Sunday, 20 September 2009

TDC vision revision

I thought I’d tweak the TDC vision as some of it is very good although there are a couple of areas that seem both lengthy, unachievable and reliant on the airport without factoring in the cost of polluted water and lung cancer: you can see the original here.

TDC’s first draft vision:

I couldn't resist the bit about sailor clothes shops.

Thanet Vision 2020

Thanet’s economy has been renewed, following the ManstonGate and ChinaGate debacles. Thriving offshore wind-farms have brought a few jobs to Ramsgate, with new solar power and creative businesses attracting more residents and visitors into Thanet. The district is more prosperous and the average income in Thanet is now slightly more than that of Kent.

The introduction of the high-speed rail link in 2009 led to minor improvements in the rail network in East Kent. New dual carriageways were tabled but removed as part of a “East kent-East Midlands” philosophy of old. Road gridlock has still not provided faster journey times on road and rail between Thanet and Ashford, Canterbury and Dover.

Manston Park has brought more eco-business into the area and nearby University and reduced cancer levels and polluted water.

Education levels in Thanet are now on a par with the rest of Kent, with residents able to take advantage of higher-paid jobs, and the numbers of people starting up their own businesses has increased.

Deprivation has largely been tackled in Thanet’s poorest neighbourhoods as a result of the major regeneration programme driven forward by the council. All parts of Thanet are attracting working age adults, young families and elderly people with many volunteering for council work. A strong emphasis on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour has helped to make Thanet a much safer place.

The district is naturally beautiful, with a stunning coastline, and a rich and diverse heritage that is cherished and carefully maintained. Striking sculptures and stunning lighting are welcoming to both locals and visitors.

Activity levels are up, with residents and visitors taking advantage of opportunities for leisure and culture which have expanded to meet the needs of the population. Imaginative facilities for children and young people exist across the district, with the all-weather adventure playground popular with visitors and residents alike.

Thanet’s villages remain largely unchanged – picturesque and peaceful places to live and visit.
Broadstairs remains a traditional seaside resort with the town’s lovely old buildings preserved and enhanced, and its reputation as a charming historic town has been maintained.

Its appeal as a quiet coastal town still attracts good numbers of visitors, who have helped to support an increase in footfall and business activity. The town’s various festivals have played a key part in the success of Broadstairs as a tourist destination as over the last 50 years.

Pedestrians are prioritised throughout the town, and Broadstairs’ small size makes it a welcoming town to explore on foot as with all the Thanet towns and villages.
Manston: Park from a former Airport
Manston is the rural and water supply centre of Thanet. Kent International Airport has closed following the disastrous privatisation policies.

Manston Park has drawn in visitors from around the world, especially Chinese tourists, to see how contaminated land and water is regenerated. The former airport collapsed with the retrenchment of the aviation industry, rocketing cancer rates and failure of airlines to find the need for room beyond the nearby London Airports especially given the successful Summer Bus Shuttle to Gatwick.
Margate has a new economic heart, founded on the success of the internationally-renowned Turner Contemporary gallery. Following extensive redevelopment, the town centre is now smaller, with a mix of shops and town houses. The Old Town is a vibrant creative quarter - full of cafés and restaurants that spill onto the street in summer. These are interspersed with niche shops and galleries selling the work of local artists that provide some employment.

Dreamland has been transformed into a striking 21st century attraction; a national centre for the preservation and celebration of the heritage and culture of seaside amusement parks and popular seaside entertainment.

The harbour arm bars and restaurants are now a significant draw for tourists and locals, with the town known as a place to come for a range of good food, with numerous farm shops and delis amongst the High Street shops. Locals and visitors both buy much of their food in the thriving and reopened weekly farmers market.

The beach remains the heart of Margate and the seafront is pedestrianised, with a family-friendly feel.

Job opportunities mean more of the town’s young population remain, and other working age adults have moved in, creating a relatively young and affluent population profile.

