Pyramid Comment

This journal takes an alternative view on current affairs and other subjects. The approach is likely to be contentious and is arguably speculative. The content of any article is also a reminder of the status of those affairs at that date. All comments have been disabled. Any and all unsolicited or unauthorised links are absolutely disavowed.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Planning Objection: Thanet District Council

26th April 2012

Planning Application Team
Development Services
Thanet District Council
PO Box 9
Cecil Street
MARGATE
Kent
CT9 1XZ

Planning Team,

This objection to the proposed out-of-town Sainsbury's development between Westgate-on-Sea and Birchington-on-Sea is both dispassionate and pragmatic. I have no interests in any trading concerns and consider myself impartial, but use the local roads around Thanet. I am concerned by some of the implications raised by the application.

I note that the only relevant factors that can be taken into account include:

  • The economic benefits of the proposal
  • Highway safety issues
  • Loss of important trees
This list is not, however, exhaustive and it is important to observe that economic benefits by definition have economic deficits and for a balanced argument must be considered, so avoiding any claim of discrimination. It is accepted that Sainsbury's is a commercial concern interested only in profit and growth for itself and its shareholders. It is also a national concern so clearly any profit will almost certainly be removed from the area. I presume that the business rate for a single large concern far exceeds that raised through Council Tax from 14 properties and this could be a reason why housing developments have been denied when the Sainsbury store appears to be favoured. Any issue regarding cars joining the busy dual carriageway (40mph) is specious since store traffic movements would be expected to be considerably greater.
Regarding any economic deficit, I believe it is fair to state that the alleged 10% trading loss from Westgate and 5% from Birchington may be considered relatively minor, but when a single large concern swallows this up, the effect on many smaller businesses would be catastrophic. The current business rate combined yield from Westgate and Birchington would inevitably decline. The growth of the one means the potential demise of the many.
Of considerable concern are the serious issues raised by the increased traffic movements. The presence of two neighbouring schools, one either side of the store and on an already busy arterial road, is a recipe for disaster. There is scant detail about any proposed road alterations though the entire area will doubtless be a more hazardous one. Especially when modifications/alterations are undertaken and before completion. Crossing the road to reach the bus-stop for buses heading east into Margate is a dangerous exercise. Traffic from a store joining this road and moving to the west towards Birchington makes a safe-crossing impossible. It is assumed that turning right towards Margate will be prohibited.
  • It must be pointed out that travelling towards Ramsgate after the roundabout at Margate/Ramsgate Roads at Westwood Cross, turning right into the car park at Westwood Cross is prohibited. As is turning right when exiting this car park. It does not prevent it happening. Prohibition signs are ignored and a serious accident will happen. Minimally, traffic control is necessary similar to exiting buses from Westwood Cross. Another set of lights.
Parking on a dual carriageway is quite legal though this creates a unique hazard by the Ursuline College at Westgate. The cars are generally parked in a dip beyond a pelican-crossing. Traffic lights/pelican-crossing lights are proposed further towards Birchington increasing the unsighted hazards. The entire section between King Ethelbert School and the Minster Road traffic lights can be difficult especially when those exiting Birchington town at more than 30mph before the speed change then proceed in excess of 40mph to suddenly put on the brakes just before a speed camera. This is the behaviour of some (not all). It is also more likely to occur at around 8.30am - 9.00am, at the same times that schools open. An additional hazard here is buses picking up just inside the 40mph section. The dual carriageway can unexpectedly become a single carriageway. This same scenario occurs at the Minster Road traffic lights. In both directions.
  • The anticipated problems caused by Sainsbury delivery lorries cannot be overlooked. There is no turning place for eastbound lorries (size unknown) until at the 'roundabout' by Margate railway station. Apparently, there is no provision for turning in the delivery area at this store. This suggests reversing out into a main road. This is illegal, so some kind of system to manage the conditions can only be assumed.
  • For traffic negotiating Birchington town centre: this is difficult. The small hump roundabout is near a pelican-crossing and a small side road entering the narrow main highway.
I regard the location of the Tesco Express store in Westbrook at the foot of the railway bridge where Westbrook Avenue joins the main Canterbury road as precedent. It was (and is) totally ill-advised. There is no safe pedestrian crossing at this dangerous intersection. The traffic has increased in recent months as drivers use the Royal Esplanade to avoid the Canterbury road. It is a fact that vehicles commonly use this road, as they do Westbrook Avenue, to circumvent speed restrictions (30mph) or any vehicle moving at or under the speed limit and a speed camera, but nevertheless speed in a 30mph limit. There are no cameras along Westbrook Avenue or the Royal Esplanade. Westbrook Avenue in particular has a major problem with speeding traffic. This happens and cannot be refuted. It remains a serious problem.
The parking provision for the Westbrook Tesco store is not present, so this suggests that Tesco is possibly operating as a business before planning conditions have been fully met. This raises the obvious spectre of traffic handling at the proposed Hundred's Farm development. It is all well and good to assume the honesty of good intentions, but 'big' business like Sainsbury or Tesco can only be trusted to operate with maximising profits. This can potentially mean disregarding planning approval conditions until challenged. Maybe in the courts.
The issue of important trees cannot be evaluated here other than point out the destruction of many trees to clear the area. And wildlife habitats. The stable and area at Hundred's Farm has high bat roost potential with 11 trees and 1 group of trees having high bat roost potential and 17 trees and 1 group of trees with low bat roost potential. Should any bat presence be revealed at any point, work should cease and a qualified ecologist contacted. Certainly, any review must be undertaken after the expiration of the current evaluation (WYG Group, www.wyg.com).
One final point of conflict is the possible approval given to a project that entails a large footprint of concrete. Planning permission is already necessary for turning domestic gardens into hard parking areas. This is as a consequence of the reduction of water draining into the ground. And an overload of the storm drainage system.
On the fair balance of argument, I feel I must object to the proposed application.
DA
  • Acknowledgement from TDC by letter: 02.05.2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sainsbury's Trading: Westgate-on-Sea


