Tuesday, 8 July 2008

ARE KCC AND TDC PLAYING STRAIGHT WITH US ALL ON CHINA GATEWAY?

The plan above (click on it for more detail) shows the land owned at Phase 1, China Gateway by KCC (yellow) ( not only a council anymore but a property developer), owner occupiers (blue) and Grisham/Robertson but now probably CGP.(pink)

Are, our Thanet and even KCC Cllrs representing Thanet aware of a report prepared by Pete Raine, Managing Director- Environment and Regeneration (KCC) for KCC's Environment & Regeneration Policy Overview Committeee dated 21 Nov 2006? (If not go and find it with Google).

Are people aware of what public money has been spent on this site already so that CGP can make a profit of between £30,000,000 to £40,000, 000 if planning consent is approved for China Gateway? Let me fill you in:
1. While Wiggins/Planestation owned it: £5, 263,000 for infrastructure provision.
2. Off-site highway works (KCC) : £1, 517,000.
3. Purchase of 70 acres of land by KCC in Spring 2006: £5,350,000.
4. consultant fees/estate management by KCC: £150,000 per annum.

In November 2006 KCC felt that 35 acres could be for business space development but it also owned the land containing surface water balancing ponds and extensive belts of landscaping. (More about this later) AND land that controlled access to the farmland for development now owned by CGP; its called a 'ransom'strip in developers parlance.

The original outlining planning consents ran out and OUR County Council KCC has moved to cramming more in the site and reducing landscape belts and what else? A look at CGPs plans will see that surface water balancing ponds are a no-no, as are extensive landscape belts to hide the site in the middle of a rural area. Why? So that more sheds can be crammed in. KCC and TDC has changed its tune on safe-guarding water supplies since Cummins was developed on the site 10 years ago or more; they are reducing standards by not insisting on collecting surface water runoff in balancing ponds and extensive screening belts.

I now come to the business of the consultants employed by KCC for Manston and who have also been employed for Eurokent site; they are DTZ; a Chinese multinational development company. You might be interested to see them on the sign at Manston's site entrance, shown below. So we have KCCs consultants tied up with Commercial Group Properties in the business of selling plots on a site that KCC still effectively controls with its ransom strip north of the roundabout by Cummins entrance. (i.e CGP cannot get to its proposed X type warehouses unless KCC lets them. Today I heard a rumour that 'Woger', (Cllr Roger Latchford and Mowice's Deputy) was saying that he was proud to be a 'Director' of EKO LLP ( TDC's own property development company) and also a Director of East Kent Spatial Development Company ( an organ to spend tax-payers money so that private commercial developers don't have to) and that EKSD would be paying (using yet more tax-payers money) to put in water and foul sewage drainage for The Gateway Project. ( You will be aware already, I hope, that Ken Wills has answered the EA's insistence on mains sewerage with yet another attempt to use Klargester septic tanks - its cheaper).

So why do I think that KCC and TDC are not playing straight with us over Gateway?

Simply because I feel this whole business has lacked clarity, honesty with the electorate and openess in democratic Government at County Level and District Level; involves our own Councils in the development game of 'maximising assets and exploiting land holdings'; produces a closeness between Councils and developers whereby Public Funds (our taxes) are used to bail- out developers from the 'risk' element and fails to take into account the wishes of its electorate in the process. It seems to me that the more convoluted the story Of 'Gateway' becomes the less savoury it is and more costly to tax-payers; over £11,000, 000 of tax-payers money has been spent so far up at Manston and now TDC and KCC want to spend more so that CGP doesn't have to. Have they forgotten that CGP's shareholders expect to gain a profit on Gateway of upto £40,000,000? CGP should pay for its own water and sewerage and if it can't, it should withdraw its application.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Doesn't surprise me in the least given the brown envelope culture prevalent in our local council.

Anonymous said...

Bertie

Some facts for you;

CGP own the land in question for the X types under Title deed K915594. The lenders where the Israel Discount Bank Limited. I believe a chap called Prosser uses this bank a lot?

On the issue of the KCC owned land, i believe your figure to be way off the mark as Title deed K704995 shows that KCC is the owner but paid 6,286,250.

Anonymous said...

Berts,

good job you've got someone double checking your figures - not sure if they are your strong point!?
Debenham used to be the surveying firm - in my old RICS days Debenham cheuz and something thought were brits but may have been taken over by Hong Kong money?

Bertie Biggles said...

Thanks for that 09.55. I cannot understand the discrepancy with Pete Raine's report of 21 Nov 2006 concerning the cost of land KCC purchased.

