Thanet Star

Which councillors are AWOL?

In the last six months Cllr David Green has been to more meetings than Cllr Chris Wells (who has missed half of his) and Cllr Simon Moores (who hasn't) put together. While Cllr Douglas Clark failed to show up for around three quarters of his meetings. This is our review of Councillor attendance.

Thanet District Council publish the attendance records of thier council members. Here I've chosen to focus on the best and worst of the Thanet Districts elected council. Although for reference a school would have something strong to say about any child dipping below 95% (the worst this (half) year was less than 29%).

The figures cover the six month period From the third of November last year to the twenty-eigth of April this year. In attendance means that there was a meeting that they were not listed for but they showed up for anyway.

The most absent councillors in Thanet

While the lowest attendance by any councillor award goes to Douglas W Clark who missed a staggering three quarters of his meetings the next most tardy councillor in Thanet District is Chris Wells. Chris who inexplicably is standing for election to KCC while clearly struggling to manage his TDC responsibilities managed to attend just 4 of his required meetings.

These absent without leave councillors are joined by councillors Ken Gregory and Michael Roberts who tie for third place in the failed to show up top three. Even so these two both managed to attend slightly more of their meetings. Ken missed just 2 of the mere five meetings he was supposed to be at while Michael attended the most meetings making it to a whole 6 gatherings.




































Cllr



Expected



Present



In attendance



% Present



Cllr
Michael J Roberts



10



6



0



60.00%



Cllr
Ken Gregory



5



3



0



60.00%



Cllr
Christopher T Wells



8



4



2



50.00%



Cllr
Douglas W Clark



7



2



0



28.57%


If these councillors are struggling to do their duty then there is no shame in standing down and making way for someone who will do the job.

Next up: we've seen who has been bad - now lets see who has been good.

...

» Continue Reading: Which councillors are AWOL?

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Transeuropa Ferries bankrupt say Shipping TV

Ramsgate-Ostend ferry route appears to have closed according to shippingtv.co.uk.

After weeks of confusion and service suspensions, Ramsgate-Ostend ferry operator Transeuropa Ferries has reportedly filed for bankruptcy in Belgium ending services out of Ramsgate according to one source. Here's the video report in question.

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Driver does not go far enough

Driver is demanding that we turn the cameras on the council and while he's right to demand it came we really expect the lepard to change it's spots?

I made the point back in 2009 that Thanet District Council was not ellected and nothing much has changed.Indeed in some ways it has gotten worse. The most powerful men in Thanet District Council right now are a few independent councillors who have the power to play King Maker.

Yes we need to put the spotlight on our council members. Yes we need them to answer for what they do. Yes we should hold them to account. We need something more.

We need to hand choice back to the voter and the only way we, in Thanet, can do that is by switching to a mayor and cabinet model. The very model that Thanet District Council under Tory leadership shafted carefully into a well executed PR non-thing which they then dismissed.

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956 Kent children were taken into care last year

Children in care Kent 2012
I recently asked Kent County Council about the number of children taken into care last year now they have (slightly late) replied I am working my way through the numbers.

My freedom of information request to KCC resulted (late) in some interesting numbers. I originally only asked because KCC had not answered a similar question that was not worded particularly well. I broadened the scope to the year and asked for 8 points of data. I got 4 of those the distribution of children taken into care by age and gender has left me a little puzzled.

I am hoping that you can help me flesh out this picture.

...

» Continue Reading: 956 Kent children were taken into care last year

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What to do with Thanet's "warfare mindset"?

near fist fight at TDC
I remain deeply distressed by the news of last thursday's council meeting.

Last Thursday Thanet District Council's meeting descended into farce and argument after a huge (by Thanet Standards) petition triggered what should have been a fairly workmanlike debate.

Instead point scoring petty arguments and a close to physical fight were witnessed before press and councillors alike who tried to document this were ejected (some might add illegally) from the council.

I have, from that time until now, written and rewritten this post. I have reached the point were I have no choice but to admit that I am speechless.

How could we, the people of Thanet have let it come to this?

More importantly, how can we correct things. How can we make sure that our councils starts to become functional? Do we need to bring in mediators and diplomats to try and broker a ceasefire? What, in all honesty, shall we do?

Photo based on image taken by Ian Driver who was thrown out of the meeting for having the guts to take that image.

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Win a pair of tickets for flights from Manston

Win free flights and accommodation for two.

That's the deal from Kent Online The competition is free to enter but you must live in the BR, CT, DA, ME, or TN postcode areas to be eligible

Winners will fly from Manston Airport, via Amsterdam, to wherever they choose be it New York, Dubai or Hong Kong. Twice daily flights are now taking off from Manston, based in East Kent, and landing at the award-winning hub airport Schiphol just 50 minutes later.

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Tax cuts protesters in Margate

Protesters took to the streets of Margate (or at least the clock Tower) to object to welfare cuts.
No to Bedroom Tax - Margate Clocktower - 20th April 2013

The protest was against the welfare cuts in general but the mood was particular against the cuts that have become known as the Bedroom Tax. The protesters were hopeful of forcing a debate at District Council level with a sufficiently large petition despite the Pleasurama debate nearly coming to blows with local independent journalists and councillors alike being ejected from the meeting this Thursday for trying to document what was happening.

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Frankly, KCC, I would have expected more for my money

Kent County Council's website is not anywhere near as bad as Thanet District Council's but for the hundreds of thousands they have piled into it over the last four years I would have expected something better.

Recently I wrote to Kent County Council (KCC) and asked them how much they spent on the website. You can read their answer here.

I applaud KCC for reducing the expenditure from just under 300,000 a year when they ordered a new CMS (Content Management System) and fresh design work but given the quality of modern Open Source CMS I have a hard time seeing why KCC needed to spend more than 12,000 a year.

