Thursday, 21 April 2011

Tories Wish List Launched - Venue Says More Than Their Document

By Clive Hart

As usual, the last minute Tory manifesto tries to rewrite history. In his introduction Bob Bayford says the Tories have tried to do their best for four years, but local residents have actually suffered under Conservative control at TDC for eight long years, and boy don't they know it!
The Conservatives say they have 'helped traders by encouraging residents to shop locally', yet their Tory 'Shop Local' scheme is in tatters and they get their own Conservative election leaflets printed in Canterbury.
Like so many of the numerous 'visions' and 'masterplans' we've been bombarded with over that past eight years by Thanet Conservatives, their manifesto is just another wish list. Our town centres and harbours have been neglected and too many of Thanet's streets are under maintained. No amount of last minute window dressing can hide them and four more years of Tory rule would simply prolong the negligence.
Their decision to use the Oval lawns in Cliftonville for their manifesto launch on Tuesday was yet another Tory bungle.  Just a few hours after the Conservative bash, Cliftonville Residents Association held their AGM in a hotel overlooking the lawns, and there was genuine local anger voiced at the way Tory-led TDC had dealt with matters concerning the Oval arena and bandstand.
For his first announcement, the CRA Chairman explained that TDC had recently contacted the residents association with a very worrying communication asking 'what agreement the association actually had with TDC to run the food kiosk and how much rent does the association pay for it'?  The fact is, Cliftonville Residents Association is an extremely hard working voluntary organisation that has done sterling work for fifteen years and for the last ten years they have provided the regular award winning Farmers Markets.  Among numerous other community projects the residents association also stage regular band concerts for local residents and visitors.  The residents association should therefore be given every assistance by TDC to help them.  They certainly should not have hurdles put in their way!
Just to make matters worse, the Conservative Deputy Leader of the council explained to the residents at the meeting that 'someone had approached the council wanting to use the kiosk seven days a week'.  Could that mean that after a decade and a half the residents association could just be ejected from the venue?
The next matter raised by the residents Chairman was the regular band concerts, also staged at the Oval by his association.  He said he hoped funding of £4,000 to continue the concerts would soon be forthcoming from TDC.  Once again the Conservative Deputy Leader of the council dissapointed residents by telling them he had 'no knowledge of any such funding'.
Lastly came a report from the residents chairman on the condition of the TDC owned Oval arena and bandstand.  He said that paint was peeling on the bandstand roof at an alarming rate and that much of the arena fencing was dangerous.  Calls came from the floor for (Tory-led) TDC to get on and do the work to restore the venue.
So basically, for their manifesto launch, the Conservatives used a much loved community facility that's been virtually neglected by Conservative-led TDC, consistently starved of funding by Conservative-led TDC and a venue that now has a less than secure future thanks to Conservative-led TDC.

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