Would I be right in assuming that CGP as a 'minnow' and a very recent player in the property world is having to borrow from The Israel Discount Bank to fund its land purchases and development of this site?

09.57, always glad to have my 'sums' checked! You are correct about DTZ. DTZ took over Debenhams Tei Leung which had a history going back to the 'Taipan' days in HK. DTZ are big and worldwide. their website is worth a visit if they have it back up yet.

Rick said...

I can understand your concerns about safeguarding the water supply.

But are the sums of public money involved really something to get heated about ?

When Plessey Marine closed down in Newport Gwent early 90s the area's two Labour MPs raised Commons questions about the devasatating effect on their town. They wanted more public money spent.

How much was the Celtic Lakes Industrial development at Newport costing ? 1.6 billion.

And they wanted more. Even after twenty years of Barnett Formula and Welsh Development Agency.

Roger Evans tory MP for Monmouth accepted a consultancy with a West Country Development agency. The South Wales Argus headlined tory mp "Traitor to Wales". He argued that the Severn Bridge is there to join us not to divide us. But the prevailing Welsh attitude is that it is there to truck in barrow loads of English taxpayers' money as grant aid.

Back in the 50s when postwar Britain was looking at addressing the housing stock damage to London.

The Pontypool MP raised hell because wales was not in line for new town funding. (Never mind the 3 million homes bombed out in London and South East.

In spite of advice that a new town at Cwmbran would cause economic problems further up the valley to Ebbw Vale. Wales got funding for two new towns. Cwmbran Gwent and in Powys.

So what is the attitude ? It is snouts in the trough and get what you can.

Frankly in those sort of areas they find it incredible that Thanet whinges on about puny sums of public money such as the Turner Centre fiasco.

In North Staffs the study of how to spend the regeneration funds came to 7 million. A 7 million study to determine how to spend 2.3 billion.

And the circulars went out. Tick the boxes do you need a free rewire, free central heating, free structural repairs, free double glazing, free new roof.

Fly tipping problem in an area half the siz of Thanet. 2 million from govt to tackle that issue alone.

Improvements to the tech colleges 160 million.

Canalside development 7 million.


So if you want the jobs there and you want the water supply kept safe then f-ck your MPs off to London in pursuit of some Thanet's share of the public purse ?

Where are the highest dsisposable incomes ? Belfast, Humberside and Gwent. All areas doing an Oliver Twist ... "More more"

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. Originally, the business park was purchased from some farmers by the Council for an undisclosed sum. The Council then "gave" it to Wiggins on condition Wiggins invested in some infrastructure. Wiggins didn't invest in the infrastructure and frustrated the Council when they tried to compulsory purchase it. The Council put money in to get the infrastructure in place to move Cummins in. Wiggins goes bust and the business park finds its way into the hands of the administrator. KCC buys it back using over £5million of taxpayers' money. Now they're trying to give it to another property developer, again for a knock-down price. Have I got all of this right or am I missing something? It looks like the taxpayer keeps buying it.

Bertie Biggles said...

I am as equally confused as you are 18.47. It seems even more bizarre that Brian Moritz (The Finance Director for CGP) was a senior member of Grant Thornton. You might say, so what?. Were you aware that Grant Thornton were and are still the admiinistrators for Wiggins/Planestation who previously owned this site?

Anonymous said...

What is your obsession! Why are you trying to stop Thanet going forward!

Why are you such a sad case that all you do all day is sit in front of a computer and run down the people that are trying to improve the area?

Get a life, and a job!

Anonymous said...

Poster 09:10

Its you that needs to get a life. The posters have got jobs and do help in the local economy and give freely of their time...err what exactly do you do other than covet Oliver twist like developers?

Bertie Biggles said...

09.10, I am perfectly happy to have sensible and sustainable development on allocated sites but putting hundreds of acres of farmland under concrete whilst at the same time threatening our water supply with contamination,at the whim of a development company that wants to maximise a profit of upto £40,000,000, is neither sensible nor sustainable. If concern about this very important issue is obsessive, then I am happy to be guilty of such obsession.

Anonymous said...

9.10 Anon (First one)

As you don't know who the anonymous posters are you make sweeping statements so here's a few facts for you.

1) I'm retired, have lived here for nearly 40 years.

2) Have seen promised schemes galore come and go, promising jobs by the hundred.

3) Various councils here have tried to attract businesses for decades. Some have come as part of the 'move out of London initiatives' from the 1960s/1970'. They have mostly gone and the sites sold for housing.

4) The airport was going to save the area and create 100s of jobs. Sadly (or not depending on your view) that hasn't happened.

5) The world is becoming short of food with riots in Africa due to the hike in basic foodstuffs.

