Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Burning Issue

It's too wet to venture outside and I've a few minutes to spare and so I will share the news that the toilets in West Bay were the subject of yet another arson attack last night.

To be frank, I've now lost count of arson incidents and the total costs involved. Last night's at West Bay, is, I think #3 in the last six months - I wrote about the last one here - and then there's Minnis Bay as well with toilet and beach hut destruction wreaked as far as Ramsgate, although we have a particular problem with juvenile arsonists in the Westgate area.

The police had told me, last month, that they had caught one teenager who had confessed to earlier incidents but obviously they come in pairs or even small groups and as much as I might like, I can't speculate on where these teenagers might be coming from.

Other than the inconvenience to the public 'convenience' before the Bank Holiday weekend, the costs are becoming a real problem. Significant amounts are now being spent across Thanet, dealing with the consequences of arson and vandalism and last week alone, the beach huts from Minnis to Westgate were attacked.

These are difficult times and budgets are under real strain. The mounting costs of constantly repairing damage along our coastline are bound to be felt elsewhere. This may not be Tottenham or Croydon but the actions of a small group of troubled teenagers are costing our community far too much and if you live in any of the areas affected, as I do, please be vigilant. As a local citizen rather than a councillor, I plan to start taking my dog for a regular late evening walk along the seafront at Westgate to keep an eye on things and if you would like to join me for some fresh air, do let me know.

Update:

I've just walked over to have a look and the damage is more than I expected. The men's toilets are a burned and blackened disaster area with the pervasive smog of arson still clinging in the air. Apparently this happened in broad daylight early yesterday evening!

37 comments:

Ken Gregory said...

Lets hope that, should these people get caught, Thanet Magistrates show the same resolve as their contemporaries in London and Birmingham!

Peter Checksfield said...

Time to invest in fire alarms perhaps?

DrM. said...

Not much use when an accelerant is used as by the time the fire brigade arrives the damage is done.

As for the CCTV suggestion... over the cubicles perhaps? I can just see the headlines!

Anonymous said...

anon again!
CCTV is a great idea. No, they do not have to view the cubicles, only help trace the LUNATIC CRETIN who is setting fire to the loo's!
Honestly, some excuses for catching a Law Breaking Criminal are pathetic.

DrM. said...

Just remind me please who pays for the installation of CCTV cameras in our public toilets and where the money would come from?

Anonymous said...

On a more practical note, doesn't the Swan have CCTV in its garden? If so doesn't that cover the area? at the very least it would be worth asking, yesterday evening was foul, there was hardly anyone about someone must of seen someone. Might not be kids, could just be a loon of any age.

Peter Checksfield said...

The money for CCTV (etc) can come from the savings TDC have made by closing down so many public loos in recent years.

DrM. said...

What savings? Unless the world has passed you by Peter next years budget will see even heavier budget cuts than this last year. There is no money to spare and eventually the message will get through

Peter Checksfield said...

So they didn't save any money when they shut down all those loos 2 or 3 years back? Why did they do it then, just to be awkward?

DrM. said...

The budget simply shrank. Where do you think the money comes from? Fairies?

1 o'clock Rob said...

Peter, with limited resources where do you think the council is going to get the cash? Which currently funded service provided by the council do you think they should cut?

http://www.thanet.gov.uk/a_to_z_of_services.aspx

Peter Checksfield said...

I'd start with cutting their free parking in Mill Lane carpark (walking / cycling should be encouraged) & stop wasting time / money removing harmless banners.

Strange that other non-TDC Kent locations (Folkestone & Seasalter spring to mind) have actually been investing in new toilets in these tough times, but presumably the councils for those areas recognise how important tourism is. I was in Grenham Bay (near Birchington) today, & there wasn't anyone around on a reasonably sunny August afternoon... "coincidentally" the toilets there are long boarded-up, & the drinking water fountain hasn't worked for years. Hardly enticing for visitors, eh?

DrM. said...

Peter
The people of Thanet can sleep safe in their beds knowing that such decisions about budgets and services lie in other hands than yours!

Anonymous said...

anon again!
How about the TD Council use the money on CCTV cams, to be in place for one month only, from the money they save by not sweeping my street anymore, saving HALF on the waste collection cost, not repairing the pavements in Thanet, and stop wasting Council Tax payers money on the things the Residents of Thanet don't even want.
Don't get me wound up on this, or I will challenge you in the next elections.
Your excuses are pathetic, you seem to have become immuned to the very people who voted you in.

Anonymous said...

Keep ignoring the anon comments simon, especially the ones pointing out the failings the council your form part of.

Tdc is adequately resourced to fix these toilets, same as it's able to point cameras at these sensitive areas to catch any culprits in the act.

