Sunday, 12 April 2009

GREEN TOURISM THE FUTURE BUT THANET IS STUCK IN THE PAST

Easter sees the traditional start of the tourism season. It is good to see that Thanet Council has announced that more than 100,000 flowers are to be planted around Thanet this summer. This is the normal activity of an area like Thanet that seeks to attract tourists. In Cliftonville though long established flower beds are facing the threat of being grassed over.

My colleagues who are ward councillors Linda Aldred, Doug Clark and Clive Hart are angry at Thanet Council's plans to grass over flower beds on the roadside verge in Eastern Esplanade Cliftonville at the entrance to the popular bowling greens and indoor bowls centre. Clive Hart is pictured by a flowerbed threatened with grassing over with the renowned Walpole Bay Hotel in the background, he said:

"removing these flower beds goes completely against everything we are working for in Cliftonville West, where fostering a sense of local pride is a key objective. Cllr. Aldred, Cllr. Clark and I were shocked when we learned of the plans and appalled by the lack of consultation with local residents. The government is quite rightly focusing huge resources on our area and penny pinching of this kind by Thanet Council is totally unacceptable. We are calling for this crass decision to be reversed and for flowers to be planted in time for summer."
Cllr. Iris Johnston (Shadow cabinet member for Housing) has taken this up with Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel (pictured not promoting green tourism) Leader of Thanet Council, she said:
"these flower beds are on the edge of the Housing Renewal Area where maintaining and improving public space is supposed to be a firm priority for the council".

Clive tells me the bowling greens and indoor bowling centre are practically the only surviving facilities in Cliftonville that visitors still regularly travel hundreds of miles to use for summer holidays and long weekends.

Local hoteliers, Cliftonville Residents Association and several other smaller residents groups have also complained to Thanet Council.
My take on this is that there are of course limited resources, but we need to see more intitiatives encouraging green tourism not less. I think this is a matter of prioritisation. I have consistently argued both within my own Labour group and also at Overview and Scrutiny Panel that the current tourism startegy focussed on "big events" is unsustainable. Pouring money into events with powerboats and planes makes the publication of the Thanet Council's "Going Green" policy contradictory.

I have argued for 21 months to see this policy published. As the Conservatives were elected on the manifesto "Vote Blue, Go Green" you can draw tour own conclusions as to how efficient and effective the current administration is.

I regret that some of my Labour colleagues are also wedded to the tourism of the past, as well as the vast majority of Conservative members. I believe this is in part because the Council is so heavily over-represented with older members of the community.
We have outstanding natural assets in Thanet as Don demonstrates. Yet Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel as Leader proudly promotes tourism based on unsustainable carbon using vehicles.
Thanet needs to abandon its outdated tourist vision which has been promoted by both this Conservative and previous Labour administrations. Instead the slogan "green island" has already been taken by the Isle of Wight. Conservative administered they have rapidly understood the way the world is changing in the last few years. I have been advocating since I came on to the Council in 2007 that Thanet copies their good practice. One of the reasons I blog is to voice views as I have found both officers and members have taken a head in the sand approach to even discussing any thoughts on a more progressive tourism policy.
The Isle of Wight seeks:
"a programme aimed at developing a more sustainable, environmentally sensitive tourism industry, incorporating eco-friendly hotels, guest accomodation, self catering cottages, holiday parks and camp sites, as well as activity providers and attractions whilst also providing information on Island arts, heritage, wildlife and transport."
Which means of course you value your musuems, and do not close them, but that would be joined up thinking, and on tourism the current administration are in my view, on another planet where global warming is a myth.

12 comments:

  1. My Photo and my copyright Mark, so please remove it.
    Thank you
    Simon Moores

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  2. Mmm. But, any 'green' agenda the council adopt will inevitably be inextricably linked to overall policy and therefore the airport. Tourists see and hear airplanes too.

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  3. Dear Simon,

    As an inexperienced blogger compared to yourself, I note your comment. I was working from your own example where on 1st March you published a photograph that is my property, without my permission on your blog and used it to make a personal comment about myself. Perhaps you could explain the apparent inconsistency here. It is the post you started saying

    "The political blogging scene here in Thanet is starting to become quite lively. According to Cllr Nottingham pictured here, unusually wearing a tie."

    Have you been leading me astray? Or is it a case of do as I say, not do as I do?

