Friday, 27 May 2011

In the news: A Fairy Tale of Corruption in Margate (Allegedly)

Blog post from BB1's Nick Bateman for Kent online:

"Many years ago in fact as far back as 1264 there was a town called Meregate, which later became known as Margate. Steeped in maritime history it also became a very popular holiday resort for both rich and poor.

Inventions such as the bathing machine a contraption that was wheeled out to sea for both men and women to change into their costumes, made the experience of swimming ‘proper’ and drew more and more holidaymakers.

Margate was on the rise and both the famous and not so famous made a beeline for the stunning beaches, warm sunshine and good old Kentish beer. Songs and poems and films were made about Margate and families enjoyed each other’s company. Life was good for Margate. Well, if we ignore the mods and rockers having a pop at each other in the 1960s…

But in a cruel twist of fate Margate fell out of vogue. Gone were the wealthy tourists, and instead, Margate became home to desperadoes’, and many economic migrants, as well as many disenchanted Londoners sent to Margate by the various councils of London to enjoy the town and live free. Well almost.

The Victorian pier was largely decimated by a storm in 1978, mysterious fires destroyed buildings, unemployment started to climb and property prices headed south. The UK was in financial turmoil in the 1980s, and Margate began to suffer more than most. One newspaper called Margate ‘Britain’s Top Ghost Town’ and they didn’t mean of the spooky kind.

But hey presto, a glimmer of hope was there in the Noughties. But some evil landowners, it was said, decided to offer ‘incentives’ or might have been ‘bribes’ to some land and estate agents and not to pass on offers from buyers to sellers. It was so they could buy them on the cheap! Boo I hear you say, and you would be right. Allegedly.

Huge government grants became available and suddenly the money was gone and some evil people might have trousered the lot. Allegedly.

Humble shopkeepers were asked for more rent and when they could not pay, they were chased to the end of the globe for the funds. Allegedly.

A huge gallery then appeared in 2011 with much acclaim, and with the gallery came the crowds. Many coming down to Margate yet again in mechanically propelled vehicles, as well as something called HS1.

With the crowds came the sunshine, but beneath Margate’s rebirth, a few of those who felt wronged and a few with morals decided to start to expose those people, which they thought were responsible. Their aim is to make Margate the great place it deserves to be, without the alleged corruption. Like all good stories, there is bound to be a happy ending…"


  1. Sir Reresby Rookwood30 May 2011 at 03:15

    The slumlords are working with TDC and the London Borough councils, managing us into a downward spiral of underclass saturation. As long as the supply of pond life is maintained the value of property is held down. Who wants to live on a dungheap? The slum portfolios are then cheaply expanded. Slumlord incomes increase without any major work being done to improve housing conditions. Many of them, like the ghastly Mirsky's ( see his slum on Eaton Road) are exempt from any licensing because they provide a "social service" (ARGHH!). In fact this means they provide sub-standard housing to people who have no power of redress (because all Mirsky's "clients" are deemed "incapable of managing their own affairs" their benefits go straight to him).
    The London Boroughs can invest in gentrification and be paid for disposing of their cast-offs while TDC expands its bureaucracy to accommodate fresh "clients". Meanwhile the underclass wails and screams all over town, scaring off decent investors. This makes more speculation possible for the slumlords of all flags. Don't believe me? Just take a look at the barrelscrapings littering the streets of this town. Oh and the extra bonus for TDC is that these scurvy dungfeeders do not vote. I once asked a group at a bus stop where the poll was being held. One of them fixed me with a blank stare and snarled " Dunno mate but I hope they throw away the fuckin'key. We 'ate the fuckin' Poles". We need a population exchange. Perhaps some of the Botany bay crowd would like to come back?

  2. Wouldn't it be simple that no Housing Benefit be paid to sub-standard properties? I really can't see the problem with this.

    How about also utilising the legislation that exists to ensure that no Listed building be allowed to rot and fall into dereliction? This would remove the blight from much of Margate and slumlords would run for the hills. You have to make Listed properties an unadvisable investment for slumlords.

    Take 49-50 Hawley Square. Funds were agreed by Cabinet in November last year for Compulsory Purchase. Why the stalling of the democratic process?

  3. Sir Reresby Rookwood31 May 2011 at 05:15

    Whatever they do with 49-50 a roof needs to go on quickly before the remains collapse. As to your other points you have to ask "Cui bono?" or "Who stands to gain?". TDC has a cosy relationship with the "social" landlords who house their "clients". Basic standards are not enforced because who is going to know? The underclass do not complain; they are a bovine commodity used to facilitate the flow of funds. Many people are complicit in maintaining the dependancy culture. Can you imagine TDC employees surviving in industry? Equally the slumlords would be lost without the poor huddled masses yearning for black mould, sagging ceilings and fixed coin meters. Legislation exists but does TDC have the will to enforce it, or the funds? TDC Environmental Inspectors have to be asked in by a resident. That is unlikely where you have vulnerable people in fear of their landlord (who probably keeps two sets of books) Many of the people now being sent here barely speak English and those who do are easily coerced. They are perfect fodder for TDC and the slumlords. Money keeps flowing; bureaucracy expands. The Census will allow TDC to capture more poverty than ever before and apply for bigger grants to "manage" that poverty. This will mean more facilitators and interfacers and bean counters. The Turner Gallery is a -welcome- distraction from the core business here: making money out of poor people.
    I hope this management of decline can be stopped and reversed. It is frustrating to see the good things in the town overshadowed by the unremitting squalor.We need to make the town attractive to respectable investors who have disposable incomes. In the meantime life goes on amidst the ruins. We are drifting dangerously between revival and further disintegration. It is poignant, blackly comic and strangely compelling. If things do turn around here it will be the greatest revival since Lazarus.