour proposed as expected to lose a Member in Licensing, the Conservatives proposed Overview and Scrutiny. Cllr King made the best contribution as you’d expect from the OSP Chair, arguing that given Labour has the Chair of the Council and the Cabinet, the Opposition should have the lead on Scrutiny to balance it. This was supplemented by Cllr Bayford’s point that it should be an “effective watchdog”. Cllr Johnston made the point that voting is all too often along Party lines, which while true, is not exactly groundbreaking political analysis. When it came to the vote, there was surprise when Labour failed to get a majority of the Independents to back them. The Conservatives now have a 7-6-1 lead on Overview which spices things up, providing a counter-weight to the Cabinet.

I’d be remissed if I didn’t talk about Cllr Worrow, an issue I’ve deliberately avoided comment on recently. With John’s blog disappearing along with what was said about the NTCA and its membership, what was said in the past month is just that. I fully understand that this may well be a lull before another storm and if it re-emerges I will deal with it then. I hope readers will respect what I say and treat Worrow as they would any other Councillor. What’s done is done.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Fuse In Mouth (updated)

Richborough Power Station, as you'd expect, took most of the time to decide upon during tonight's Planning meeting with a lot of debate over how to reconcile UK Power Networks concerns regarding the electricity supply to the applicants wish to demolish the site. Cllr Dark's relatively simple condition was passed unanimously to make the demolition happen between March and November. 

The second one was rather more difficult to find agreement on, the issue being how soon before the demolition could it be stopped in case of say an outage. Cllr Everitt tried 2 hours warning which didn’t make it, deemed to be unreasonable and unenforceable by the Officers, and I think supported by only three other members (Cllrs Dark, Matterface and Gibson?) and controversially perhaps needed Cllr Dark to second the amendment after Cllr Campbell withdrew from seconding it originally, after hearing advice from the Officers and checking the report. Instead Cllr Campbell's 24 hours got the support of the Committee and the planning consent as a whole was granted unanimously with those two additional conditions.

Next up, Western Esplanade, Broadstairs, was granted consent pretty safely with some debate over whether this would be a blot on the landscape or not. Cllr Dark argued it was too close to the neighbour, which is actually a fair point as it is very close to the boundary but then again so is the current building. Most speakers were supportive of it with Cllr Gregory admitting he had his concerns about it at first but had been wrong about this sort of thing before and was happy to support it. Cllr Matterface had her concerns about the size of the development compared to the previous consent it had (a very different building though). It passed with support of all but Cllrs Gibson, Alexandrou, Dark, Everitt and Matterface.

Onto the Barretts application, where on the preview blog I put my foot in it by saying it was unsuitable for Pilgrims Hospice. The recommendation was rejected unanimously and instead was approved with a condition that this is personal to the applicant, to stop the danger of creating a precedent in the area. Happy to take it back.

On the remaining items, Chambers Wall Farm has gone to a site visit and the Ryder Avenue duo passed without debate. 
To update the preview for the Full Council meeting tonight, a late addition to the tail-end of the agenda is a change to the Council Committees in light of Cllr Ian Driver's decision to leave the Labour Group. Those who've asked whether it's genuine have had their answer with a big fat yes. Labour has to lose one Member from a Committee and the choice open to Members is that it be either Licensing or Overview and Scrutiny, leaving the Conservatives with a seat more than Labour in whichever one is picked.

I would imagine Labour would name a replacement in Overview and Scrutiny rather than lose a Member on that politically useful Committee. I could be wrong though. Details in the review tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Cake Today Or Cake Tomorrow?

Last month's Full Council meeting saw Labour take the reins at Cecil Square. 6 weeks on and we are back to approve (or not) the Budget along with a few other important issues. Kick off 7pm on Thursday.

First up is a presentation from Stuart Bain, the Chief Exec of East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, on the proposed transporting of patients with life-threatening emergencies from Thanet to Ashford. Hopefully the Councillors will have some questions prepped and we will see some more fleshing out of what’s behind the move, other than the obvious...

