WESTGATE AND WESTBROOK
MINUTES OF A GENERAL MEETING HELD AT WESTBROOK BOWLS CLUB ON MONDAY 13th FEBRUARY 2012 AT 7.15PM.
Tom King, chairman and councillor, fifty five members and visitors, KCC Cllr Robert Burgess, and Cllrs Neil Hornus and Simon Moores.
The chairman welcomed all attending.
Apologies had been received from Diane Groombridge, Rosalind Morton, and Stephanie Sutton.
1) Sainsburys Application for a “Modest Size Supermarket” Canterbury Road Westgate. Tom told the meeting that this was likely to have an effect on local traders and residents, and invited representatives to give their views.
Mr Reg Bell, who has had retail businesses in the local area for many years, said he saw this development as a threat, and like many others appreciated the unique qualities of Westgate. At present it is a difficult time for small businesses, and those in Westgate and Birchington could be seriously affected, as Margate high street had been as a result of Westwood Cross. Mr Bell offered support to any opposing this development.
Cllr Simon Moores said that the application should be judged on planning grounds, but the opinions of all local people needs to be known. The three planning grounds: Access, which caused the previous development in this area to be turned down. Economy: this is at present fragile, and the balance of new jobs and loss of jobs is important. Precedent: Westgate is a planned town which this could split up and also cause more development on green fields.
Don Eacott pointed out that opinions could be made known to Sainsburys on line.
Bill Furness from Birchington Parish Council felt that objections should be made in real terms, including the entrance/exit, and effect on local shops.
Mr Rose a resident from Hundreds Farm pointed out that the application for fourteen houses was refused due to access problems but Sainsburys plans included a fair size car park. Tom said the original access plan was intended to be via Linksfield, but Sainsburys had proposed to access the site from Canterbury Road with traffic lights.
Other views included the possibility of ending up with two junctions to the main road, both local schools are opposed to the proposal, the need for planning committee members to be fully informed, the possibility of large lorries turning round in Westgate, and loss of trees and damage to others as the roots are cut back. Several retailers thought the development would lead to their closure. Some residents living on the A28 with a long walk to Westgate or Birchington would welcome Sainsburys.
Concern was expressed that markings had been made in the road, but Cllr Simon Moores said that there was not a “done deal”, and the Localisation Bill recently passed brings more power locally. Sainsburys would have to go through the same process as everyone else, even if there is to be a 106 agreement (a condition of development for things to be paid for and put back into the community).
It was pointed out from the floor that large companies are known to have highly qualified legal and planning experts looking to find their way through loopholes or taking councils to court, and at present there may be a vacuum in the current local development framework.
Tom then asked for a general consensus by a show of hands from the meeting, (except Councillors). Almost all present were opposed to the development, there were five abstentions, and none in favour.
Tom then said the next step is to call a public meeting, Mr Morris pointed out that the Ursuline College would be willing to hold such meetings. Tom said that the larger the membership (at present over 1000) the stronger the stand that can be made by the Association, and invited potential new members to join.
MINUTES OF LAST MEETING
The minutes of the last meeting, (9th January 2012), which had been circulated, were adopted on a prop by Tony Snow sec by Andrea Andrew, and signed.
1) Victorian Letterbox from The Grove. Tony Buck had confirmed with the Post office that they are still holding this, and Darren Ellis again promised to reinstate it when the wall is rebuilt. Member Andrea Andrew had also written to the Post office but as yet had had no reply.
2) W&WRA Magazines and Original Minute Book. Tom told the meeting that the original minute book is in the Westgate Heritage Centre so that it is available for people to see. Ron Wellingham said there had been a complete box of magazines but now a few were missing, there is a list in the Bake House requesting copies of the missing ones so that a complete record may be computerised, and borrowed copies returned.
3) Graffiti in Westbrook Road. Chris Wyer expressed thanks to the council for the good work done in removing this.