Application status: NOT APPROVED


Sainsbury's should find sustenance to feed
its shareholders elsewhere

These statements nail the ethos of this article firmly to the wall at the outset and the explanation for these preemptive statements is discussed in what follows, though it must be borne in mind that from a practical objection platform, only certain criteria can be considered. Other issues may be ignored.


What sort of things can be taken into account?

They are wide ranging and include:
  • The effect of the proposed development on the appearance of the area
  • The quality of the design
  • Significant overbearing impact and loss of outlook
  • The economic benefits of the proposal
  • Highway safety issues
  • Loss of important trees
  • Intrusion into the countryside
  • Significantly increased noise and disturbance


What cannot be taken into account?

Many concerns cannot be addressed through the planning process, these include:
  • Loss of view
  • Loss of property value
  • Breach of covenant
  • Loss of trade to a competitor
  • The level of profit a developer might make
  • Personal circumstances of the applicant (in most cases)
  • Moral objections e.g. to uses such as amusement arcades and betting offices
  • Ancient rights to light

Clearly, the single issue in the list above that cannot be taken into account is the loss of trade to a competitor. This features as one of the major concerns and is therefore expected to fail at the outset. Considerations that may apply reduce to three possible issues:

  • The economic benefits of the proposal
  • Highway safety issues
  • Loss of important trees
The lists are described as 'include'' and so the interpretation is that they are not exhaustive. The 'economic benefit' must consider the 'economic deficit' or balance is lost entirely. This would also present a discriminatory quality that presumably'loss of trade to a competitor'  is intended to prevent.

Guide to making comments
on Planning Applications


Sainsbury's is a commercial operation and exists to create a profit and not to provide a service. With that point of view in mind, the proposed siting at Hundred's Farm is probably a fair choice assuming that there are no other 'favourable' locations. The assessment here is that this is probably the worst position from the environmental, safety and simply practical perspective. Making a profit means providing a service in order to do just that. Paradox?

