Wednesday, 23 December 2015

TDC garden grabbing

Many people are familiar with this: repeated garden grabbing attempts rejected. Then strangely rushed through by TDC earlier this year then silence over public complaints.

Copy of the minutes below from a meeting I had with Abigail Raymond and Lin Fairbrass and Emma Fibbens following a site view by Simon Thomas and apparently a site visit by Steve Albon- none of the points denied mere silence.

The strange thing is not just 11 flats specified in TDC's own Local Plan(!) but 13 being built if not more. But that RTC approved only 11 flats and didn't know of 13 and now seemingly unwilling to raise it with TDC which rather makes a mockery of the RTC approval process.

While TDC as you can see below attempted to rely on a Planning Inspectorate letter for withdrawn plans - and had expired(!).

Clearly we have a situation where TDC is randomly breaching its own rules. The latest email was form a formal complaint raised to Tim Howes the legal bod who said he's considered the points "and had nothing to add" which is the vaguest of enquiries if not a waste of e-paper. Although I think it's legalese for "you've got us bang to rights".

TDC aside I'm astonished at Miles and Barr and Daniel Gent Construction getting involved in breaching the Local Plan and this as one of the worst examples of gardengrabbing and overbuild - I expected better.

Lin and the TDC councilors now seem struck dumb at best or being lead by the nose by the civil servants at worse.

Frankly I would have expected a few P45's issued for this mess and resulting BS and whitewash - otherwise how will TDC improve?

A Stop Notice and demolition/reinstatement order is also required - otherwise why bother with a Local Plan?

Time for Change

Thursday 12th November 2015
Cllr Lin Fairbrass
TDC Cabinet/Planning
TDC council
Minutes: 100SE Rd meeting

Dear Lin

As promised I wanted to write to minute the key points from our meeting at TDC with Abigail Raymond and Emma Fibbens on Thursday 5th November last week regarding the 100 South Eastern Rd gardengrabbing issue.

A. Latest site info: 2015

1. Attached are the two colour photos we initially discussed from the August site exterior visit with Simon Thomas 27th August 2015.
2. From the photos you can see:
• The frontage of the site is c.100% larger than the original building
• The frontage is assymetrical despite points to the contrary by TDC ie imbalanced new small windows and gable front and a new roof addition
• This new frontage extends to the full depth of the building plus wraps around in an L-shape to cover c.90% of the rear – the new build has doubled the original building filling almost all the plot except for a much smaller garden to be tarmacked
• Not shown on the photo but discussed was what seems to be a subsequent ground/first storey addition to the left front of the site
• As well the right front includes the purchase of the next door garage to enable a narrow driveway for carparking by tarmacking the whole of the rear garden
• Separately I’ll forward a photo of the latest rearward extension: clearly this can be seen to be at least x2 if not x3 the depth of other property extensions and extending even higher than the original building – despite Emma’s claims to the contrary

B. Background: 2008-2015

1. We noted that the original application in 2008 was specifically rejected by TDC with amongst several issues of overbuild, to protect the gardens/shrubs.
2. From 2008 to the new application in 2015 there have been c.6 attempts to develop the site by different builders – all of which were rejected/withdrawn.
At every instance and including the 2015 application, the public have protested the damage and overbuild and gardengrabbing.
3. The property is a c.5 bed suburban family house in a suburban side street with a large front garden and a c. 2 football pitches in length rear garden that would be lost.
We agreed that the building was not Listed. It is however merely 5 minutes walk from the main Ramsgate Conservation Area. Subsequent to the meeting the site is now being renamed as Pugin House because of its Pugin features and proximity to Pugin’s house – this would at least make it eligible for the Local List if not a full listing.
4. One application included the typical demolition of the house and replacing it with a mini-tower block. And another application included even more flats than the 13 now in the 2015 application.
From memory, no prior application included the purchase of the next door garage and tarmacking of the whole driveway.
5. Emma made the point that the new design fits in with the existing streetscape ie terraced houses. Although it was pointed out that South Eastern Rd has a range of styles dating from c.1870 to mainly pre-WW1 eg semidetached houses next door, a large similar property opposite, terraced houses and a detached bungalow. Of course as a c.1870 property the street would have been designed/completed around it.
6. We discussed the fact that c.13 flats would result in problems of car parking even with the rear carpark – and especially problems with the sewers given the various problems anyway with Southern Water.

