Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Hidden Lido Revealed

Underground Kent has an excellent story on the Margate Lido. Visit the site for more information and photos. An extract below:

"In the 1920's the Lido at Cliftonville was completed to cater for the popularity of sea bathing. The Lido was built on the existing Clifton Baths Estate, beneath which ran many passageways used by smugglers in previous centuries. The underground complex consisted of bars, cafes and an indoor warm sea water pool with nearby changing facilities. The Lido was hugely popular from it's construction right through to the 1960's. A winter storm in January 1978 which destroyed Margate Pier also wreaked havoc with the Lido, particularly the outdoor pool. Reconstruction work was never even considered, and even today the Lido faces almost certain demolition."

Pandora's Box

I'd like to wish all our readers a Happy & Prosperous 2007 ahead with a tip for those of you who maybe using the internet to listen to music online.

If you haven't found it already, try 'Pandora' its a profound shift in the way you can find the music you like and listen for free, Simply enter the name of the artists or albums you like most and Pandora will suggest a track to listen to. As youlisten, you rate the tracks and after a short time, Pandora, using something called "The Music Genome Project" will intelligently guess at your music tastes and build your own private internet radio station.

Try it, you'll be impressed!

Pandora - Find New Music, Listen to Free Web Radio

If you can't be bothered to build your own radio station than you can select the ones created by other users, called Pandora Radio, there's even a James Brown tribute station.

Body on Westgate Beach

A body of a man in his seventies, was discovered on the beach, opposite the slipway at St Mildred's Bay, Westgate at 07:45 this morning.

By the time I appeared to walk my dog, the scene was cordoned-off by Police and at 10am the body was removed by ambulance. There's no other information available at present.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Council Tax Rises as Private Firms Profit

The Times reveals that householders face inflation-busting council tax rises of at least 4 per cent in April to help to pay for the costs of private sector contracts.

The spiralling cost of contracts for rubbish disposal, road repairs and support services, such as care for the elderly and the handicapped, has caused fees to rise from £10 billion to £18 billion in five years.

Ministers have been so alarmed by the increase that they are setting up a high-level review with industry and council leaders.

At a meeting before Christmas, I heard that 17% of the UK population now work in one form or another for their local council from the overall estimated population employment figure of 32% now working for the public sector.

You might say that the Council Tax rises are equally a product of a Government employment programme which is starting to resemble France; with fewer private sector jobs available, employment has to be found somewhere and as you look north of London towards the Midlands and Scotland, the public sector starts to become the biggest and most lucrative employer of all; particularly for private sector companies like large management consultancies. The Mayor of London is one of the finest examples of this.

However, with the cheap goods that fuelled our Christmas (70% coming from China according to the Chancellor) we can't keep growing the public sector infrastructure and expect taxation to pay for it. One day the straw will break the camel's back and the eighties recession may look mild by comparison.

Council tax soars again :

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Political Internet Channel

The internet has always offered a stage for dramatic reinvention. Now, internet television lets professional politicians play the role of citizen-reporter

18DoughtyStreet Talk TV launched in October as Britain's first political internet TV channel. It describes itself as "an anti-establishment TV station on the internet" with "citizen journalist reporters" who will be "championing rebel opinions" and "constantly questioning authority". But its five directors are all former Conservative candidates or employees and it advertised for staff in America with the claim that it would be "Like Fox News".

18DoughtyStreet streams up to five hours a night of political chat (talk radio for the eyes) untroubled by Ofcom regulations that require "due impartiality" from broadcasters. And it is not subject to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code that states, "No politician may be used as a newsreader, interviewer or reporter in any news programmes unless, exceptionally, it is editorially justified. In that case, the political allegiance of that person must be made clear to the audience. In any event, it's bound to drive our New Labour leaders a little crazy, which is as good an excuse as any to give it some space here.

I wonder if Tony is watching it from his borrowed holiday home in Miami?

TravelAgent to be Based at Manston Airport

Manston is to benefit from an on-site travel agency, due to open early next year.

