There is a lot of doom and gloom around the local area at the moment and there don?t seem to be that many people around with positive views of the Thanet area or its future. Maybe we?re all suffering from SAD but it goes deeper than that and it seems that most of the people are losing their faith in what was once a truly great area to live in or visit.
Most of the local blogs or the newspaper articles I read point towards an area in steep decline but surely there is something we can do? On face value it appears that there is nothing we can do, but that is me being pessemistic, and just because the council are happy for the towns to die doesn?t mean that we should be.
It?s easy for me to moan like this, because what am I going to do? Really? I?ll probably just trundle along until everything that is good about Thanet is steamrollered over (with Luxury flats built on) and then it?ll be too late to do anything.
It?s the double standards that really get me. The removal of funding for local museums in Margate and Ramsgate (£100,000 p/a) and the spending of £20,000,000 (yes twenty million pounds! maybe even more) on the Turner Centre which to be frank, is something that I have no interest in, is shocking (article here). How can the council really believe that this will save our towns? In gambler?s term they are ?married to the pot? having spent £7,000,000 (yes seven million ponds!) without even laying a brick, and instead of cutting their losses, they are pouring more and more cash in. Just think of what that type of money could?ve gone towards (including funding the local museums and more).
Will the Turner Centre really bring in enough visitors to Thanet? No. It may be my opinion but I would virtually guarantee it will not.
We should all be proud of the history we have, the history of the area, and not just the history of one person. We have had a great part to play in British history over the best part of two centuries (and more), so much that should be cherished and so much that we could and should share, but when museums close, listed buildings get knocked down, and town centres are left to rot and decay (more of that later), then there will be no turning back and it will all be lost.
Around various blogs there?s been suggestions that the opening of the old tunnels running around Thanet would be a great way to increase tourism and I?d have to agree. It?s amazing the history these tunnels have and each one will tell a story. Could you imagine getting a guided tour around them with the history of each one, stories to be told, how they were used as air raid shelters during the war, or which ones were used by smugglers? It would be amazing, and something that could not be replicated anywhere else unless of course they had their own historic tunnels, but the history these would tell would be ours. They are unique. I wonder what the feasability of this would be? Who owns them? Are they stable? etc. Dover Castle operates tunnels so could we look to them as a guidance template?
Another question that I would like to ask is why are so many shops closing down and being left derelict? The success of online shopping can definitely be attributed to it, but one major cause is the development of Westwood Cross Shopping Centre, which sitting handily between Ramsgate, Margate, and Broadstairs has been taking people, and therefore their money away from the towns. Capitalism at it?s best. I?ve got nothing against being successful, but when it comes to the detriment of local small shops then shouldn?t we really be asking questions and thinking things through a little more instead of bending over backwards to support a Shopping Centre which is removing the character from the area? OK, let the big shops move up to Westwood Cross, but don?t let the little independants suffer. We should be doing something to keep our town centre?s breathing. We should have a strategy, but at the moment there is nothing, and soon the town centre will die, all the buildings will be turned into flats, and all we will have is a generic shopping centre. But yet again the question is what can we do? What kind of businesses do we want in our High Streets? And how do we attract them? It can?t be a case of just getting in one or two new shops. It needs to be something a lot bigger and something well orchestrated, so that everything that is done has a purpose. More questions to ask are who actually owns the derelict shops in our high streets and what would it take to get them in fit shape again. Think of Queen Street in Ramsgate and the old run-down buildings there, and then think of them with a lick of paint and some pride.
Ultimately all I?ve done is put a few things out there without really answering anything, but I hope that this gets some kind of response from you local bloggers reading this, and please comment on what you think. We could start something?. or just sit here and waste away.