C. Planning Inspectorate letter of 2012

1. Some discussion was had around the Planning inspectorate site visit letter dated 12/2/12 which upheld the original 2008 and/or 2011 appeal albeit some 3 years later.

This letter seems to be a sticking point for TDC although we discussed that the 2008 appeal was rejected/withdrawn so the 12/2/12 Planning Inspectorate letter was irrelevant.
2. Indeed if the public had believed this letter would be cited for any subsequent application then its points would have been formally rebutted in 2008/2012.
Please accept this note as a formal repudiation of the points made.
3. As well it’s unusual for TDC to now rely on this as the Planning Inspectorate letter points out on point 1 of the Annex that any construction would need to begin within 3 years from the decision date of 24/2/12. Simon’s planning consent is dated 13/3/15 - so even on its own merits the PI letter fails.
4. Similarly the other c.12 requirements of the Planning Inspectorate letter: materials samples, bats survey etc etc presumably not completed again rendering the letter – and 2015 application – completely invalid.

D. 2015 ongoing concerns

1. Emma raised the possibility of a Retrospective Planning Application – presumably to retrofit any issues of paperwork - and Tim pointed out that would invariably result in a class action by the residents. TDC’s concerns over legal costs would undoubtedly be higher with public compensation etc than any such action by the builder.
2. Tim pointed out that be public had behaved perfectly correctly for 7 years and repeated applications on this site upto and including the 2015 site.
3. Tim pointed out since the issue was raised in c.March there had been a strange limbo of the residents’ remit in the planning process being ignored. Indeed the issue had to be raised again with Greg Clark MP the Communities Minister who had been involved in the original 2008 issue. As well since the August site visit with Simon requests for clarity on his explanation of the planning permissions etc had simply been ignored: a further 2 months of delay.

E. National and Local government policy against gardengrabbing

Both National and TDC’s Local Plan 2011-31 dated January 2015 confirms the need to prevent gardengrabbing: overbuild etc etc.
(Subsequent to the meeting Tim confirmed SP29 as the relevant TDC policy along with sections 3, 4 and 13 on protecting green spaces and quality developments etc – as well the 100 Se Rd site is listed in the Plan on P.222 as site SR11 – but for only 11 flats not 13.)

Emma raised the point of public protests and Tim highlighted that he was aware of at least 5 complaints to TDC and these would not be included in the file. (Subsequent to this meeting Tim had details from a resident who previously met Ramsgate mayor/TDC/RTC councillor Trevor Shonk at the site with Emma to complain about the overbuild, design eg Juliet balconies etc).

Except for other minor planning matters the meeting concluded and Tim confirmed to Abigail’s point in managing expectations by raising a possible 21 day turnaround that prompt action was now required for the agreed interior site inspection/enforcement of the blueprints.

Tim said that both a Stop Notice and subsequent Demolition/Reinstatement Notice similar to the Fidler haystacks-castle case would be relevant and as valid as a Retrospective Planning Application to adjust the paperwork.
Thank you again for the meeting and this note with my email of Friday 6th November 2015 should help consolidate the issue. Please advise if there are any significant disagreements with the minuted points as detailed above within 7 days.

Please advise immediately on the immediate issue of Site visit/requested blueprints and Stop Notice.
Kindest regards
Yours sincerely

Tim Garbutt

Friday, 18 December 2015

An army of cops with guns on the rates?

Tim Garbutt KCC Leader 2017 candidate said:

" Ann Barnes seems intent on one final bout of nonsense before she stands down as PCC.

I think few of us would jump at the threat of AlQaeda in the Garden of Kent as opposed to the new threat of paying an extra £5 council tax for 37 extra firearms cops.

Rather it's a laughable argument. Why should there be this notional 50% increase of 37 firearms cops? It seems a central government made-up number. Why not 20? Or 50 extra? Why not a regiment of guncops?

What would they do? Patrolling the fertiliser aisle at BandQ? Coordinate a drone strike on the failed towns of Medway? Raiding the machete shops of East Kent?

What other options have been explored say Ghurkas on stand by, police rota improvements or even a review of existing firearms cops, training and weapons?

From the Twin Towers terrorism of 2001 and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Yemen barely a shot has been fired in Kent. Manchester may have been lost to grenades and drug gangs but not yet Kent.

Nobody downplays public security but 37 extra firearms cops sat in the police station finishing off Ann's cupasoups seem poor value and a feeble way to circumvent council tax rises through scaremongering.

