Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Necessary Decision

North Thanet MP. Sir Roger Gale, has today, commented on the decision to allow the building of a Tesco Store, at the Arlington on Margate's seafront.

The MP describes the consent as:

A necessary and, I believe, a correct decision” in the Secretary of State`s determination to grant consent, with conditions, for the Arlington (Margate)/ Tesco project.

 “This end of the town has been subject to dereliction for far too long” says Margate`s MP. “We have the Turner Contemporary and the regeneration of the Old Town and lower High Street at one end of the seafront while on the doorstep of the railway station, to greet arriving visitors, we have an eyesore.

Those who, historically, granted the planning consent for the monstrosity that is Arlington House have a great deal to answer for certainly, but the block and the surrounding shopping “square” and car park do not have to be presented as a scene of abandonment and neglect.

I have to hope and believe that the approval of a significant `anchor tenant` for the site will lead to a regeneration of the whole area and that coupled with the adjacent, though unrelated, re-development of the Dreamland project fresh activity will be introduced into an area that ought to be an attraction. Even tower blocks can, as has been demonstrated in London, be made to look attractive and the longer-term prospect of new small shops and another hotel at the Western end of the town are worth pursuing.

Before the Arlinton Was Built
Lest we forget, there was a time before Arlington House dominated the Margate skyline.

I do not share the view of either the Town Team Chairman, Mr. Ash, or of Ms. Portas, that the consent will damage the businesses in Margate High Street and I doubt that much trade will be taken from the excellent small shops and restaurants in Westbrook. In so far as trade has moved away from Margate High Street that has been largely due to the construction of Westwood Cross. Westwood itself is a good development that may have drawn back into Thanet business that would otherwise have gone to Canterbury or even to Blue Water but the sad fact is that the Council that granted consent for the Westwood development gave no thought to, and had no plan for, the inevitable effect upon, particularly, Margate High Street. That pass has been sold, however, and the game has changed.

If the Tesco development holds shoppers in Central Margate, rather than losing them to out-of-town shopping, then that has to be a good thing for seafront trade and also for the boutique shopping areas. As an aside, one Tesco in the Arlington complex has to be preferable to a plethora of smaller supermarket “local” outlets in towns and villages like Westbrook and Birchington.

While I appreciate that both the Secretary of State`s decision and my own support for it are contentious I also know that there is a large silent constituency that probably represents a majority of individuals and businesses that says “get on with it and let`s breathe some life back into the whole seafront area”. There will be transport infrastructure and design issues that will have to be addressed, of course, but we have suffered from delay and inertia for too long and the time has come to move forward” - Sir Roger Gale MP for North Thanet

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't have put it better myself! I'm also glad to see that NO elected TDC cllrs have condemned this decision.

Anonymous said...

Tesco has come a long way from a grocery stall in the east end of London in 1919. Bet Mr. Cohen didn't whinge about other bigger stalls in the area.

Anonymous said...

Simon, I see that according to the No Tesco Superstore at Arlington Margate Facebook page you're John Hamilton. Maybe you should correct them (unless you are him of course!).

Anonymous said...

So Sir Roger is resigned to TDC failing to use it's powers both as Planning Authority and Landlord to compel the Leaseholder to keep Arlington in good order, provide desperately needed car parking and open the shops already on site. He also wants to see what should be a traffic free and visitor friendly tourist area, clogged with traffic. Sir Roger says that those who granted permission of Arlington have a great deal to answer for. I trust he will not now be remembered for supporting such a damaging development himself.

John Hamilton - talking sense and cutting through bullshit said...

Well said!

Interestingly ANOTHER person I am supposed to be! I can assure everyone that Mr Moores and I are 2 totally different people, mind you I have now lost count of the amount of people I have been accused of being now.

SO happy that Margate will finally now have a chance to flourish at BOTH ends, not just around the Turner.

I think that ALL or Margate's inhabitants should have a chance to benefit from the regeneration of Margate, not just worthy "arty's" who inhabit galleries, drink over priced coffee in cafe's and stay in over priced and over rated "boutique" hotels.

Anonymous said...

John you are a most spiteful person who cant tolerate anyone who just happens to disagree with your view that Thanet Council can do no wrong.

Anonymous said...

I happen to support Roger's view (with some reservations), but I don't believe any councillor will now dare come out against it following Louise Oldfield's humiliating defeat at the KCC elections.

Anonymous said...

You've told us Roger Gale's view Simon, but what is your own?

Anonymous said...

>>John you are a most spiteful person who cant >>tolerate anyone who just happens to disagree with >>your view that Thanet Council can do no wrong.
Well said! Its clear however that no one is terribly interested in his views.. ignore and he'll go away eventually.

