WE MUST HAVE THOROUGH PROCESS FOLLOWING FATALITY

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Tonight a retrospective application for containers, silos and vaporizers at Adams Gas and Leisure in Bath Road, Margate came to the TDC planning committee. The planning officers recomendation was to approve the application but as that motion was being debated I made the following statement:

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"This is indeed a controversial matter following the sad death of a young worker in an accident on the site last year.

Firstly, regarding the accident and that awful explosion last year, HSE inspectors served two notices on Mr Adams. The subject of the first notice was related to the storage and handling of oxygen and subsequently the site no longer stores oxygen. The second notice related to the storage of inert gases and has, we were assured, been complied with.

With regards to the planning application being discussed by our committee tonight:

I do feel local residents should know that assurances from several agencies regarding the application that came to planning were called for and are subsequently published in the planning report.

The TDC Environmental Health Team had no environmental concerns. Kent Police had no objection to make on the principle of the proposal in regard to crime prevention and crime prevention through environmental design matters. Kent Fire and Rescue Service Office ‘confirmed that the means of access was considered satisfactory and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed that legislative control exists through the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations to ensure public safety is maintained in relation to the use of the site.

Though I fully understand the site has lawful permission to carry out such business on these premises, as a ward councillor I also understand residents concerns regarding the suitability of the site, which today is virtually surrounded by domestic dwellings.

However, this application has been made retrospectively and I believe that under the circumstances that was somewhat 'slack' behaviour by the applicant.

That being so, I feel that in order to allay the genuine fears of residents following last years accident and to be absolutely clear that our TDC Planning Committee is doing our business absolutely thoroughly, we should have a full public site visit before making our final decision - in line with the request of the TDC Cabinet Member for Community Safety".

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On hearing my statement the Planning Committee Chairman and his seconder withdrew their original proposal for approval of the application and the committee agreed to a site visit.

The site visit should take place on Friday 6th February.

Clive Hart