Thursday 29 November 2012

Margate's Portas Pilot featured on BBC Radio Kent November 27th - 6 months in

Richard Ash (centre) 
On the 27th of November, BBC Radio Kent ran a feature on Margate Town Team on their breakfast show. It was an update on the first six months of the Portas Pilot project. I was briefly interviewed along with others, including the Team's 3rd chairman, local landowner farmer, Richard Ash. If you missed it, here are the audio files.

Richard, alludes to difficult circumstances and the problems caused by people leaving after 4 months on the project. I recall I resigned after three months. The project was in place, budget set ready for sign off, bank account and website up and ready.

Richard confirms that £10,000 has now been drawn down and £800 has been spent on annual checks of the festive lights in the High Street that were installed by Margate Town Partnership, which Richard also Chairs.

Friday 16 November 2012

Conservative Councillor Shirley Tomlinson charged with drink driving

The Thanet Gazette have reported that Conservative Councillor Shirley Tomlinson has been charged with drink driving. Mrs Tomlinson was stopped by Officers in Nash Court Road on November 12th and will appear before Magistrates on December 3rd.

It's been a busy year for Thanet Councillors!

Ex Thanet Council leader Conservative Councillor Sandy Ezikiel will stand trial before Maidstone Magistrates in January.

Conservative Councillor Ken Gregory was cautioned in May this year after leaving a message on a fellow Thanet Councillor's answer-phone saying "With any luck, you'll get aids".

Margate Town Team announce Robert Jarvis Sound Installation

Margate Town Team have announced news of a sound art project for Margate High Street by artist Robert Jarvis. Robert has previously worked on a number of projects in Margate:

  • Entomophonix  -  sound installation for Marine Studios, April 2010.
  • Vibrations  -  music composition project for Royal School for Deaf, November 2004.
  • The Eyes Shut The Ears  -  sound installation, ‘Margate Rocks’ Arts Festival, July 2003

High Street Sounds

Margate Town Team is excited to announce a new sound art project in collaboration with sound artist and composer, Robert Jarvis.

Between now and the beginning of February, Robert hopes to create a number of audio compositions to complement the experience of people shopping on the High Street.  It is hoped that the created sound pieces will be a talking point amongst people in the town and therefore help increase footfall, adding another layer of interest and appeal to this part of the town.

The sound pieces will be played using a recent advance in audio technology that allows shop windows to act as loudspeakers capable of playing quiet sounds.  This is achieved by placing a small (mobile phone size) audio driver onto a window. This passes the sound vibrations to the glass with the result that the sound can be heard emanating from the shop front.  The technology doesn't take up any room, and the sounds can be timed to play at any time.

The first premises along the High Street to have a device placed on the window front is the Crafted Naturally shop, which forms a part of our Town Team building at the bottom of the High Street.  Do come and have a listen and speak with the shop owner Wendy James if you are interested in finding out a bit more.

For those who think that they would like to be a part of this project, there will be a meeting next Tuesday 20th November at 5.30pm in the Town Team shop office at 16-18 High Street. Please do come along, meet Robert and listen to his ideas about what might be possible.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Fwd: Grow for It: East Kent Bus Tour : 13 - 16 November GET ON BOARD !

A bus is coming to Thanet this week to promote the Kent County Council 'Grow For It' campaign, which includes PR of the £35m Region Growth Fund post, Expansion East Kent 0% Loan Scheme.

"This week the Wednesday - Canterbury,  Westgate Towers (09.00 - 12.00)
Thursday - Folkestone, The Glassworks (09.00- 12.00)
Friday - Broadstairs, East Kent College (09.00 - 12.00) & Westwood Cross (13.00 - 16.00)

If you've a few minutes to spare pop on board and you'll find:

 - Access to funding: Get advice for Expanision East Kent Loan Fund Experts
 - Mentoring: Talk to mentors for Kent Foundation, Kent Univiersities, and business support organisations
 - Inspiration: Hear from some of East Kent's biggest success stories
 - Opportunities: Sign up for prosper, Canterbury's new scheme for creative young people.

If you have any questions or queries please contact eastkent/  0207 199 2204

Kind regards

Peter Hobbs
Chief Executive"

 I'm told that Thanet Council advised the organisers to set up at the locations East Kent College and Westwood Cross because there wasn't time to come to all three towns. to apply for the Expansion East Kent funds, you have to have at least 50% match funding. 

KLM to operate flights to Amsterdam out of Manston

It's been announced that KLM will be operating flights to Amsterdam out of Manston. What seems to be promoted in most of the media is the opportunity for outward bound passengers to then travel on to 130 destinations world wide. More focus on outbound opportunity than inbound to Thanet's own tourism offering. 

