Thursday 25 September 2014

Walpole Bay Tidal Pool is Listed at Grade II

Walpole Bay Tidal Pool by Chloe Young

Just received the fantastic news from English Heritage that the magnificent Walpole Bay Tidal Pool in Cliftonville has been designated as Grade II Listed by the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport.

Do have a read of the report. This is great news for the pool in that, as a designated heritage asset it is eligible for funding streams that wouldn't otherwise have been available. Thanet potentially will have more listed assets connected to the history of the english seaside than any other region. Can someone check me that fact!?

"This is an important structure in the history of English seabathing, one of only 13 tidal bathing pools in England, few of which are on the scale of or as intact as this example at Walpole Bay. It was also a considerable engineering feat, having to be built both by day and at night at the mercy of the tides. It fully merits listing at Grade II."

How amazing were the engineers from the day who built such the pool in Cliftonville. One that is still welcoming swimmers to this day. The Walpole Bay Sea Swimmers are there and have a Facebook Group.

Walpole Bay Listing Area

Excerpts from the English Heritage designation report:

"The architectural or design interest of the structure at Walpole Bay lies chiefly in its scale and shape. It occupies 4 acres, which is larger than the two largest listed seawater lidos, Penzance and Lymington, and in shape forms three sides of a rectangle, the seaward end and two sides, which increase in width towards the landward end where there is no wall, the beach acting as the fourth side. The wall is two or three feet wide and ranges from two or three feet above the shore at the landward end to about seven feet deep at the seaward end. Its shape and scale can best be appreciated from the top of the cliffs. 

This was an ambitious engineering feat. Each concrete block weighed about one ton in weight and had to be fixed into position by hand crane. The work was carried out by day and night to take advantage of every tide. Two foot wide overflows were built into the top course of blocks so that the water line was always six inches below the top of the wall and three penstocks were fitted in the outer wall in order to empty the pool in about two hours. 

The structure appears to survive intact except for the loss of its two diving boards. However, a number of listed lidos no longer retain their diving boards."

"As a structure the Walpole Bay Tidal Pool has social historical interest as it provided an improvement to sea bathing at the period of the greatest popularity of the English seaside."
"To sum up, Walpole Bay Tidal Pool meets the criteria for listing, particularly given its structural engineering and social historical interest, and is recommended at Grade II."
Walpole Bay Tidal Pool, one of two tidal pools designed by Margate's borough engineer in 1900, constructed in concrete blocks reinforced by reused iron tram rails, is recommended for listing at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Structural engineering interest: an ambitious project because of its scale, the weight of each concrete block, and that work needing to be carried out day and night because of the tides;
* Scale and design: impressive in scale and shape, occupying 4 acres and three sides of a rectangle, the sides 450ft long diminishing towards the seaward end which was 300ft long;
* Social historical interest: provided an improvement to sea bathing at the period of the greatest popularity of the English seaside;
* Degree of intactness: intact apart from the loss of the two diving boards which do not often survive;
* Group value: situated quite near the remains of the 1824-6 Clifton Baths (Grade II), an 1935 lift and the other 1900 tidal pool.
Countersigning comments:
Agreed. This is an important structure in the history of English seabathing, one of only 13 tidal bathing pools in England, few of which are on the scale of or as intact as this example at Walpole Bay. It was also a considerable engineering feat, having to be built both by day and at night at the mercy of the tides. It fully merits listing at Grade II.
V. Fiorato, 18th August 2014"
So, as Thanet District Council decide what to spend the £500,000 allocated to implement the Destination Management Plan, perhaps an upgrade to pool facilities to support bathers now might be within reach.  

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Thanet's Regeneration Game

Today the news hit that Manston Airport has been bought by the developers of The Discovery Park in Sandwich headed up by Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner.

Yesterday, Thanet District Council put out a press release that might have passed many by. The Thanet Regeneration Board has changed its name to Invest Thanet. Many may not have noticed who or what is the Thanet Regeneration Board.

I've been asking since its formation how board members are appointed and haven't managed to get a reply:

In June this year, a new Chairman of the Thanet Regeneration Board was appointed, a Mr Paul Barber. Mr Barber is the Managing Director of the Discovery Park in Sandwich. It did seem odd to me that a competitive regeneration site boss from the neighbouring Sandwich area would head up Thanet's Regeneration Board.
Edited to add link to March 2013 post:
Fwd: Why has the This is Margate website has been removed?

The previous TRB chairman was Pam Alexander (ex-SEEDA). I don't recall anyone from Thanet being asked to join the board or apply for the position of chairman.

Here are the current members of the Thanet Regeneration Board:

Paul Barber

Cllr Iris Johnston - Leader of Thanet District Council

Sue McGonigal - Chief Executive Thanet District Council

Laura Sandys - MP Thanet South

Victoria Pomery CBE - Turner Contemporary

Daivid Ashdown - Job Centre Plus

David Foley - Thanet & East Kent Chamber of Commerce

Andrew Ironside -Strategic Director (Resources) for Canterbury Christ Church University

 Malcolm Frier - FujiFilm Speciality Ink Systems Ltd

Graham Razey - Principal & Chief Executive East Kent College

Andrew Scott-Clarke - NHS

Sean Kearns - Connexions Kent & Meday

Andrew Brown - English Heritage

Cllr Mark Dance - Kent County Council

Cllr David Green - Thanet District Council

Frank Martin

Janet Haddock Fraser - Dean of Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences

Mr Barber stated back in April the need for a fast train time to the 'edge of Ramsgate'. That would be to Manston Airport site that we now know has been sold to the Discovery Park. I've long been concerned that the Parkway Station plans risk the loss of train services to the towns of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate with shuttle buses bringing passengers from Parkway to the towns.

On BBC Radio Kent today I caught a snippet of an interview with either Mr Musgrove or Mr Cartner stating they were 'property people' and Manston would be developed for housing, retail and schools.

Does that sound like a business park?

The funding for the Parkway Station and the big new roads that run there were all funded for employment and job creation. Not to enable a massive housing estate.

Is it feasible that no one at Thanet Council, Kent County Council or MPs knew this was coming?

There seems no representation on this TRB from small businesses or tourism. Which for a coastal region is highly significant.

Saturday 13 September 2014

Does Thanet Council suggest to people not to be filmed at public meetings?

Yesterday I received an email from an officer from Democratic Services at Thanet District Council. It was part of an email exchange regarding public speaking at the upcoming Planning Committee on the 17th. Out of the blue the officer sent an email flagging up 'new filming regulations' with regards to public filming:

"I should have mentioned that there are now new filming regulations which allow attendees to film the proceedings of public meetings.    Would you (or XXXX) have any objection to being filmed?   If so, the Chairman will ask attendees not to film you/ other rep. when you speak."

This seems a little overly proactive of the Council to suggest to prospective speakers at a public meeting tin advance that they may opt out and that this will be flagged to the Chairman, who in turn would ask members of the public not to film them.

On what basis would the Chairman ask members of the public not to film under these new regulations?

The guidance issued by the Government in June stated:
"Are there other limits that I should be aware of? 
The council or local government body should consider adopting a policy on the filming of members of the public, such as allowing those who actively object to being filmed not to be filmed, without undermining the broader transparency of the meeting."

This seems very different from an officer corresponding with a member of the public in advance of the public meeting and without communicating any detail on the regulations.

My view is that Council meetings are public meetings and speaking at them is public speaking. Similar to how photographers have a right to photograph us in the street.

And here is a Council meeting filmed by a member of the public regarding the Pleasurama development in Ramsgate on September 11th.