Cynical? Westgate-on-Sea does not need a supermarket parasite trader to feed off local people. But perhaps indirect competition would have a positive effect on 'convenience' stores (Co-operative) already in the 'village'. This store is regarded as being more expensive to those in other more distant areas. It is not uncommon practice for a large national concern to undercut local traders with 'loss leaders' and subsidise the markdown. The trading loss. If there is no real competition then prices will generally be higher than other outlets. Market forces. The consequence is that small businesses close because of the unfair competition. The non-level playing field. Eventual profit ends up with the shareholders and is not ploughed back into the community from which it came.

The supermarket has greater purchasing power than the smaller business and this results in salable items offered at lower retail prices than the competition without any undercutting. Bookshops are nearly always undercut, but with a much more limited range of products. Mostly the popular titles and not the more specialist ones. The consequence of this is that the competition just disappears. A small local trader has a greater interest in the returning customer than the bigger store. Customer after-sales service is commonly much greater. The returning customer for a second, third... purchase is very important. Items like TVs and DVD recorders can be delivered, installed and properly set up. The larger concern is quite content at the sale itself and nothing else. Customer is out of the door and forgotten. Possibly, an extended warranty may apply, but after sales? Only the legal minimum that is necessary. Nothing more. The local small business will have a quite different attitude. It's in their interest to be interested.

  • Is Westgate-on-Sea a village or a town? This may appear a trivial point, but when planning jargon talks of the 'town centre' or district centre it could become a very important distinction.
The growth of a community is in the hands of local residents. The spectre of Westwood X is a red herring. Of sorts. Allegedly, this centre would not harm trade. Actually, Margate has been degenerated as a result: 1950s & 1960sAugust 2007. The pier has long gone. Dreamland has gone. There has been a general decline ever since. Certainly not at the time, but after. Centres like Westwood X have not helped to promote the town.

Turner 'Contemptible' - Developments
Turner 'Contemptible' Saga Continues
Turner 'Contemptible' Shuns Local Writers

Out-of-town 'shopping' is the modern method of growth. That is the perception though a case can be made for a more cynical scenario:

create the problem,
provide the solution

The examples of Canterbury, Maidstone or Ashford could be cited as competitors. Then there's Lakeside or Bluewater. Certainly, shoppers use these centres since local shops do not provide all the commodities offered. On-line shopping is popular (Tesco and Sainsbury) and the threat is to groceries and other perishables is very real and not just perceived as a threat. But that's only part of the problem. Another issue is the/goY.Yu al impact: wildlife, schools and general safety.

Loss of trade will not be taken into account, but the important issues that must be considered are:
  • Highway safety
  • Loss of important trees
These two factors will be focussed upon. Not the trading competition. That will be ignored by the planning department. Unfair maybe, but these are the constraints. When your hands are tied, it is wise to learn how to fight from inside a straightjacket.

The precedent has been established with the Tesco Express store at Westbrook, MARGATE. To site a store at the busy junction at the foot of a railway bridge on a main road would be terminally unwise. But Thanet District Council sanctioned just that. Sometimes the area can be quiet (early to late evening and at night), but at other times (weekdays between 8.00am - 9.30am and 4.00pm - 7.00pm and on a Saturday at all times) it can be very chaotic. Traffic caused by those going to work in and out of Thanet, school buses, usual local peak-period traffic, pedestrians... and no control to manage traffic. There is no safe, nearby crossing (pelican light-controlled, zebra crossing). It's unlikely that this business will pay for additional safety features and presumably, there was no provision in that planning application. This store is located in a peculiarly dangerous position. It already had a very dangerous interaction with general traffic movements and is now even more so.

