Sunday, 22 October 2017

A few old pictures of Ramsgate Harbour, possible ramble.

Clicking compulsively, tapping and spreading et al will expand the pictures, I hope.
 Lots of reaction to the post about the new exhibition at Turner Contemporary that I put up yesterday, as ever the post goes on blogger where the pictures and related text goes and the comment goes on the Facebook groups that I link to.
 I found it interesting that all of the comment was about Tracey Emin's bed and nothing about the the works of JWM Turner or Jean Arp. It would seem that love it or hate it it is the bed that is the crowd puller and that will help the local economy.
 Yesterday, Saturday ,that is, was a busy day in the bookshop and a lot of books went out on the shelves, here is the link to the pictures of them
 I have been dragged kicking and screaming into using a newer version of MS Office, 365 Pro Plus, now installed on my laptop. All change is terrible, but this is worse than most, so please excuse any Worpos or whatever they are called.

I am tentatively wondering about “Explore new Word training” but think I may give it a miss. 
 It's what equates to half term this week, so I am expecting a fairly busy week.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Photographs of Tracey Emin’s Bed and Arp at Turner Contemporary crumbling toward a review.

This is Tracey Emin’s Bed. Is it art? Why is it on display in Margate? How do people write reviews?

I am not an art critic but as Saturday is my day off I’m a watercolour painter, so I will try, My Day.

Margate doesn’t appear to start until 10am so I drove over there from Ramsgate aiming to arrive at about 10 to 10 I parked in the multi-story under Morrisons which costs £2.70 for all day.

My main objective being to paint what I can see

From somewhere with a view.

Like in this JWM Turner of Margate High Street I used to draw the picture first in pen and then sort of colour it in with watercolour paint.

Like Turner I reached the point where I stopped bothering to use the pen and just painted the picture straight on to the paper.

This is a fairly late Turner watercolour of Margate painted in his late 50s.

The tide in Margate was out and the sun over the town so the light was travelling from the town towards the sea, so one of the rare times I can get on with the boats in my painting of Margate Lighthouse.

I wanted to see the exhibition before I started painting from the café so I went round it very quickly and did it again later at a more leisurely pace.   
After this very quick view my favourite picture in the exhibition was this Dada drawing by Arp I think.

I went to cafe, sketched some more boats dried out before the tide came in and floated my boats' and before the rain clouds came and made it difficult to see the boats.

I went back to look at the exhibitions before it got as bad as this.

Photography is allowed in the exhibition and I took some pictures with the camera I had brought with me to take pictures of boats at sea, and some pictures with my mobile phone.

 The lighting in Turner Contemporary is not good for either camera, I think when the gallery was built one of the mistakes they made was to install halogen lighting instead of LED lighting. There are various issues with this one, the main one being the gallery staff spend a great deal of time measuring the light to ensure minimal damage to the paintings another is that it isn’t as light as one would like when using the wrong camera.

Anyway at this point here is the link to pictures I took today with my camera and here is the link to the pictures I too today with my phone assuming that you have now looked at some of them then you have some idea of what I saw today.

My feelings are that you can’t say much about visual art and in general the more you can say about a picture the less good the picture is, well that’s not exactly right is it? But I can only convey what I mean here by saying the wrong thing and you thinking. That’s not exactly right.

Arp Dadaism first, my family – when I was a child and my family’s adult friends would talk about, have books about – this type of art and so? When I view it, what? Some of the lose toys in my attic start to fly.

Some of it makes me feel? Uncomfortable? Some of the shapes? Erotic? Anatomical? So all well and good, a decent exhibition, shifted my hypotenuse type of kidney.

Worth coming down for a visit? I think so.

Then the My Bed, well my take on this is that this is when art pays Margate back, a major art work and one that everyone has heard of, so a big crowd puller and very good for businesses in the town and the local economy.

There is a sense in which the bed isn’t art anymore and has become history, so yes all well and good – it works.

The Turners around the bed, I find these much more difficult to understand, some seem to have been chosen as décor to go with the bed, the colours on the pictures matching the stains on the bed as it were.

This is a case where I feel the paintings need more text, which isn’t a good sign, I think – I expect some of them were studies for other pictures, perhaps as good as Turner’s watercolour of Margate Lighthouse, which although not in the exhibition does show me how very far I have to go in terms of producing a really good watercolour of Margate.  

Friday, 20 October 2017

Ramsgate Festival of Light Pictures, the local plan responses, a bit more of a Pleasurama update, some old Thanet pictures.