Next up is the Leader’s Report which usually throws up a row of some sort. I doubt this will be much different. Heck, it’ll probably be worse now the Conservatives have more Councillors than Labour..

Continuing the theme of rowing, the Budget comes up. As you will all have seen theres been a battle over the events budget and floral grants, which eventually saw Cllr Driver leaving the Labour Group. So this really matters and its really important the right decision is made. The relevant bits of the reports are the following:

New Homes Bonus – The Council will receive £536k of New Homes
Bonus in 2012/13 and each of the following five years. It will also receive
additional sums for any further new homes built. It is proposed that some of
this funding is used to cover the events budget (£165k) and floral grants
(£20k). However, it is expected that future allocations of Formula Grant
may be top-sliced to fund the reward of the New Homes Bonus and it is
therefore possible that this funding may be needed in future years to offset
this reduction. If there is insufficient New Homes Bonus funding to meet the
cost of events and floral grants in future years, then these budgets will be
removed.” (page 16)

There is no surety around future allocations of the New Homes Bonus as the
Formula Grant may be top-sliced in future years to fund the New Homes Bonus
scheme – the impact on Thanet of any top-slicing is unclear at this stage. There
is therefore some concern over using this funding to support the budget over the
medium term. There must be a clear understanding that if the funding is not
available, then the events and floral grants budgets will be removed.” (page 31)

So we know this pot of money isn’t going to be around for long. Even Cllr Rick Everitt conceded that this funding may not be around for long. Add the very real possibility of going into recession again (some argue this has already happened) and I would suspect that what we are to receive this year is about all we will receive.

While Labour has tried to play the Conservative position as OTT austerity, Neil Hornus straightforwardly argued at Overview on this that it was about being prudent with the money the Council has and I agree with him. Its not about depriving Thanet of the ability to attract people. Cllr Martin Wise made the point that the New Homes Bonus was considered by them a “safety net”. The Conservatives on the other hand are arguing that Labour at the first time of asking is throwing money around and putting at risk financial stability. Seeing how the economic news gets gloomier by the day, the decisions having to be made now are ones that normally would be rejected out of hand. I’d rather we hung onto the money for this financial year until there is more certainty about the economic picture and in particular the funding the Council can rely on. There are tough decisions to be made and sacrifices are being considered, but isn’t that what we elect them to do?

In the report it is noted that for the first two months of this coming financial year, the current car parking fees will remain. Proposals are expected before Full Council on the 19th April with changes taking effect from 1st June.

Once that one’s put to bed, Hartsdown Park, with the Cabinet’s recommendations. There’s been a lot of talk about this one too. Going into the meeting the expectation was of a compromise, which did indeed appear. During the Cabinet meeting it was said that the Conservatives were against granting leases, but I rather doubt that’s the case. Certainly there’s been nothing in the public to back that up. What will happen? I would imagine it’ll pass though of course the Independent Group will decide this one. The recommendations were the following:

1.   Area A - Recommended the extension of the current lease from 10 to 24 years;

2.   Area B - Recommended refusal of granting a lease for an extended area for a football pitch as this is too intrusive in Hartsdown Park;

3.   Area C - Recommended the removal of this area from the proposal or at most grant a small extension to the current car park in line with the plan that has been circulated. This would require the developers to seek an alteration to the current planning condition on parking provision;

4.   Area D - Recommended agreement to the development of a lease within the current football ground area for the construction of a hotel in line with the approved planning application, but to negotiate the reduction in the lease period required to the absolute minimum necessary. The developers will need to provide specific financial information that demonstrates the need for the required lease period for which they have asked;

5.   Area E - Recommended the extension of the lease for the current five-a-side pitches and car park from 15 to 24 years, to coincide in timing with the main ground lease.”

Im sure the public gallery will be full so best get in early.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Planning Committee 18th Jan (Preview)

Before hitting the preview itself, there are some changes to a couple of Committees. Cllrs Hart and Poole have been replaced by Cllrs Matterface and Alexandrou on Planning and Cllr Johnston is replaced by Cllr W Scobie on Governance and Audit. Cllr Shirley Tomlinson continues to sit in for Cllr Goodwin on Planning.

