Monday, 2 March 2015

A Better Cliftonville General Meeting + wine + wisdom



Those lovely folks at A Better Cliftonville (Facebook Page) have got it sussed. Not only do they live in what was described by CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment ) as potentially one of the most desirable places to live in the country, (CABE Urban Panel Review April 2009),



but when it comes to community organising, they're spicing up the residents meeting format to include a bit of socialising too.


'Our first general meeting of 2015, followed by a fun social event! Open to all residents!

Friday 27th March 2015
Cliftonville Community Centre, St Paul's Road CT9 2DB
6pm - 7pm General Meeting
7pm onwards - Wine & Wisdom'


Saturday, 28 February 2015

UKIP's Margate Spring Conference

I've seen more pop from a party popper! UKIP's spring conference came and went. An empty purple battle bus of 'common sense' made endless circuits of Margate. The most exciting thing was a stunt pulled by the musical The Producers who turned up at the conference venue on Friday morning in a tank with a dancing Hitler.

Yesterday, Margate seafront and the Old Town were less busy than usual for a sunny Friday afternoon.

Pictures from Friday 27th.

The Reality Party bus not UKIP's





Today there was the Thanet Stand Up to UKIP march from 12pm. There was a really good turn out for what was today a cold and blustery day. There was a carnival atmosphere as people marched up from the railway station to the Winter Gardens.  I had to leave early to get back to work, so only saw the news of scuffles at the Turner on the Thanet Gazette newsfeed.








There was a small group of cape wearing UKIP supporters waiting for the march to reach the Clock Tower. I think it was an homage to Madonna.






As Channel 4 news's Michael Crick pointed out to UKIP's head of Communications, the conference has turned out to be a bit of a shambles with apparantly no wifi, no mobile phone access and crucially, no manifesto.



By far the best photography coming out of the conference was from photo journalist Guy Smallman. Simply amazing. @guysmallman

Friday, 30 January 2015

A roll call of shame - Hoser's Corner planning permissions for flats dating back to 1991 unbuilt

After yesterday's missing file incident, I was contacted by email this morning with the news that the 05/0070 file had been found and was available to view at The Gateway. It was quite a big file and the contents too many of interest to discuss in just one post.

I thought I'd start with the big list of planning permissions granted on Hoser's Corner dating back to 1991. 1991!!!

If ever there was a list of shame, this is it. Permission granted (OL/TH/91/0540) by Thanet Council in 1991 that  was never started and extended over and over again for almost a decade to the year 2000 and all the while the corner site remained a derelict eyesore site blighting this prominent corner of seafront Ethelbert Terrace. Then to come back five years late in 2005 with (05/0070) to then be decided in July 2007 under delegated authority.

It begs the question why was no enforcement ever undertaken to put a stop to this awful land banking?

Here's the list of applications:



Hoser's Corner update: Thanet Council had stated they intended to refuse the application in 2010

I booked out the planning files for the development of 26 flats at Hoser's Corner today. I went to view them at The Gateway aka Margate Library. When I got there, I was told one of the files was missing and couldn't be found, despite them searching the basement. This is the file for actual permission that's was granted on July 25th 2007 (05/0070). 

The file I viewed (10/0289) contained an email exchange on May 12th 2010 where Thanet Council's Planning Manager informed Clive Hart: "The application is contrary to the Cliftonville DPO and therefore we would refuse the application under delegated authority."





There was no record in the file about the Building Control site visit in the July or a mention of authorisation of commencement of works. There was a a copy of the 2007 permission with each of the outstanding conditions highlighted that still had to be submitted and approved prior to works commencing.

To all intents and purposes, there is no documentary evidence of the permission being approved in the files available at the Council and online.

There is a Full Plans Building Control Application (FP/80967/10)dated June 20th 2010. For 26 flats this full application will have cost many thousands of pounds, plus the drawing of the detailed plans.





See Thanet's Building Control fee table:




Monday, 26 January 2015

Update: Hoser's Corner - Council approved 'foundation trenches' for the development in July 2010



Today, I received a reply from Thanet Council's Head of Planning today on the planning status of Hoser's Corner, the derelict broken corner of weed infested concrete, complete with bits of tiles, from the previous dwelling:


From: Simon Thomas Date: 26 January 2015 at 15:14Subject: RE: Hoser's Corner planning statusTo: Louise Oldfield 

Dear LouiseThank you for your email regarding the site at Hosers Corner.Planning permission was granted in 2007 for the re-development of the site. The permission was granted on the condition that works should be commenced within 3 years of the date of the permission. In July 2010 the Councils Building Control Officer visited the site and has confirmed that the foundation trenches had been dug and concreted. This constitutes commencement of the development under the Planning Act and therefore the 2007 planning permission is extant.I hope this clarifies the position.RegardsSimon

So, 'foundation trenches' were dug and inspected in July 2010.

Where would these foundation trenches be? When I went to the the site yesterday I found no evidence of any works. Perhaps I wasn't looking hard enough.



The answer came later today on Facebook and Twitter from Labour MP candidate, Will Scobie stated he'd been informed the works ie the 'foundation trenches' were in a section of Percy Road side of the development.

This is a detail from their Lower Ground proposed plan of the Percy Road side of the development:





Obviously, as  the vast majority of the site clearly has no evidence of works having been started. The concrete floor surface is old and contains patches of the original floor coverings of the previous dwelling.

The chronology of how these 'foundation trenches' might have happened is:

-  April 4th 2010, the developer, Mr Lam, made a application (F/TH/10/0289) to extend the planning  permission granted in 2007 (F/TH/05/0070). As part of this application Mr Lam stated that no works had commenced on site.

