Sunday, 24 April 2011

Castle converted into flats

I took a trip to Kingsgate and Joss Bay yesterday, (in between Margate and Broadstairs)and walked along the beach contained by towering chalk cliffs and the enormous concrete, neo-classical sea defence propping up the Kingsgate castle, built in 1760 for Lord Holland.
It appears as though the concrete squares, on the sea defence wall, are blocking what were once windows? I can't see whatother purpose these concrete extrusions to the facade serve? The exterior walls of the castle are constructed entirely of flint.

The bay provides some of the largest sea formed chalk caves in the country. One even has an air or light shaft carved through the cliff to the surface. You can really appreciate why bays like these were notorious for smuggling.

Kingsgate castle has been converted into 31 flats with stunning views.

I recently learnt that English Heritage are struggling to make any profit on tourism at Dover Castle. Its an interesting thought if the Castle was to be converted into residential accommodation.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Dover Transport Museum Networking Evening

Last night's networking event at the Dover Transport museum, in Whitfield, was an enjoyable, and very nostalgic look back into the past. We were greeted at the door by the Dover Princesses and some of the tour guides and then shown into the main exhibition room, a large and high hanger construction. The guided tour was informative and the recreated shop fronts and businesses, that lined the larger exhibition rooms like small streets, once traded in Dover town, were very accurate if scaled down a bit. The exhibits were lovingly curated although some lacking detail simply proved charming. I was disappointed with the Maritime room as this seemed insignificant in importance to the cars, coaches, trains and motorbikes, all of which once, in some way, served the nautical industries. The collection of fire engines, undergoing full restoration, were impressive as were many of the pre-war and post-war vehicles. I was rather taken by a 1936 black Humber Snipe, owned by the Brett Family, of Brett aggregates.

The main purpose of the evening was to raise as much funding as possible, through guests paying an entrance fee as well as optional donations, in order to complete unfinished exhibits, in particular the model railway room.

I hope that our small contribution will help with what is for many a labour of love.

Our main purpose was to learn and experience some of Dover's history in objects, but also to meet people who have influence within the town regarding tourism, many of whom are also business owners as well as residents. I was very pleased to have met Mandy who, only the day before, had kindly replied to a post regarding my rdp presentation and provided me with valuable information. It was good to speak to these people in person and in the process formally invite them to our subsequent show on the 6th May. We also handed out flyers for the event and many seemed interested.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Dover Port Opening Ceromony

Here are some photos of from the ceremony celebrating the opening of the new port of Dover, completed in 1911. Works started in 1899 and was an enormous infrastructural achievement. The three breakwaters, Admiralty pier gun turret, network of tunnels and huge vaulted stores inside the cliff, were all constructed by hand. Until the Channel tunnel Kent had not seen a infrastructural investment on such a scale. I thought these photos would be of interest to Chris, and could imagine the 'People's Port' having a similar event. With thanks to J.Vaughan and KHF.

A house on Athol Terrace today and circa 1900. Unfortuantley this is not an isolated case of neglect to properties in Dover. With thanks to KHF

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

ADAM unveils Dover Masterplan

Robert Adam’s practice ADAM Urbanism working with Barton Willmore, have revealed details of an ambitious project to build 5,750 new homes outside Dover

According to the project design team, the houses will be built in a ‘chain of six distinct neighbourhoods or villages’ around Whitfield.

The Whitfield Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which has now been approved by Dover District Council (DDC), also includes proposals for new shops, schools and community facilities.

Traditionalist Robert Adam of ADAM Urbanism said: ‘What took us through a complicated process that so often results in compromise, fudge and delay, was a clear shared vision.

‘This has been a model example of how inspired team working can deliver remarkable results. Great credit must be given to community representatives who turned the energy of their original opposition into a determination to achieve the best result for the village.’

The council’s Nick Kenton said:’The SPD represents a triumph for the balance between green space and built form that has not been seen in the district before and has produced a quality masterplan that will be vital for the prosperity of the district.’

The SPD is intended to form a ‘bridge’ between the strategic allocation of the site under the council’s key core strategy document and subsequent planning applications for development of the site.

The architect’s view

The plan followed the controversial allocation of housing around the small village of Whitfield separated by the A2 but on the northern edge of Dover. The allocation, originally opposed by local people, threatened to destroy the character of the village and swamp the existing community with higher density housing. The masterplanning team engaged closely with the residents in public meetings and detailed discussions to explore the best way to preserve the village character while providing the required development.

In a series of workshops, attended by the local authorities, village representatives and representatives of other landowners, a solution to the problem emerged. A chain of six distinct neighbourhoods or villages, separated by landscape, were clustered around the existing village.Guided by detailed landscape studies, the neighbourhoods or villages would each have their own identity and be developed one after another.

The low density village of Whitfield would retain its distinct character and boundaries but would benefit from the new infrastructure and facilities made possible by the numbers of new residents.

Architects Journal 13th April 2011 by Richard Waite

Monday, 11 April 2011

Smugglers on ITV


Programme One

The UK’s roll on, roll off ferries present the greatest opportunity to the smugglers. At ports like Dover the numbers are stacked in their favour. This first programme in the series follows the officers of the UK Borders agency as they deal with wave after wave of smugglers.

A new ferry arrives in Dover every 20 minutes. 7,000 lorries and 10,000 cars pass through every day. 80 billion pounds of legitimate trade comes through every year, hidden amongst it, is millions of pounds of smuggled goods.

