Tony Flaig has commented already on 'Leader's View' in The Isle of Thanet Gazette and I am afraid I have to as well. There are some interesting aspects to this carefully scripted piece. I will get back to this point later. As we get closer to the 9th October, there is the bad smell of panic coming from offices in Cecil Square.
'Our Leader' knows and so does Ken Wills that many of the residual 2,000 unemployed in Thanet are not skilled or inclined to work and this is a feature of many sea-side areas. Benefits in a low-wage economy like Thanet will be given to 16% of the 72,000 people of working age; with two children and a combined family income of £55,000 per annum , you are still entitled to Family Tax Credits. This has nothing to do with those who are unemployed! You cannot ring fence jobs and employers will employ the best trained and skilled they can find. The only jobs that Wills and Ezekiel know about for sure, at the moment, if this project is approved by our Councillors, are the 300-500 'skilled' Chinese nationals that will be coming to Thanet as in all Chinamex operations.
They keep silent on this though .
This of course raises the issue of housing for them and their families and you might like to connect the move to put housing on Eurokent Site instead of industry and employment by EKO LLP (Woger is TDC's director on this KCC/TDC property company) with this. ECO Housing just happens to be a CGP Shareholder and will be involved in due course, I should imagine. TDC has already discussed at Cabinet the need to argue the case that with housing on Eurokent, Thanet will need more employment land. It is no coincidence that CGP purchased farmland for Phases 2 and 3 in 2006 and 2007 which would fit the bill nicely. Let me quote from CGP's AIM flotation document and CGP's Annual Report:
" However, if a special user was identified which could not be accommodated on any of the existing allocations, then a case could be made for an extension of the property. This principle was endorsed by the Planning Officer at the District Council."
"The Manston Site (CGP's land there) was revalued at 30 Nov2007... to £50.9 million compared to its historical cost of £23.5 million. The uplift primarily reflects CGP's progress in relation to planning matters.....".
To get back to 'Our Leader's' carefully scripted article. Am I the only one who has picked up a steady theme from CGP, Ladyman, TDC and Ezekiel. It boils down to PROMISE LOTS OF JOBS; rubbish the claims on water; it's not agricultural land but 'weed infested' (the site for the X types had wheat harvested from it last month); it's a stand-alone application (we all know its 3 phases or more) and attack anyone who disagrees. It does seem quite well orchestrated, doesn't it.
Could this be because Rob Prince of CGP had a meeting with Woger Latchford, John Bunnett, Cheryl Pendry and Susan Adkins on the 4th January this year at TDC where it was decided to:
" formulate a press campaign" and that "TDC and CGP should liaise with each other before releasing any information to the press" and thereafter have monthly meetings.
So whose words are we reading in 'Our Leader's ' View?
What Tony Flaig has also highlighted is the tone; 'not IF our democratically elected Councillors approve this application on the 9th October' but 'WHEN' the Chinese companies come to Manston'. So are allegations that 'this is a done deal' valid? We wait to see.
There is one crumb of comfort; as TDC Cabinet has been right behind this application with Senior Officers, it is quite clear that ALL members of The Cabinet have predetermined the issue to be examined by Full Council' on the 9th and thus cannot vote on the matter. I wonder if Mauwice, Woger, Shirley, Zita, Joe and Martin have arranged a 'room' for themselves until Full Council has determined the issue?