Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Site Visit for East Kent College

Star item tonight as expected was the East Kent College application where the only speaker in favour of the application was the Principal Graham Razey. The Officer tried to make the case but wasn't having much luck persuading the sceptical public gallery on the potential impact on nearby properties regarding overlooking and the parking/traffic problems. Councillors weren't impressed either with this one on the traffic issues. The Highways Officer spoke though I got the feeling he was a bit caught off guard. Its gone to Site Visit, to be held on 5th October and should return to Planning for final decision on 17th October.

The Hotel Leslie application was approved after a bit of debate, but the only other option would have been Site Visit and its a pretty well known site. When you consider what's there at present, the plans are an improvement. You can argue about the heritage of the building but I lived in Warwick Road for 3 years and never liked that building. Demolition is much better than trying to convert that. With the Embassy plans approved too, the street scene down there should be much improved.

The Park Avenue, Broadstairs  application for extensions to the property went to Site Visit. Its a bit difficult to judge this one without visiting the site because while the report may say there are big distances between properties on the neighbouring street, there's clearly a serious problem and so the Site Visit seems the sensible thing to do.

We also got a briefing from the Principal Enforcement Officer which is always interesting to hear about. Its quite a good example of how the Council is having to operate under constraints and trying to be flexible in sorting out issues they have to deal with, whether it be a breach of condition, or a giant Gorilla on Margate seafront. I have a lot of respect for Steve Albon, having heard him do this talk before and a similar talk at Manston Parish Council back in June. This item ends up as ever a mixed back of good the bad and the ugly and this was no different.


1 o'clock Rob said...

So James from what you say the Centre for Environmental Technologies at EKC when down like a lead balloon?

Did Cllr Fenner have anything to say in defence maybe of her current employer?

James Maskell said...

Major applications such as this normally pass through Planning fairly smoothly so this one's a suprise. I'm not sure what the problem was but issues such as Highways are usually resolved before it appears before Planning. The proximity of the proposed development so close to local residents along with the size of it hasn't helped matters.

I've no mention of Cllr Fenner in my notes, so I assume she didn't speak.

1 o'clock Rob said...

From everything I've read about proximity to residents I can't see any issues, the local residents are overlooked and have been since the 1970s by the top two floors of what most remember as Hotel and Catering block which was called Pegwell until recently. The CET will only be two floors and be surrounded on all sides that overlook property by the current trees.

The West Cliff road entrance and access via the road is I believe the only concern that needs to be addressed yet KCC Highways don't seem to be making a big deal about it very much.

If TDC fail to push it through then they will be failing the prospective students of what is now EKC.

I suppose I would say that as an employee, but to be honest my job won't be affected if it isn't built, I just believe that given the huge rise in interest of Central Government in environmental technology and associated "Green Skills" this project meets the needs of the many moving forward.

I suppose at the end of the day it will be up to the Residents of the houses near by and how much they wish to push the council to say "No"... funny though how sometimes even their concerns are pushed aside when it suits County and District Councils... Westwood Cross!

Anonymous said...

Cllr. Fenner declared an interest and left the chamber so that's why you have no notes, James.

Anonymous said...

EKC is one of Thanet's bright spots giving many youngsters, particularly those not going on to university, a chance to acquire skills for the work place.

This seems to have cleared police, Kent Highways and Broadstairs town council hurdles but not TDC - could it be the old hatred of Tory Broadstairs again as it was with the community centre.

James Maskell said...

I would be suprised if this didn't pass. There might be a condition or two added but refusing consent to this would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I don't think party politics came into this as those with concerns crossed party boundaries.

Thanks 13:01.

Graham Razey said...

The College is obviously disappointed with this initial decision. However, a decision to have a site visit before approval is not unusual . We are determined to work with our neighbours to address any concerns that they have with regard to the development of the Centre for Environmental Technologies. We are also determined that Thanet should benefit from this £6.5m investment which will support both local regeneration and youth employment, and to deliver the Centre in time for the start of the 2013/14 academic year.