Some big ticket items on the Planning agenda for this coming Wednesday. But first, a site visit in Beacon Road to deal with. There was some debate about it so this one could go either way. The recommendation was to approve.

Richborough Power Station’s possible demolition comes up next. The impact on the environment through deposits within the towers is a key consideration here. Dover District Council is looking into this one but only on the point of Highways. Luke Edwards of Thanet Waves has blogged about this. Recommendation to approve subject to safeguarding conditions.

Western Esplanade, Broadstairs follows, with plans for a three storey building of 5 flats. It comes before Planning because it comes onto previously undeveloped land. The biggest concern seems to be one of the access from Waldron Road but KCC raised no objection on that. An ambitious application, its up for approval.

A couple of applications in near-neighbouring sites at Ryder Avenue, Westgate, then we are onto the refusals starting with the Barrett site on Tivoli Road, Margate. Brought to Planning by Cllr Lodge-Pritchard, the proposal is for it to be used by Pilgrims Hospice for retail and storage. In theory a great idea, problem is that it’s a warehouse in an industrial area… Its just not suitable.

Chambers Wall Farm, St Nicholas-on-Wade is the next one, brought up by Cllr Mike Roberts. I don’t know the area (readers got any opinions?) so I'm running off the report, it’s a proposed conversion of the barn but due to the flood risk and seeming to be unsuitable for the area, the Officer reckons refusal.

At this point a motion is planned to boot out the public and press because the Westwood Estate is up last with proposed changes to the Section 106 Agreement and that includes some exempt info. As we know the economic downturn has hit everyone hard and the Council has already been approached with a plan to amend the planning consent for this area with regard to the scheduling of construction which I recall came before Planning a couple of months ago. This one is more about the financial contributions and sizing of the buildings themselves, so well worth a read of the agenda papers on that item.

Friday, 13 January 2012

More King's Men

Obviously the news has been doing the rounds that Cllr Ian Driver has quit the Labour Group to join the Independents. It’s been clear for some time that he’s not been entirely comfortable in the Labour Group, so while for others this is a huge surprise, for me it wasn’t. A sign of this is the reaction he was getting at Overview over the Budget motion on Tuesday evening, backed by Tory Cllr Jo Gideon but being slammed by former Labour colleagues over Labour’s amendment to the Budget regarding floral grants and events budget. I say well done to him for walking and hope he finds it a bit better for him with the Indies.

This will lead to the inevitable discussion over whether a by-election should result. I’ve always thought there should be but more recently I’ve changed my mind. Unless there’s a really good reason for a by-election, it’s frankly not worth the hassle. The Council doesn’t have the resources anyway, not to mention that if a Cllr changes allegiance, their card will be marked and remembered for the next election.

Originally I was planning not to visit the next topic but it would seem odd not to comment, given the subject has brought so much attention to the blog.

The next big story of the week has been Cllr John Worrow getting picked for the new role of TDC Equality and Diversity Champion, which is quite a mouthful. It would be churlish not to say well done to him for getting the gig, though I would love to know the process behind his appointment. I hope this job will be treated properly, rather than being used as justification to continue his pointless campaign against North Thanet Conservatives over the supposed homophobia within the Party. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Budgeting Scrutiny

A very important Overview & Scrutiny meeting held last night with some food for thought.

The RNLI presentation highlighted the problems that the RNLI was having getting to the water at the moment due to local traffic blocking access. It also outlined its future plans. The Panel passed a motion calling on the relevant Cabinet Member to discuss the problems on access to the water with KCC and to report back.

Next up was a controversial discussion about EKO. Controversial for a couple of reasons. Firstly there was debate about whether all this information should be “restricted” and thus not available for the public to read (I made a point about this in my last post). Basically the argument in favour of restriction is that EKO is a joint venture and therefore TDC cannot unilaterally release the information without the agreement of KCC. For all the talk of the public need to see this restricted information, as the only person in the public gallery during that item, I didn’t feel that strongly about its release. This sort of information will come out in its own time and as was pointed out very clearly, the information put to Members were not the final version. Cllr Ian Driver raised some eyebrows by predicting the information would make its way to the press “by tomorrow morning” though made it clear he wasn't saying he was about to leak restricted information.