The pictures of Ramsgate illuminations should expand if you click on them, I have tried harder with the scanner today.

How do you feel about online forms? Be honest but not to the point of vulgarity.
Anyway with the draft local plan 1,500 people responded to the consultation mostly using the online form, which like all online forms is designed to bring out something in people that may not be their best, so here is the link to what they all had to say
I think the council would rather not have a plan and sort of bumble along fielding complaints about what they have failed to achieve in the past, but the government says that have to or the government will take over and write it for them. 
Since I last looked at it it has changed it’s name to Local Development Scheme I think, see
Back to asking the council about Pleasurama I write to them once a year and ask them what's going on, here is my email also published in Thursday's blog

Hi can the council give me an update on the situation relating to the old Pleasurama site in Ramsgate, particularly in terms of the current council strategy for improving the situation relating to the site’s negative impact on Ramsgate?

A general update would be helpful and answers to the specific questions below.

Does the council still have any control over the site, start dates, completion dates etc. or retain any interest in the site?

What is the position over ownership of the site now, and if the site owner’s or the owner’s agents are a known developer can the council give details of their other developments in progress or completed?

Does the council see the planning consent for the site as standing in perpetuity?

Would the council now consider implementing a flood risk assessment by HR Wallingford as recommended by the EA? See

In the event of such a flood risk assessment requiring material change to the planning consent, does the council consider that this would impact on the site value?

Does the development agreement give the option for the council to buy back the site by a specific long stop date and if so what is that date and are the council considering this option?

Does the development agreement, at any point, give the council the option to buy back the site at the price the council sold it for, or would any council buyback be at current market value? 

Is the council in a position to obtain temporary use for the site, car parking and leisure event for this summer season?

Do the council have any short term plans to mitigate the negative influence of this site, adjacent to Ramsgate’s main leisure area, on the town’s tourist economy?   

Best regards Michael

And their rely also published Thursday

Dear Mr Child,

Thank you for your email of the 26 April 2017 regarding the Pleasurama site in Ramsgate. Due to an oversight, I understand that you have not been sent a reply, for which I apologise. I do understand that you have corresponded with the council about this site in the past and received a lot of the information on the site already?

I can confirm that the Council has disposed of the freehold of the site. Full details on the property can be found on the HM Land Registry web-site at there, you will be able to find the present owner’s name and address and from that research what other developments they might have either completed or have in progress.

Details of the planning history of the site can be found at If you search for Ramsgate and Pleasurama you will find documents including the latest planning permission.

There is no current requirement for a further flood risk assessment. Hypothetically, were such an assessment required which changed the planning consent then conceivably that might impact on site values, but you’ll need to appoint a valuer to advise you in detail.

There is an option for the Council to buy back the site, but that option is not yet exercisable, so no consideration has been given to exercising it at this time. The option would be based on the terms of the transfer which (subject to commercial confidentiality) are available from the HM Land Registry (see above).

I do not think that the undeveloped condition of the site would lend itself to the sort of temporary uses that you describe (even if the landowner were to consent to such a proposal).

The District Council do not have any short-term plans to improve the site (since we do not own it). However you could ask the County Council about what could be done with the temporary hoarding on the highway to make a more positive impression?

Best regards

**** ******

***** ****, Solicitor
Director of Corporate Governance and Monitoring Officer
Thanet District Council
Anyway I replied to this today

Hi *** This is my official request for further review, please send my customer feedback request for further review or if you wish to treat the request as an foi then please send my foi request for further review.
I am very concerned that the council appears to have no strategy for resolving this 20 year blight on Ramsgate, both with respect to the damage to the whole towns economy, including my own business, but also with respect to the revenue lost to the council by this site remaining in a state of blight for an unreasonable period.
I am further concerned that the council seems to have no plan to resolve the problem, that the council doesn’t know if the planning consent stands in perpetuity and appears to be happy to accept the blight indefinitely.
I am extremely concerned that the council doesn’t hold site ownership details for the current owners and has felt in necessary to direct me to the land registry to find them out.
I had hoped that the council would have some sort of ongoing dialogue with the owners and an enforcement strategy to deal with the blight.  
You say that “There is no current requirement for a further flood risk assessment” I take this to imply that there has been a site specific fra since the EA wrote to the council recommending one, please provide it or state what public domain restrictions it has. I should also like to draw to your attention to the safety and duty of care issues raised in the EA letter. 
I am also concerned that the council doesn’t appear to be aware of the ongoing liability to the council, of have made financial provision for reacquisition inasmuch as the council should know if the site can be bought back for the amount the council sold it for or if the council will have to pay full market value to get the site back.
Please appreciate that I am not asking for actual amounts, which I presume could have commercial confidentiality issues.
With respect to start, completion and long stop dates, the council have announced various dates over the past fifteen years and as far as I can see they have all now expired with the exception of the final completion date, so I am assuming that there must now be revised dates and that these should be in the public domain.
Can you please clarify this issue?
I have previously assisted with arrangements with the council to provide temporary use of the site for a funfair and this was successful for one of the 20 years of blight, so I don’t feel that it follows that this couldn’t be done again.  
With mitigation plans, I feel one option could be to use the occupied road space to reinstate the one-way road and by doing this much the previous tourist parking, but I think this could only be achieved with a proactive district council working with the county council.       