Brockmans Travel, a Kent-based independent travel agent, will officially open a branch at the airport on January 13th. The company will offer its full range of products at the on-site location. This includes flights from travel companies such as Kent Escapes, which flies to Faro and Barcelona, and Newmarket Holidays, which flies to Italy.

Passengers will also be able to book flights from Manstonto Norfolk, Virginia in the US through Cosmos.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Neighbours Use Wheelie Bin for Fire Rescue

A mother and her two young children have had a 'very close call' after being saved from a fire at their home.

A neighbour put a wheelie bin against the side of Abby Cahill's house, in Minster, Kent, and helped the family down from a first-floor window.

The fire escape. Another useful idea for the Thanet wheelie bin:

Free Calls for Xmas

Reader D.O writes:

"Yes I know some of this is already known by some of you but its worth remembering about Free Landline calls during the festive period.

Free 5 min FREE TRIAL call ANYTIME landline to landline.

This is quite reliable too, Quality good too..No need to sign up. Just visit Freecall.com

Just press redial on screen when the call ends....."

OR

Free Calls XMAS Day only.

Secret Memo Warns of Crime Wave

As if we didn't know it already and just in time for Christmas, the country is in a complete mess. A new report for the Prime Minister reveals that nine out of 10 crimes are either not reported or go unpunished.

On top of this, half of all crimes in England Wales are committed by just 100,000 people and on that basis, I wonder what proportion of local crimes, here in Thanet, are committed by, say 100 people? Any guesses?

Secret memo warns Blair of crime wave :

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Elf Yourself

If you haven't "Elfed" yourself and your loved ones, then perhaps you should try?

Here's one member of the family in the Christmas "Elf" spirit of things

Here's the main link to the website.

Retail Greed - A Need to Re-visit the Law Says MP

The Sunday Trading laws will need to be re-visited to address the issue of "creative" Christmas Eve opening hours, says North Thanet's MP, Roger Gale.

Speaking in his constituency this morning the MP, a consistent opponent of Sunday trading and a supporter of the Keep Sunday Special campaign said:

"The large stores may be prepared to "bend" the law to extend shopping hours by introducing "browsing time " and "checking out time" but that is simply based upon retail greed and flies in the face of the spirit of the law.

We had to re-visit the Act to deal with the days when Christmas Day falls on a weekday and we will have to look again at how to plug what is clearly a loophole in the law.

Responding to the suggestion from the "My Sunday, My choice" group to the effect that shoppers would be "confused" by different hours the MP said:

"I think that this is a fatuous argument: people know that Christmas Day falls on December 25th and when that is a Monday they can probably just about work out for themselves that Christmas Eve is likely to be a Sunday! We have more than three hundred and sixty shopping days in which to get ready for Christmas and it's time that more consideration is given to the fact that store staff, like everyone else, want to get home early on Christmas Eve."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Making Waves Not Wind

I may be making "waves" on the windfarm story.

The new £500m windfarm opposite our coastline is set to make a fortune for its owners - just six years after they were involved in the spectacular collapse of Independent Energy that left investors, lenders and creditors hundreds of millions of pounds out of pocket.

Failed energy trio make windfarm killing :

Speed Awareness - Beware Speed Traps

The police are busy speed-trapping outside the QEQM today, so be aware.

Reader Mr EJ writes:,

"My father has been the unhappy recipient of a notice of intended prosecution for an alleged speeding offence. I am pretty sure that it was the camera van that got him - the location was given as Canterbury Rd Birchington. The second lot of papers have now arrived offering him the chance to escape the 3 penalty points by attending a "speed awareness course". The course lasts some 6 hours and costs £111. That works out at £18.50 per hour , per person attending the course!

When I heard about these courses being offered in lieu of a fine and penalty points I thought that it offered some credibility to the argument that it wasn't all about collecting money.

I am shocked that people are being asked to pay for the course and astounded that it is nearly twice what the fine would be.

Needless to say , my Dad will be opting for the fine and penalty points. It is almost as if this new initiative is sneakily making 3 points and a £60 fine look attractive! The courses are offered at Maidstone and in the Medway area.

I enjoyed your "watch out" article and thought this may interest you."