Nice to hear Charles Buchanan speaking up for Thanet! Erm...

Charles Buchanan, chief executive at Manston Airport, said: “The new services will be a real benefit to Kent and its residents. Passengers will be able to arrive at Manston, park adjacent to the terminal building, check in and be on the flight to Amsterdam within minutes, a hassle-free experience that makes travelling a pleasure. Passengers from Manston can leave home without the worries of road congestion or excessive flight delays affecting their journey.”

Nothing in this statement outlines any boost to our economy. It underlines convenience to residents of Kent to leave the area.

The flights will start from 6.30am, which many involved in the No Night Flights Campaign have rightly pointed out is against Thanet Council's pledge not to allow flights between the hours of 11pm and 7am.

It will be interesting to see the predicted ratio of inward versus outward bound and the possible effect this will have on Thanet's visitor economy. Fancy going away for a quiet break in Thanet and sleeping under a flight path at 6.30am?

I'm sure the folks at Visit Kent and Visit Thanet have our visitor economy covered and wouldn't back something that could damage Thanet's recovering tourism industry. 

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Arlington Margate - The Public Inquiry

Too tired to write this really and too pressed for time. But seeing most of you know that I'm taking part in the week long Public Inquiry concerning a proposed 82,000 for the Arlington Margate site at Margate seafront, perhaps I can be forgiven. Today was day 1. Very long day. Both me and Mr Nabb gave evidence all day.

I can't write updates about the proceedings throughout, so I'd recommend following what's going on by following:

#ArlingtonMargate on Twitter. 
Margate Tweeps @danabouttown and @missjensa are just amazing beyond words.

Fabulous blog post:

When we came out tonight after what i can only describe as a grilling by one of the country's best and highest paid QC's I was amazed to see how much Margate had been in support of us. Really, though, not sure I'm surprised. I know by now there are some amazing people out there. We were faced with being told by Thanet's legal counsel first thing today that he wouldn't be speaking much and it was all 'down to you and them' as in you, resident and them Freshwater. And indeed, m'learned friend didn't speak much and yes, it was all down to us and them.

Background on the issue:

Tomorrow, residents present for the second day. If you can come and support, please do. Upstairs in the Council Chamber at the Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate. All starts at 9.30am.

Monday 5 November 2012

Roy Eastland Life Drawing Day, Saturday November 10th 10am-4pm

One of the best things I've done this year has been to attend Roy Eastland's life drawing classes. There is a an opportunity on Saturday November 10th to attend a 1 day class at Margate Adult Education Centre situated on Hawley Square. The class will run from 10am until 4pm.

The class will comprise of a mixture of long and short poses, drawing execises and one-to-one tuition.  Taught in the wonderful Art Deco style former art college building which now houses Margate Adult Education Centre.  This town centre venue is on 'The Loop' bus route, is close to Cecil Sq (for services to Canterbury) and is a short walk from the train station.  Tutor: Roy Eastland (see: 'Roy Eastland Drawing' for examples of this tutor's work). 

Info on the courses:

·         Title: 'A DAY OF LIFE DRAWING' (course code: 4199 MAR-12-B)
·         When: Saturday 10th November between 10am and 4pm (with an hour break between about 1pm and 2pm)
·         Where: Margate Adult Education Centre, Hawley Square
·         Price: £37.50
·         How to book a place: Please enrol at any Adult Education Centre office or by phone: 08456065606 or online at:

Other Life Drawing classes taught at this venue by this tutor include:
·         'A Day of Life Drawing', Saturday 9th March, 10am-4pm (code: 4199 MAR-12-D)
·         'A Day of Life Drawing', Saturday 11th May, 10am-4pm (code: 4199 MAR-12-A)
·         'Life Drawing', Thursday evenings 7-9pm, starts 17th January (code: 4284 MAR-12-B)
·         'Life Drawing', Thursday evenings 7-9pm, starts 18th April (code: 4284 MAR-12-C)
·         'Life Drawing – Beginners', Wednesdays 1000-1230, starts 27th March (code: 4283 MAR-12-B)
·         Note: it is still possible to enrol on the present Wednesday morning Life Drawing course

Sunday 4 November 2012

On going funding concerns of Ramsgate's seafront eyesore Pleasurama site

Terrence Painter (centre)
The ongoing saga of the Pleasurama site on Ramsgate seafront was featured in Friday's Thanet Gazette. Interesting that Broadstairs estate agent, Terrence Painter, ex-Chairman of Ramsgate Town Partnership, ex-Chairman of Margate Town Partnership and if the Margate rumour mill is correct, now also ex-Chairman of Margate Town Team has criticised Thanet District Council for having concerns regarding developers SFP and their experience in developments of this scale.