Simon Moores said...

Arlington and Tesco have been pretty much done to death in the past. My own view is that we need something there and it looks as if Tesco is the only game in town.

Personally I would rather it were not Tesco but as my opinion carries very little weight all I can do is hope that the result will be of benefit to the regeneration of the seafront rather than the opposite.

Anonymous said...

The silent majority

Don't make me laugh!

And margate is sacrificed to tesco to save west gate. Because that's where all of rog's constituents reside.

There will be another silent majority whopping quietly with delight when this old codger retires

1 o'clock Rob said...

So because "Arlington" has been done to death in the past we should just move on and accept a white tin shed? We shouldn't try and hold either Conservative or Labour/TIG to account for the way that they have handled Freshwater over successive councils and allowed them to run Arlington down to the point where some people refer to it as a slum? We should just live with the fact that "Tesco is the only game in town"? How very narrow minded people have become, but then again with TDC allowing companies to do a bunk owing over 3 million pounds what should we expect...

I used to have a smidgen of respect for Councillors but in the last few months I'm beginning to find them some of the most abhorrent people to ever hold power that the majority simply aren't fit to hold... the next time it comes to election here in Thanet I would rather vote for the drunken slobs that sleep in doorways on Northdown Road, at least you can see at first glance they aren't fit for anything compared to TDC Councillors who pretend to be of worth before they fail you.

All this talk of Tesco has got me bitten though, I do feel that a campaign to get one in sleepy old Westgate-on-Sea may be beneficial, I mean if it can regenerate Margate, slap bang next to a Grade 2 listed Art Deco Cinema a backwater conservation area should be a doddle to bypass.

Simon Moores said...

I was under the illusion that we lived in a representative democracy but there's an election coming in two years so you have a go 1' O'Clock Rob and see if you can do any better?

Anonymous said...

I was at the "protesters gathering" for Radio Kent at 7am this morning, and there were two peaople there - and one of them supported it!

Perhaps Rob and others should also consider that the village of Westgate received nearly 2000 signatures against Tesco, yet the whole of Margate and the surrounding areas barely managed a quarter of that.

Anonymous said...

We need something on that site but we are becoming Isle of Tesco. Back when the planning documents were first submitted i read them. As i recall,there will likely be a significant impact on traffic with traffic queues predicted around the clock tower roundabout and from the arlington "roundabout" going back into westbrook. Basically at peak times unless things change i think we can expect a queue of traffic all along sea front. I also noticed the proposal didn't really include enough disabled parking (important to me). From what i recall the Tesco proposal also includes the possibility of hotel space fronting the seafront which would be good for a town where not many hotels are left. I think the key thing here though is not what is actually going to be on the site but the execution of it with a coordinated approach to try relieve the traffic congestion. I don't know the feasibility and how it could be funded but i seem to recall seeing the suggestion before (possibly in the proposals for the dreamland site) that you could potentially build a road from near the station along the edge of the dreamland site bypassing the seafront altogether and then pedestrianise the seafront making it much more family friendly. either way there needs to be a coordinated effort in my opinion bringing what going on at dreamland together with tesco and adjustments to the roads to deal with the additional traffic. Trouble is it looks like there's still going to be an appeal so all this could go on for months without a brick being laid.
I'd love to see arlington house completely removed but i'm doubtful it will ever happen until bits start falling off!

Anonymous said...

Please tell me where they're going to build this road that bypasses the seafront? The only way would be by demolishing the cinema and part of Dreamland, unless traffic is diverted via Victoria traffic lights which would cause MAJOR chaos!

Anonymous said...

I'm really unsure whats going to happen with Arlington Tesco.

All the comments say its a good thing, as the Arlington site is unpleasant to look at. The developement will compliment the Turner Centre and the Dreamland regeneration.

As I understand it, Tesco's is just the building hidden behind the Arlington Tower block. All the Artist impressions are of the Hotel Complex in front which is coming at a later stage.

Are Tesco just going to leave the old Arlington Arcades there, whilst they build their new store around the back. Perhaps they will demolish it, leaving it as a building site until someone builds the Hotel Complex.

Anonymous said...

Guess which "green" councillor has jumped on the latest bandwagon, despite never having showed any interest in the past...

1 o'clock Rob said...

Freshwater and Tesco are planning to remove the Arlington Arcade/Square, the car park and the surrounding shops. Once they have done that they are going to build a Tesco, tart up the tower block, build a new car park closer towards the railway bridges and that is all. The planning application shows shops and a hotel but to date when pushed they have not been able to provide any concrete information that they would be built. It is neither Freshwater's or Tesco's intention to build them just to get outlying planning permission to do so at a later date.

