Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Blast from the Past

Cherie Booth 1983
A blast from the today, having re-discovered some political literature from the Thanet of 1983.

You may recognise the young lady in the photograph from the faded Labour election material, married at the time to a barrister named Anthony Blair, who might one day later, enter politics and make a name for himself in the Labour party.

Listening to Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, this morning on the BBC's Andew Marr Show, focusing in on potential tax cut for higher earners in next week's budget, it seems that Labour have not moved on that much since 1983. They have quite forgotten, that the argument in favour of such a tax cut or fiscal stimulus, first came from Alasdair Darling when the financial crisis first happened. Why? Because Government spends your taxes very badly but there's considerable evidence to support the notion that cutting taxes at the higher levels injects more money into the economy and stimulates the consumer spending that we so badly need.

Pity the people of Cyprus who are looking at a 10% tax on their bank savings from tomorrow, prompting panic withdrawals. The island is yet one more tragic example of a failed European policy of throwing money at member governments, based on wildly exaggerated economic figures sketched out on the back of a cigarette package. Thankfully, the UK is not part of the bail-out as David Cameron refused to allow Britain to participate in the rescue of failing governments and foreign banks with, I predict, more to come.

Back here in Thanet, there's been some useful dialogue in the previous entry over the Tesco Metro application for Westgate, which comes before the planning committee for decision on Wednesday evening. To be perfectly frank, I believe the absence of a highways objection is a mistake and at the same time, as Dr Dawn Crouch, our local historian, points out:

"The plan for the Westgate Estate drawn by the Estate architect, Charles Nightingale Beazley in 1870 shows clearly that Station Road was intended to have shops on one side only of the road east of the stationmaster’s house."


Roger Gale 1983
The Council's policy TC8, while potentially allowing additional shopping provision, requires any proposals to clearly demonstrate, fundamentally, the "need" for extra facilities. As pointed out by one eagle-eyed reader, "By its own admission the proposed store is aimed solely at "Top-up shopping" and does not demonstrate any 'need' in its proposal. A Co-Op already exists on site, with extended opening hours offering a wide range of goods."

We have until Wednesday afternoon to keep the discussion going, so please keep the comments and observations going. Tesco was successfully defeated in the village of Herne and I see no good reason that with the weight of public opinion against it in Westgate, why we should not have the right to defeat them here. There's been a great deal of talk about the principle of localism and it would be nice to see it succeed here.

I'm very pleased that our Thanet North MP, Sir Roger Gale, has also added his support to the campaign and I would respectfully ask all our members of the Council's Planning Committee to study the many useful points and arguments included in the comments section. While I completely recognise that TDC can't afford a legal battle with Tesco's very clever lawyers without very solid legal ground for a refusal, like Sainsbury's last year, I believe that the planning officers recommendation to approve is built on a very flawed evaluation of heritage, conservation and highways issues in Westgate and I will say so on Wednesday evening in the Council chamber.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Simon,

I sympathise with you over the absent highways objection and this would not be first occasion where obvious highway problems have been underestimated. Surely it is not too late from them (whoever they might be) to reconsider and maybe amend their recommendation. Do you know who is responsible for highways planning comments? Is it local and TDC, or KCC? Can you find out please?

Anonymous said...

Labour were in office for 4692 days. The 50p tax rate was in force for 41 days of that time. The Labour government had the chance to squeeze millionaires with a higher rate of tax but didn't until the writing was on the wall. Now they complain about a cut to 45p which is still higher than they ever taxed higher rate earners, apart from 41 days, yet they still complain. They really don't get it. It's the politics of envy, something the Labour party is very good at.

Simon Moores said...

Highways comes from KCC. Who is responsible for the report I don't know but the best we can hope for is to challenge its conclusions as the recommendation to approve is not going to change before Wednesday evening.

Roxburgh Rd for parking is risible as the available spaces are actually house driveways!

Shinguard said...

