Thursday, 29 April 2010

Ramsgate Town Council stagnating

Another call over the postal vote muckup.

But very concerned over Ramsgate Town Council the other day.

Every council has to hold the Town Meeting to report on what they’re doing etc.

I turned up a bit late. And there was 2 members of the public.


Also John and Liz as KCC councillors. I would mention John’s looking at reducing signage which is really important in a tourist town and has sorted out a lot of the Westcliff truck drivers – with a ferry and police force it seems incredible they can’t do it themselves when they see HGV’s parked by the beach.

Tax waste on repairing HGV car parks or chewed up grass verges makes the Port seem pointless. The remaining Gang of Four have failed us.

And at the RTC meet were only 8 or 9 of the Town Councillors themselves.

I left after a few minutes as it seemed rather pointless.

It seems very foolish after a year not to have Albion House redecorated (the upstairs could be used as the MP office saving on overbuilding or tax-waste) – and be paying from the rates for the Custom House.

2 buildings on the rates seems daft.

And a waste of a year.

And now with the tourist Centre closed with the usual fake excuse of “improvements” for what is the usual miniMargateism of swapping District budgets between towns and hoping the public don’t notice.

RTC has the support and goodwill of the public and will become far better than the Charter Trustees which seemed largely a talking shop but it’s a year now.

An extra building on the rates doesn’t improve things does it?

Another concern is I remember the petition on reopening Albion House presented to RTC back in September or so yet it still hasn’t been provided to TDC? I’ve spoken about reopening the Pav and heard nothing.

If the public are removed from the Council then it has no validity – hence 2 members of the public hearing what they’ve been doing.

With c.£20M provided in council tax – presumably more in business rates, and Government funds RTC seems to have ground to a halt.

Hopefully there’ll be improvements such as:

1. Detailing the existing £250k “Charter Trustee charity budget” (much of this could be drawn from a hat) and also how the towns £20M budget (and other funds) would be spent
2. Detailing staff costs, minutes and budgets and councillor contact info online: we seem to be hiring civil servants on tax wages and tax pensions – there’s also an extra 30% increase of civil servants at TDC – these are basic transparency points. If our civil servants can’t even do this then something’s wrong.
3. 16 town councillors is too many: 9 seems about right – and I’m concerned about duplication of RTC and TDC roles
4. Detailing how the c.£20M has been spent (clearly rebates for dereliction are due) and how to be spent
5. Helping create Margate Town Council on similar lines
6. Key issues for Town Regen seem to be:
a. Pleasurama – clearing the rubble on what is now a tip in the tourist season
b. Pleasurama: considering an ice rink, height below the cliff, materials and plans etc
c. Ramsgate 2012 Lido
d. Broken benches: repaired to removed or resited
e. Wills fountain working
f. Lido graffiti free and a CCTV/Police patrol – also the Ram statue/screens
g. Tram Shelter extra insurance money
h. Military Arches: missed repairs
i. Boulevard nice stone benches repaired and dog muck free and missing tree and grate
j. Seafront broken flat benches repaired
k. Rezoning Addington St for shops
l. Derelict Old Cavallino building as a Van Gogh Art and Photo Gallery
m. Better street cleaning on the High St crossroads
n. Replacing the Silver Mile tarmac with proper paving (even broken tarmac means people trip and sue the council)
o. Litter removal: cliff top near Churchill Pub and seaward side of Motor Museum – and a theatre/IT cafe again
p. Heritage lampposts – broken one outside the Town Hall and a shipping container
q. Fountains filled with concrete(!) by main shelter

Many of the repairs seem of a “BandQ” style rather than proper town planning and design guidelines.

As the towns collapse and die unless the Town Council get hold of these issues following on from the “clean the town” display then new people are required.

“Recall” of councillors which I understand is 10% of the electorate or the “Kent Kipper” on the ballot to remove councillors shouldn’t really be used, but are there if required along with the usual “vote of no confidence”.

Some outline plans and transparency would really help RTC move the towns forward. Party politics have no purpose – just look at the mess that’s been created. Broadstairs isn’t like that. Ramsgate wasn’t like that.

Hiring more civil servants to write memos and create bumf and bloat to soak up tax won’t improve things.

The public should consider replacing councillors. Councillors should consider resigning or sacking underperforming civil servants. It is democracy after all.

RTC is stagnating after a year.

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