    Regards

    Mark

    Jean good point, and any green tourism policy would discourage people flying to Thanet and would encourage arrival by bike, train and boat.

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  4. I was on the Isle of Wight recently and it was about 500 billion times better than Thanet. Not only were there a multitude of tourist attractions, but even though 'twas the weekend before Easter the tourists were out in droves, spending their pounds on the local economy.

    Generally it seemed a much wealthier type of place than Thanet, without so much of the depravation that has blighted us here on Chavvy Island for the last 30 years. Prsumably, though, it hasn't been run by idiots for the past 30 years!

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  5. bickering with the 'doctor' in public makes neither of you seem fit for public duty. If I were you I'd stick to your guns, leave his picture up there, and let him sue. Seeing as you are powered by google, he'd have to do it via the states, therefore, he wouldn't.

    does your stance on green policy discouraging tourists from arriving by plane expand to locals going on holiday BY plane? If it doesn't you are a hypocrite

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  6. Mark

    I have removed the photo of you with the architect of our national troubles. My apologies, I quite wrongly assumed this was in the public domain but clearly you don't wish to be associated with Gordon Brown and given this weekend's news surrounding Labour's plumbing of new moral lows, I'm hardly surprised.

    The difference between us is that I have a photography business and my photos are copyright unless I release them into the public domain.

    Either one of us can inform the other of a potential breach of copyright online with a Notice & Takedown request. If you care to look up a document called 'March of the Spiders' that I wrote as a supporting document for the EU in the debate surrounding copyright you will see the process explained insome detail and for the benefit of SMEG (above) it compares and contrasts the different legal remedies on both sides of the Atlantic!

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  7. Well said i am afraid they have cut back on garden maintenance when they shut down the haine nurseries. I totally agree with you - there was a picture of Margate on Good friday - the only part of the country without rain and no-one here on the beach because there is nothing else for them to do!
    Shutting down the few tourist attractions we have seems to be the current leader's aim!
    No thinking outside the box - just because he isnt interested in anything cultural doesnt mean the rest of us aren't?
    dont like the bickering about photos and Cllr Moores agressive attitude all the time -hes gone as nasty as the others!

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  8. The average income on the Isle of Wight is probably no higher than that here in Thanet but they do seem to attract a weathier type of holidaymaker plus more families. The weather is about the same as here but, yes, they have far more attractions and the two local authorities cherish and nurture their tourist £. They seem to try to keep the traditional seaside holiday concept alive and it always reminds me of an old Enid Blyton book.

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  9. I agree about "One event wonders!" we need to be making Thanet have an ambience - like Whitstable has managed to do and then people would like to come here more than in their thousands one day a year - In Broadstairs defence i think they manage to keep the english seaside town feel which attracts people in and Ramsgate has the harbour but ... poor old Margate, all it has now is Primark. The harbour arm project has failed miserably! We need something there - lets hope Turner centre is the answer - although the problem of car parking is going to be the next nightmare! no joined up thinking here i'm afraid!

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  10. SMEG nice to be able to post a comment from you where you are not swearing, something Simon doesn't do, so I think neither of us need any guidance from your anonymous self on conduct. If you are a "group" why do you write as I? My views on the airport are well chronicled elsewhere on this blog.
    Simon, I think the whole of Thanet will be fascinated to know how much money you can make from a photo of Sandy Ezekiel sat atop a beach vehicle.
    No need to look up your document, anyone who asks me to amend things about themselves usually has that happen tout de suite, no need to waste time and money.
    Thanks for all the comments agreeing that Thanet needs a better tourism strategy.

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  11. Thinking about the original topic here, it always annoys me that the seafront gardens in Broadstairs get care lavished on them but our public parks have been handed over to bowling club (station park, with only dilapidated tennis courts and vast grassed areas left) and the rugby club (St. Peter's). The St. Peter's Recreation Ground used to have well-maintained flower beds but now, nothing. Don't we as residents deserve some attractive gardens too?

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  12. I couldn't agree more with your article. I cannot believe that TDC allowed..encouraged quad biking on Margate sands!! No doubt they intend to continue to support it having trumpeted its success despite there being a distinct lack of crowd when I passed through there on the Saturday. I can't think of a worse use for a beautiful coast than this. Apart from perhaps an aircraft event. . Pushing airport development, industrialisation of agricultural land just when the reverse should be happening is an unbelievably blinkered attitude. These dinosaurs are destroying our Island.

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