The real Kent threats are drug crime, rape and burglary not creating a Police Army on the rates - never mind the rampant Kent council corruption and contaminated elections the police prefer to remain silent on.

While the lack of Kent joined up thinking is as always weak given the recent £1M waste on body cameras or nobody in the Preventive Policing Mystic Meg division seeing the need for extra firearms cops. Never mind even the Scottish £700k cop.

Or even the bloat of multiple public sector 101 backoffice reforms and 112 failure.

£5 on council tax to review the whole £330M police budget would be better value rather than kneejerk demands for more money. And another 5 years of Barnes is enough to strike terror into everyone in Kent".

Time for Change


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Kent: Fossil Fools - update

Update 16/12/15:

* KCC were claiming they follow UN investment principles which is cobblers given they're investing in tobacco and oil etc. UNPRI the investment authority confirm today KCC aren't signatories to the principles. Complete cobblers by KCC to pretend investing in tobacco is valid and somehow approved by the UN. Outrageous.

* UN announce today there will be a clear and open UN Secretary General election process for 2016 - although they don't say exactly what. The days of closed door appointnments, Buggins Turn rotas, and even lack of a UN Parliament seem numbered #whennotif

* TDC confirmed the Munday election is open to candidates for TDC and RTC to at least 21st Dec not 5th ie 10 days notice not 4 but still far too little.

* GRIT campaign for elected Mayors in Thanet again which is positive.

* Good news too the Wetherspoons application for the Pav is declared invalid (I've made no bones I want to take it on as a Community Asset and restore it properly - let's hope the Slipways and Pegwell Bay Nemo pipeline are too. Isn't the whole point of Grade 1 listing and SSSI etc to reject such plans automatically?

* RTC aware of gardengrabbing but unclear given they approved one set of plans and TDC did another set afterwards. Farcical. And TDC now facing Court action by the public to demolish and restore it as it braches every part of TDC@s own legal plan. And the rather murky change of 11 flats being approved suddenly jumping to 13. What were TDC and Daniel Gent construction thinking given TDC's own rules on gardengrabbing? And why are TDC dragging their hells on this?

* Pleasurama repainting again farcical: the sooner this BVI corruption project is cancelled the better.


KCC investing in tobacco and oil and gas as the rest of the world doesn't after COP21.

What are Carter and the Toxic 3 and Simmonds doing before their afternoon nap?

The Fossil Free Europe has had astonishing success in just 6 months: summary below form September 2-0105 to COP"! last week - where Copenhagen and Berlin also pledges to divest fossil fuel investments.

A no-brainer and easy: invest in solar instead - quite frankly anything else at all.

As KCC leader I will sell off any remaining British Gas and Tobacco shares immediately.

Indeed hold a review of these lavish public sector pensions and salaries and staffing still not with routine FOI.

Separately the threat of court action on 100Se Rd and Abigail Rayment at TDC Planning suddenly pipes up. But no movement on why the delays in replying and blatant breaches of the TDC local Plan - even 11 flats approved and 13 built. Brown envelopes or muckups?

Fair play to Cllrs Fairbrass and Bambridge and Shonk and others raising this but the civil servants seem to be leading them by the nose to do as they want on the rates. Useless - copies of minutes here tomorrow. We need a Planning clearout.

Same for the awful Slipways building. Looks just like cement profits rather than an need given so many empty buildings.

And £67k spent on lawyers for the Pleasurama corruption rejig from a British Virgin Island company. With the same people. Do they think we're idiots and lawyers can somehow magic that fraud away? Even Lord Grabiner and the Glickgate boys would struggle with that.

Bizarre Dreamland shambles again iwht the opening - by the owners described in the legal documents to sue TDC etc -as chaos.

Good that Wetherspons Pleasurama ruled invalid.

Manston Stone Hill is a mess of unnecessary overbuild jeopardizing the aquifer - and where are the Gloag/Stagecoach fines for missing monitors or shall we pretend that cancer is only for Xmas?

Good that Eileen and her team at RTC gained £50k for Harbour St renewals - long overdue public investment in the towns. £2Bn at KCC and £20M at TDC simply funding staff to say there's no money.

Even the KP cops have at last got their trousers on and started ticketing illegal cars etc.

And excellent news that the Saudi elections have 17 women councilors for the first time - indeed the first elections since 2005, and 1965 before that. Funded by the UK taxpayer via Sangcom fighter jets fraud etc.