As there is no plan to build these things it will leave the side of Tesco exposed with the exception of where it will be hidden by Arlington flats... it is for this reason that people who do not wish to see it built complain that it is on the sea front as until such time as something is built between the road and the flats Tesco will be visible from the main sands.

Just a shame that TDC have to rely on someone else to do something with the area rather than enforce the agreement they have with Freshwater... meanwhile Freshwater will pocket a shed load of cash that will not see the light of day in Thanet.

I wouldn't dream of becoming a TDC Councillor Simon, the thought of sitting in chambers with a useless bunch of want to be politicians who manage to continually mess everything up irrespective of which colour rosette they where on election day makes me feel queasy!

Anonymous said...

Other shops and a hotel will follow as soon as Tesco is established, have faith Rob.

Anonymous said...

Costa Coffee won't be far behind.

1 o'clock Rob said...

Faith is something people have in a "god" or "religion", what I want to see are stone cold facts, like the Sands Hotel opening this week.

And as for Costa Coffee I surely hope not, I'd much rather see a home grown coffee shop than some tax dodging national chain!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, they're now complaining about Costa Coffee before they even announce a Margate store!

Anonymous said...

I see that MP (Mary Portas)is angry and "utterly deflated" and has taken up the battle against this decision. She is demanding to meet Cameron and Pickles over her whole high street project. She claims that Tesco should have had to prove they couldn't find a site in the centre of Margate. Quite where they would find such a site is beyond me, unless the old Woolworth's store would do? Apparently the residents of Margate are "appalled" by the decision. I think I prefer Bill Grimsey's thoughts about high streets and the future of them.

Anonymous said...

Traffic chaos makes me laugh - do people remember not that long ago when there were queues in the summer stretching to the Birchington and beyond to get to Margate !!

Anonymous said...

The old Thanet Press site/ eyesore could be the new home of Tesco?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Ms. Oldfield has disabled comments on her Arlington blog and is seeking yet another judicial review in addition to the one that is pending.
How sad when an otherwise intelligent woman is so blinkered that she has to depend upon lies [Same size as Westwood X and 'on the seafront']to support her craziness.

Anonymous said...

1 O'clock Rob should really get his facts right. Costa Coffee is part of the Whitbread group, a UK company. Now Starbucks is a different matter.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how much Louise Oldfield's actions and appeals have cost the tax payer to date?

Joe Blow said...

I don't know the financial cost of Ms Oldfield's meddling, but I DO know that her constant negativity is at great cost to Margate's regeneration.
I would have thought she would do better to devote her energies to her own hotel, especially as there is a gorgeous new 'boutique' Sands Hotel opening in Margate next week.
Perhaps he should sell up, get together with Cllr Driver and they can both wander off into that twilight world North of the Thames from where, it appears, they both came. [Or did the savvy Northeners throw them out?]

Anonymous said...

Her hotel charges £200 a night (£1400 a week!), and if Tesco is built a new seafront hotel will very likely follow AND charge less. THIS is the real reason she's fighting it - with OUR money!

Anonymous said...

Why for god's sake do non of you realise that it is TDC's fault arlington is in this state, they did not enforce the lease, ask iris why and you get a hostile stare, maybe because she has friends at the slum landlords freshwater, anyway as who is in charge of the lease, again no reply, they are keeping mum on this and as usual it smells of incompetence and corruption, [see pleaseurama/ramsgate docks, margate caves etc] i have asked our council leader of course no reply, i have asked our mayor no reply, until i think we get a proper answer to why this building and its tennants/owners was left to become a UK slum then i for one cannot support tesco or freshwater or the council.

Anonymous said...

£200 a night?
No wonder the daft old bat appears to have more money than sense.

Simon Moores said...

Incompetence perhaps. Corruption no.

The original lease, all those years ago, was written in such a poor way that a clever lawyer could drive acoach and horses between the gaps in the clauses, which is of course exactly what happened and why we have so many problems today that the Council struggles to legally enforce against te landord

Anonymous said...

Had Waitrose applied would the response been any different?

Duncan Smithson said...

Once again, I find myself in broad agreement with John. I think its a good thing. My only concern is about the size. I think this will rennovate a disused part of town, create much needed jobs and will for the other "bookend" to Margate seafront that I heard Sir Roger talk about a number of years ago. I was involved in about six facebook discussions on this issue and - in the whole - they tended to be pro-Tesco. But personal attacks on Louise are not cool in my book.