Blocking the road at an island in the main road would be criminally insane. And this at a junction of crossing-over traffic at the foot of the railway bridge where cars can be parked on the pavement since there is nowhere else to leave a car. The extent of the problems caused by store deliveries cannot yet be assessed properly, but clearly the store will have daytime deliveries and that is predicted to cause major problems. A large lorries have already been observed parked on the few car spaces in the road just beyond the store while unloading can be effected. It must be parked somewhere to allow its contents to be unloaded. Even if technically legally parked, it takes up parking spaces that provide for probably a total of only five cars. If sensibly positioned. This is NOT Tesco customer parking, but general public (non-payment) parking. A moral issue (BIG business and morals? Don't think so - DA)

  •  There is apparently land behind this site for parking, but from the business perspective, Tesco is already operating before work may have been completed or it's a 'wait and see' situation to determine if the expense is unnecessary. There is no signage to store-only customer parking.
  • There is a narrow passage beside this store, but going where? Is this for future development and is Tesco operating before the approved plan is complete?

That some consumers couldn't care less is demonstrated by their pathetically selfish attitude to 'convenience' parking.


'It's OK, I'll only be here for a moment'

Regardless of future actions, joining the main Canterbury Road to turn either way will present serious traffic issues.

Lunacy

Drivers cannot be 'trusted' to be sensible (assuming that they usually behave normally). Look at those who speed or abuse disabled parking and there are lots of those. Because they cannot be bothered to walk a small distance from a properly parked vehicle.

You have my parking space,
do you also want my disability?

'Convenience' stores, it seems, are a 'convenience' only for able-bodied customers.

Planning laws seem to be open to abuse and an implied vested interest. It seems that the initial planning approval will pass through the whole planning committee. But after approval, an amendment can be authorised without negotiation. At the public consultation stage Sainbury's quoted a store size of 12,000 sq ft. The submitted plans had a 'footprint' of 20,000 sq.ft. This suggests an amendment could be submitted to expand the store. Parking would become a major issue. An increased store area would by necessity ensure car parking areas are consumed. There is only a fixed size at the Hundred's Farm site. This is out-of-town retail shopping coming home. The scene has been set for large stores and the writing on the wall has already been placed by Sainbury's.

Big business takes precedence over smaller concerns. Presumably, the business rate yield is much greater than a few private houses (Council Tax). The example is the 14 properties that were refused planning approval at the Hundred's Farm site because of concerns regarding the extra traffic caused by joining the busy arterial road (A28) between Westgate-on-Sea and Birchington-on-Sea. It seems that the Sainsbury application did not have this difficulty.

The Sainsbury pledge that some 150 jobs will be created is viewed with more than just a drizzle of disdain. Of the proposed 91 car-parking space allocation, none is reserved for the exclusive use by staff. The customers and staff will have to 'share' parking arrangements. UK labour law it seems disallows holding jobs for local people and much like Thanet Earth, many 'jobs' could theoretically be 'given' over to foreign workers. Sainsbury's have even claimed to allow parents to 'drop-off' their school-age children in this car-park to minimise the hazard that Sainsbury's may itself cause. Delivery times are unknown except that there will be two per day. There is apparently only provision for one lorry on site at any one time.

  • Turning facilities?
  • Reversing out (illegally) into oncoming traffic (+40mph)?
  • Access roads?
Early morning deliveries are expected due to the nature of perishable short-shelf-life products: milk, bread... A potential clash can be predicted here between school opening times and Sainsbury's morning deliveries. The delivery issue to the Westgate-on-Sea Co-operative store completely blocks a road off the main high-street until the delivery is complete.

Sainsbury's Application

Apparently, some documents/drawings cannot be uploaded onto the website. The reason for this is not explained, so the cannot is perhaps will not?
  • Design & Access statement
  • Proposed elevation drawings
  • Proposed street elevation drawings

The construction of modified access roadways was briefly mentioned at the Carlton Cinema (16th April 2012) meeting, but nothing explained about the dangers during construction. Plans of the layout are scant and conveniently skirted over. A report will ultimately be written that claims it will detail all the objections. Fairly and honestly. No skewing of any of the issues in any party's favour.

