Lots of constituency events dominated my early October diary, some hugely successful, some frustrating and some truly enjoyable.
I hosted, with Sir Roger Gale and local JobCentres another Jobs, Skills and Apprenticeship Fair. This time in the ‘Hall by the Sea’ within Dreamland. It was well received by the 1,000 attendees. We gathered a huge number of local and Kent based employers. Many of these employers had jobs and apprenticeship opportunities on offer now but many are struggling to find candidates for the opportunities available which always seems curious when Thanet perpetually lags behind employment rates in comparison to South East norms. I know that jobs are out there, many are on our doorstep. If help is needed, my office is always available to signpost constituents in the right direction.
I held my regular Ramsgate Regeneration Alliance (RRA) meeting. We enjoyed the expansive update from Vattenfall about their forthcoming application to extend their offshore wind farm under a Development Consent Order. Some additional new jobs will be created in Ramsgate as a result of any successful application. The application means extensive local consultation that you can be a part of. The frustrating element of the RRA meeting was that we have ground-hog day agenda items that are seemingly insoluble and appear each time for discussion. Ramsgate commercial port is one of these, but Golden Sands/Pleasurama similarly remains as one of those significant pieces of the Ramsgate jigsaw that remains unsolved. We had a lively discussion about public conveniences, and rightly so. A recent blockage at the height of the season and ‘out of order’ status was caused by somebody attempting to flush a sizeable nappy, so many inconveniences are caused by irresponsible behaviour. A similar couldn’t care less attitude is at the root of litter problems throughout the Isle. Litter doesn’t make itself. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the many volunteers and groups who regularly litter pick areas to complement the council’s own work.
A visit to the Shell Grotto in Margate was long overdue and truly fascinating.
I held another Listed Property owners forum in Sandwich, with the invite extended to all South Thanet listed property owners. A great day of advice available from professionals, and it gave me an opportunity to hold a four hour surgery with residents. Frustrations remain with the planning system making listed property works expensive due to application fees, pettifogging rules and then any works, often bespoke, costing more than ‘off the shelf’ solutions available to those in newer properties not caught by listing or conservation zone restrictions.
Finally, I have been working extensively on the issue of stroke services across Kent, with the preferred proposal for East Kent being a Hyper Acute Unit (HASU) in Ashford, not at the QEQM. I had the opportunity of speaking at a recent public rally held outside the hospital. My advice to campaigners is that we stick to the subject of stroke services and not allow the debate to descend into a political rant which is a sure way of ensuring that nobody listens.
The end of the article – and no mention of Brexit. There, I’ve gone and done it!