The fact that tdc chooses to waste it's precious resource through vanity projects, arse covering exercises (CCTV homepage banner anyone?) and funding every local builder rather than offering the services every tax payer wants is everyone's concern.

For openness, how about publishing full accounts, including job descriptions, responsibility and salary, without names, plus listing the actual work completed for our millions paid out on your spend over £500 list each month.

Perhaps you might be suprised at what you see yourself. I bet you know what the bottom line and shortfall is, but have any of you ever actually looked at the detail?

DrM. said...

I had to check for a moment that it wasn't me burning down the toilets as the thread appears to be going off track.

For example, builders are an important source of revenue through planning applications. Without such income, local services would shrink further because council tax only pays a fractional amount towards the costs of local government services in Thanet.

Vandalism across the island is costing us a small fortune fortune and the costs are not sustainable.

A little clarity of thinking is required where CCTV is involved; in particular the costs involved. You don't simply stick a CCTV camera anywhere you might feel like it and if you have CCTV in one toilet then perhaps another will be burned down instead or the vandals will simply pull up their hoods and carry on regardless! Who knows but that's a matter for the police.

In regards to the bottom line, coincidentally this is what is taking place this week and all day today with the management teams. Budgets and services are examined through as part of the Star Chamber process. Costs and resources are challenged with the aim of meeting objectives, saving money and achieving the budget targets required for next year.

Some readers still appear awfully confused over the role of a councillor in local government and it show here. Pavements. for example are a KCC responsibility and Thanet now has the highest street scene cleanliness score in its history but with some well-known pockets around the island that absorb resources because a significant proportion of the residents have little sense of community or social responsibility in managing their rubbish

Anonymous said...

I think now is the perfect time to tackle those without social or community responsibility as it seems the courts and senior politicians are aligned.

If you are powerless to do anything about bogs being repeatedly set alight and can only offer excuses on what can't be done, perhaps the community needs to take over?

1 o'clock Rob said...

Just imagine what the cleaning crews could achieve if everyone kept their little bit of pavement/gutter/gully free of rubbish and weeds.

Just imagine where the money saved could be spent on.

Community needs to play a part, like it used to before we somehow absolved ourselves of any responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Cut our council tax accordingly & we may well consider doing that Rob.

DrM. said...

10:01 needs to leave his fantasy world and understand that like everyone else in Thanet, he is heavily subsidised for local government services and that his council tax bill is simply a modest contribution to a much larger figure that society has discovered it can no longer afford.

Anonymous said...

This "he" is actually a "she", "Dr" Moores.

DrM. said...

In that case, my apologies Madam but the message remains unchanged.

DrM. said...

I just told Meridian News that we are investigating the costs and practicalities of CCTV for some of the 30 or more public toilets presently open in Thanet

1 o'clock Rob said...

Anon 10:01... so to get you to play a vital role in rebuilding community spirit in Thanet the Council tax will have to be reduced.

Oh well...

Anonymous said...

anon again!
Nothing is as impossible as doing nothing to solve a problem.
I seem to be hearing/reading, that NOTHING can be done to catch these idiot's.
Sorry, but I do not agree. TDC has '0' backbone to deal with serious criminal matters.
We need a stronger force to deal with these twaunts.

DrM. said...

When reality finally catches up with you 'anon' then you may realise that TDC is a council and not the police, whose job it is to catch arsonists!

mingles4all said...

Of course arson on the Isle of Thanet is not the exclusive preserve of disaffected youth - some see it as an intrinsic part of the planning process especially when Grade 2 listing is involved.

DrM. said...

Sailing very close to the wind with that comment and for sensible legal reasons I will not be accepting any more comment on that clearly mischevious theme.

Anonymous said...

things not gone your way simom don,t you like the truth now i think it is time you listened to what the people say instead of talking them down they are all as good as you even better so stop talking down to the poeple whom write on your blog site you might fly planes and be acouncillor but that does not make you better than the people of thanet good point to remember i think don,t you

Anonymous said...

well done 253 true words me thinks

DrM. said...

One after the other? Do try a little harder than that or readers will lose interest!

Anonymous said...

there you go again talking down to people

DrM. said...

Sometimes, it's just unavoidable and entirely reminiscent of a Blackadder sketch!

Anonymous said...

i would only give you 2/10 for remarks like you put on your blog not very grown up me thimks perhaps others will think the same as a lot of poeple in thanet when they read your site

Anonymous said...

Anon, how can you criticise someone for being "not very grown up" when you use the grammar and spelling of an 8 year old?

Anonymous said...

o 406 what is it like to be perpect it must hurt your brain me thinks then there is always one who nit picks

Anonymous said...

i take 4 06 you must be the only one who never makes mistakes or pressed the wrong button it would be a very sad place if everybody were like you and mr moores so might i surgest you stop correcting every body but then there is alway one