Thanet Star

The Broadstairs Tree Massacre: Following the money (part 1)

I recently picked up on this press release: "Demo to be held against tree massacre". I had to wonder why this centre was being build and who actually wanted it. I asked questions but I found too few answers.

Say no to dead trees

Michael Child has published some of the planning diagrams. However none of the press releases allowed me to "follow the money".

I spent most of the morning tracking down information about the Pierremont Park development. I tried to contact Mark Nottingham (Labour) for whom this was the wrong part of Thanet, Clive Hart (Labour) who failed to answer and Chris Wells (Conservative) who refused to answer. This might be because Clive Hart has been ignoring bloggers and Chris Wells only seems to manage a "no comment" these days.

The first clue came from Liberal Democrat hopeful Louisa Latham who pointed me to this. However upon chasing Thanet District Council for answers no one seemed to know of the Pierremont Park development as a financial issue. Whatever part of TDC is funding this (if indeed they are) they are keeping things most secret.

The plan is based on the original plans submitted in December 2005 by a "Community Centre Trust" with the proposed centre being built where Park Hall currently stands. The question I was starting to ask was - who benefits from this and who was funding this trust?

Changes to the plans were made and approved in 2008 but this failed to become anything after Thanet College's planned move to Westwood was cancelled in 2009 which meant the community centre trust did not get much-needed funds under a planning agreement.

Finally the trust failed to get hold of a 2,000,000 grant from another trust and that seemed like the end of the plans. However someone somewhere must know what or who has happened to bail out this questionable plan and that someone is also likely to know what benefit our local authorities are getting from it.

A new development (planning application F/TH/05/1175) which has so upset people is (it is said) being funded by Broadstairs Town Council and with Thanet District Council and Kent County Council. Which makes it look more like a land grab for yet more office space for councils. However Thanet District Council seem to be misleading me or as much in the dark as I am.

Did they not get enough when they moved operations in the library?

Why do they need office space in the park too?

What I have to wonder is why £2,000,000 can be spent on an unpopular building but Margate caves can't have a tenth of that (£200,000)? Two million quid would be more than enough to reopen at least some of our museums or build some much needed social housing.

Residents of Broadstairs are upset that the Council will be cutting down trees needlessly in the park and yet there is a site there already where a building already exists and is going to be knocked down. It seems to many like a lack of joined up thinking.

Twenty trees in Broadstairs' Pierremont Park are threatened with the axe in order to make way for the controversial new 2 million "community centre" in Broadstair's historic Pierremont Park which, to me, resembles new office space for councils which are "down sizing".

A demonstration against the cutting down of trees in a Broadstairs park has been organized for Sunday 6th March.

Louisa Latham, Lib Dem
The proposals have always been a disaster for green space in Broadstairs. Said Chair of South Thanet Liberal Democrat's and Bradstow Ward Candidate Louisa Latham. But to add insult to injury, it now seems the town council want to use taxpayers' money to fund a so-called community centre that Broadstairs residents don't want.

I asked Louisa if she felt this was the right way for funds to be spent.

This comes at a time when Broadstairs needs all the investment it can get in existing amenities. She said.

As local traders continue to struggle, public toilets continue to close and our tourist economy is threatened, she added, it seems our Conservative councillors still want to feather their nests with plush offices rather than look after the community they were elected to serve.

So it seems that I'm not the only one wondering why the council's of Thanet and Kent are trying to build office buildings on our parks when better venues and more pressing needs exist.

Norman Thomas of pressure group, the Thanet Action Group, said there is huge anger among local people at the proposal.

He said: People are outraged by the whole idea. Pierremont is an incredibly small park losing twenty trees will scalp the place.

Mr Thomas is not the only one to express anger at the loss of the last of our green spaces. I have never seen so much destruction done to one area in 20 years, as I have experienced in Thanet. says Thanet Star reader Carole Russell It is absolute sacriledge as to how different Governments and different Councils have ignored the once beautiful buildings and facilities Thanet had and allowed them to fall into rack and ruin. Not to mention the loss of so much farmland (which we shall desperately miss in the future) school playing fields, wooded walks,open spaces, animals in paddocks and pens and more.

this stretch of Thanet between Margate and Broadstairs was a lovely place to be, a lovely place to live. And then the houses came, lots of them. says Yourthanet editor Dave Mairs talking about how Thanet has changed. As for the rest of us, we are left with a wholly impoverished environment and find ourselves living somewhere that really isn't that special any more certainly not when compared with how it once was.

