Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Thanet Council promotes shopping at Westwood Cross

I have covered recently proposed efforts by Thanet District Council to promote people shopping locally. The efforts though are ill thought out when street cleaning is still poor in town centre areas, and public toilets which shoppers use are being closed down. I know people who shop in St. Lawrence High Street Ramsgate were affected by the closure of the toilets there. The introduction of double yellow lines is being opposed by
traders in Minster.
Broadstairs Labour activist Jenny Matterface provides a guest blog showing how Thanet District Council's failure to look at matters strategically threatens another local shopping area. It is unclear whether Thanet District Council will be able to revive local shopping areas, but ill thought out actions like these threaten to close down shopping areas like St. Peters and drive shoppers to Westwood Cross with its free parking and absence of yellow lines.

"Having lived in the St. Peter's area for 38 years I've seen many changes, some for the better but many for the worse so it was with some anger I read Thanet District Council's (TDC) asset disposal list. There I spotted a scheme for the car park in Hopeville Avenue, St. Peter's, Broadstairs. Thanet District Council plans to make this a pay and display area with the possibility of some residential development on part of the car park which is pictured. Quite how this would fit in is anyone's guess.

Part is Co-operative retail property and is clearly separated from the rest of the car park by a low wall. The garage area is council property but there is speculation among locals that some of the rest is church property so that is a question to be sorted out by the church authorities before TDC gets its way.

This car park is essential to the life of the village from those attending the services and events at both St. Peter's Church and Salem Baptist next door; those hiring the church halls (bottom picture) for functions from wedding receptions, funeral teas, slimmers' classes, blood donor sessions, playgroup activities, clubs, flower shows; residents without on-street parking; the local shops, the café, the dentist, the newsagent, the pet supplies shop. The list is endless. The award-winning Village Tour brings many visitors to the area and for all these groups the availablilty of a free car park is a major attraction.

We mustn't forget those who visit the churchyard where their loved ones are buried nor the elderly who need local facilities since the only bus from here is an hourly one to Broadstairs.

The shops and other businesses have suffered this year from the six-week closure of the road for gas mains replacement. Extension of the 'yellow peril' of double yellow lines is on the cards so those who live here, shop here, drink or eat at the local café must be wondering how much more the area can take before more shops revert to houses and join the bakery, bank, hairdressing salon, greengrocer's, that have been lost to other shopping areas over the last few years.

I can report that local resident Cllr. Michelle Fenner is taking the matter up and Thanet Labour's Shadow Cabinet will be raising the asset disposal programme at tomorrow evening's Cabinet meeting. Thanks to my husband John Matterface for additional research on this."
I can recommend Nina's Cafe in St. Peters High Street, it is excellent with a superbly friendly proprietor.


  1. Mark, thanks to your husband John Matterface??? Didn't know you swung that way old boy!!!

  2. It is sickening to see TDC saying that they are promoting the Town centres.

    Here in Margate, they allowed Westwood Cross to take away the best shops. They then allow East London traders to have a 'market' in the town centre car park to compete with the few shops that are left, and also take up some of the limited parking in the town.

    They have no idea about how the shop keepers feel, and don't care. Now Tescos are being cited as the saviours of Margate! Having taken the bulk of trade in their out of town centres, they are now being allowed to set up in Margate and pick the bones dry. I'm sure that whilst the Council are delighted, the small shops that are left are wondering why they bother.

    Labour may have made a mess of the country, but the Tory Council have destroyed Margate.

  3. Anon 23:56 I can only agree with your views, I am sure the area car park in Saint Peters looks like it could be done away with but as Mark says the road through Saint Peters is a rat run and if there is no where to Park Thanet could become closed to everyone for the vision of a few quid in the coffers I surgest a few locals park Strategically and see Thanet Grind to a halt for the sake of a few parking spaces

  4. The immediate response to the scheme from residents and businesses alike has been 'Are they trying to kill off the area once and for all?' All for a small amount of income and a one-off capital sum from the development. If no-one parks there because no-one goes then where's the income the scheme is meant to generate?

    Has no-one considered at TDC that the reason people use the village facilities is 1) they can park at the moment and 2) they like the friendliness and community spirit a village creates.

    This is short-termism gone mad.

  5. Please to report common sense prevailed and the car park has been taken off the list of assets to be sold, for the time being, at least.

    Well done to those councillors who stuck their necks out and told the cabinet this was not on.

    Of the many councillors I contacted two representing another ward had said it wasn't a good idea; two representing the ward involved were less clear-cut in their response and one failed to reply at all.

    I am still awaiting the replies from some other Broadstairs councillors but at least for the people of St. Peter's it's good news.

  6. Well done Jenny, I would be happy to publish thanks to the 2 Conservative cllrs who have put their community first. I still expect TDC to return to the sublect, this has been a pattern with previous asset disposals like HOOT.

  7. OK, Mark. Thanks to Cllrs. Crotty and Lawson of Beacon Ward who had opposed this scheme.

    Thumbs down to Cllrs. Gregory and Wiltshire who yet again didn't support those whom they represent and Cllr. Savage who has failed to respond to my letter hand-delivered.

  8. Well, Mark I am surprised at you, as an experienced Cllr you should know that most 'work' is done not in the public domain, but by gentle persuasion and quiet argument without mud slinging. If you do not realise that you should not be there.

    With regard to a certain 'failed' KCC candidate, 'Empty vessels make the most noise' is the phrase that springs to mind

  9. Ken
    No mudslinging here. We work to different standards. I belive that in local democracy there should be open accountability with the community, not some king of nudge, nudge arrangment which depends on you knowing the right kind of people, and having access to them. I appreciate that you and your colleagues may prefer to work in that way, but I though your national leader wanted some sunlight into politics to expose the darker practices. Then again he didn't want yah boo politics and there can be no greater mudslinger than him at present. I won't hold my breath awaiting consistency from you and a condemnation of the attack themes your national party espouse, now that is mudslinging.

  10. Lockerbie bombers, afghanistan, Iraq, and Wpc killed by libyian diplomats? And our police are training libyian police? .is that what you call 'nudge nudge'? Me, I want results, and will continue to do my best to get results for my constituents and for Thanet.

  11. Ken whatever the rights and wrongs of the issues you cite they all matters of national security. How can a car park disposal need such secret squirrel activity?

    I think a sense of perspective is appropriate, my voters want us to be open about plans, and with respect every one in your ward wishes to know clearly what the plans are for the car park and they want it kept as it is.

  12. Can the 'empty vessel' ask if the St. Peter's councillors will support the locals who have objected to the extension of double yellow lines? Weren't you, Ken, going to visit and assess the situation before the closing date for objections or so you told people?

    It seems to have gone quiet on the 'yellow peril' so the traders and residents are hoping the decision has been made not to proceed.

    What happened about the promises made to the traders by one of your colleagues to look into the question of compensation for lost business during the road closures? I'm sure you all three communicate on local issues, don't you?

    Maybe things do happen behind closed doors but the people concerned never get to hear what's gone on and if no-one else tries to find out is it surprising if an unelected individual gets asked to help?

  13. Does Cllr Gregory even know where his ward is or anyone in it? His local nickname in St Peter's isn't 'Panama' as in Broadhurst but 'Monkton' as in Gregory.

  14. St. Peter's resident21 September 2009 at 08:42

    He seems as involved with local issues as his colleague who actually lives on the village green who prefers not to get involved with local issues in case there seems a 'conflict of interest'. How odd. Get on the council for the area in which you live but don't do anything to help the ward residents.