Sunday, 26 February 2012

Nonsense and Oversensibility

"We have a society in which one of the greatest things you can do is a platform to see victim status, and one of the qualifications for that is that you have these exquisitely tender feelings about things and sensibilities which are easily offended." - Brit Hume

So here we are again on the blogs talking about people being offended. Ever since the local election campaign last year, it seems everyone's looking for the next sign of offending someone and jumping on it like its going out of fashion. In the past few months we had John Worrow over comments here, Tony Flaig hurt by being called a "lickspittle" during a debate over Children's Services and now Ian Driver hurt by a blog entry by Mike Harrison about a description of some woman as a "frustrated, dried up bint". Does anyone in Thanet even know this woman?

Come on, these complaints wont result in anything so why bother? Alright, you get a bit of attention for a while but nothing meaningful actually results from it. So what if Harrison is a misogynist?! He's a grown man and can say and do what he likes. Whatever happened to being tolerant?

The problem is that this hyper-sensitivity to anything offensive to anyone is that you end up with the constant threat upon those commenting. Eventually bloggers will cut out the entertainment from their blogs. In short, you'll end up with Ville Views... This subtle form of censorship is absurd and perverse. Why does talk of exposing bigots usually mean silencing them instead?

I'm sure I've hurt someone's feelings in the writing of this. If so, I await the Blog Warden's cuffs and interrogation...

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Questions and Allowances

Full Council comes about again and so the preview show does too (Simon Moores has already gotten his in). I can't be at this meeting, so if anyone going to the meeting could let me know what the results were, it would be useful, not to mention far quicker than me waiting for the Minutes to come through on the TDC website.

Questions from Members usually has a couple of items then moving on but this time round we have 8. Its a strange batch on offer including the weighting of the Manston consultation, the economic strategy, selective licensing and seaweed removal in Birchington. I'm sure there will be some press releases to come from this so keep an eye out for new stuff on Thanet Press Releases

Yep, Worrow has a question as well, though I'm still unsure what exactly the point is driving at. Can a telephone system be in breach of equality rules? He had a more combative point to make 4 days ago but deleted it from his "Thanet Diversity Network - Progressive District Action" page along with reasonable comments by me and another blogger.

Some post-Budget bits to debate, then onto an item with some spice. This is the Labour proposal to cut Special Responsibility Allowances by 20% to fund Councillor Grants. Each Councillor would have about £364. There need to be very carefully put together rules here if this is to happen. 

Kick off 7pm Thursday evening. 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

TDC Planning Cmte Feb 2012

Short and sharp Planning Committee meeting last night so this will be a brief recap rather than an actual report. I do feel like I'm short-changing you guys on this so Ill try to get another blog done later today to make up for it. We shall see.

- Richborough Power Station's alternative condition wording accepted.
- Chambers Wall Farm refused unanimously after a little discussion.
-Solar panels at Thanet Crematorium and Council Offices approved.
-Embassy Hotel, Cliftonville approved without debate.

The only one with a serious debate was Bramble Lane. As I said before, it comes with planning history including appeals and Inspector reports, so there was arguments both ways. There were concerns about side issues relating to this, but they didn't really count as part of the application themselves. Eventually it was approved on Chairman's second vote.

On public speaking, if doing a speech for the Committee its really important to stick to planning reasons and to have prepared something beforehand. Basically you get three minutes to speak. There's a clock on the Chairman's bench and once the red light hits you have 30 seconds left. You cannot defer to let other speakers go first and respond later.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Three Towers Part II

An easier Planning agenda this Wednesday. First up is the site inspection at Chambers Wall Farm.

The former Embassy Hotel in Cliftonville is perhaps the star item of the evening with proposals to overhaul the building, turning it into 2  4-bedroom properties as part of the Housing Intervention project. Getting rid of the front extension and most of the rear one is a very good idea and this looks a strong application.

Bramble Lane comes up next with a bit of planning history to it and this is for retrospective consent. Its a self contained plot but its in the countryside so is against the Local Plan. I think I'm missing something here. Recommendation to approve.

A couple of applications for solar panels this time round as well, one for the Council Offices and one for the Thanet Crematorium. For the Council Offices one its an approval recommendation but for the latter it needs to go to public consultation so it’s a defer and delegate jobbie with approval attached.

Second to last is Richborough Power Station for a second showing. This is about the specific issue of at what point the blast can be stopped, in case of an electricity issue. A number of Councillors took the view that the relevant parties needed to get together to sort it out between themselves and to come back once they had. Well, they did, and the Committee now has new wording for that condition. If only they had done that before the last time this was considered...

Rounding things off is a report on enforcement decisions.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Labour U-Turn on Runaways

The minutes for the Cabinet meeting last week have finally been published (a week’s wait?). Everything got passed as expected, except one.

You might remember from previous posts about Labour making a push on runaways, getting a motion passed at Full Council back in December asking Cabinet to set up a Members Working Group to look into this. Well, the result: Labour changed it's mind and went with the Officer's recommendation to attend the Local Children's Trust Board and confirm it is the best thing to work though.

Having been at the Full Council meeting that passed that original motion, I remember Cllr Chris Wells making it very clear that duplicating already existing work was a bad idea. The same advice would have been given at that Cabinet meeting. Given Cllr Iris Johnston is both Cabinet Member and the Member who put the original motion, it begs the question of why she put the motion in the first place. She was determined to push with this in December...

That said, better late than never.

Snow Problem

Some photos of Poet's Corner where the hoped-for rubbish collection (Monday) did not happen. This wouldn’t be a problem if they had wheelie bins but because of the location (very small pavement) they can't and while I don’t blame the Council for that, I do have a problem in that the nearby St Peters Footpath is clear of ice along with the road part (the majority) of Poet’s Corner.

A TDC press release now says this rubbish wont be collected till next week. I really don’t understand the problem here. Poet’s Corner is light traffic wise and while perhaps the pavement itself is icy, the road is easily walkable. Park a van at the St Peters Footpath end and get the guys to walk it up the road…

While its great to see the ivy cleared thanks to the local street cleaner, the rubbish keeps appearing there along with Milton Square (collection on Tuesdays). Again, the roads round there are clear. A mattress remains on the YMCA side and has been there for about two weeks now. Incidentally, that dumpster has been flung open for about the same period and its a horrible eyesore.

St Johns Road (Thursday) is amongst the photos. The rubbish there has been an issue for a while now and the spilled rubbish was there well before that snow.