And this is a picture of Dinah Sheridan who did the turning on, of the illuminations that is, Festival of Britain 1951 I think. The following pictures are of people looking at the lights I think they were easier to photograph than the lights. 

Coming back to the Pleasurama issue, no announcement that work will start this year which is what KCC told Karen Constantine one of our KCC councillors.
I do now have a little further information from TDC

"If it helps, I can say that we have had recent contact with the agent representing the owner and will be arranging a meeting with them shortly, to better understand their plans and proposals for developing the site.

I can assure you that the my colleagues and I are as anxious as you are to get the stalled development re-started and completed."
I am still pressing for an internal review and wondering if there is any way to take this further, my own take being that TDC lack whatever it takes to sort the problem out.
To be honest I really haven't a clue what comes next, perhaps KCC, the LGO, DCLG, I sort of feel there must be someone to turn to when the council can't sort something out.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Some old Ramsgate pictures, another Manston Airport DCO update, some thoughts on regeneration funding.

 Click on pictures to enlarge, this is Olby's in King Street Ramsgate before they built their new building that became Blockbuster and then Morrison's
It's a funny old world, as you can see from the photo another building trade supplier is about to open there.

 As you can see from the picture the council looked at the tourists parked on Ramsgate seafront and sought funding to improve the situation.
 must be around 20 years ago now. Interesting traffic flow plan too
 Like the Marina Pool a bit of our past, probably under used.
 Once again some pictures will expand better than others and at this time of writing I don't know which.
 Ah yes Manston Airport and the DCO, well of course a lot of people wanted to save the airport but I am not so sure that many actually want an airfreight hub, I haven't actually seen a banner, Facebook group or anything of that type of kidney saying "We Want a Freight Hub" but that is what the RiverOak DCO is all about.
When the council have to publish a document that says “Private and Confidential” at the top it is often worth reading and this one, Manston Airport Local Plan Representations is interesting, regardless of which side of the, save the airport, build a freight hub, don’t build houses, no night flights fences you are behind, here is the link

I have been trying to discuss some of the environmental issues that RiverOak couldn’t answer at their consultation sessions with their environmental team, something that pins recommended I did.

I haven’t had much luck though. It’s like all the lights are on at RiverOak but no ones home, which I think may in fact be the case.

If ever there was conformation that RiverOak is out to lunch then I think not responding to the local plan consultation is it.    

Oh well back to 1939 and this picture of Ramsgate, back to work in the bookshop for me tomorrow the books that went out in the bookshop yesterday were local history and this is the link to the pictures of them 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Old local pictures, minor ramble

Click on the pictures to make them expand, some are more expandable than others probably because I pressed different buttons during the scanning process, mostly Ramsgate as you would expect.
 After yesterday’s post I found myself back in the business of trying to communicate with TDC about Pleasurama. I think part of the problem is that Ramsgate needs a strong and consistent advocate backed by some Ramsgate based organisation to get a fair deal for Ramsgate from the various levels of government.       
 Over the past thirty years I have had the bookshop in the town I have seen a few likely organisations get going and then flounder. We even went as far as getting a town council, but in that time the main issue, the Pleasurama site hasn’t been resolved and the secondary big one Westcliff Hall hasn’t either.
 The pavilion seemed to be solved almost against council wishes. This picture would be before 1900, the tower on the Granville was lowered in 1900 the structures on the left where the pavilion is now were destroyed in the 1897 storm.
Early picture of the pavilion worth expanding 1904 was its first or second year.

 Photos from the last couple of days next 

A new shop in Ramsgate High Street

I wonder if the scaffolding on the old £1 shop site means anything

To let two units at around £1,500 per week each, I wonder does the STP stand for serenity tranquillity and peace, probably not.