  • How can this be verified before the report is submitted? This must be taken entirely on trust (what? It seems that Louis doesn't trust the planning committee at the council! - DA).
  • Once applications have been received, they will generally be determined as submitted (the original applications - DA), without negotiation (it saves time - DA). In some circumstances negotiation may take place, but only where the following considerations apply:
    • Major changes will only be considered if they are determined as being in the wider public interest (and who 'determines' that? - DA) and there is a high prospect of the negotiations succeeding (rather reminiscent of the Crown Prosecution Service - DA) and significant benefits would be secured for the community which would be lost if an early refusal were given. If any (one - DAof these criteria is not met the application will normally be determined without negotiation (a forcing action - DA).
    • In the case of minor amendments, there must be agreement from the applicants that a strict timetable is adhered to for the submission of revised plans and documentation. If the amendments are not received within the prescribed timescale the application will normally be determined without them.

  • When amendments are received, a decision is made (!) as to whether further advertising and consultation is required. The decision to re-advertise and/or re-consult will depend upon a combination of factors, including:
    • Whether there is a significant change to the character or description of the proposed development

    • Whether any neighbours could be affected

    • Whether the amendments are likely to impact on the previous response from a consultee
Notice how the National Planning Policy Framework, support for town centres ('ensuring the vitality of town centres' [27th March 2012]) does NOT mention out-of-town centres. The actual wording does not appear to imply any trace of cynicism. It defines the actual letter without any assumptions.

  • Management and growth of town centres
  • Recognise town centres
  • Promote competitive town centres that provide customer choice and a diverse retail offer and which reflect the individuality of town centres
  • Allocate a range of suitable sites to meet the scale and type of retail... It is important that needs for retail, leisure, office, and other main town centres are met in full and are not compromised by limited site availability. Local planning authorities should undertake an assessment of the need to expand town centres to ensure a sufficient supply of suitable sites.
    • Does that mean expand a town centre and thus create suitable sites within that larger (not out-of-) town centreDA
  • Where town centres are in decline, local planning authorities should plan positively for their future to encourage economic activity.
    • Is that not the point, Louis? The town centres are NOT YET in decline and out-of-town stores are by definition not in-town centres. The point is irrelevant so cannot apply - DA
  • Edge-of-centre sites (out-of-town is not on the edge! It is out-of-town - DA) should only be considered if there are no centre sites available
  • When assessing applications for retail, outside of town centres, which are not in accordance with an up-to-date Local Plan local authorities should (that seems like offering choice: optionalDArequire an impact assessment (where is it? - DA) if the development is over a proportionate, locally set floorspace threshold. The floorspace threshold default is 2,500 sq metres (= 50 metres square or 164 ft square = 26,896 sq ft). Submitted plans are for 20,000 sq ft and the proposed footprint size equates to just over 141 ft square. (A carefully chosen maximum size? But the Hundred's Farm site is a fixed size though it seems no impact assessment will be requiredDA).
  • The assessment should include the impact of the proposal on town centre vitality and viability, including local consumer choice and trade in the town centre and wider area, up to five years from the time the application is made. For major schemes, but when does minor become major or the other way around? 
    • What is the out-of-town convenience store? Minor or major? - DA
  • Where an application is likely to have significant adverse impact on one or more...  it should be refused.
'Should' does not define 'will'. Just the possibility.
'Must' is far more meaningful, though it's much
less flexible. Leaves little wriggling room
DA 


All applications for retail development will be required to demonstrate the need for the proposed development and that there is no sequentially preferable location. And that there is no unacceptable impact on the vitality and viability of existing centres. And that the location is accessible.

  • Edge of centre developments will be the key to economic regeneration in many towns. Edge of centre will have to be defined carefully but the idea is that people can still walk there from the town centre… developments that contribute to the town’s amenities that could have been turned down under the current need test……An edge of centre development has to complement the town centre.
Sainsbury's allege that both Westgate-on-Sea and Birchington-on-Sea are 'healthy' and could therefore withstand any impact (aka competition) from Sainsbury's. They further claim that the impact on the turnover of businesses in Westgate-on-Sea would be just 9.47%. So, an entire town loses about 10% of its total business trading (that's a lot for an entire town to withstand - DA) and a single parasite (trader - DA) sucks it all up. Presumably, this means that they are both prime targets to be plundered. Being 'healthy'. Sainsbury's feeds and everything else withers and dies. Being out-of-town (between Westgate-on-Sea and Birchington-on-Sea, but in neither) any 'neighbour' issue will possibly be ignored.