Opportunities in the town and more widely in Thanet have helped stabilise the previously transient population. Increased investment in buildings and pride in the area along with compulsory purchase orders where necessary have driven up house prices, and driven out absentee landlords.

The revival of the seafront, old town and high street means that the dilapidated boarding houses of the past have once again been converted into offices, art studios, guesthouses and up-market flats.

Sculptures from prominent artists and public art take pride of place, and the town is illuminated in the evening by stunning lighting on the Turner Contemporary gallery, harbour arm, and seafront.
The two most deprived wards - Cliftonville West and Margate Central – are a draw for those searching for cheap rented accommodation for the students form the nearby Christchurch University. The gap in terms of prosperity and deprivation between these two wards and neighbouring ones and the UK has been removed.
Ramsgate is a bustling town centred on its spectacular Royal Harbour. The historic architecture and marina are well-maintained and beautifully-lit. The public space is enhanced by the well-preserved Regency houses.

The marina has become prosperous with the growing popularity of boat ownership and the passenger ferry to France and Belgium. The image of the town has been reinforced and enhanced as a premier sailing destination. This has helped support a lively visitor industry, with a renewed café culture, stylish shops, and a number of chic guesthouses and hotels.

There is a nautical theme with oyster bars, seafood restaurants and sailing clothes shops for bellbottoms, stripey shirts, parrots, pieces-of-eight, peglegs and earrings; all now established parts of the local economy.

While after a slow-start, the Armed Forces Day Parade and Town Carnival are seen as one of the most important events in the calendar

Faster rail links have also made the town more accessible to and from London, with Ramsgate an easy day out for many, particularly Londoners.

The maintenance of its offshore wind farms now represents a minor source of employment compared to the Sandwich Pharma-Corridor and brownfield regeneration at Richboro and Pfizer. All of this new economic activity has provided jobs for many of the town’s previously unemployed residents, which has helped tackle deprivation in Ramsgate’s poorest neighbourhoods.
With the new shopping centre at its heart, Westwood has stagnated but due to be redeveloped as a smaller and greener shopping crossroads.

The shopping centre is easily accessible by public transport from the rest of Thanet and other parts of East Kent albeit with road gridlock awaiting the ParknRide as traffic moves between the Thanet towns. It provides an excellent range of chain shops in a pleasant and convenient environment.

The refurbed homes, in the Thanet town centres, sustain and benefit from a wide range of services which are accessible on foot and by cycle. In particular, the University, Thanet College, Marlowe Academy and Innovation Centre have helped create a diverse and enterprising community.

The Council‘s role in transforming Thanet
The 3 Town Councils provide a slimmed-down council and civil service of less than 25% of its staffing given the improved regeneration - albeit recognised as a centre of public service excellence.

The East Kent Council – sometimes described as “KCC East” – and County reform is recognised for at long last ending deprivation in East Kent from Herne Bay to Dover with the quality of the services it provides, its attentiveness to the needs of residents, and for always keeping the needs of those who are less able to help themselves to the fore.

Creating opportunity, especially for young people and young families to become prosperous, is at the heart of its endeavour.

Its positive relationship with business and the private sector has enabled Thanet to be successful in attracting investment from outside the district, which has been key to creating jobs in the area.

The Council has played a key role in making the changes in the District through its professionalism and willingness to get involved in innovative projects with its various partners.

Over the past 6 years, it has continued to prioritise those activities and services that contribute to the vision wherever possible. It has also remained clear about its role in relation to services and activities which contribute to that vision – whether that be one of delivering, resourcing, or influencing.

Council policies for 2012, the last London Games for a generation, and Film and Service industries such as call centres and data support are of particular note.

Some may say the real problem now is to prevent the overdevelopment of the area: skyscrapers, all-night drinking, house building and cookie-cutter architecture that could result in the “Torremolinos of the Home Counties” epithet applied to Maidstone or the Margate of the 1970’s.

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