Thanet Star

Margate Caves to become block of flats!

Margate Caves are set to become a block of flats if planning application F/TH/10/0546 get's the go ahead.

However were the caves not closed by TDC due to being structurally unsound? How can flats be safe on top of unsound caves?

(I'm not exactly break news with this as Michael Child covered the planning application earlier this month and it was mentioned by Claire Blackwell in the What in particular do you think TDC could do to help reinvigorate Margate? post.)

In case you never get to see the caves vortigernstudies.org.uk has this to say:

The Margate Caves are a most extraordinary curiosity. There are 20-30 showcaves in Britain, but one would hardly expect to find one in this sleepy corner of Kent, where nothing much seems changed since the 1950s. However, this town, where most visitors to and from the continent normally rush through, has not one, but two! There is Margate Caves, and its neighbour, the Shell Grotto.

and hotelara.com mentions them thusly:

Close by to the grotto are the Margate Caves another delightful mystery. The caves are man-made but, by whom and when, no one seems to know. Some argue they are over 1000 years old others that they date from Georgian times and were built as some eccentric's folly. Margate Caves consists of a steep underground tunnel that leads to a circular chamber. Beyond this is another passage leading to a rectangular chamber. Some interesting cave paintings exist drawn from the time of their discovery in the 18th century.

I would try to link you to it but all I did was cash the page last time I tried to do that.

Why must we try to build flats everywhere nice?

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People are betting on Tory to win!

Conservatives are all set to win the next local election says the smart money.

According to bet's placed on BetAble.com it is the conservatives that are set to win the 2011 Thanet District Council elections. £11 of the £15 pot says that the conservatives (that's the party that gave us Sandy Ezekiel) will be winning next year.

Of course it's early days yet and if you know something the others do not then you could scoop a a few rounds worth of pocket money. Click here to see the current pot size.

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Connaught shares plunge on funding woes

Do TDC still use these guys?

BBC News - Connaught shares plunge on funding woes

Shares in social housing firm Connaught slump 76% after it says it had identified an "urgent" need for extra funds.

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What in particular do you think TDC could do to help reinvigorateMargate?

I spotted an itneresting email in my inbox recently. The message was from a young man doing research and asking questions about the decline of Margate and what Thnaet District Council could and should be doing to make it better.

Hi Matt B,

I am currently doing some research for University College London on the future role of high streets given the high number of shop vacancies that are currently being recorded in many town centres.

Obviously the case of Margate is of great interest as it apparently has the highest number of shop vacancies in the country. I have just read your comments concerning Margate town centre and i am interested in some of you ideas and opinions.

What in particular do you think TDC could do to help reinvigorate/reinvent Margate. And what changes would you, as a local, like to see occur on Margate's high street in terms of retail and uses? And therefore what future role do you see the high street fulfilling?

I would be very interested to hear your opinions and it would be a great help with my research.

The best qualified people to answer this question is you the reader. I'll throw my opinion out there to kick the debate off and then leave you to give the definitive answer. Are you ready?

I think that the thing Thanet District Council did most badly wrong was to not consider the impact of an out of town shopping centre on a town centre with issues that have left them struggling with "regeneration" for parts of it for years.

The Margate "old town" has never exactly been the biggest success story and demonstrates that there is a very real danger of starving highstreet areas with very little changes. The Westwood Cross build combined with a bad economic situation has truely hurt Margate town centre.

But more than that the destruction of the town centre highlights what any decent analist could have told you - that the town centre was being propped up by the larger stores and had very little vitality in and of itself. Had it been self sufficient as Broadstairs and Ramsgate have been forced to be then the old town regeneration would have been a snap.

To breath life back in to the town centre the council needs to help it become competitive. It's being out competed by Westwood Cross so it must beat it at it's own game or focus on a different niche.

Both options are going to cost a fair amount just to make the properties attractive sites to do business from. Margate town centre lacks a compelling reason to visit without the likes of HSBC, WoolWorths and the other shops it has lost.

Yet if there was one thing that I would identify as a needed action would be - free parking. Why would people choose to pay to park at slightly inconvenient parts of Margate when they can get everything and free parking at Westwood Cross?

Well, that's my two pence worth now I'll throw it open to the readers.

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Is Thanet District Council a safe bet for Conservatives?

Who would you bet on in the Thanet District Council elections?