Malcolm Bragg, the Assistant Director of Criminal and Financial Investigations for the UK Border Agency reveals: “Hardly a day goes by that we don’t find something, whether that is illegal immigrants, whether that is drugs, whether that is cigarettes, tobacco, pornography, firearms, every single ferry will have either a lorry, a car, a van or a person on it trying to smuggle something into this country through Dover.”

The film follows officers of the UK Border Agency whose suspicions have been raised by one driver returning from Holland. The driver is 62 year old Stuart McDonald, a retired taxi driver from Birmingham. An examination of his vehicle reveals what appears to be a gun shaped package. A more detailed search uncovers it’s actually 5 kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of £200,000.

The amount he was smuggling, is a small fraction of the two and half tonnes of cocaine seized annually at UK Borders. But what officers stop is just the tip of the iceberg. It is estimated that a further 25-27 and a half tonnes of cocaine, gets into the UK undetected every year.

In court, McDonald said that he was forced to take part in smuggling due to threats to him and his family. He pleaded guilty and received a four and half year sentence.

Malcolm Bragg says: “We often find that people in his position will not admit at the beginning the full extent of what they have done. They quite often don’t even want to be honest with themselves, they kind of want to forget about it. They kind of have convinced themselves that everything is okay, they are going to get away with it, and then when they are caught, then the reality of what they have done, and the position that they have found themselves in sinks in.”

Cigarette and tobacco smuggling may appear to be a low level crime but it costs us an estimated £2 billion pounds in lost revenue every year. The programme shows how British holiday makers try their hand at duty free smuggling.

In Southampton, Keith Tulley and his team brace themselves for a cruise liner returning from the Canary Islands.

Keith Tulley says: “The actual notion of the average British smuggler is that it is almost a tradition that stems back from the culture that was developed in Cornwall and 300 years ago and it is still present today. It is regarded almost as sport.”

One woman is caught with 20 times the maximum allowance of cigarettes as she leaves the cruise liner, claiming they were all for her own use. The cigarettes are confiscated and she is given a caution. An estimated eight billion cigarettes get through undetected every year.

Smugglers films with officers at Harwich on the east coast of England. It’s one of The UK’s smaller ports but a port of choice for organised crime.

Crime gangs invest a huge amount of money and time to hide their merchandise, creating sophisticated hiding places in the lorries known as concealments.

The UK Border Agency’s latest weapon against the smuggling gangs is a multi-million pound x-ray scanner. It can detect the smallest alteration to the lorry or the load inside.

UK Border Agency team leader at Harwich, Giles Young says: “We had a van load about six months ago of clothing and they ran it through the scanner because they weren’t happy with it and they couldn’t unload it. There were eight people in boxes inside the clothing. I think they were Iranian nationals. But literally they come up beautifully on the scan. You could see these little figures hunched over on the cardboard boxes.”

The cameras follow Giles Young and his officers as the machine scans one lorry and detects a secret compartment in the floor of the trailer.

After meticulous inspection of the vehicle packages containing 160 kilos of cannabis are found which have an estimated street value of £400,000. Organised criminals factor such losses into their business plans. The UK Market remains incredibly attractive to the smugglers it’s estimated to be worth over £1 billion a year.

The big consignments of drugs arrive on UK’s shores in container ships, fishing vessels and yachts. The UK Border Agency has five Cutters which patrol the sea lanes to stop and search vessels they suspect may be carrying illegal cargo.

The programme follows a Cutter Crew as they stop a huge container ship off the South East Coast, after receiving intelligence that it is carrying a large consignment of drugs. Ten specially trained search officers board the target vessel along with a team of divers from the Metropolitan Police who search the hull.

They find three boxes attached to the ship below the waterline, containing 150 kilos of cannabis with an estimated street value of half a million pounds.

Despite record yields of home-grown cannabis, there’s still a healthy market for the smugglers. An estimated 300 tonnes a year are needed to meet demand in the UK.

Officer Mark Jefferson says: “The opposition in South America are so well organised, and have so much money that they are able to just follow ships around the world, waiting for what is an opportune moment to put divers down and recover the goods.”

Foster unveils Hong Kong Cruise Terminal

Hopefully no one designs a terminal like this;

"Foster + Partners has revealed these images of its 143,600m² Kai Tak Cruise Terminal scheme in Hong Kong

The 850 metre-long terminal, which has now started on site, is designed as a flexible space that can be used for exhibitions and events when cruise ships are away from harbour.

Clad in aluminium and glass, the building occupies a 7.6 hectare site on the south-western tip of the old runway of Hong Kong’s former Kai Tak airport – world famous for its steeply-curved inner city approach path.

The rectangular, 3-storey design features four atria that light the internal spaces and a pedestrian ‘promenade’ which links to a public roof garden.

Handling up to 8,400 passengers and 1,200 crew, the cruise terminal is being constructed to meet the demand of a new generation of larger cruise liners.

A foundation stone laying ceremony took place last week. Commenting on the event, Foster + Partners chief executive Mouzhan Majidi said: ‘Today’s ceremony marks an exciting moment in the reinvention of Kai Tak – we were delighted to win the competition to design such an important new gateway to the city.

‘The terminal will establish Hong Kong as a major cruise hub in Asia and, together with the West Kowloon Cultural District, will further enhance the city’s position as a centre for tourism and culture.’"

Architects Journal 11th April 2011 by Merlin Fulcher