Time for Change

In September 2014, 181 institutions representing $50 billion in assets had made a divestment commitment. On September 21, during Climate Week in New York City, and Divest-Invest announced the number had jumped to 400 institutions representing $2.6 trillion under management, and launched a “Divest for Paris” initiative to garner new commitments ahead of COP21. In the intervening 10 weeks between then and today, more than 100 institutions made new divestment commitments.

Organizers will announce a series of new divestment announcements and endorsements on Wednesday, including:

19 French Cities have endorsed divestment ahead of COP21: will announce for the first time that they have secured commitments from 19 French cities, including Lille, Bordeaux, Dijon, Saint-Denis, Rannes, Ile-de-France, and others.

The French parliament has endorsed divestment: On November 25th, the French National Assembly adopted a resolution encouraging public investors, companies (especially those in which the states owns shares) and local authorities not to invest in fossil fuels anymore. The resolution is the first step to formalizing the policy as law.

The French Ensemble Foundation will join European Divest-Invest: Jacqueline Délia Brémond, Co-founder and Co-Chair will announce that the foundation will join the European Divest-Invest initiative and divest their holdings from fossil fuels. Since 2004, the foundation has given over $28 million to environmental causes around the world.

Some of the most notable new announcements since September 21, 2015 include:

Uppsala became the largest city in Sweden to endorse fossil fuel divestment.

Münster became the first city in Germany to divest completely from fossil fuels.

Melbourne, the capital of Australia, committed to go fossil free ahead of COP21. In fact, Australia has seen a seven-fold growth in the divestment movement, from two councils divesting in 2014, to 14 divesting as of now. Together, these funds represent AUD $5.5 billion in assets under management.

Oslo, the capital of Norway, announced that it will divest its $9 billion pension fund (€8 billion) from coal, oil and gas companies, becoming the first capital city in the world to ban investments in fossil fuels.

Dutch pension fund PFZW announced it will divest from coal companies and reduce its investments in other fossil fuel companies. The fund has €161 billion of assets under management.

London School of Economics, one of the preeminent economics schools in the world, dropped all its direct and indirect holdings of coal and tar sands, and all direct holdings of fossil fuel companies.

Allianz, Europe’s largest insurance company, divested €630 million of their own capital investment portfolio from coal, and are reinvesting over €4 billion into wind energy over the next 6 months. This is one of the largest funds to make a commitment to divest from fossil fuels. Allianz tied their announcement to COP21, making the moral and economic case for investing in cleaner technologies

APRA AMCOS, the biggest music industry organisation in the southern hemisphere announced that it is beginning the process of divesting from all fossil fuels. APRA AMCOS distributed over $250 million in royalties to its 87,000 songwriter and composer members last year, making it a large cultural force for divestment.

London Science Museum announced plans to dump Shell Oil as a sponsor, amidst controversy and public pressure.

In addition to the London School of Economics 5 Universities from the UK took action: Oxford Brookes University, University of the Arts London, University of Surrey and University of Sheffield divested from all fossil fuel companies; Wolfson College (Oxford university) divested from coal and tar sands. Fund manager CCLA, which manages investments for Birmingham City University, Cranfiled University, Heriot-Watt University, University of Hertfordshire, University of Portsmouth, University of Westminster excluded coal and tar sands from its investments.

The first church in Germany, the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau, managing €1.8 billion, committed to drop investments in coal, oil and gas too.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Carter Must Go: Kent the Sick Man of Europe

Tim Garbutt, KCC Leader candidate 2017 said:

"It seems to be Carter versus the public. He seems not content with the contamination from Manston monitors and Thor on his watch, or the corruption around British Virgin Islands/Pleasurama for Kent's largest seafront development or 0% salaries council fraud - apt for Anticorruption Day today (9th Dec).

Now we have Kent Public Health - tobacco, alcohol, mental health and obesity and pandemics - being scrapped for the sake of £4M on a £2BN budget.

We need Public Health and a clean environment in the Age of Climate Change not KCC investing £250M in tobacco and fossil fuels or watching the slum towns of Medway fall apart. 90% of Kent orchards gone since 1945 and in the week of COP21 not one Climate Change policy. Not one.

We have a Third World health gap in Kent with dirty NHS hospitals in Special Measures (only the 20th best in EU according to OECD), contaminated Southern Water, Jimmy Savile Children care homes and the horror of East Kent's population - by KCC's own figures - dying 12 years earlier than the rest of Kent.

How could they poison us?