6) There's no shortage of consumer goods so do we really need the Chinese bringing more digital this and digital that into the UK?

7) The weather's not too brilliant so I can, due to the wonders of the internet, sit here and engage in political/economic debate with people of all types.

8) Once not so many years ago the Communists were the major threat to our democracy, we were told. Now they are engaging in another kind of warfare, economic warfare.

Anonymous said...

I do work and I do pay my taxes. I imagine I may be paying a good share of some other people's taxes too. I use the internet in what little spare time I get.

When expansion of the airport was originally proposed, I opposed it on environmental grounds. I received little support. The prevailing view was that it was going to save Thanet and create literally thousands of jobs. It all got very vicious. Now, ten years on everybody can see that I was right and every single Councillor and officer was wrong.

Now, I see the same thing happening all over again. Yet another dodgy development with opaque funding, Councillors clamouring to get their free trips to China and morons posting abusive messages on the internet, telling me that all development is good development.

I'm sorry, but it really is about time that all sensible people in Thanet rose up against all of this b*llsh*t. For years we have been waiting for a development at Ramsgate seafront; a development that none of us wanted but which Councillors told us was the best deal for us. They sold the plot to a developer for far less than it was worth. Now, we are told that it may not be going ahead after all.

All Councillors who were involved in, and voted for, this debacle should resign NOW. This includes the previous administration. Go on. Clear your desks and get lost. You have refused to listen to reasonable, intelligent people and you are guilty of destroying Thanet because of your arrogance and pig-headedness.

Tony Beachcomber said...

I often think when did it all go wrong in Thanet and at what point did it all go wrong. Perhaps bumping along the bottom is the way it is meant to be or should it.

Thirty years ago about 5000 people in Thanet were employed in manufacturing or processing from raw material to finished product. In fact the first factory of any size in Thanet was Klingers built in 1949. Gradually the industrial base grew and lorries would leave Thanet with products made in either Margate,Ramsgate or Broadstairs. Then came the Recession of 1981 and the industrial base started to unravel.Gradually over the next 25 years more firms were closing than opening and manual workers were finding less and less employment. Good companies left the Island and Thanet District Council did very little to defend manual workers jobs. Unlike Councils in Northern England who would try every means at their disposal to save manual workers jobs.Okay they might have failed in some cases but at least they made an effort more than TDC has ever done.
Gradually some industrial sites became shops, wharehouses and houses. Unemployment amongst manual workers soared and the only jobs on offer were those menial minimum wage jobs the middle class look down on.
To add further insult TDC is considering letting a large area of our natural environment to be concreted over so imported goods can flood in.
Conservative TDC over the past few years has turned its back on tourism and local manufacturing. Now that the Conservative party is taking a harder line on the "poor" as indicated David Camerons latest speech. The future of manual workers in Thanet under the Conservatives does look grim.

Anonymous said...

We thought we'd got rid of the 'nasty party' nationally but now we have their leader telling us if we're fat, unemployed or poor it's a lifestyle choice we've made. I'm in none of those categories but feel for those who for whatever reason do fall in those groups. Mind you, I doubt many vote Tory but to say all that in the East End of Glasgow where folk have long memories and a few may just about remember the way Churchill treated strikers in the latter days of WW1. beyond belief.

steve said...

09.10. Seems you are alone on this thread. no-one thinks the gateway is a good idea. most agree the aiport is flawed. everyone can see the big holes in Margates and Ramsgates seafronts, which visually present to every visitor what these places used to be like and immediately bring people back to the past - a glorious past.

give me a demonstration, a sign, something that "people...trying to improve the area" have actually delivered over the past 10 years.

Anonymous said...

The Tories in the so-called 'good old days' did their best to stop inward investment because they were hung up on the idea that this is a holiday area and 'we don't want anything to detract from that'. More importantly, in my view, the council was then, and to a lesser extent now, I think, run by local businessmen who wanted to keep wages low and a compliant workforce dependent on the summer season. Once the mines closed even that option as alternative employment was lost so it has been vital that progressive industry is/was attracted to the area. The holiday trade has gone, most of the local industry has gone, so we have become an area of customer service/retail employment. Whilst investment is essential I don't think what is planned for Manston is in any way the solution as, apart from anything else, the location is wrong, the farmland must be preserved and I seriously doubt that the promised jobs will be more than a handful e.g. fork lift drivers and stockcontrollers. For this we face HGV traffic of nightmare proportions as there are no plans to do anything about the roads, loss of farmland and our water threatened. All so that a property development company can make £ millions for its shareholders and directors and allow the Chinese to destroy anything left of our industrial sector in the UK.