The safety issue concerns many potential hazards. Nearby schools populate the local roads with children. The local road is a dual-carriageway between Margate, Westbrook, Westgate-on-Sea and Birchington-on-Sea. It seems that parking on a dual-carriageway is legal, though it is very dangerous. Suddenly, a dual carriageway becomes a single carriageway. And over the brow of a hill and without warning. The road between the two towns (Westgate-on-Sea and Birchington-on-Sea) has several dips in which vehicles, especially cars, can disappear. Speed cameras create the usual problem of those driving fast slamming on brakes at the last minute to escape any possible speeding prosecution. All of this already around schools and bus-stops.

There have been promised two store deliveries every day from entering Birchington-on-Sea from the west. Negotiating the town centre (small 'hump-roundabout' with a difficult in-and-out swan-neck) is a problem being positioned just after a narrow minor road joining the main road. And the addition of a pelican light-controlled crossing. On exiting Birchington-on-Sea, another pelican light-controlled crossing is encountered. Further on (still 30mph), the dual carriageway begins (40mph) that is just before the King Ethelbert school and the bus-stops, one on each side of the road. Crossing the dual carriageway here is highly dangerous with some drivers already having reached and surpassed the speed limit (and often before the speed-change sign) after leaving Birchington-on-Sea. On the same side as the school, traffic (legally) passes the school at 40mph before reaching the speed reduction sign (to 30mph).

  • There is nowhere for articulated lorries to turn. Coming in from west Thanet, lorries would have to turn across the dual carriageway just outside Birchington-on-Sea or continue in towards Margate where there is still nowhere to turn until near Margate Railway station. That in itself presents a difficult turn.
Sainsbury's have no provision for more than one lorry being on site at any one time. Turning within the proposed site will be extremely difficult, if possible.

  • The supermarket threat is a recurring theme. The concept that Sainsbury's may have purchased the land at Hundred's Farm just to stop Tesco buying it up is probably specious, even if possible.
This all promises to be a very real nightmare. The Sainsbury case has been very poorly mounted . In fact it has not made a case at all and many reasonable objections are all entirely valid and realistic. Lives are being put at risk and potentially lost. Towns possibly decimated. All for the profit of shareholders and growth with little or no interest in local communities. The nameless 'Big institutions' will be amongst the few Winners, but there promises to be plenty of Losers. Sainsbury's claim to be proud of 'being at the heart of a community'. The suggestion here is that it will tear out that heart.

In conclusion, the Sainsbury case is very weak in terms of need and the environmental issues are far reaching. Even if there are solutions to the many problems outlined, the cost would far outweigh the commercial viability of a small convenience-type store. It all smacks of a forcing action: coerce, trick, seduce (railroading) and walking over the local community.

With complete impunity



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Titanic

On 15th April 1912 (almost 100 years agothe 'unsinkable' luxury liner RMS Titanic was to sink on its maiden voyage. Just 5 days out from Southampton and in mid-Atlantic Ocean it allegedly collided with an ice-berg. A single rogue ice-berg in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Incredibly bad luck or something more sinister afoot? The 'Ship That Never Sank?' by Robin Gardiner explores an alternative theory. Basically, an insurance fraud and it makes a compelling case.

  • On the 14th April 1912, the Moon was a waning crescent. A very small illuminated slice, essentially providing a moonless night. However, 3 months earlier on 4th January 1912, a full moon was at the closest to Earth that it had been for many, many years (perigee). The effect of this is that the unusually high gravitational attraction could have caused many ice-bergs to have broken away from Newfoundland. Over the ensuing weeks, these could have floated south into the shipping lanes.
The White Star Line was the owner of the ship Olympic. This vessel had been in collision with the British warship HMS Hawke (20th September 1911). It was only after examination at the Harland and Woff shipyard in Belfast that the extent of the damage was realised. The ship was effectively a writedown. The White Star Line had been selling lucrative tickets for an as yet unbuilt ship (Titanic) and the other ship had no commercial future unless very expensive repairs were undertaken. The company was in a very serious condition and faced potential bankruptcy.