Ed: It does and thanks for letting me know. Your'e reader #3 with the same experience. The others paid the fine too, also expressing outrage that they would have to pay for an awareness course on top of the fine, if they were to lose the three points on their license. I guess if your'e up to the limit thought, you've got no choice!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Only in Thanet

"Fancy a DC9 jet engine mate? One careful owner, no questions asked."

Kent Police have charged two of the four men arrested yesterday in connection with the theft of a jet engine worth £60,000 from African International Airways at Manston.

A 36-year-old has also been charged the theft of two jet engines from African International Airways site on December 5.

Both have been bailed to appear before magistrates at Margate on January 9.

Ed: I can't imagine why anyone would be stupid enough to do this unless they simply planned to melt the engines down for scrap. It's not that you can sell the parts on

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wet Feet

A burst water main along the sea front at Westgate today opposite Dane Road. It's ditching about a year's supply of domestic water along the road and down the slope into the sea every ten minutes or so.

Can't be doing the road foundations any good either.

Christmas Ideas

It's called dog-wear and you can find it at "New Look" at Westwood Cross. But hurry, these cute Christmas presents for your favorite pooch are selling like hot cakes - especially the "hoodies", so be quick!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Approval Expected for Wind Farms

Plans for two major offshore wind farms in the Thames Estuary have been agreed by the government.

The London Array wind farm will be the biggest of its kind in the world, spread across 145 square miles, 12 miles off the coast between Margate in Kent and Clacton in Essex. The DTI also approved another development off Ramsgate, 100 turbines sited seven miles off north Foreland. The combined output of the schemes could be up to 1.3GW - "enough to meet the needs of a third of homes in Greater London".

Given last week's report on how inefficient wind power actually (1.3gw may be wildly optimistic) is with wind generators positioned here in the south, it looks as if someone is going to be making a great deal of money somewhere in government subsidies at the expense of the local view.

BBC Report:

Sunday, December 17, 2006

In the Dark

Over at Manston today and I was told that the company that runs the very succesful Kent Airshow in Palm Bay each June, has gone into receivership. If this is correct, then it rather begs the question of what's going to happen in 2007?

The airshow would have been in its third year and brings in thousands of visitors to Thanet. Can anyone offer us update please?

Here, by the way, is a short video of tonight's landing at Manston for any of you who might be interested in what it all looks like coming in when it's dark!

The Matrix - Sort of

I circled around Westwood a couple of times in the dark, late yesterday afternoon on the way into Manston. It didn't look as busy as I thought it might be. I'm told by the charity collectors on the ground that this is a tough Christmas, the pennies aren't flowing into the boxes as quickly as they normally do. This may reflect the overall retail picture of the worst pre-Christmas business in twenty-five years for the shops.

I'm guessing that with higher energy bills and a raft of other taxes and charges, people are tightening their belts, with the prospect of a New Year that holds higher council taxes and Gordon Brown as Prime Minister- that's if the police enquiry doesn't get him first - In the latter case, you just know that 'Brown Labour' will most likely squeeze the taxpayer in a way that hasn't been seen since the good old days of Robin Hood; every reason to hide a few pennies away under the floorboards. I did feel sorry for the man selling "The Big Issue" in Margate High Street this week. Not the best place for a charity pitch I thought.

Remaining with the subject of taxes, I see that Parachute training in the Army is set to be halted for four years as part of a £1 billion cost-cutting programme by the Ministry of Defence. It's back to tethered balloon jumps, I suppose, but they aren't qute like the real thing, even though I would argue it's a more frightening experience for the jumper.

Meanwhile, today, I've been caught-up in today's Observer news story that Cherie's 'Matrix Chambers', may have had to resort to legal action to defend themselves against internet pirates who are using Matrix's personnel, host of awards and high reputation in an apparent money-making scam.

I'm not quite sure the author understood what I meant by "website cloning" but it's a passable story and for once we can sit back and watch the lawyers fight it to a very expensive conclusion at their own expense.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sorry, We're Full

The Government is being urged to introduce new laws to stop other local authorities “dumping problem children” in the county.

