Thursday, September 06, 2012

Motorway

For me, it's the end of the summer season and all of a sudden it's like the recession never happened and I can't explain it, as I'm rushed-off my feet. It hasn't been this busy since 2008 and so I haven't been able to find the time to keep my weblog as up to date as I might like.

Simon Moores @ Cambridge Moller Centre
Yesterday I was at Churchill College in Cambridge on a fabulous late summer's day, giving a presentation at the Moller Centre, wedged between Google and a Harvard Professor, the former CTO of Sun Microsystems,  feeling sorely out of my intellectual depth. Being lucky enough to fly, there and back, took the pain off a three hour drive across the QE2 bridge and M25 in the rush hour, together with the city's awful traffic problem. Leaving in the evening, I was on the Cambridge runway at 6:20 and arriving through my front door by 7:30, the motorway traffic crawling along far below.

Just to keep Westgate residents informed, I'm meeting Police Inspector Steve Impey on Monday, follwing the arson attack on the cricket club and to discuss my concerns over what I see is growing anti-social behaviour in Westgate. In a written reply to my earlier email, the Inspector informs me: "Both crime and Anti Social Behaviour in the Westgate area are significantly down compared to last year (Crime is down by 25% and ASB by 32%) and we continue to strive to reduce both further."

 I'm delighted of course that the Police are continuing their efforts but perception is everything and residents are alarmed by what they see taking place around them in the evenings and don't recognise the broader improvement that the Police refer to. I've been asked to raise several issues by email by people and if you have any of your own, please comment here.

One problem  in particular, involves the War Memorial in Sea Road, leading one resident to write: "Sunday seems to have become the meeting place for the low life of the town, this being a number of youths who use the memorial garden as their urinal, place for drinking alcohol, damaging the benches and flower beds and playing football and skateboarding often until the early hours of the morning. The bushes around the garden serves as ideal cover for them to indulge in their activities and we have contacted TDC asking if hedges and bushes could be thinned and tidied in order that they cannot be used as cover."

There's a Residents' Association meeting in Westgate on Monday evening and I'm sure that more strong feelings will be expressed there as well.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

What we have in any town or village like Westgate and that is teenagers split into several groups depending on their social circunstance. The train station and Ethelbert Square are also hangouts but these are not the same bunch of kids...Each group have their preferred hangout and unfortunately kids have difficulty in respecting in what doesn't belong to them, that's just how it is. NoW stopping them hanging out at the war memorial would only move on elsewhere which is not the solution. We need to ask the kids what the solution because as adults, we don't.

ashamed said...

Simon, no mention of the new Labour Member for Westgate and what she is doing, it seems only you and Tom King are working hard for the residents, well done

Anonymous said...

I've had a news letter put through my door and she is holding a monthly surgery for an hour once a month! in Westgate.

Upton said...

I an sick and tired of the police hiding behind statistics which show a reduction in crime when there is a problem. The route cause of most anti social behaviour would appear to be alcohol. I thought there was a bylaw against drinking in a public place but not apparently in Thanet. The Thanet Community Safety Plan for 2012-2013 states that during the year they will continue to work with residents to improve quality of life and ensure the community feels safe. There is obviously much still to do in Westgate.Anonymous states we need to ask the kids for a solution. That people are trying to connect with them is illustrated by the recently opened 'Strength Youth Cafe' but I would suggest the group involved get their kicks by being anti social and nothing you do for them will improve their behaviour.

Anonymous said...

4/04 Bless!
I'm so greatful she can spend a whole hour a month solving all Westgates problems.
After all, she is in full time education, has two young kids and needs regular holidays in France paid for by the benefits she receives. Or maybe shes using the cash from being Mayoress of Margate with her boy frend Will the Mayor?
Nice "work" if you can get it!

Anonymous said...

