I've just been down to Sea Road in Westgate with our 'Heritage Champion' Cllr Alasdair Bruce. There's an up and coming planning committee visit to the former old people's home which takes up the properties between 45 – 49 and I share Cllr's Bruce's concerns over the potential impact the proposed new build will have on our seafront conservation area.
It's such a large and dominant site that whatever takes the place of the present buildings, now dilapidated and vandalized, has to reflect the principle of our local conservation area. Readers will know that I'm increasingly worried that when applications are rejected by our own council's officers and planning committee, they are frequently approved on appeal by the government's faceless and democratically unaccountable inspectors in Bristol, wielding their large red rubber 'Approved' stamp over the application. On occasions, I sometimes wonder what it must take for an application to be rejected by the Planning Inspectorate, given what I have witnessed during my short time as a local councillor.
Anyway, the Thanet Gazette has taken some photos, it' s bitterly cold out there and if necessary, I'll make my views on the conservation principle known in public speaking when the matter goes back to the planning committee. It would be nice though to see a development on our seafront that has true architectural merit and is sympathetic to the history of the area, rather than the past catalogue of attempts to build more boxy one and two bedroom apartments in blocks that dominate the skyline.
On another and quite different note, I hear the Carlton cinema is under new management. This is good news for the town, which is privilged to have such a gem and I very much hope that its future will continue for many more years to come.