KCC Cllr Robert Burgess:
1) Snow and Roads. KCC Highways had dealt with the problems well and also worked locally with TDC.
2) Ursuline Sports Complex Application. There are plans for floodlighting with this application which is on fields backing onto Ursuline Drive.
3) No 35S Bus. Cllr Burgess has secured another six months funding, but after this it will be a case of use it or lose it.
4) Youth Work. The new youth club will be opening in April.
5) Budget Meeting. Both KCC and TDC will freeze increases to 0%. If a Margate Town Council is set up this may cause an increase. There are no proposed closures of libraries for 2012. The delay in registering deaths is being remedied by using the library venues.
6) Fire Service. An IRMP meeting is to be held on Wednesday, a new site for Ramsgate is being sought, and Westgate is not earmarked for closing.
Cllr Neil Hornus:
There has been a local meeting with the police, minutes are to follow, PCSO Adrian Butterworth has joined the Westbrook area. The next meeting is to be held at Victoria Villas on 9th May at 6.30pm. Posters are available concerning graffiti, cycling on pavements, and domestic abuse services.
1) Police Messages Sent by Email. (a) Warning of Scam. “Neighbourhood Secure.co.uk” are looking for business, they are purely commercial and not recognised and charge £39.95 for an organiser’s pack. Do not waste money and report to police if any approach is made. (b) Digital TV. Beware of scams where people call and offer to change over for the elderly (at exorbitant prices!). The official helpline is 08456 505050. (c)Phone Calls for “Wellness Survey”. These give the impression of working with GPs and sell medicine asking for credit card details, the customer finds that large quantities are sent and a corresponding large amount of money taken. If calls of this nature received contact Consumer Direct on 08081 562256. (d) Police Open Forum Meetings, when residents can speak to senior police officers, next meeting Tuesday 6th March 7.00pm at the University Campus, Northwood Road, Broadstairs. Neighbourhood panel meetings are also taking place.
2) Minnis Bay Day Centre. Letters have been received by the W&WRA and all are totally against closure. It had appeared that KCC had stopped doctors’ referrals and then claimed that not enough people were attending the centre.
1) Canterbury Road/Minster Road. Application for a fifteen metre pole with dish and several cabinets. This is a large post five metres higher than lamp posts in the area, outside the library. Tom has called this in.
2) Manston Night Flights. To view the proposals go to www.thanet.gov.uk or visit Gateway Plus in Margate. This is a twenty eight day consultation and feedback is required for TDC to draft a response.
James Brazier informed members that the next meeting is on Thursday 1st March at the Walpole Bay Hotel at 7.30pm and there will be an illustrated talk on old Thanet.
The position of press officer is still vacant.
1) New Year Lunch. Allison reported this had been very successful, enjoyed by all and a raffle profit of £160 made. A vote of thanks was made to Allison for all the work involved.
2) Outings. Allison is now included on the insurance to drive the minibus.
3) St George’s Day Social. April 23rd at 7.00pm in the Bake House.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
1) Health Walks. These are free and take place weekly from the library on Fridays 10.15am for 10.30am.
2) Dog Excrement. This has been particularly bad recently, even the health walks have not been able to avoid problems on the pavements, and availability of the “Fido” cleaning machines was requested, but there have been problems with these. TDC had been looking at other councils, and noted that Wigan have much larger fines which may act as a deterrent. Dog excrement may now be put into the normal bins and notices to this effect will be put on the bins.
3) Railway Footbridge Lights. These are still not working, and it is proving difficult to find out exactly who owns the bridge.
4) Local Traders. It is hoped that they will form a group within the W&WRA so that the two organisations will work together for mutual benefit.
5) Tesco Arlington Application. It was reported that a planning review appeal has been made by the developers and is due to be heard on 13th March at TDC.
6) Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. There is to be a “Big Lunch” on the Sunday, details to follow and on website.
Monday 12th March at the Bake House.