So you think you know Thanet politics do you? Care to bet on that?

They say that money talks and so now is a chance to for it to speak up on local matters.

Next year we face local elections (5th May 2011). The contest is mostly between Labour and Conservative with Lib Dems nipping at the heals of the current Tory overlords. Who will be in power after is, in my opinion, anyone's guess.

But don't let that you stop you.

New social media "big splash" betable.com allows you to set up bets with your mates. I took a look and set up the chance for some lucky blogger to make a small fortune by understanding Thanet better than anyone else.

The question is who will win control of TDC after the local elections? And you can wager £1 or your life savings (please don't do that). You have 10 months to figure out where to put your pound.

As the bets pile up so the pot grows. Those that bet on the winning party get to take a share of the pot. It's that simple.

Options include Tory (probable), Labour (possible), Lib Dem (unlikely) or a hung Council (you wish).

Betable - Who will win the Thanet Council Elelctions?

The 2011 United Kingdom local elections are to be held on 5 May 2011. That's when we learn if the District Council of Thanet will be Labour, Conservative or Other

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Forced Retirement Costs UK Economy £3.5bn a Year

Forcing older workers to retire cost the UK last year an estimated £3.5 billion in lost economic output‚ new figures by Age UK reveal ahead of tomorrow night’s TV showdown among party leaders on the economy.

With an estimated 120‚000 older workers forced to retire in 2009‚ new research by the leading older people’s charity now shows the policy is draining billions of pounds from the economy every year. Forcing over a hundred thousand employees out of the job market has opened up an estimated £3.5 billion gap in lost economic output‚ says the Charity. This includes £2 billion in lost earnings for the workers themselves.

The Turner Commission revealed as far back as 2004 that approximately 15% of workers aged 65-69 stop working each year suggesting 100‚000 of those forced to retire would have otherwise remained in work. Likewise a TNS/BMRB survey for Age UK showed that 4% of people aged 65-70‚ an estimated 118‚000 people‚ said they were forced to retire in the last year.

All three of the main political parties have all committed to change the Default Retirement Age‚ but neither the Conservatives nor Labour have guaranteed a complete end to forced retirement. Age UK is now calling on all parties to pledge to scrap the law outright.

Michelle Mitchell‚ Age UK Charity Director‚ said: While party leaders are gearing up to lock horns over the state of the economy‚ they should remember that scrapping the Default Retirement Age is a simple step to boost public finances.

It is estimated that the total amount of lost contribution for the 100‚000 or so employees aged 60+ is approximately £3.5 billion per annum so Mr Mitchell might have a point.

The Default Retirement is not only an unfair‚ outdated piece of legislation‚ it also causes real harm to our economy and public finances by depriving the labour market of experienced‚ skilled workers who would otherwise be paying taxes. said Michelle Mitchell. Nine in ten older workers oppose forced retirement. It’s now time for the parties to go beyond warm words and give mature workers a simple‚ radical pledge to scrap forced retirement.

Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged. The Age UK family includes Age Scotland‚ Age Cymru and Age NI.

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The Thanet Anthem

The seedy side of Thanet takes centre stage in a viral video that has been growing in popularity recently.

The video is called "The Thanet Anthem" and is already in version two having had a few images changed or blurred (Sandy Ezekiel, for example) presumably after complaints by those who are feeling the heat of the complaints. With lyrics suggesting that Thanet is where "where dreams are trampled and robbed by the council" this is not a track "bigging up" the area.

Trying to work itself as a parody ala Weird Al to the music of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' Empire State Of Mind this is (according to my source) the work of Adrian "The Fraudster" Handley, James Mason and Hannah Buchanan. It bills itself on youtube as "funniest video" but it does not quite catch the right tone to be laugh out-loud, rolling on the floor stuff.

If you want to watch the video and promise not to be offended read on...

...

» Continue Reading: The Thanet Anthem

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Mentions

We got a mention in 5 ways to blog from Thanet now.

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Creatives

Thanet Creative have a new webiste and a new name

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Local Art

Local Artist, John Wooster-Brown has a new website.

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Like to write?

If you love to write then the Thanet Creative Writers blog might be the ideal place to connect with your nearest writer group.

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Hyper-localism

For those interested in blogging local news in and arround the UK this BBC article from last year is sure to be of interest.

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