The Kent economy collapses too: Dreamland is already failing after 6 months with £4M debts announced today just as Pfizer and Glaxo Kent collapsed and the Turner Centre was rebuilt twice for £50M on Carter's watch.

Kent's only growth industry is the undertaker.

We don't need Leader Carter or his elderly Blue Communists turning Kent into the Sick Man of Europe by raising taxes and cutting services to the public while sat on padded pensions and salaries and reserves.

With the most £100K salaries in Local Government, and white elephants like the £17M Parkway or Road to Nowhere or £900M Operation Stack car park, Carter has failed us.

KCC has lost its way and become an empty council only for those in it, or those keen to cement Kent.

I urge every citizen to cancel their direct debits for council tax. Short pay. Wrong Pay. £2M already withheld.

No taxation without - effective - representation.

And no payment for corruption or failure.

2016 is already a Lost Year for Kent. It is Leader Carter that should be scrapped."

Time for Change


Tim's Titbits:

* today confirmation that Medway's primary schools are the worst in UK(!)
* points tomorrow on 100Se Rd gardengrabbing: mere silence from TDC unable to explain it
* Excellent Daily Mail front page article on the importance of FOI - and councils/NHS etc writing to the parliamentary review to limit it - on your paycheque. Bizarrely, universities claiming they're not funded by public money(!)

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Corrupt Kent election: letter to Madeline Homer TDC CEO

Dear Madeline

I wanted to write to you regarding the Cllr Vince Munday election for TDC and RTC.

I understand TDC have issued a strange notice on 1st/2nd December requesting candidates before 5th December ie two days’ time (tomorrow) for an election on 21st January?

Clearly 4 days or so is far too short a notice for candidates (or even as the notice says for the election to happen?) – can you advise on detail/electoral Best Practice?

Also any Returning Officer fees: I understand the £62k general election fee can be returned/not claimed? It seems excessive given most of the electoral process is handled by volunteers.

I’m also unclear why the election is referred to “a Casual vacancy for Office of Councillor”? Presumably it simply means a notice of an election for a councillor?


No information is provided on the Ramsgate Town Council election – for which Vince Munday also sat.
Indeed it seems the May 2015 RTC election never actually took place?

And there may be confusion over TDC and RTC elections being separately contested rather than pseudo/auto-elections as currently with TDC Margate and Margate Charter Trustee seats.

RTC was never intended to be doublehatters of TDC nor the public excluded from standing as Mayor. TDC’s own survey of c.3 years ago showed elected Mayors as in other towns were viable.

Please advise what has been going on.

I’m sure as Returning Office and TDC CEO and £400k funder of RTC you take a British election very seriously in making sure it is both well run and free and fair.

I’d also highlight the previously run TDC elections/ballot boxes in May as not ideal: ballot boxes not opened and counted. Delays in count. LibDem illegal civil servant candidate etc.

Separately, given TDC’s reputation for corruption as cited by Private Eye and Local Government Association and even TDC’s own Scrutiny Committee before their resignation en-masse(!) can I flag up:

1. Pleasurama/British Virgin islands corruption – can you advise given since February 2015 the project could have been cancelled yet TDC seem to have reissued the project with Steve Keegan of BVI and Cardy the builders?
2. 0% fraud by your predecessor McGonigal
3. 100 Se Rd garden grabbing: not just breaching every national guidelines but TDC’s own policies
4. Contamination at Thor, Manston, Poorhole Lane and SW sewers and beaches – it seems strange the latter given a clean bill of health after 20 tons of shit were dumped on the beaches at least once? And TDC seems to have ignored the extensive and worsening pollution at these sites no doubt affecting the health of the population
5. Infratil and Gloag: missing monitors, pollution and fines
6. The sale of Minster war memorial: who put this up for sale and how much is expected? I’d like to offer a shiny new penny. Perhaps more if it sits over war-graves?
7. General confusion over housing for Thanet eg 15k plus 3k at Manston plus Discovery Park plus 15k EKO?
8. TDC seems to be slipping back into its bad old ways of seeking exemptions to FOI rather than the presumption of FOI: please clarify how many/what reasons FOI – or EIR – requests are sought by TDC in 2015. Presumably a Public Interest for EIR would be approved outside TDC rather than effectively marking its own homework?
9. Pegwell Bay/NEMO Link: construction work through a SSSI/UNESCO site
10. Port/Marina: slipways construction work without review for the UK’s only Grade 1 listed and Royal Harbour
11. Repair work for Eastcliff Bandstand: again a Grade 1 Listed and derelict for over 15 years if not 40 years.
12. Ramsgate £1M Fire station/2nd swimming pool the former wasteful and latter needed for seaside towns

I appreciate some of these did not become your direct responsibility until c.6 months ago but they are now.
I’ve copied Kent Police, Electoral Commission and OESCE who are responsible for supervision of elections and the former also for Misconduct in Public Office prosecutions.

