Monday, 23 February 2009

Policy #5: Development not Over-Development

As MP I will halt the development boom of Concrete Kent in Thanet.

We are overbuilding far beyond South East targets as mere property speculation for the construction industry.

I will insist construction is refocused on renovating both public housing and empty properties: over 3,000 empty properties in Thanet - for years - before one brick is laid on new build.

The idea of a 4th Town at Westwood Cross should also be ripped up as property and Planning overkill given vacant properties, an ageing population and a failed economy.

And on prime farmland when Climate Change is a major issue and Food Security in preserving our farmland to reduce food imports.

And of course major derelict brownfield sites such as Manston airport, Richboro: derelict longer than in operation, and many more.

Councils are notorious for being focused on property and construction where the main parties get their kickbacks for handing out Planning permissions.

Far greater scrutiny of the Planning system is required. And greater action on “squeezing in a few more houses on the plot footprint” or an “extra couple of floors” or a “modern annex to an existing property” or “demolition because of the DDA Disability Discrimination Act”.

Or "a new motorway/cargo airprot/ring road/warehouses" are desperately needed. FOr the construction industry.

And of course Margate seafront needs securing from fires and Ramsgate seafront from lack of basic repairs.

I will help ensure there is a Development Masterplan for each town and village that ensures the uniqueness of East Kent is preserved and properly modernised rather than identikit Lego towns.

I will support both traditional Kent construction techniques and modern Climate Change techniques.

I will oppose every industrial warehouse and warehouse/business park/residential mix park that is excessive or does not meet these criteria.

Development not Demolition and Development for the Climate Change Age and Development for East Kent.

Planning and the Construction industry have a full role to play in ensuring: More jobs. Better jobs. The right skills for the job. For this generation and future ones.

Much of Thanet is a cCOnservation Area: I will help enforce and extedn this - and that doesmnn't mean the towns remian frozen in aspic rather they have full and sustainable devleopment that's right for the area.

The clock stopped in 1978 in Thanet for preserving and developing the area. The old policies of semi-industrial developments are both absurd and failed.

Time for Change.

To volunteer to help implement this manifesto and fundraising and stand as Independent and Green councillors in East Kent then please contact me.

Tomorrow: a catch up on the effects of aviation fuel and mercury poisoning then Policy #6: Electoral reform


James Maskell said...

As I have pointed out before, MPs have no specific powers to intervene in the planning system save for commenting on applications.

Any examples for paragraph 8? You criticise the scrutiny of Planning and yet refuse to attend a Planning meeting to scrutinise it...

Talk of a Development Masterplan is all well and good but isnt that the point of the Local Plan and its related documents as part of the planning framework TDC holds?

What did you think of Thanet Earth?

Cliftonville has a problem through high population density. How do you think the problems should be dealt with? What is your opinion on the TDC policy of not allowing the building of single bedroom flats in Cliftonville West?

Do you think your policy would enable there to be the range of and number of properties required to meet the housing needs of Thanet, especially as you point out the ageing population.

Tim Garbutt said...

Hi James

You've ignored all the issues about mercury poisoning and aviation fuel pollution.

I admire you for maintaining your point of view to an extent but it's silly to ignore mercury poisoning and aviation fuel pollution.

No council (Blue, Red, or other) would do that would they?

If they did, would money or council tax rebates be adequate compensation?

An MP has specific legislative powers within Parliament to insist on greater scrutiny of Planning etc.

I do refuse the Planning invitation: that's what the relevant councillors are for. It would help to have webcasts, transcripts etc like in most councils.

Could you send me your notes or a recording?

This lack of transparency is partly why TDC is a Failed Council.

Will you be standing for Margate Town Council?

I agree on the Masterplans etc: none of them recommend mercury poisoning, aviation fuel dumping, 106 breaches etc.

You're asking me some separate points on Thanet Earth, Cliftonville etc and I have specific regeneration experience and views on some of these points which are relatively minor issues.

How much mercury or aviation fuel should we have in the environment?


James Maskell said...

The issues about mercury poisoning and aviation fuel pollution is just one aspect of the debate over planning and development as part of consideration of environmental factors.

The Margate Town Council does not exist and I cant see myself being on one were one to be created.

Given that the thread is about development and the related issue of housing, the issue of high population density in Cliftonville West and the TDC policy of refusing one bedroom flats, would make it a major issue.

Which specific powers do MPs have relating to Planning? Do they allow MPs to overrule local authorities on planning applications?

The accusations you make on this blog are very serious, such as deliberately endangering the public and corporate manslaughter. Could you really prove that such crimes have occured? Looking at the Corporate Homicide Act 2007, I would suggest that you would have a tough time doing so.

Given you have advocated abolishing TDC and replacing it with a form of social enterprise, it would seem apparent that TDC Councillors arent wanted by you at all, let alone for consideration of Planning applications on your behalf. I find it odd that you criticise the TDC for its decisions and accuse it of breaching procedure yet will not explain yourself.

