The Bradstone Association chairman, David Taylor, had heard enough complaints about the overgrown rubbish-strewn conservation area nestled in Westbourne Gardens, Folkestone. So Mr Taylor, who leads the independent Folkestone Town Sprucer scheme, asked Sprucer Peter Phillips, if he and others would clear the site.
The Site was an eyesore and reported to be a “jungle” by local residents whose complaints were ignored by Shepway District Council Environmental Team over a number of years. 3 days after starting the work to clear the “jungle” one of the owners turn up on site and eventually sanctions the Sprucer to continue. At this moment the owner should have made any applications to lop or cut down trees in a known conservation area, as he had allowed the Sprucer to continue. However, he did not. The owners are not reachable for comment as they are away together Ski -ing abroad.
The owners are both millionaires on paper through property and other ventures. For them getting a freebie was a bonus. Admittedly they were to pay for and provide a skip to haul the rubbish away, but, with clearance on hold, it has still to be supplied. If Mr Taylor of Bradstone Association is guilty of anything, it is wanting to do the right thing by the locals residents who have complained all to often to SDC. SDC however, surely should be talking to the owners as well as they did sanction the continuance of the clear up, so are in part responsible. It seems Mr Taylor has fallen foul of the great chinese proverb – No good deed goes unpunished.
The Freebie the owners received was that the state had paid in part in two aspect. 10,000 pounds to the Sprucer’s fees via Folkestone Town Council and the fact that unemployed persons on the Govt Mandatory Work Activity Programme, were sent there under possible threat of sanction to undertake the work or have their money cut or stopped altogether. The fact the Owners of Beach Marine are both millionaires on paper, they could have quite easily paid for the work themselves and also sought the necessary permission. And so Mr Taylor, for using his initiative and responding to local residents call to clear up the “jungle” alas may well be facing a 20,000 pound fine, through no fault of his own. If the Council had listened to the Local residents many complaints, perhaps this sorry mess may not have arisen.