Kent County Council says it is being asked to do the impossible by having to take on hundreds of foster children from other areas without notice and when no school places are available.

KCC was ordered to pay £5,000 compensation this week for failing to provide an education for a foster child moved into the area from Essex.

But KCC leader Paul Carter says the fault lies with the Government for allowing better-funded counties to flood Kent with their emergency problem cases.

Cllr Carter said: “It should be illegal for other authorities to place foster care children in our care without first making sure there is adequate educational provision.”

There are currently 2,513 looked-after children in Kent, around half of which have come from 77 other councils, including better-funded London boroughs.

The county must provide and pay for the education of all foster children living or placed in its boundaries.

Last week, Local Government Ombudsman Tony Redmond found both Essex and Kent county councils guilty of maladministration for failing to properly educate a teenager with learning and behavioural difficulties.

Essex was criticised for moving the 16-year-old boy to a foster home in Kent before suitable education had been arranged for him, while KCC failed to educate him for six months.

Cllr Carter acknowledged: “We were a little be slow off the starting block in this case, and that is regrettable.

“But in my view we were asked to do the impossible.”

North Thanet MP Roger Gale has 550 looked-after children in his constituency, 292 of which are from other authorities.

“We are being asked to wash other local authorities’ dirty linen,” he said.

“It isn’t the children’s fault - it is the fault of other local authorities and the Government. They have to stop dumping their problem children in Kent.”

A KCC spokesman said the council placed 120 foster children in other local authorities’ care last year, and the majority had been moved so they could live with family members or their permanent adoptive families.

Full Story:

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Little Conservation

I attended a council meeting last night which also figured a good number of Westgate residents. Their reason for being there, aside from a collective concern over new planning applications to build even more blocks of "retirement" flats in the town, was to see how the vote for the extension of the conservation area proceeded.

I'm pleased to say that it was carried and so the area of Westgate protected from the developers has expanded and will now include Beach road and Boundary road. Mind you, worries over the density of building persists and it will take more than conservation orders to protect the local landscape from the march of high-rise concrete.

The designation now extends to eight different parts of Westgate, including the area around Lockwood's Yard, a grade II listed building, the area around Westgate Library, properties on St. Mildred's Road, which previously formed one of Westgate's private schools.

Westgate was developed as an exclusive seaside resort from the late 1860's, complete with residential squares, seafront villas and promenade gardens. Although the development proved popular, the project ran into financial problems and in the 1880's and 1890's, as large houses became vacant, many were taken over as boarding schools.

Over the last six months, extensive public consultation has been carried out about the idea of extending the Conservation Area, including a public meeting in July, leaflets sent to local residents and questions to the Community Matters residents' panel.

Cllr. John Kirby, Cabinet Member for Development Services, said:
"This decision will give additional protection to the rich heritage and architecture that can be seen today in Westgate. It is a unique area, having originally evolved from a private estate town in the country and much of that history can be seen in the buildings that remain today. We need to ensure that these are conserved for future generations. With the extension of the Westgate Conservation Area, we will now be able to check that any repairs or maintenance works are carried out sympathetically and ensure that we retain as much of the history of Westgate as possible."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Caravan Has to Go

Enforcement action is to be taken against a Cliftonville property owner over two caravans in his back garden.

Thanet Council's Planning Committee last night (Wednesday 13
December) authorised the issuing of an enforcement notice against the owner of 28 Norfolk Road.

It comes after the owner appealed against non-determination of his planning application for a change of use from residential to dual use residential and a five bedroom bed and breakfast hotel.

The Planning Inspector's appeal decision was to allow the part use of the dwelling and the use of three bedrooms on the first floor of the property for bed and breakfast accommodation. However, he refused permission for retention of the two static caravans in the rear garden for use as ancillary accommodation for family and friends.

The owner has one month to comply with the enforcement notice, from the date it becomes effective. The Council is now going through the legal process of serving the notice.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bereaved Families Pay Legal Fees

North Thanet's MP, Roger Gale, has today called on the Government to meet the legal fees for bereaved forces` families to be represented at inquests.

