Closing Submissions on behalf of Thanet District Council

We are working on a full response, but following the great level of public interest in how participants at the Public Inquiry were treated by Thanet District Council, we are posting the closing submission on behalf of Thanet District Council. It is written by Thanet District Council’s appointed barrister, Mr Martin Edwards.

It is worth mentioning that we, the public participants, did not bring apply to bring this appeal. The appellant, Freshwater, did. We applied to participate as interested parties to comment. We felt it necessary to bring to the attention of the Planning Inspector a number of key issues vital to Margate. Most of our concerns regarding process, lack of detail and inaccuracies of the proposed scheme at the time it went to Planning Committee for approval and since have been proved correct.

We will be publishing content from the Inquiry in the coming days. Please bear with us, it has been an enormous task for us to take part in this process alongside our own work and jobs. We thank everyone who has offered support in whatever way they can. We are very grateful.

Any mention of Freshwater, who was the appellant?
Any mention of the Council’s responsibility for ensuring everything is in order?
How about they didn’t tweet re the Inquiry until 9.23 on the morning of the Inquiry and didn’t put it on their website until Weds 8th when the opportunity to register to address the inquiry had passed. How about no notice on the door of TDC offices until Monday 5th? And no advertisement in the Thanet Gazette?
How about no reporting from the TDC press team from the inquiry, unlike the Dreamland CPO?

At the beginning of the Inquiry the following information was provided:

Friends of Arlington Margate(FOAM)
FOAM is a formally Constituted community group recognised by Kent County Council.

The Aims of FOAM are outlined in the constitution as:-

• To safeguard the entire Arlington Margate site and gain recognition for the heritage site as one of national and local interest and importance
• To re-open the entire Arlington Margate site as a prominent, popular, public amenity for the benefit of all who visit or reside in Margate/Cliftonville/Thane

The Committee of FOAM run day to day matters as per the constitution.

FOAM has the following ONLINE public membership – (as of Nov 6th 2012)
– 582 subscribers to our mailing list.
– 440 followers on Twitter
– 276 likes on Facebook
– We recently held an auction with 21 lots donated by 21 local  businesses which raised over £1,700 in a week towards legal expenses.
– We have received £1,000 in funding from Kent County Council member grants for “empowering local residents.”

Therefore, one has to ask, on what basis Mr Edwards has made his assertions to the Inspector regarding our standing and that of our witnesses. We were awarded Rule 6 status by the Secretary of State. Here is the official Rule 6 Parties Guide. The following is relevant to our experience:

12.6 The Inspector will usually ask if you are willing to answer questions about your evidence. You do not have to do this, though it is often helpful to do so and it may add weight to your evidence. Do not feel intimidated. The Inspector will not let anyone ask you hostile or unfair questions.