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Public Comments

This Normal comment was left by Don [score: 0]:

Whilst all cuts are being made nowadays, some politicians could muster the courage to spend frivilously on this nonsense.

Whats this country turning into?
03/03/2011 09:06:46

This Normal comment was left by Carole Russell [score: 0]:

Not one person, who has any power in Thanet, has given any consideration, as to how we shall cope in the very near future.
A future which threatens Global warming, on a scale, most people could not even visualise.
We only have to look at other parts of the world and their suffering over the past 5 years to know this is correct, it will happen here, just when, no one knows.
We must ensure, no more green spaces are taken, for more unnecessary buildings, when already, so many stand idle. Taking 20 trees from Pierremont Park is completely unacceptable and unnecessary.
We shall also need ALL the farm land in the future to our grow the food, which we shall no longer be able to acquire from abroad. Just look what has happened in the last 5 years, arable land concreted over, now ruined for ever. Trees being removed every where is unforgivable. Didn't the Government say no trees were to be removed in this country? Is it one rule for them another for us?
The quality of the air we breathe, is already threatened by the continual increase of pollution levels, we need trees to give us oxygen.
These people who have our lives and our welfare in their hands, continue to destroy everything they should be preserving everything for the future not only of Thanet but for every living breathing creature on this Planet.
03/03/2011 09:55:00

This Normal comment was left by Naughty User [score: 0]:

<strong>[Naughty IP:]</strong> I love this blog. It is famous.
03/03/2011 10:10:16

This Normal comment was left by Michael Webb [score: 0]:

Where does Carole Russell get all her energy? never seems to stop trying to make Thanet into a better place, admire your guts lady, but do you really think anyone will take any notice, or are you just wasting your time. Hope not for your sake, shame we haven't more people like you on the Council or even in the government, you put them to shame
04/03/2011 19:50:03

This Normal comment was left by steven [score: 0]:

[Naughty IP:] here's from my point of view

These people who have our lives and our welfare in their hands,We only have to look at other parts of the world and their suffering over the past few years to know this is correct,shame we haven't more people like you on the Council or even in the government
06/03/2011 10:48:04

This Normal comment was left by Carole Russell [score: 0]:

What did you do Steven ?
Just cut and paste what I had already written, this is weird, surely you can put your own views, just to make it more interesting, try, it will make you feel good.
07/03/2011 15:12:18

This Normal comment was left by Livid of Thanet [score: 0]:

Carole Russell, please don't believe the media hype. Man-made global warming is a hoax, it was decided upon by the 'Club of Rome' as an excuse to tax the bejesus out of us and make us use less resources.

Otherwise I agree with much of what you say. The quality of life will certainly deteriorate for those living nearby.
07/03/2011 23:28:40

This Normal comment was left by Carole Russell [score: 0]:

Livid of Thanet
If you believe that, then I feel sorry for you. Man is slowly destroying the whole planet, there is proof all around us, don't close your eyes to it, we can all help to preserve it if we all pull together. Modern way of living is polluting the air we breathe, causing cancer, emphysema, asthma and many other killing complaints. Too many cars and other forms of transport are the biggest contributors to the very poor air quality. look at China they can not walk outside without breathing through a scarf. All councils all over the country are trying to expand the use of all airports, even our own Manston, want to blight our area by sleep deprivation, having heavy cargo planes coming into Manston, on the hour, every hour, from 11pm until 7am, just how much sleep will the majority of residents in Thanet have then? Also how much disgarded aviation fuel will they expel over our gardens, polluting the soil, so we can't grow any vegetables fit for human consumption. Manston airport is too built up with residential properties all around, to expand and it is disgraceful that any Government or Council can even consider this, at the expence of the health of all residents living in the vacinity of Thanet.
Shame on them all
10/03/2011 17:01:11
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