Speaking at Parliamentary Question Time today the MP challenged the Prime Minister:

"When inquests are held into the deaths of service personnel whose bodies have been returned to the United Kingdom the Government is represented by the Treasury Solicitor. The Treasury Solicitor has, effectively, unlimited access to taxpayer's money to hire QC`s, call witnesses and produce reports.

Bereaved families attending the same inquests have to pay for any legal representation out of their own pockets. Is it right that the dice should be loaded against the bereaved?"

In response the Prime Minister indicated, in broad terms, that "bereaved families should be given the assistance that they need".

Speaking outside the Chamber after the exchange Roger Gale said:

I have constituents who lost their son on active service in the gulf and others who lost their daughter in Iraq. I have been fortunate in securing the services of a sympathetic lawyer to represent the interests of one family and he has been both generous and helpful. At the end of the day, however, a potentially large bill will have to be paid and as things stand my constituents will end up footing the bill. There is legal aid that is theoretically available but that is means tested and it is likely that my constituents, although of modest means not in receipt of benefits, would not qualify.

It has to be wrong that the Government can hire a battery of expensive lawyers at taxpayer's expense to protect its interests but that no assistance is practically available for those, the bereaved, who have the most personal influence in the case.

I hope that the Prime Minister means what he said and that the Lord Chancellor will be charged with the duty of ensuring that reasonable funding will be made available to all bereaved families who wish to be legally represented at these inquests.

We continually pay lip-service to the sacrifice that our young men and women are making in Iraq and Afghanistan: the time has come to turn that verbal appreciation into real support backed by hard cash."

Keeping Margate Dry

Research is to be carried out into the future level of defence that might be required to reduce the risk of flooding to Margate seafront and Old Town.

A report, looking at the issue, went before Thanet Council’s Cabinet last night (Tuesday 12 December). It explained that Margate’s harbour arm plays a vital role in retaining Margate Main Sands and that, along with the sea walls in the area, they help to protect Margate Old Town and the Dreamland site from flooding during storms. Although the Old Town was flooded during an extreme storm in 1953, the sea walls were subsequently raised to reduce the risk of such an event from happening again.

As part of the original Turner Contemporary project, work was due to be undertaken to reinforce the harbour arm, but with the changes to this scheme, that work will no longer be going ahead. In order to get funding for any work from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), a project appraisal must first be carried out, which will form the major part of an application for funding. Cabinet have now approved £50,000 to pay for the project appraisal, all of which will be repaid by DEFRA, provided the scheme reaches their criteria for grant aid.

Cllr. John Kirby, Cabinet Member for Development Services, said: “We have good sea defences, but obviously we do need to maintain them. The risk of flooding to the seafront or the Old Town area has not suddenly increased and is still very low, but this is something that we need to be thinking about now and planning for, as none of us knows when the next extreme storm may be. We’re looking to the future and starting to put measures in place to ensure that these areas are protected from potential floods for generations to come, but that won’t be a quick process. Firstly we need to look at what the current situation is and what protection we will need in the future, before we can prepare a bid for funding. That’s the stage we’re at now. Even once we submit that bid, it’s unlikely that we would get any funding until 2009.”

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Sun Focuses on Thanet Sex Offender

Thanet figures in the Sun newspaper with a paedophile story.

The headline :"A child porn pervert is living in a flat overlooking a nursery school playground" - the ABC Nursery in Kingsgate.

Some of you may recall that when, under the Freedom of Information Act, I asked Kent Police to reveal the number of registered sex offenders living in the area that might constitute a danger to children, they declined, on the basis that such information "Might lead to public disorder."

Sun Newspaper Story:

Monday, December 11, 2006

Canterbury Rd Lights Accident

Obviously a serious accident at the Canterbury road traffic lights at Westgate this afternoon. It's 10pm and the police are still measuring-up the scene.

Does anyone know what happened?

Which Reminds Me


Labour Banner 1
Originally uploaded by DrMoores.

I was towing this around for Tony during the General Election but can anyone remind me what has happened since then?

