Sunday, 15 February 2009


Thank you to everybody who voted in my Manston poll. The results are now further down on the right hand side. 57 for freight flights 44 against. I have set up a new poll on the top right about the proposal to sell off the Montefiore Avenue tennis courts in Ramsgate. Full details on this are available on HOOT's website click here which covers the bowling club and the puting green area too. Thanet Council plans to rubber stamp selling off the tennis courts on Friday. Voting in my poll ends on Thursday evening.

I think the attitude of Thanet Conservatives is inconsistent. When there was a proposal to sell off gardens for a housing development in Pegwell, Councillors Simon Moores, Jo Gideon, John Kirby and the lady who does not respond to correspondence, Laura Sandys protested.

Now for an area of green space we have 2 of the same councillors Jo Gideon and John Kirby as Cabinet members proposing the sell off of green space for private housing. Some mistake surely? In one part of Ramsgate Tories want green space protected, but in another part they want to sell off the land and put houses and flats on it? The difference is the gardens are private land and the tennis corts are public land. So a green space we all own can be sold but individuals who own their own land cannot sell it off. Bizarre, Tories can provide green space but want to sell it off, where they do not own it they protest. Can we have some consistency please?

My colleague Dave Green has explained local Conservatives further inconsistencies on "garden grabbing."

I have tried researching the Montefiore Conservation Area but it is the only plan not available for download online. Unfortunate.

I could find the Thanet Local Plan 2006 on Thanet Council's website. A closer look shows the Sports policy. Let's have a look at what it says: (my comments in italics)

9.1 Introduction
The important contribution that sport and recreation, as well as community facilities, can make in improving people’s quality of life is now widely accepted. Participation in sport and recreation can improve the health and well-being of an individual, whilst sports clubs and community facilities can improve social interaction and provide a sense of community pride.

Good stuff, well done Thanet Conservatives.

9.2. The provision of a wide choice of good facilities is also important for the economy. An attractive area with a choice of recreational facilities is appealing for prospective employers and their employees.

Good stuff, well done Thanet Conservatives.

9.3. It is the Council’s vision that, by 2020, Thanet will have a wide selection of facilities for sport and recreation. This would be achieved by working together in partnership with the private sector together with funding from the Lottery Commission.

Puzzled here, why do you want to work with the private sector to build a road, houses and flats in Montefiore Avenue, isn't that contradictory to this? Poor show, Thanet Conservatives.

9.4. The Council’s commitment to improving facilities in the area has already started with the identification of current deficiencies in sport facilities through the Sports Strategy. This strategy will be assisted by the private sector. With the increase in employment (with more disposable income in the District) the private sector would have the confidence to invest in additional facilities.

The private sector want to build houses not improve sports facilities so why sell?

9.5. The provision of new facilities may also bring a diverse range of sports and recreation into the area, making Thanet even more attractive as a location to live for new residents. This diversity would be complemented by the Coastal Park concept that which would manage the use of Thanet’s coast and successfully accommodate the many opportunities for ‘watersports’ in this District.

Forget grandiose talk of new facilities, why are you selling off existing facilities?

9.6. Other forms of recreation, such as restaurants and cafes, would also become important with the change of emphasis in the use of the town centres.

"Change of emphasis" is Councilese for collapse of Margate High Street shops.

9.7. To achieve this vision it is important to provide and safeguard good facilities for a wide range of activities that will provide opportunity and choice. Some sports and recreational activities require extensive areas of land to meet their needs. Such land, especially in urban areas, is particularly at risk from development pressures. The land-use based planning system therefore has a crucial role to play in securing the following objectives.

"it is important to safeguard good facilities....such land, especially in urban areas, is particularly at risk from development pressures." Couldn't put it better myself, so why is Thanet Council planning to develop something it has pledged to safeguard?

I will be voting in line with current Thanet Council policy to oppose the sell off and to safeguard the tennis courts. I will be writing to Laura Sandys to ask what her views are.


  1. I may have had one beer too many at dinner just now Mark but I can't recollect any formal objection that I may have made over Pegwell. Perhaps you could remind me? I'm a Westgate councillor after all and the last action of mine involving any tennis courts was to have new nets to replace those at the courts in Boundary Rd.

  2. Ahh now I see...if you look at the link you've given in this story, it's a piece by Laura Sandys, not me I'm afraid! Just my weblog, in the same way that Labour councillors been able to post stories in the past!

  3. Simon I appreciate you commenting so quickly but you have commented on the link I gave
    "26 houses proposed to replace 6 homes!" and in comments
    "TDC didn't suddenly ask for 1000homes this all comes from central government targets which local councils have little option but to obey!"
    Your view on the sell off would be welcome, do you have a view?

  4. Michelle Fenner commented
    "TDC is intent on selling a piece of land used by many people in Ramsgate for leisure activities, having initially tried to sell a piece of King George VIth Park. We have been fighting TDC for 2 years and we welcome the decision to refer the application for Village Green to a Public Enquiry. We feel that this will enable an impartial decision to be made by an independent Government Inspector based purely on factual evidence, which we think is very strong.
    It is interesting also to note that out of all the people and various elected representatives or so-called self-nominated representatives of the community, who have commented on the sale of the site, the only ones who actually committed action to words have been us, as Labour Councillors for the sir Moses Montefiore Ward and Steve Ladyman,MP. I urge the people of Ramsgate to judge on deeds, not just on fine words."

  5. See my comment about bone structure on Eastcliff Matters John Kirby

  6. John, thanks for commenting can't see a comment from you recently on Eastcliff Matters.
    Simon, there's a poll at the top right corner. I would like to know how you would vote. On 11 December on Thanet Life you said:
    "For those of us in Thanet worried by the spread of concrete and increasingly busy roads"
    "Government not only wants to suffocate us under even more concrete"
    so I take that to mean you would oppose the Montefiore tennis courts being covered by housing, but it would be kind if you would give a view.

  7. Having once made my living from playing Tennis in my twenties, I would be very reluctant to see the removal of any public courts. In fact I make it my business to ensure that the tennis courts in Wesgate are kept in good repair although playing residents won't realise it.