Newsletter June 2012

Next Meeting Wednesday 20th June 7.15pm at the Castle
Roger Seijo, Chairman of the Whitstable Improvement Trust, is to give us an update of the work and projects that the trust has achieved over the years.

Following Meeting Wednesday 18th July 7.15pm at the Castle
Dr John Puckett, from the Kent Bat Group is to talk to us about his bat conservation work.

Previous Meeting Wednesday 16th May

We were pleased to welcome Dr John Ribchester Senior Partner at Whitstable Medical Practice spoke to us about the new services provided by Estuary View Medical Centre

Whitstable Medical Practice is the 4th largest in England to provide medical services, and includes Estuary View, Whitstable and Chestfield Medical Centres. It employs 19 GP’s,and over 100 staff, serving the health needs of 33000 patients; 92% of Whitstable district, and it’saims are:
”to provide the best possible healthcare within the available budget whilst combining the best of traditional general practice with innovation and offering high quality general practice with a large range of integrated healthcare services”.
Investment in Estuary View Medical Centre, an innovative new building for general practice and integrated healthcare services, has led to the development of in-house consultant led clinics, diagnostics, day surgery, a practice run Minor Injuries Unit, plus a Co-located Ambulance Response Base and a Community Pharmacy and improved opening hours
Initially Whitstable Medical Practice had planned a partnership with a private healthcare company to supply new services, but that had failed and consequently the GP’s themselves, and with help from The Friends of Whitstable Hospital and Healthcare, have been able to fund the new digital x-ray equipment, ultrasound scanner, minor injuries unit with X-rays open 12/24 every day of the year, and day surgery.
Future plans are for the mobile MRI scanner to regularly visit the site.

Whitstable faces a growing healthcare and social care challenge associated with its ageing population and Whitstable Medical Practice has also developed the Whitstable Integrated Social and Healthcare Network Care Pilot for better management of key long term health conditions, which incude amongst others Asthma, Pain, Diabetes,and Mental Health. The patient user group and Friends charity are both involved in these developments and patient satisfaction has increased through these Services provided closer to home and with shorter waits.

Dr Ribchester then went on to tell us about the NHS reforms
The NHS is facing a major financial challenge. Official NHS sources suggest that, to meet rising demand, there will be a funding shortfall between 2011 and 2014 of £15 to £20bn. The Coalition Government has revealed its plans for reforming the NHS in England in the White Paper Equity and Excellence:Liberating the NHS
The main thrust is to develop decision-making in the NHS towards the front line, with the emphasis on competition, patient choice, contracting and public reporting of outcomes to achieve higher-quality care. GP commissioning consortia are the centrepiece of the reforms, who these will need significant support in several areas, including: Handling public funds on such a large scale, making intelligent purchasing decisions and managing demand.
We thanked Dr Ribchester for a lively and informative talk and were left feeling that we are very lucky to have such brave and inspirational GP’s in our town that have had the courage to take their dreams forward to improve and enhance our medical services.

Current Affairs

QE11 celebrations: Kath Gill then spoke of the the “party on the street” may not happen now. Shje apologised for misreporting in the May Newsletter that the proposed party on the street was to have been for Marine Parade residents only. Marine Parade Association were not organising it. Norman Fox and Jeanne Harrison had suggested it but wished that it should be open to all. The “Lighting of the Beacon” will go ahead on 4 June from 2pm with the beacon being lit at 10.15pm on Tankerton slopes.

Tankerton slopes QEII Fields Trust: Grants are available to enhance QEII sites for the benefit of the community and at our last meeting it was suggested that we provide vandal proof picnic tables and chairs on the picnic area. Since then it has transpired that the picnic area may not be included in the QEII fields Trust site. If so we may have to plan something else. We are still exploring the possibility of tidying the excess vegetation, that has grown up over the years, in the area in front of the Castle.

As a QEII Trust site the slopes are now safe from development and members agreed that any project should not detract from the natural charm and panoramic views of the slopes.

Loss of Amenity Space : Tankerton Road Car Park – There was concern from members that if the new coach park is to be at Swalecliffe Avenue,Hampton, it would mean that Whitstable would lose coach-loads of people because the coaches would not drop off people – but drive straight to the coach park. There was some concern over where the drop off points in Whitstable are to be but as yet we have no further news.
Green’s Tiles was up for sale and there was concern over the covenants for use of the site of the old skating rink at the rear of the premises. Kath is to check with the land registry.

Library Forecourt Trees: Julian Blades, on behalf of the Whitstablle Society, is still pursuing establishing the ownership of the land in front of the library forecourt with a view to negotiating more sensitive pollarding of the trees to provide a leafy canopy over the only open space in the town cwntre. Ownership of the land is divided between CCC and KCC but the boundaries are not clear. Meanwhile the council agreed to refrain from pollarding until things were resolved, but disappointingly some of the trees have already been pollarded.