The more important issue brought up was over the future of EKO itself. Labour Members questioned whether there should be a future for EKO given the apparent lack of results for the substantial investment poured into it. The Membership Agreement comes up for review after 5 years. A motion was put (this wording is subject to change as the minutes are published) to say that the review should be brought forward, with a view towards TDC withdrawing from it, to “disinvest” as one Cllr put it. It was a 7-7 split with the Chair voting with the motion. This one has a long way to go…

The budget debate carried on very much as it did during the Cabinet meeting. There was some more explanation as to where the money is coming from and what is expected for the future which I found useful in framing the debate that’s been taking place. I’m not going to say too much more right now as I want to dedicate a post to it next week. That said, we had perhaps a little too enlightening a comment by Cllr Driver that “nothing turns me on more than a nice floral display”.

The motion for a Working Group about Electoral Registration was passed but with a reduced membership from 7 members to 5 instead. One point that came out of this was that the use of time through the meeting had been too heavy during the EKO and budget debates which meant that very little time was left to discuss the remainder of the agenda. I agree. It did seem to be at times a one Member meeting and that however entertaining that Member was, there were too many speeches rather than questions.

The discussion about Individual Cabinet Member Decisions aka Urgent Decisions barely happened, which is a shame because there is a real debate to be had about this. A Working Group was rejected in favour of a comprehensive report. Good call.

There are a lot of Working Groups already in existence and there needs to be proper consideration of alternative forms of scrutiny other than a Working Group. The heavy workload on those in Scrutiny has meant that there was little real choice about having one and for example with Urgent Decisions, the motion they took was in effect the only one really available.

Next meetings are Planning Committee and Full Council next week. Im hoping to do previews for both. We will see...

Monday, 9 January 2012

Overview & Scrutiny Panel 10th Jan

Quick preview for Tuesday evening’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting. Plenty for Members to consider so should be an interesting one and with enough items to provide some moments of spice. Looks like a full house is expected, which is always nice to see.

A few presentations taking place with the RNLI commenting on the possible relocation of the Lifeboat House to the Main Sands from the Rendezvous.

Next up is Matt Hyland from East Kent Opportunities, though the public agenda pack is a little empty when it comes to information on this. Half the reports being put together are confidential and the rest will be part of the presentation.

Then we have the Budget, with Cllr Rick Everitt doing the talk and consideration of the past years performance. Looking at the Panel’s membership and what was said at the Cabinet meeting last week, it’ll be interesting to hear what Members have to say.

Next up is the establishment of (deep breath) an Electoral
Registration Process Review Working Party. Be warned readers, to protect myself against the threat of RSI, I will only use the shorthand ERPRWP in future… Basically this follows on from Cllr Will Scobies online analysis about missing voters and aims to give advice to the Electoral Registration Officer when it is due to report back on 1st May.

Then we have consideration of Individual Cabinet Member Decisions. This follows on from the decision over Leslie Hotel in Cliftonville. The Ward Councillors (Cllrs Hart, Aldred and Clark) felt they weren’t properly consulted about it and Members felt similarly. It’s a fair cop. There’s always been a bit of fuzziness about this. The solution could be to place restrictions on the use of this process but the Leslie Hotel one I recall was a decision which had to be made with some haste because of the area. Perhaps we will hear some more info about the process at the meeting tomorrow. It’s possible we will have another Working Party to look into this, and no, I’m not going to print the name. Perhaps we can have a Working Party into the stupidly long names for these things…

We finish up with some housekeeping items on things like a report on the work programme and the Forward Plan. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Dear TDC Councillors...

“The Campaigner” – Cllr John Worrow - revealed last night that the author of the Facebook comment referring to “backs against the wall know what I mean” was Cllr Goodwin. This comment was published some time ago and originally the full message was published by Cllr Worrow (there was nothing offensive in that missing part) in his “Cllr Goodwin NAMED” post.

