According to a TDC press release, one of the reasons for the raid was to clear the skatepark so that the Council owned open land, on which the Skatepark was based, could be sold or rented to commercial organisations who have expressed an interest in the site. But it has now been revealed that plans to dispose of the open land conflict with the policy of the Council’s ruling Labour Group and also with TDCs Corporate Plan.During the 2011 Council elections Thanet Labour published a Manifesto which said that they were “opposed to the Tories’ every move to sell off open spaces where it affects recreation and well-being”; that “Labour will resist attempts to build on well-used community open green spaces” and “Building on green field (undeveloped) sites will be resisted wherever possible”.
After taking control from the Tories in late 2011, Clive Hart became Labour Leader of Thanet Council. His first job as Leader was to produce a Corporate Plan setting out the Council’s priorities. One of those priorities was entitled “Preserving our Public Spaces”, which said that open land “enriches the quality of lives for our communities and visitors alike” and which the Council promised it was “committed to preserving.”
It didn’t end there. The Plan said that the Council would involve “the community in the planning, design and management of open spaces”; that it would consult “with the public on enhancement of public open spaces” and “increase the number of local residents and groups involved in the planning, design and management of public open spaces”.But despite these clear, unequivocal, undertakings, when it came to dealing with the Little Oasis SkatePark, TDC Leader Hart tore up his promises to the people. Instead of supporting a popular community use for public open space, he sent in the bulldozers. Instead of protecting public well used open space for the benefit of local people he decided to sell it off. Instead of consulting and engaging with local residents about the use of public open space, he ignored the Little Oasis skaters and their incredible achievements and ordered a top-secret dawn raid on a hugely successful recreational facility built and designed for the community by the community.
Said Driver “The Good Book teaches us that by their works ye shall know them. We now know Councillor Leader Clive Hart to be a hypocrite who has broken his promises not just in relation to Little Oasis SkatePark, but also the East Kent Opportunities Planning Application at New Haine Road, Westwood Cross. Did he seek the permission of the Labour Councillors he leads to renege on these promises? Or did he simply go behind their backs? Like most reasonable people I believe politicians should be truthful and honest with the public not duplicitous, deceitful and hypocritical. Its time for a change.