Post Office Closures - Thanet Tories Back Sub Post Offices

Thanet Tories Laura Sandys (South Thanet) and Roger Gale, North Thanet's MP, have this week again joined forces to speak out against yet more proposed post office closures



Roger Gale says:

"Nobody should be fooled by the weekend "spin" initiative orchestrated by Blair's government. The idea that you can leak the possible closure of "half the network" and then pretend that you are somehow "saving" all but a few thousand sub post offices will not deceive a public that have seen, since 1997, far too many local lifelines cut.

In North Thanet Greenhill, Studd Hill and William Street in Herne Bay, all essential to the communities that they served, have gone in spite of protests and petitions. In Margate, Victoria Road, Monkton, Cliftonville and Acol have gone and others look set to follow. Every one of our small Post Offices matters to local people and many feel isolated by the removal of locations where they meet not only to do business but to talk to friends".

Laura Sandys adds:

"It is urban village Post Offices as well as those in the rural villages that are under threat from the government's removal of pension, benefit and other business from these local post office counters. Outlets like Ash and Wingham are vital to the people that live in these communities and Summerfield Road, in Palm Bay, provides a focal point not just for Post Office business but for the parade of shops that provide for many elderly people and for young families as well. Unless we speak out boldly I fear for the future of small businesses such as these."

And in a joint statement these East Kent politicians comment:

"South East Postwatch, the consumer watchdog, says in its December newsletter that

"Local Post Offices are extremely important to rural life. They provide postal advice and additional services for rural customers in a convenient location. Often post offices can also be the social hub of the community. Many people rely on their local post office and would be reluctant to accept alternatives"

If the Post Office and Government will not listen to political voices then perhaps they will pay at least some attention to the industry watchdog. Postwatch have determined that people are opposed to such alternatives as automated postal services, kiosks and `secure boxes` and regard them as unreliable. And no amount of IT and automation can properly replace human contact and personal service. Once this network is destroyed it will be gone for ever so we have to urge those that care to speak out and resist any further cuts

No School - No Jobs

And a problem that we can now observe in Thanet, with parts of Ramsgate now described as 'No Go' areas after dark.

There are now 1.24 million people aged between 15 and 24 who are neither in education, work or in a training scheme — a 15 per cent increase on 1997. The rise has been particuarly rapid for 16 to 17-year-olds and men, both up by almost a third.

Today's report – entitled Breakdown Britain – suggests that 30 years of laissez-faire welfarism has been a disaster for the country and cannot continue. It estimates the cost of family breakdown at more than £20 billion a year. Unless there is a radical reappraisal of Government policy towards marriage and the family, social tensions will grow and communities will fall apart.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Proud Family Unveil Iraq Memorial

The husband of the first British servicewoman killed on duty in the Iraq conflict wiped away tears as a memorial was unveiled to commemorate her life.

Flt Lt Sarah-Jayne Mulvihill, 32, from Kent, and four male colleagues died when their helicopter came down in May.

Her husband, Lee, 37, stood alone in front of the picture of his late wife as it was unveiled by her brother at at Manston.

I'm sure all our readers would wish to send their sympathies to Flt Lt Mulvihill's family.

BBC NEWS Story :

Park & Pay Time

Millions of householders face paying a tax of hundreds of pounds a year for parking their cars outside their homes, in council tax changes introduced by the Government.

A Commons written reply by Local Government Minister Phil Woolas said that the new computerised system for calculating council tax in the future would take account of parking.

Given that so many home in Thanet have had their front gardens turned into driveways, I wonder if any of our Labour councillors would like to comment on whether this new attempt to squeeze more blood out of the council tax stone is a good idea or not?

Windmills - More Wind

I watched, with some interest, the news coverage on the deficiencies of wind power yesterday.

Apparently and according to DTI figures, the windmill farms we see sprouting off our coast, are at best, only 24% efficient and appear to cost rather more money than they are worth as a return on investment. However, the subsidies and grants given for building wind farms are rather large, which goes some way to explaining the enthusiasm for wind from some quarters.

Time to reconsider building another wind farm opposite Ramsgate perhaps?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Ring Them In

New cards are being issued to encourage people to call in confidence with information on graffiti vandals.