Also Michael Gove Justice Minister and Greg Clark Local Government Minister for Parliamentary review. And I’ll place this note on my KCC/MP blog for public review.

If it helps, please consider this note as notice that the January election is required albeit with time for candidates etc. And bearing in mind TDC closures over the Xmas holidays.

4 days for a British election notice is almost deliberately ridiculous.

Can I as an EIR request have specifics of the c.£20M total, salaries/pensions./cars/expenses by TDC department – presumably any existing councillor/candidate would need this info to evaluate council performance?

Finally, should external monitors supervise the election?

Please advise within the TDC service guidelines of 10 days.

Kindest regards

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

COP21 Paris Climate Change, bombing Syria and Ramsgate Town Council fake election.

Three issues dominate the headlines this week: COP21 Paris Climate Change, bombing Syria and Ramsgate Town Council fake election.

OK perhaps the last one is fairly minor.

But COP21 Climate change Summit could be as irrelevant. 150 world leaders and 4,000 people for a summit on Climate Change for a fortnight? So what? Thankfully Climate Change is now recognised as one of the greatest threats to humanity, up there with pandemics or another meteor strike or a nuclear winter.

But what will be achieved? Some warm words? A pledge to do something? Where for example is the UK Action Plan on Climate Change already? I’m interested n this stuff and I couldn’t tell you. I’m sure a casual observer of Climate Change hoping something is being done, but not knowing what, wouldn’t have a clue either.

A beanfeast summit like COP21 and Copenhagen and Kyoto before it achieve nothing now. More effective would be the UN Climate Change group issuing its annual report with specifics at the UN.

We seem to be funding rafts of international groups and departments to abdicate responsibility and create yet more working parties and summits etc.

With the UK bombing of Syria, my view has changed since the decision not to bomb c.3 years ago for which I was in favour. Exactly as we’ve seen the tide of ISIS could have been turned back in the deserts of Syria before it flooded across Western Syria into Iraq and lapping against the Turkish and Iranian borders. And whole citiies lost.
Now I don’t support UK bombing of Syria. Why? It’s vanity bombing for the UK to be seen to be joining in. An empty gesture of half a dozen UK jets from Cyprus getting in the way of Russia and USA and France.

Let them do that job and do it well and let UK concentrate on Iraq.

One statistic: 3 major towns such as Mosul have been lost to ISIS in Iraq and only fly-blown Raqqa in Syria.
ISIS taking over most of Iraq and picking over the ruins of Syria is completely viable.

An aside on USA and Terrorism: c.750 deaths from terrorism in the last decade in USA. And 30,000 guns deaths each and every year. And 400 deaths each year by being shot by police although there’s no accurate record kept(!).
And Ramsgate Town Council elections? A point of interest in that I helped set up the council c.7 or so years ago as a counterweight to the corruption and failure of TDC. And elections were initially held. Then the council became swamped by the TDC councillor party fanatics and changing seat boundaries etc so it became a toothless mini-TDC.

Bizarrely the May 2015 election of new councillors doesn’t seem to have taken place at all. Only the Ramsgate (or rather mainly Ramsgate) TDC councillors assuming those seats much as happens with the Margate Charter Trustees – Margate the only town in Kent without any elected town council.

And now Ramsgate too it seems.

I’m also hearing reports of excessive salaries and pensions at RTC– the highest in Kent - and reserves from the c.£400k provide by TDC. If we’re not careful we could be back to the bad old days of doublehatters rubberstamping their own decisions through a pseudo-council and much of the budget going on those in the council so nothing can actually be done.

