Saturday, 20 December 2014

A ramble about Christmas shopping, books in the bookshop and probably Manston.

 The pictures in the post were a quick run around my bookshop with the mobile phone camera so are probably not very good.

 The label on the bookshop can says about 30,000 books on about 100 bookcases which when you add on the various reserve stock shelves (do you have any French literature?) runs out at around 1,000 shelves.
 This means it is difficult to make any impact on the stock, either by adding to it or taking away from it, a big estate car holds about 1,000 books, so one in or out only represents about one book on each shelf, practically no impact at all.
 Christmas shopping wise we have been much busier this year, one aspect of the internet being that sceondhand books are now much more acceptable as presents, certainly a lot more acceptable than books you don't want.
 On the new book front the three latest local books (on the sidebar) are all selling fairly well and after Christmas when people are trying to turn the celebrity chef books they got as present into cash I doubt we will see any of these come back.
I think the steady improvement of Ramsgate combined with it still being possible to park albeit for a price may be a factor, friends and family who have braved Westwood Cross today had trouble parking.
Depending on how blurry the pictures are I guess you can see the stock of books is holding up fairly well although I think this is probably mostly a reflection of how difficult it is now for private individuals to realise any money from selling their own books online.
On the Manston front I am still trying to work out the significance of Monday's council meeting where a lot of councillors walked out.
The Isle of Thanet Gazette this week has made much over councillors being impartial on deciding the Manston issue, this is also a bit confusing as it sounds like they are saying there was a vested interest in saying yes to RiverOak but they said no.
With the local media Extra and IOTG there does seem to be a slight movement away from supporting the cpo and towards supporting Discovery Parks, I guess this means that the local politicians will be following on with this not long after the papers.
One factor here is not having much understanding the council's grounds for rejecting RiveOak, one telling comment from Cllr.David Green who is one of our councillors that I have considerable respect for. "There is the risk of running foul of the money laundering regulations. That is not to accuse anyone, but Riveroaks mode of operation gives them problems in disclosing the source of their finances. The second area is in regard to any possible compensation awarded to the owners. This could be awarded whether or not the CPO succeeds and could be sustantial. Riveroak could not give a assurance that they would cover this or that they had sufficient finance in place to do so."
My own investigation on the internet goes like this: Google "RiverOak Investment Corp" and it only comes up with about 2,000 web pages compared with around 13,000 for "st peters village shop" and around 42,000 for "michaels bookshop" "british airways" bring up around 42 million.
Anyway you can do the same exact phrase search on Google by using the quotation marks as I have above and see what you think, it certainly doesn't stand out as saying "here is a company likely to invest millions in Thanet"
This does make me wonder if a lot of the Manston supporters are most concerned to preserve the status quo i.e. a very inactive and failing airport, such as we have had the last thirty years.
I have to admit that seeing comment on on various Manston supporters sites that supporters are worried about the increased traffic associated with a thriving discovery park disrupting their lives, while at the same time supporting an airfreight hub a bit incongruous.
With Manston I guess the business of shooting messengers has reached the point where there really isn’t anyone much left to shoot. I guess the penny that really doesn’t seem to have dropped is that this isn’t so much about being against the airport as being about being able to find a company with the money to fund an airport there.  
I guess what was surprising was that there weren’t more contenders as indemnity partners. 
Personally I can’t see how anything other than either a major UK company with three years of good reputation and a full UK bank account or a major multinational could have fulfilled the criteria as indemnity partner.   
I guess that really does rather beg the question of who knew this to be the case and how much political posturing went on.
With Discovery Parks and as the council leader has said that they already have planning applications in the pipeline, we move into the area where if the council turn down any reasonable application the planning inspector is likely to override their decision.   
I say this particularly with respect to environmental restrictions, where there is sometimes a much better case for approval with strict environmental regulation rather than rejection only to be overturned.   
The trick is always to try and get on the right side of the balance which goes something like this: On the one hand any significant industrial or commercial activity – airport or discovery park – produces pollution which reduces life expectancy. While on the other hand any significant industrial or commercial activity increases affluence which increases life expectancy.  
I may ramble on here
Coming back to earth in the bookshop, I guess the pictures in this post show the problems related to online book browsing, here I take book browsing to mean going into a bookshop and looking at the books there in order to discover and possibly buy books that you didn’t know existed. 
Nearly all of those spam emails and a great deal of advertising is trying to achieve getting people buy something they didn’t know existed before. Shops have been doing this for years. But although I buy quite a bit on the internet I virtually never buy something online without knowing exactly what I want before I start.   


Anonymous said...

Manston and CPO is finished..

Not sure about the Manston Park outline plans so far.

There are claims of offices and shops and schools etc. Well that's a small town isn't it? Do we need one? Look at the mess of WC which is/was supposed to be a 4th town.

And the DP owners have no experience of town planning only taking over offices and building more.

The job claims seem weak as DP is still less than half-full. And lets have jobs more than just construction jobs funded by tax.

They seem to have bitten off more than they can chew for a Gloag quid.

God help us said...

Following on from David Green's comments and re reading the officers report it seems apparent that Riveroak's modus operandi is to find a distressed parcel of land, buy it and build houses selling it on at a profit. Much like SFP on the Pleasurama site (except they never built) They raise the funds for this from a cash call (source may be questionable perhaps) and when they sell off they reimburse the investors. Most deals seem to be over a relatively short period of time hardly conducive to building a long term business plan as needed at Manston

Anonymous said...

Barry it sounds similar to Carter-Musgrove too: both Wyngard park ex-Samsung and DP ex-Pfizer were derelict offices in downmarket areas.

Presumably both were bought for a quid and push the councils for planning permission and job promises

God help us said...

if so it matters little as they own the land RO doesnt. And you lot want to waste TDC time in swapping ownership