Residents can call the anti-social behaviour hotline on 01843 577888 in strictest confidence if they know who's responsible for any graffiti attacks across the District. Credit card sized cards, with the phone number on, and a message urging people to fight vandalism, are now being given out by the Thanet Community Safety Partnership.

Cllr. Ingrid Spencer, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said:

"These cards are another way of encouraging people to call in with information about the mindless minority who graffiti our beautiful area.

We are determined to tackle this problem and that's why we're introducing these cards. We understand that sometimes people may know who's responsible for graffiti, but equally they may not want to come forward and by calling the anti-social behaviour hotline on 577888, they can give us information in complete confidence."

She added: "We realise that there is the potential for people to abuse this system by calling and giving us anyone's names, but that idea won't work. Any information we receive on the hotline will be checked with other intelligence and evidence we've got to ensure that we don't just rely on one person's word."

The anti-social behaviour hotline can also be used to report other issues, such as vandalism, intimidation, harassment and dumped rubbish, giving as much information as possible about incidents, such as times, dates and places.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fire in the Old Town

No amusement arcades involved though!: A fire that wrecked a garage unit in Margate old town is being investigated by police as a suspected arson.

At the height of the blaze neighbours reported 50ft high flames dramatically illuminating the night sky above the fire scene at Fort Mount as 40 firefighters from across Thanet fought to stop them spreading to nearby buildings.

I'm sure that lots of people will have witty comments to make on this subject. On that note, Blogger appears to be having problems publishing comments today and so if your's doesn't appear, you know why; it's nothing to do with me.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Local Politics - Dream On

I'll have to admit that life's rather more peaceful now I don't feel compelled to write so often and have lost, for now at least, the blogging compulsion.

Meanwhile, I see we have a new lady blogger in Ramsgate to inject a little lively enthusiasm into an often tired-looking Thanet literary scene.

I was reminded today that local elections aren't so very far away. Time perhaps for local people to think long and hard about some of their sitting representatives and what they have done or are doing for their constituents. Even with the rosiest of spectacles on, there's a great deal that needs to be improved and local people I speak with feel very disconnected from local politics. Perhaps we need a revolution and that's not the skatepark either!

A little inspiration may be required from T.E. Lawrence perhaps, my most favourite of quotes:

"All men dream dreams, but not equally. Those that dream in the dusty recesses of the night wake to find that their dreams were vanities. But beware of the dreamers of the day, for they live to make their dreams realities."

Tax and More Tax

Surrounded as we are by an avaricious and rapidly growing police state, using private sector involvement in its taxation - try civilian operated speed traps - it now appears that the taxman has been given access to a vast database of property details under a deal with the website Rightmove.co.uk .

The Valuation Office Agency - the department of HM Revenue & Customs that allocates a council tax band to every home in England and Wales - will be able to use the data to find out about improvements such as double-glazing and conservatories that may increase your tax bill.

Estate agents sell house details to taxman:

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bulletin Board

Two pieces of local news for you:

Mr Friday writes: "On Sunday 3rd December Thanet Roadrunners AC are holding a 10 mile road race from Westgate to Palm Bay and back.

The race starts at 10am. There will be hundreds of runners travelling down from outside Thanet and it would be great if any Thanet Life readers are out and about early Sunday morning to encourage the runners en route as it is much appreciated and will give a good impression of the area to those travelling here for the event !!"

The Ursuline College has its winter fete running at the school in Canterbury Rd, Westgate, from 10am tomorrow, Saturday. All welcome.

Healthy Options

Two patients limp into two different surgeries with the same complaint. Both have trouble walking and appear to require a hip replacement.

The first patient is examined within the hour, is x-rayed the same day and has a time booked for surgery the following week.

The second sees his family doctor after waiting a week for an appointment, then waits eighteen weeks to see a specialist, then gets an x-ray, which isn't reviewed for another month and finally has his surgery scheduled for a year from then.

Why the different treatment for the two patients?

The first is a Yorkshire Terrier; the second is an old age pensioner.

Don't Forget to Watch

Channel 4, Saturday 2nd December @ 8pm. Putting Margate on the map!