Info on the election and salaries etc much appreciated: anonymous if you prefer:

You can see my concerns over Kent elections in the letter to OESCE election monitoring body in the blog post below eg not free elections:

• having to pay to stand – how is that free? And wasn’t that sort of 1800’s land/money levy exactly what free and fair elections were meant to prevent?
• The Police keeping their heads down on investigating election abuses eg the LibDem a serving civil servant which is banned or even LocalCraig (local candidates rather than parachute candidates is a separate issue) as a JP as well as MP. Making the laws and locking up people? Probably 1700’s?
• Saudi elections next month: first chance for women to vote. How long will the ban on women driving remain? Only Dubai/UAE and Brunei remain where nobody can vote. Several one party states/rigged elections of course.
• Votes at 16: Lords votes for it and Commons votes against – already happens in Scotland and Jersey so rather farcical
• Hereditary Lords: another bizarre election of the 92 hereditary Lords voting for another hereditary Lord to join them(!) – the only election in the Lords(!). While Bishops in the Lords are the only parliamentary religious grouping in the world outside of Iran. And the largest Upper Chamber in the world outside of China(!).
• It’s the work of moments to reduce the Lords to 300, peg sitting to under 80’s and not criminals and attendees and abolish hereditary and bishops for a parliamentary committee if required. Elections could be held by region and still fit with the Lords role in delaying but not rejecting Commons legislation.

Time for Change

Tim’s Titbits

• 100 SE Rd gardengrabbing: after 3 weeks of meeting with TDC and a set of detailed minutes they’re unable to explain how 13 flats are being built by Christopher Gent Property and not the 11 specified in TDC’s own Local Plan(!). Nor the breach of every part of that and national plan on building in gardens – and the previous 6 applications rejected since 2008. An utter mess at best and TDC now spinning in circles to come up with excuses.

• Try Simon Thomas and Emma Fibbens in TDC Planning: and

• If Court action is required to close the site and demolish back to previous size then certainly TDC should bear those costs along with a Misconduct in Public Office order for salary deductions/dismissal. If we’re not careful we’ll have councils using the public’s own funds against the public while safeguarding their own salaries for their error.

• High Court corruption: Lord Grabiner of One Essex Court remains silent on the Barrister Hollingworth (the Ali Bongo Barrister) fraud and elderly Glick QC and BSB coverup. Quite extraordinary as both Grabiner and Glick are themselves High Court Deputy Judges(!) – Hollingworth seems to have learnt his fraudulent tricks at their knee as well as Paul Daniels'.

• Kent Fire: FOI Finchy and Ramsgate Fire £1M station: silence so far. FOI doesn’t apply to Kent Fire it seems…

• Kent Police panto: silence but promises of a surprise. Oh yes there is.

• NEMOLink: a bit of a strange one this. Cables from a megawindfarm in Belgium being proposed to be laid across the Channel and ashore at Pegwell bay and Richboro power station. Nothing outrageously wrong with that except:

o Nobody can explain why the pylons from Richboro to Canterbury can’t be buried as part of the mega-billion costs. Surely all new pylons should be buried?
o Nor why the cables have to come ashore through SSSI and UNESCO Pegwell Bay rather than say 5 miles either way? Surely the point of SSSI status is not to have to go through the palaver of having to protect Pegwell bay or say the Lake District from any construction
o Nobody can explain the value of the windfarm in terms of electricity to UK – and why is the Thanet windfarm not producing electricity for Thanet? If they don’t know then why build it apart from the government tax-grants?
o And planning approval was given by TDC and DDC in February 2013 (but only now is there a public consultation) and approval was given – I kid you not you can read it for yourself – without knowing what the development would be. Shadeso f 100 Se Rd perhaps of we’ll build something but you won’t find out until it’s too late…
o Try: Simon Thomas at TDC again: and – be careful there’s now 170(!) documents of bullshit it seems, but Natterjack Toads may be protected part of the year as the rest of the Bay is dug up. So that’s alright then.

• Kent Corruption: Pleasurama. HMRC Taxman is now advertising that over 90 territories such as BVI and Cayman Islands will exchange financial information with UK tax authorities so we may well find out who was involved in this. Keegan and Cardy can’t have suddenly developed it all themselves and then sold it to each other via TDC? For a new Broom Wells and UKIP are proving more of the same so far.

• Kent Contamination: silence on Thor and Manston aquifer. So many councillors and civil servants yet so much silence around these toxic sites.

• Autumn Budget Statement: good news on the Tampon tax being rebated but why not simply make it 0% VAT as other products? And when will the 20% VAT be reduced back to 17.5%? Fairly silly statements on increasing housing new build to 400k per year. It’s never been above 130k per year since WW2 so hardly likely or needed beyond the cement lobby. While £250M on Operation Stack is bizarre without saying What It Is. But at least a reduction from KCC’s punt at £900M for a car park: almost half the annual KCC budget.