I only hope that the custom CMS is the most amazing CMS ever to be invented for that sort of money. For a price tag that exceeds half a million pounds over the last four years I would want something truly amazing. If a private business had spent this much on their website I'd expect it to make me a cup of coffee while I browse.

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What have they done for us?

What, if anything, have the conservatives done for Cliftonville?

me - no idea about it
As many of you know I am standing for election to Kent County Council in the Margate and Cliftonville ward. The one question that keeps coming up is this: What have the currently elected Tory council members done for Cliftonville in all that time?

I have yet to find even one person who can say, hand on heart, yes those Tory's helped. Not one.

The problem I fear is that the ward has been represented by career politicians whose one claim to fame is "being on all the councils". When the different candidates come knocking on your door (or calling you on the phone) find out where else they are elected to and then ask them: What have you done for me so far?

My answer is simple: What I have done is draw your attention to the fact that no one is working for you and made a solemn vow to be the change we both seek.

I'm sure the others will give you a lot of talk about how busy they have been going to meetings and stuff but not actually say how they have helped you because the chances are they have not helped you at all. If you want a councillor who will actually be there to help you then you need someone who care enough to speak up even when there is not an election on and even when they are not elected to any office at all.

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Toby Carvery, Westwood Cross

For a celebratory occasion, three of us had a wander around Westwood Cross for somewhere to eat and toast to our good news. There were huge queues almost everywhere, overpriced establishments, or a lack of vegetarian (for myself) options available, so the two gentleman accompanying me both suggested Toby Carvery, which although mostly meat-based, has vegetarian options and a full Buffet to choose from for a relatively low cost, so that is where we went.

We had to wait half an hour or so to be seated, but unlike many other eateries, this one has a separate seating area near the bar, so we were given a numbered "buzzer" and told to sit and wait there until it flashed, which would tell us it was our turn in the queue. This is a far superior system to anywhere else that I have been that has required queuing, and as a disabled patron, I found it particularly useful.

...

» Continue Reading: Toby Carvery, Westwood Cross

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News Line

News Desk We don't have a news desk but we do have Matt Meassage Matt with your hot news. Of special interest are any photos younmight have taken at events and of news as it happens. Share these with us via Facebook or upload to TwitPic or FlickR and message Matt with the link.

Tipster Share you tips and gossip or just get a load off your chest. Keep it short and to the point and we might publish it. We like to know what is going on in Thanet and photographs are very good.

Leaks and Secrets Dropping the bombshell could well compromise your employment status so use discretion and never email us from work. Evidence is key but be sure you are aware that you are breaching a trust to release this information. Your identity will be protected as a secret by us.

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Bus Gossip from Tipster

Thanet's secret Tipster has written to us to say that there will be some new buses doing the rounds soon.

I overheard two bus drivers talking on Thursday. Saying that the new buses arrive tomorrow but "where will they put them?" and "aren't they stored at Manston?" and "They'll probably bring them out in dribs and drabs."

Car drivers will mostly be uninterested in this I have no doubt but those of use that rely on public transport can only hope that some routes get more buses on them. Over to you to tell us what you make of this.

Share you tips and gossip or just get a load off your chest. Keep it short and to the point and we might publish it.

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Thanet Star is still here!

You do realise yesterday's "news story" was a hoax right?

Yesterday was April the first. The day of jokes and hoaxes. If for some funny reason you fell for my rather still story about Thanet's Tar Ltd and me selling out to an environmentally damaging company then may I be the first to say ha ha ha, thank you.

What was the best April Fools Joke of the year for you?

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Fairwell: Thanet Star has been sold

ThanetStar.com has been sold to new owners who take control of it as of tomorrow morning.

It is with some reluctance that late Friday afternoon I agreed the sale of this website. The amount offered was quite substantial and although I am not allowed to disclose the full value it also include stock and options in the purchasing company's (Veriglobe International PLC) new project (TTC Ltd). The domain will be pressed into service as the official information hub for their new venture which they hope to have built close to the proposed China Gateway site by 2016.

The new project is a daughter company that will employ over nine hundred people world wide with at least three hundred of those being people from Thanet. One of those to be me (pending an interview later this week). This new employer will be making the most of it's Thanet connection and will be known internationally as TTC Ltd. That is Thanet's Tar Commercial Ltd - thus the need for my website address.

As part of the sale I agreed to write one last article in which I would outline the amazing new technology that they have developed (and it is quite impressive). The technology allows the creation of traditional oil by-products from organic waste and recyclables. My understanding is that the plant will focus primarily on Tar creation (mainly from waste plastics) using a far more efficient method than the Envion Oil Generator presently offers.

Now some people have said that the water used in the process goes black and this is true but there is only a small chance that the waste water would cause even a slight colour change to sea water and local sands. While I know most people are going to object to that risk I have to point out that it is purely a cosmetic change and one that I hope could make Thanet famous for it's dark sands - like a certain other beach.

I am sure you will agree that the jobs it might create will be well worth the tiny risk to our beaches (and water).

I've had a really great time locking horns with some of you. co-operating with others and generally being exposed to the local weirdness. I will be starting a new blog soon enough but not one focused on just Thanet. See you all around.

-Matt.

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Byte Sized

Local Art

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

Blogs
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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.

Blogs
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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.

General
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Did you know?

Margate was the first seaside resort to introduce deck chairs way back in 1898.

Facts
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Did you know

MP Roger Gail (Thanet North) wanted to increase VAT

Facts
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Did you know

MP Roger Gale (Thanet North) has never voted on measures to reduce tax avoidance

Facts
 
 
 

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