Tim Garbutt said...


You've skated over every aspect of the mercury poisoning and aviation fuel.

Are you in favour of what's happened to date - you're breathing and drinking the same stuff?

They are indeed one part of the Planning debate - a huge part - and so important as to be debatable only in the sense of how many people do you expect to die or suffer ill-health?

The issues surrounding this ie development as you rightly point out, and the controls associated with it are hugely important.

An MP has repsonsibility, as do th Police, to ensure that the facts are clear around the normal public safeguards.

Somebody is responsible for these issues. Mercury poisoning, breaches of the 106 etc are not approved. The question now is whom - either actively or by default/negligence.

KCC's view is Infratil and TDC. What's your -objective - view?

Your last paragraph makes no sense: I agreed with you that TDC is a form of social enterprise - as is every council. And like many councils or public sector organisations eg Home Offfice can be declared not fit for purpose and abolished/restructured.

The people within it can be sacked or face criminal charges for Corporate Manslaughter etc.

We're agreed on that aren't we?

And we are agreed TDC is a Failed Council?

You musn't confuse your public duty as a citizen or budding councillor with your Party membership card.

How much mercury or aviation fuel should we have in the environment are the key development issues: in the water, the drinking water and the air?

Will you provide transcripts/recordings of the Planning meeting as KCC do?


James Maskell said...

Are you accusing TDC of corporate manslaughter?

I am not a member of the Conservative Party. The ConservativeHome profile is over 2 years old. I quit the Party in October 2007. Your jibes about my relationship to the Conservatives is irrelevant to all these threads weve been debating on. We are discussing your views, not mine. Stop dodging the questions.

Would there not be a cause for the regulator to refuse the conversion of a local authority to a CIC because of its political content? Given the majority political Party becomes the effective directors, surely that means that the political angle is such that a CIC is impossible. I also question the funding angle of this. Where would the money come from to fund this new companies activities?

I have no transcripts, because I dont need them. I turn up to the meetings...

How will you as MP for South Thanet put a moratorium on new builds in Thanet until all empty properties are renovated, if you are not the local authority and therefore have no powers or authority to do so?

Why should Cliftonville vote for you if you wont speak about your views on development in CLiftonville West, a key issue for local residents as hotels are converted into flats to meet the housing needs of the area. If its important enough for a specific clause to be inserted into the Local Plan about one bedroom flats, then you as possible MP for the area should have a view on it.

Tim Garbutt said...

Thanks James: corportate manslaughter through neglect seems very viable.

Generally in line with Policy #1 to sack the leading figures at TDC for incompetence and failure.

Or is that not the case.

Why leave the Tory party?

Along with the MP's role issue you're missing my poiint on the social enterprise of a council: it is ultimately less to do with a rulebook and more to do with its purpose.

Especially as most of the parties - certainly locally - have very similar or no policies.

You - and we - do need transcripts etc so that there is a record for those who don't attend meetings. Almost all councils do this.

I agree around your points around Cliftonville etc and will provide policy on those later. I am concered the lectoral boundary revision has split Margate in two: the poorer areas to a Labour seat and the wealthier rural areas to a Tory seat.

There ar no major poulation changes etc.

What do you think of the mercury poisoning and aviation fuel etc and how this has been handled and monitored?

Should there come a point, along with corporate manslaughter issues, where council tax etc should be rebated, or witheld, for poor performance?

James Maskell said...

Under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, Thanet District Council would not count as an organisation to which the Act can be applied. Therefore you are in fact completely wrong. Try another offence.

I left the Party because of policy disagreements.

The 'rulebooks' are legally binding documents, not just guidelines. Its odd that you accuse the Council of acting corruptly (evidence?) and against procedure yet you then say that the procedures are just guidelines. If the procedures are just guidelines, then how can they have acted outside of them and breached procedure?

Non payment of Council tax is a criminal offence and rebating is a ridiculous notion. How would you decide objectively that the performance has been poor? Where is the line drawn and where would you find the money to fill in the funding gap? If TDC is to become a CIC under your MPship anyway then what would the point of that policy be? It would have no power to tax. You would be abolishing the entire local authority, which you cant do but just going along with your thinking.

Tim Garbutt said...

Hi James

This is the preamble to the Act:

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act introduces a new offence, across the UK, for prosecuting companies and other organisations where there has been a gross failing, throughout the organisation, in the management of health and safety with fatal consequences.

TDC and its management would qualify under "other organisations" - as you'd expect.

What were your policy differences witht he Tories?

You're missing the point on the "rulebooks": there are none.

Also you're missing the point on a CIC: a council already is in the broadest sense.