More on the SFP proposed development at the Pleasurama site, Ramsgate.
SFP (Ventures) UK Ltd
Official website for the proposed Royal Sands development

Mr Painter was recently interviewed on BBC Radio Kent, while still Chairman of Margate Town Team, and seemed enthusiastic about the arrival of Bright House to Margate High Street. A firm who offer an APR of 29.9% for consumer goods. Bargain! Bright House is criticised  by some as preying on the poor. 

Listen to Terrence Painter on BBC Radio Kent

He also said he was working on a development for privately owned shopping precinct Regal Walk which lies to the rear of Margate High Street. He stated it was too early to reveal further details.

PRESSURE is mounting on developers of Ramsgate's former Pleasurama site and Thanet council after being accused of delivering a "decade of nothing".
Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee chairman Ian Driver this week called for the authority's agreement with SFP Ventures to be ripped up ten years after it was signed.
SFP Ventures wants the council to hand it the freehold for £3.3 million so it can secure further funding for the £36 million Royal Sands development – which will feature 107 apartments, seven shops and a 60-bed hotel.Mr Driver said: "The only thing that has happened there in ten years is some foundations have been poured. I think it's a public scandal that this should be allowed to continue. I have no confidence at all that SFP Ventures can complete that work.
"My worry is that the developers are trying their best to get their hands on the freehold because they can sell that on.
"I find it utterly amazing that a project on land which is owned by the council worth £36 million, should be awarded to an organisation that has never developed anything as far as I can tell."
Planning permission was granted in January, 2005, although work did not start until the autumn of 2009.Mr Driver said residents had contacted him to express their "anger and frustration" at the state of the site.
"It's like a tip down there and people are getting fed up with it," he added.
SFP Ventures' agent Terrence Painter said they were only waiting for a draft agreement from the council to assure financiers interested hoteliers before they formally commit to the project.
He said: "We're very, very close to that. If we get a draft agreement signed there is no reason why we can't hit the target date of 2014, getting it in two years to completion.
"People have to be patient and they should be shouting at councillors to push the agreement."
Mr Painter dismissed Mr Driver's comments about the firm, which he says has a strong track record of similar developments in Portugal.
Thanet council said a deal to replace the current agreement with SFP was "virtually done".
Deputy leader of the council Alan Poole said: "Before we sign the agreement we have to be assured that sufficient funding is in place to complete the development, and we need to be satisfied that a hotel operator is in place and due diligence also needs to be carried out to establish legitimacy.
"When we are satisfied that all outstanding items have been addressed we will sign the agreement."

If you do find information on anything that SFP have built, do get in touch.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Why is Mary Portas re-staging original Portas Pilot bid team videos?

This is the original bid video from the Cornish town of Helston. A brilliant community sing-a-long, that as a person involved with Margate's bid, I know will have taken a great deal of time, work and commitment to get together. It's full of hope, spirit and fun. Helston weren't successful in their bid to become a Portas Pilot town, but their brilliant video went viral and has over 12,000 views on Youtube. It will also have had no budget, no celebrity and no promise of television exposure. Compare that to the number of 'pledges' the winning towns have had on the official Mary Portas website.

Last weekend, Mary Portas and her film crew from Optomen organised a clean up in the winning Portas Pilot bid own of Liskeard, also in Cornwall. Mary filmed this for her upcoming documentary made by Optomen TV. Remind you of something?

Similarly, Margate's winning bid video was also a community sing-a-long. We organised an impromtu rendition of the Chas and Dave classic, Margate. Organised in less than 48 hours, also with no budget in a High Street with no frills. We openly invited residents of Margate to get involved. It was key to us winning Margate the bid. The community turned out and participated to secure this opportunity for their town. This is the result. I'd like to also to especially thank my dear friend Jane Behrends, the gorgeous woman wearing the false nose. Jane is sadly no longer with us. She passed away in September, taken from us too early by cancer. We miss her terribly. Jane believed in Margate and she believed in friendship and the true essence of community.

On October 20th Mary Portas and Optomen organised the 'Margate Relaunch'. Mary and Optomen TV re-staged the same setting of our bid video, in the very same location, singing the same song. They re-staged the group rolling of the piano up the High Street at the end. 

This is what Margate Town Team had to say about the efforts of the community who secured the bid on their Facebook page.

Hurt? You bet.
Louise, ex Secretary Margate Town Team