We live overlooking the park at Ethelbert Square and have been lucky this summer in that the yobs have stopped hanging around here for the time being(touch wood!). Unfortunately though it seems that, as stated above, they have simply moved on to other areas. One factor in the improvement in Ethelbert Square is the removal of benches. The bench near the wall at the far end og the square used to be a favourite hangout for its secluded nature. The removal of this in particular has had a big effect I think. Perhaps removing benches at the War Memorial might be a way forward?
Westgate is such a lovely place to live with pleasant people, a great atmosphere and seemingly busy shops. What a shame that the focus is so often on vile yobs who don't care about anyone other than themselves.

simon moores said...

Sorry.. personal attacks on one of our lady councillors breaches my acceptable use policy. You would have to rephrase your concerns to pass scrutiny under this rule.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing new in yobs and vandalism. Many years ago, before idiocy like "Zero tolerance"and "Intelligence targetting" had entered police jargon, I was a rural beat officer.

There was a "conservation area" in one village. Suffering vandalism to trees and public lavatories etc/

Until a village bogeyman came on the scene. A ski masked man who wore an Army great coat.

This man seemed to be a self appointed night custodian of the conservation acreage/

Terrifying gangs of yobs who stopped visiting the area after dusk. Vandalism stopped.

One day the sergeant asked me if I had come close to catching the great coated yob pursuer. He had it on good authority my police van was seen nearby at the last manifestation of the terror.

"Yes sarge", I replied, " I think I was within an inch of catching the vigilante who terrifies the yobs"

"Try looking for him in the back of your van", said the sarge "He leaves his army greatcoat and ski mask hidden up in there"

Anonymous said...

Any chance of giving this a quick plug Simon?

http://www.visitthanet.co.uk/thedms.aspx?dms=13&feature=1092&venue=3201198

Anonymous said...

It is a wretched state of affairs when arson takes away a valued building like the cricket pavilion. I do not understand why, in this day and age, that items of great sentimental value were left in the pavilion ! It is a bit like leaving your jewellery in your garden shed ! This wooden building, however securely locked, was always a potential target, and being built of the same material as a garden shed, it astonishes me that anyone thought it was a good idea to leave '75 years of treasured memorabilia' inside overnight ! We do not live in an age where kids can amuse themselves harmlessly, and this isn't a new problem, so why leave anything of value, sentimental or otherwise, in this building ? If the items were so highly prized, why wasn't there CCTV cameras installed ?

Anonymous said...

Just had a flyer from our 'local' (lives in Margate) Labour councillor who is working SO HARD for the people of Westgate. No landline number, several spelling mistakes and the emphasis on working SO HARD is getting a bit tired. Wish I could cover my duties in just one hour a month as she appears to be doing. Anybody seen her at the cricket pavilion site ? No, I thought not.

Anonymous said...

She's on holiday again.

Anonymous said...

More sniping from anonymous cowards...

*yawn*

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:25, how far does the (Tory) MP for North Thanet live from the area he represents? I believe it's further than the 2 miles that Ms Hibbert lives from her represented area.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I saw her there last week (wednesday I think).

Anonymous said...

She's registered as a student on her Declaration of Interests and she's a single mum. So with the studying, child minding and accompanying the Mayor she's probably a bit strapped for time. Simon and Tom are doing an excellent job so she can safely leave them to look after the ward.
Did we not have an example of an absentee Councillor during the Nottingham affair - and look who that let in. And in the interests of political neutrality there was of course the strange case of the Panamanian Councillor.

Tommo said...

hi Simon,

When you have your meeting with the Inspector it would be interesting to find out how many officers they have covering the period between 6pm until say 2am. particualrly around the weekends. I must say i regularly see officers riding on cycles around Westgate but that is during day time when I suspect most of the problems do not happen.

Anonymous said...

Some councillors use events like this for photo opportunities and self-promotion, while others just quitely get on with things.

I won't mention any names though (let's be thankful she's not a busy pilot who's often elsewhere in the country!).

Anonymous said...

This is a local cricket club run by local people with limited finances. It is a cricket pavillion therefore unless you propose taking the contents of it out everyday it will be fairly lifeless. Treasured sentimental pictures of past members since deceased is what is of value. Memories still present but treasured pictures of my late father and I playing cricket destroyed and irreplaceable.