Of course not paying council tax is vaible for poor performance - why would you pay it for pooe=r service? the objective measures are the Audit Commission over years and decades. Even TDC itself wouldn't quibble with this.

I find it bizarre that you seem so protective of a council providing such poor publci services. And as you're no longer a signed-up Tory member what exactly is your argument.

We've seen through these notes that my policies are completely sensible and viable and really you seem reluctant to want to implement them.

When will you address the issue of mercury poisioning and aviation fuel?


James Maskell said...

Look at Schedule 1 at the end of the Act for a list of organisations which count. Never assume...

While its true that Councils should act in the public interest and thus do come within the social aspect, legally speaking its a completely different organisation and you are comparing apples with pears. As I have also pointed out, TDC can never become a CIC because of its political component. Your policy is wholly unworkable.

My policy differences can be found online. You just arent looking hard enough.

The rulebooks do exist and do matter. For TDC the rulebooks are the core documents on which it runs such as the Constitution and for planning the framework that is being developed. Statute law comes into it as well for areas such as licensing and planning. They are not guidelines as they are legally enforcable. Failure to follow procedure can lead to complaints to the Ombudsman who can investigate and take appropriate action as necessary. As you might be aware TDC has been on the sharp end of the Ombudsman before so to just call it guidelines is missing the point entirely. Your argument that the rules are simply guidelines is laughable.

Tim Garbutt said...

No mention of mercury poisoning or aviation fuel from you yet James: why the delay?

You're right not to assume on Parliamnetary legislation:

Schedule 1 details central government with their subsidaries ie DCLG and councils. And don't forget:

Power to extend section 1 to other organisations
(1) The Secretary of State may by order amend section 1 so as to extend the
categories of organisation to which that section applies.
(2) An order under this section may make any amendment to this Act that is
incidental or supplemental to, or consequential on, an amendment made by
virtue of subsection (1).

Your CIC points are pointless.

Can you detail some of the policy diffrences as to why you left the Tory Party: a simple question. I've answered yours.

Not right wing enough or too right wing for you under Cameron?

Yes there are various documents - although not rulebooks - for councils and Parliament. And Parliament can vary those to ensure good governance. As in a repeatedly failed council as at Thanet.

What do you think of the mercury poisoning and aviaiton fuel or are rulebook debates your interest?


James Maskell said...

Why are the CIC points pointless?

I withdraw my comment on Councils not counting. I see Barrow Council was prosecuted over an outbreak of legionnaires in 2004. However TDC wasnt the organisation managing the activities of the airport and so cannot count. Your complaint is surely against Infratil as TDC was not the senior management in this case. Who has Infratil killed?

I disagreed with the direction the Party was going in. I didnt like the way certain issues which matter to me were flat out ignored for years. I particularly didnt like the Party's treatment of its members or its obsession with equality.

Tim Garbutt said...

The CIC points are arcane: councils are simialr to such organisations. TDC is not ewxpected to change to CIC etc - it is a council and a failed one in need of reform ie Policy #1: Sack the Gang of Four.

You've omitted the mercury poisoning and aviation fuel points.

A council failing to control these are liable for corporate manslaughter through neglect - as at Barrow - and also Infratil as you point out. See Policy #2 Close Manston.

What were the Tory Party differences/ignored: I'm not clear on these?

What's your view on Thor mercury and aviation fuel: TDC know of these and did nothing.

I think we're agreed now the policies are perfectly sensible and viable given a failed council.

James Maskell said...

So your entire reform package is the sacking (how can you as MP could do that?) of the "Gang of Four" followed by the prosecution of the Council for an airport is does not actually own? Who is the 'controlling mind' in the case of Manston? I would argue that under Section 3 (1) of the CMA 2007, TDC cannot be held over this as the decision made by TDC was one of public policy. Barrow Council ran the care home and thus could be held to have a duty of care,as opposed to TDC who does not run the airport.

To be honest though, it looks like this debate could go on forever.

This isnt a modern day version of the 'quid pro quo' scenes from Silence of the Lambs. My reasons for leaving the Party were my own. You are the one going for public office and my relationship with the Conservative Party is none of your business frankly.

Your policies do not hold up under scrutiny despite your belief that they do.

Tim Garbutt said...

Crikey James, you keep avoidiong the issue of mercury poisoning and Infratil pollution.

And your views on Tory policy in resigning as a member: I'm interested that's all.

On reforming TDC then sacking the officials responsible is clearly viable as I've already demonstrated.

Citing various "rulebooks" or legal acts makes little sense given TDC is a failed council and certainly has not improved.

You may not like it or disagree but it is perfectly viable as a policy.

I appreciate the current council is Tory but the rot has set in under successive parties etc.

As MP I'll be raising that issue in parliament and locally.

What's your views on Thor mercury and Infratil pollution?

The silence and lack of action from TDC seems bizarre.

Do you approve?

Kindest regards,