The Paddock: A planning application to develop this formerely protected open space on the corner of Mistrood Road and the Old Thanet Way (A2990) has been submitted. The Whitstable Society have concerns over the volume of traffic that will be generated, entering and exiting the proposed access point with the A2990. We are asking for that to be more seriously examined, particularly in view of the new estate opposite and it’s traffic.
West Beach Village Green (VG28) The Oyster Fishing Company (OFC) have made an applcation to redefine the boundary of the Village Green to exclude the beach huts. We agree that the footprints of the of the huts there at the time of the original application should be excluded The footprints exclusion should be no further than the last westward hut that existed at the time of the original application, and we have objected accordingly to the order.
Canterbury City Council: have now announced that the draft timetable will be be available from April 2013, and it is to be finalised in 2014. .
Signage: Ann Willoughby informed us Tourists have difficulty finding public toilets in Whitstable due to a lack of signage. She agreed to speak at the WAMP.

Cycling on the Promenade

Changes to the byelaw will be made in accordance with the procedures laid down by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

There are two public footpaths along the affected section of sea wall/promenade. Kent County Council has recently determined that it will not be necessary to implement the Cycle Tracks Act (1984). This is because the city council is managing this project and the route will primarily be created on city council land (which is maintained by the city council as a sea defence) with a byelaw to permit cycling. As a result they indicate there will be no requirement to make use of the Cycle Tracks Act and the cycle route will not be dedicated as a highway. As a result there is no requirement for Kent County Council to be involved.

The draft new byelaw must be submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government for provisional approval subject to the consideration of any objections that may be received. Members of the public will, therefore, have a further opportunity to comment on the new byelaw when it is advertised in the local press, in accordance with the current procedures set out by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
There are more safety features now mentioned and references to safety and the need for more measures. Opposition has clearly had an effect.

Tower Hill – Parking.

We were delighted to see the other day when driving up Tower Hill, that there are now additional parking bays and also two disabled bays outside the Tea Gardens. Both of these are in response to representations made to CCC last year by the Whitstable Society.

Whitstable Area members meeting May 2012

Those of you who were at the last members meeting will recall Ann Willoughby speaking out and being concerned about the lack of signage for public lavatories and nappy changing facility. You may also recall me speaking to Ann and asking her if she would like to raise the matter at the WAMP which is attended by a panel of our 12 City Councillors and our 2 County Councillors for the Whitstable Area. Ann seemed to find this idea agreeable and we said rather than take up valuable current affairs time at the meeting we would get together to arrange a speaker slot for her at the next WAMP meeting.

This we duly did, the meeting took place, Ann spoke briefly, eloquently and to the point – which was that it is all very well having lots of conveniences (no pun intended) but we need the signage and information to tell people where they are. Ann added some poignant humour with one or two little stories to illustrate the situation and its frustrations.

She was so well received by the members on the panel, some came forward to greet her as they also recognised her as a valued volunteer at the W.I.T, she created much mirth and merriment alongside serious discussion, got total support, and those sitting noted to go off and make some enquiries. They also mentioned that this was a possibility for an application in the new money that city councillors have to award within their area – £10,000 in the case of Whitstable.

The latter will be on the next agenda for discussion in current affairs at the next members meeting on Wednesday 20th June 7.15pm at the castle as usual – hope to see you all there – you can have your say and bring forth ideas with which to approach our local councillors to see if we can win some of this money.

I thought it was good to see a member taking their own question forward and it not always being a committee member or other representative of the Whitstable Society taking it forward on behalf of the membership and as your Communications Officer, along with the Committee I would like to encourage members to become more active in this area and to feel that they do have a voice. Anybody wishing to make statements or ask questions both within our meetings and outside please do feel that you can, and whilst some people find it easier than others rest assured that all committee members are available, approachable and will always listen and endeavour to be helpful. This is the true way for democracy and healthy debate. It is surprising how one persons questions will help another or stimulate further discussion.

Thank you Ann. I hope you went home with the good feeling that you deserved and I feel I detected as we strolled down the hill on the way home.

Maureen Smith MBE
PUBLICITY / PR/ – Whitstable Society

Whitstable Society Walks

1st July Sunday 10.00 am (Note: this is the First Sunday in the Month) meet at RITA COLLETT’s house “THE COACH HOUSE” 20 GOLDEN HILL WHITSTABLE (off Millstrood Rd )
Rita will lead this walk and we will return there for refreshments after. Many thanks Rita.