  • The inquiry into the collision with HMS Hawke concluded that the Olympic had 'sucked' the warship in as it passed by in the Solent. The Navy was thus cleared of all blame.

The fraud that is suggested involved switching the identities of Titanic and Olympic.The Olympic would become the Titanic and this vessel would be sacrificed. Notably, when the damaged propeller was changed, the day-long repair took around a week to complete. It is proposed that during this time the identity switch was executed. Name plates, crockery, cutlery, towels and anything that showed Olympic was removed and replaced with the Titanic livery. Some structural alterations to the vessel were made at this time to complete the identity switch.

  • It should be noted that Harland and Wolff provided work for many, many people. Large families were involved and any failure of the 'breadwinner' to comply with the employer's demands or be a 'whistleblower' would be met with sacking of the individual that would impact on the livelihood of many. Future work prospects (anywhere) would be severely compromised.
The ship was allegedly undergoing sea trials and the race was on to reach New York and set a new record for safe and fast travel across the Atlantic Ocean. That icebergs were known to be in or near the shipping lanes was apparently of no concern. It must have the modern-day equivalent of driving at high speed in fog.


  • The Coal Fire Theory suggests that a faster rate of coal consumption was happening with the consequence of more steam being made and the need for greater speed to use it up. But by the time of the collision, it has been estimated that the smouldering fire would not have been reached. This could account, however, for the greater speed at a highly dangerous time.
Coal Fire (short story)

Almost 'unbelievably' the lookouts had no binoculars to... look out. The optics had apparently 'gone missing'.

Deliberate or just bad luck?

The decision for full stop followed by all reverse full would have had the consequence of the loss of rudder steerage control. Moving water is essential for the rudder to work and turn the vessel. These were ostensibly unwise actions. Titanic was launched and ultimately put into service with inadequate lifeboats. After all, this vessel was 'unsinkable' and such safety requirements were unnecessary. Since the 'fate' of Titanic (or the writedown Olympic) was for it to be scuttled, lifeboats were not going to be needed. It must be noted, however, that the requirements for a full lifeboat complement was just 16 at the time. Titanic had 20, so actually an additional 4 lifeboats were being carried in excess of the minimum requirement. The rules had not been updated for two decades. Also, the route was in a busy shipping lane and potential rescue ships would not have normally been far away. Lifeboats would have been used to ferry between a stricken ship and rescuers. A large number of 'boats would possibly have been regarded as unnecessary if an ordinary vessel is expected to survive maybe 36 hours before sinking. Titanic was 'sold' to the public as being 'unsinkable'.


  • The concept of the fraud involved a rescue ship, but running lights would have been turned off. This vessel was not supposed to be where it was. It was not an iceberg that was hit, but another ship. Metal-on-metal would cause much greater damage than metal-on-ice, hard though ice may be.

The 'explanation' of the Titanic disaster is well known, but may have been just a cover-up to enable the fraud to be successful. Many would have been involved though a great many more probably not. The story should be read and understood if nothing else to restore some kind of balance. This book is to be commended.

Titanic - Real Reason for Tragedy - Comments
Titanic - National Museums Northern Ireland
Board of Trade - British Inquiry
Titanic - Aftermath and Enquiry
Titanic - Inquiry Project
RMS Titanic - about

Olympic is proposed to have served from
1911 to 1935, having been repaired after
the collision with HMS Hawke in the Solent,
but was it actually Titanic? The...


'Ship That Never Sank?' by Robin Gardiner (Amazon)
Olympic and Titanic - Analysis of the Conspiracy Theory
HMHS Britannic - White Star Line
Alternative Theories
RMS Lusitania
Apollo (mmm? - DA)