The 50p tax rate and it’s change to 45p is and always was a bit of a red herring, the real change is the lowering of the threshold for the higher tax rate of 40% from people earning over £34,371 (after their initial tax free £9,440) last year to the new April 2013 level of those earning £32,011.

This in effect means 400,000 more middle-income earners will be dragged into the 40% tax band over the next two to three years. This is because the higher rate income tax threshold will rise by just 1% in 2014-15 and 2015-16, so the income at which people start paying the 40% rate will rise from £41,450 in 2013 to £41,865 in 2014, then to £42,285 in 2015.

For the 1% of the working population who earn over £150,000 and who currently ‘pay’ the 50% rate, well do they really pay it? I’m pretty sure they happily pay their clever accountants large amounts of money to keep their tax bills down and probably pay less in real terms than the 400,000 middle earners many of whom are in PAYE jobs where tax avoidance is much more difficult.

Anonymous said...

Hope?! Friends from my old South East London stomping ground have informed me of Tesco trying to develop an Express store on a site consisting of residential units and lots of other independent or franchised conveinience stores, cafes, takeaways etc... Simliar to us there are strong objections locally for a variety of reasons.
The site fronts a typical London, local high street, but the side of it is on a residential street. There is also a bus stop in front of proposed store, meaning that deliveries would need to take place to the side of building.

Lewisham council has REFUSED the first stage of planning application on several grounds, including street scene (and it's not even a conservation area!), and especially interesting is point 4 and I quote " The applicant has not demonstrated that the proposed retail unit can be adequately serviced without either significant impact on adjoining residents, highway safety or bus service provision and therefore the proposal is contrary to policies Policy 6.3 Assessing Effects of Development on Transport Capacity, 6.9 Cycling, Policy 6.10 Walking & Policy 6.13 Parking of The London Plan (July 2011); and Objective 9: Transport & Accessibility & Policy 14: Sustainable Movement and Transport of the Local Development Framework - Core Strategy (June 2011)."

I know it may be slightly different as they are developing residential units too, and I know nothing about planning laws and whether each objection is considered in respect of all the others (i.e one breach is not sufficient for refusal), and I also know each Local Authority have there own planning guidelines, but am sharing this in case it is useful!
See link below:
http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/LEWIS-XSLPagesDC/acolnetcgi.exe?ACTION=UNWRAP&RIPNAME=Root.PgeResultDetail&TheSystemkey=63320

Anonymous said...

If the proposed Tesco store goes ahead perhaps it should be a priviso that all deliveries are by rail.

Simon Moores said...

The Council papers for Wednesday night's Tesco planning debate are here:

https://eksra.ekservices.org/documents/s29830/,DanaInfo=tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk+A01-%20Former%20Goods%20Yard%20Station%20Road%20Westgate%20On%20Sea%20-%20FTH120769.pdf

Anonymous said...

Effectively, the Kent Highways argument will be that there will be little new 'trip generation', simply that people will go to TESCO rather than Co-Op. As regards the dedicated TESCO loading bay, I can also see the argument that this would minimise the disruption caused by regular deliveries. The fact that other stores do not have dedicated parking areas is of no import, as it is not Highways' remit to consider 'unfair' competition. The proposal for 'build outs' and a new pedestrian crossing is also arguable on a safety basis.

Gerald said...

The papers for Tesco's planning application are also here:

http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/documents/s29830/A01-%20Former%20Goods%20Yard%20Station%20Road%20Westgate%20On%20Sea%20-%20FTH120769.pdf

[If you don't have access to the web site that Simon posted a link to.]

Anonymous said...

Simon your link requires use of TDCs VPN. The public link is here http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/documents/s29830/A01-%20Former%20Goods%20Yard%20Station%20Road%20Westgate%20On%20Sea%20-%20FTH120769.pdf

Michael Child said...

I hope this makes it easier http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/documents/s29830/A01-%20Former%20Goods%20Yard%20Station%20Road%20Westgate%20On%20Sea%20-%20FTH120769.pdf