• Silence on the £17M KCC Parkway – has that budget been swallowed up by KCC already as a windfall for documents and tea and biscuits and pensions?

• An excellent Stacy Dooley BBCTV documentary last week on the horrific Philippines paedophile webcams. I was astonished when I was in the Philippines earlier this year of the number of street kids in main towns such as Manila. All the more concerning that BBC4 will closed in January after producing the sort of programmes that BBC2 and C4 used to do and the like so of C5 or ITV2 will never do. And a complete justification of the BBC as one of the world’s best broadcasters.

• Should there be a BBC Licence Fee? Of course not. It’s a silly and wasteful tax from the 1930’s when there was only the BCC. And now 90% of court cases involve the State chasing this £145 tax that is actually illegal anyway if you’re only watching DVD’s and not live TV etc. There’s even an argument with the volume of repeats or replayed programmes as to whether the station is live. Then of course there’s other channels that are not the BCC and funded with nothing to do with the Licence fee.

• It’s a pointless mess. Abolish it and fund the BBC from an annual budget signed off by Parliament as per every other State funded organisation. Indeed there’s an argument that the BBC should be leading on time staggered channels eg BBC1 plus 2, full 24/7 TV not merging the channels after 10pm or some channels not broadcasting before 7pm and even other foreign free to air/State channels broadcast eg the BBC of German or Korean TV etc. Isn’t UK supposed to be improving at languages and exports to other nations?

• KORA and 2LB coming soon.

• Death penalty: 23 UK citizens on Death Row around the world including Margate’s Joshua French in the Congo. Even the Margate Saudi homebrew pensioner last month or Kent golfclub extradition to Texas of a few years ago. UK assistance? Stuff all. If it happens to you you’re on your own. Surely to support the various charities that do help there should be a specific UK court and police force dealing with these issues?

• UK Defence Review 2015: I’ve received some interesting points on this and to summarise various issues:

o perhaps 20 or so Royal Navy main ships in future - and 2 aircraft carriers as huge target practice for any tuppenny drone or RPG attack
o 142 F35 jets initially for the aircraft carriers and various – needed – transport planes etc
o Army supposed reform to 2x5,000 Strike Brigades although these already exist so it’s mere wording.
o 2% of GDP on the military but that now includes the security services (and Police Special branch?) and various items that were listed differently from most NATO nations. And may include the nuclear weapons that only France in Europe also posseses. So the actuality is probably nearer 1.7% of GDP – while much of NATO is nearer 1.4%. Even Germany - despite funding wasteful conscription/national service while trying to abolish it. Perhaps one, rather ineffective way, to achieve full youth employment. No functioning army is much less than 10k troops so 80k troops seems plenty not outrageous cuts. With even 20k still sat in Germany so the actual figure could be nearer 60k
o With military expenditure the UK still seems far too top heavy for the old conflicts of WW2 and the Cold War of tank battalions thundering across Germany and Poland against a background of nuclear airbursts. Britain has no main enemies of the scale of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia any more – if the latter ever was a real enemy beyond Eastern Europe and Olympic weightlifting. Even in Afghanistan UK only deployed 10k troops.
o Back to the Syria point: where are the Spanish and Italian military and bomber jets? Or Polish tanks? Or Hungarian troops? Or the Saudi military? Why are Greece and Turkey not in disarmament talks around their border and Cyprus as NATO allies?
o Britain’s enemy in the 21st century is this kind of End of Empire posturing and make it up on the hoof and the real threat of dictators such as Saddam and Gaddafi and Assad or more recently Bashir of Sudan or Obiang of Equatorial Guinea. And complete lack of any Ministry of Reconstruction for basket-case nations such as Libya or Sudan or Somali or Yemen or Afghanistan where the next threats will undoubtedly fester.
o The terror attacks across Mali and Nigeria and Kenya and Somalia and Yemen show France rather than Britain is leading the fight on terror while 20k UK troops are sat in Germany drinking schnapps and watching their and Germany’s tanks rust.

• An interesting point that the USA has produced over 70k nuclear weapons since 1945. Figures vary on 2k to 6k still held by USA and the same with Russia. And a point I’d not heard before on the risk of nuclear accidents where a fighter plane and pilot and nuclear bomb rolled off the USS Ticonderoga aircraft carrier into the sea in 1965. They’re all still lost.