Cllr Goodwin is one of the first Councillors I met way back in 2003 and I’ve not one bad word to say about him. He is the sort of Councillor I hoped to be when I stood for Salmestone Ward back in 2007 and if I’m lucky, he’s the sort of politician I might be down the line.

He is also extremely ill.  

Cllr Worrow has crossed a line in doing this. At least before this, those accused could defend themselves and show that he was wrong. In this case, Cllr Goodwin isn’t able to. There are few rules in politics but one of them is that you NEVER attack someone who is unable to respond. Cllr Worrow makes it sound like he’s being generous to Cllr Goodwin, but all he's doing is dragging this out for his own benefit.

I’ve made it clear from the outset that I won’t tolerate homophobia, or any other form of discrimination, in the Conservative Party. If I come across it, I will expose it and rout it out along with anyone peddling those outdated views. There’s no place for it anymore. Anyone coming across this, please let me know (details are on the profile).

Cllr Simon Moores and I have both been attacked for apparently being homophobic, but no evidence has ever appeared to justify this. Cllr Worrow threatened me with both a solicitor and the police (within the space of 4 hours) just before Christmas.

I think it’s a disgrace that someone can call themselves a Thanet District Councillor but treat other Members with such disrespect. Add to that the bullying of a member of the public and you have a member who brings the Council into disrepute.

Every Councillor must ask themselves whether they think it’s acceptable that a Member of their Council behaves like this. Labour, Conservative, Independent, I don’t care what colours you carry, surely this is NOT something we want to see.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Save Dreamland Campaign

Out on a walk round Margate to see how things as far as rubbish collection and street cleaning were going (more on that soon) and made a pass by the High Street, where Labour Councillors and supporters are eagerly collecting signatures for a petition on Dreamland which can be found here.

I’m happy to support the petition and I encourage readers to go meet Will Scobie’s team to sign up. He is providing updates on his blogThis really is an issue where we should all, regardless of political allegiance, be in agreement.

For those of you who want to read the Statement of Case being put by the Council in this upcoming Inquiry, it can be found here

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Leasing Into 2012

This coming Thursday sees some big issues come before the Cabinet.

First up is the Budget. There have been changes since the last form of the Budget appeared, particularly in the fees section. Given so much of this report is going over my head, I’m going to give a pass on it this time round and come back to it when it comes before "Extraordinay" Full Council on the 19th. It’s not like the Cabinet is going to vote it down…

The Pierremont Park development has had a rocky road so far but looks to be getting there. I haven’t followed the story particularly closely but given only 10 responses came in for the consultation on this – and even then some of those comments are a little pushing it - you have to wonder if there’s really such a problem with it. I say give them the lease and wish them the best of luck.

Similarly with Margate FC, this has had a less than straightforward course, understandable perhaps. I touched on this a couple of weeks ago (last paragraph - Ed) and I still feel the same. This item isn’t being treated quite the same as Pierremont as there are different parts here and so different lengths of leases could be granted for different sections. Along with that, there is no officer’s recommendation, which basically leaves it up to the Cabinet to decide for itself. 

Fort Road Hotel rounds things off, where its been a bit disappointing really. A few options on the table. Compulsory Purchase Order maybe? Looking at a Margate Building Preservation Trust could be a better option leaving aside a CPO. Hopefully 2012 will bode well for that building.

Cllr John Worrow’s campaign on alleged homophobia by North Thanet Conservatives continues unabated. The reference to Margate West has been removed re. the Facebook comments, but the news that he’s been offered legal advice by an "organisation" has been added (or maybe not looking at it now). If it’s the same guy he went to about “Mucho Worrow”, he might want a second opinion…

The fact is, we all have stuff posted on Facebook which might be seen to be rude or offensive, if someone was really looking to be offended. Even a comment like “a boy like you likes Kate bush? lol ;) xx” could be seen as stereotyping, even though it’s really quite harmless. A sense of humour in politics is important, especially so if you are high profile.

Anywho, welcome to 2012, readers. Hopefully I’ll have enough inspiration to post round the year. Don't forget to buckle up. 2012 is going to be a fun ride!