- July 2010 the site was then inspected by a Thanet Council Building Control Officer who signed off that works had started by seeing evidence of foundations in a section of Percy Road. The exact date hasn't yet been confirmed by Thanet Council. The 2007 permission was granted July 25th 2007 and required works to have commenced by 3 years from this date.

- The 2010 application (F/TH/10/0289) to extend planning permission was withdrawn at some point in the summer 2010.

Some further things to consider about this issue:

- A series conditions were applied to the original 2007 permission granted (F/TH/05/0070) stipulating that no works be commenced on site until they were submitted to the Council and agreed.

Were any of these conditions fulfilled by the developer prior to works starting on site for the 'foundation trenches' that were constructed between April and July 2010?




- What constitutes work on site having started? This falls under the The Town & Country Planning Act 1990, Section 56, Para 2:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1990/8/section/56

- What evidence of the 'foundation trenches' for the development was inspected and signed off by Thanet Council's Building Control department?

What we do know is the everyday reality of this derelict site has been an eyesore for over a decade.

Let's see the Building Control Officer's sign off of the works having started.



Sunday, 25 January 2015

Hoser's Corner - Where is the evidence of works having started?



Following on from yesterday's Twitter discussion regarding the planning status of Hoser's Corner, I went out to the site today. I couldn't find any visible evidence of building works having started at all.



It will be interesting to see the evidence of what works have supposed to have been carried out and signed off by Thanet Council. This derelict plot is a complete eyesore. The previous owner has left it like this for a decade. Since this planning application was approved, Thanet Council put a stop to any more 1 bed flats being proposed in Cliftonville West.

Planning permission was first sought for 26 flats on this site in 2005 (F/TH/05/0070). Since that time, Thanet Council could have enforced this eyesore problem through the legislation at its disposal (Town and Country Planning Act). It has, in the past,  leveraged these powers at the owners of other problem buildings nearby eg The Arcadian and Fort Road Hotel.








Saturday, 24 January 2015

26 flat development has permission for Hoser's Corner?


Proposal for Hoser's Corner
This morning, I came across the rather startling news that Hoser's Corner, the barren eyesore site at the end of the seafront Ethelbert Crescent in Cliftonville had been sold subject to contract for £700,000. And that it has planning permission for a development of 26 one and two bed flats resembling a mid 1990 business park, complete with underground car parking.

Those local to the area will know that Hoser's Corner, formerly 29 Ethelbert Crescent is quite a small site and on a very busy corner traffic wise with a very sharp bend. Those that aren't local will see clearly from the map!

The proposed development is very different to the historic terrace of Ethelbert Crescent.



The news of the development came as a shock to quite a few people today, especially because according to the Planning Portal, ukplanning.com the planning permission granted on July 25th 2007 (F/TH/05/0070) had expired. There was then an application to extend it (F/TH/10/0289) in 2010 but this was withdrawn by the developer.

Later in the day, Will Scobie, Labour parliamentary candidate for Thanet South stated he understood the planning permission was no longer in place.


Estate agent, Cooke and co. tweeted that planning permission was actually in place because works were started on the site and then stopped and further, that they had a letter on file from Thanet District Council confirming the extension of the planning permission.





Taking a look at the files on ukplanning.com:

March 4th 2005 - Planning Application (F/TH/05/0070) is registered for the creation of 26 flats by Ever Fortune Ltd of Middlesex.

April 21st 2010 - Application (F/TH/10/0289) to extend planning permission (F/TH/05/0070) the applicant, Mr J Lam from Middlesex confirms the site was empty and the development has not commenced.

Application F/TH/10/0289


July 2nd 2010 - Letter from Brian White, then Director of Regeneration Services states that condition 14 for foul and surface water disposal was agreed.



July 25th 2007 - Deed of Agreement between Thanet District Council and Mr Lam, which state the original address of the dwelling on Hoser's Corner as 29 Ethelbert Crescent. The deed is an agreement that there would be an affordable housing contribution of £248,381.40.

The fact that it's been left as a barren slab of concrete for years and that some kind of work has been undertaken to extend the permission is shocking. The price of £700,000 is obviously based on a densely packed in high quantity of units to make the building cost worth it. But these are not going to be great flats to live in on this site. Nor does the design and scale accord with the seafront location and aspirations of a revived Cliftonville seafront appealing for visitors. 

It's claimed work started
If the permission is in place, then it's news to people living in the area and a prospective MP candidate who is also a serving councillor. The site is, like most of the area, sitting on chalk. Quite how an underground car park will be constructed is a mystery.

This proposal really isn't the best for Cliftonville. It obviously doesn't accord with Thanet Council's veto on 1 bed flats in Cliftonville West. Whoever granted this permission, if it indeed stands, should be thoroughly ashamed. In 2007, Margate was in the midst of a clearly defined regeneration programme.

There is a plan in the 2005 application files that shows a single dwelling on the site set back from the road in its own grounds. This is probably the ideal solution for this location, but obviously not one that is worth the apparent £700,000 purchase price of the plot alone. 



Land Registry title plan

We'll have to wait until Monday to hear from Thanet Council's Planning department whether they have failed to upload a letter of confirmation the planning permission has been extended to the Planning Portal on ukplanning.com or otherwise.

A record of the day's twitter discussion on Storify.

Edited to add: Hoser's Corner was given a facelift last summer by artists as part of the #summerofcolour project: http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/VIDEO-Cliftonville-eyesore-Hoser-s-Corner-given/story-21742071-detail/story.html