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.
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