Bertie, is off to Ibiza again to contemplate his navel and ponder on the odd workings of Thanet Council in Full Council mode.
Was it right to squash Cllr Poole's attempts to add conditions that would limit hours of operating of HGVs that will blight Acol or Cllr Wells' attempts to get the X types off SPZ1 and away from the poor people of Acol? If that is the open democratic process at work then that is the decision our elected representatives have made. If we are unhappy with it, then we have the option of the ballot box in a few years time. Perhaps Thanet deserves the Council it has.
So tonight our Councillors made their decision to begin the move to make our Isle , "The Home of Chinese Globalisation"and approved CGP's application for Phase 1 of the process. Sit back and wait for the process to gather momentum. They have said that many conditions will have to be scrutinised by Planning Committee but we wait to see how effective that will be.
An impassioned plea from Sheila Bransfield, the Chair of Acol Parish Council, to spare Acol misery, fell on deaf ears, as did Mr Kirkaldie' s concerns about lack of protection for Thanet's drinking water. Mr Thomas may as well have saved his breath concerning the fact that whilst the Cabinet members were pushing job creation, his simple news that over 1000 job vacancies are presently advertised in Thanet's Job centre with very little response from our 'rump' of unemployed was ignored. I have been sent the following by a contact that was presented by Mr Wells and quite frankly he may as well have not bothered either. I attach it for you in full.
"Mr Chairman and members, thank you for this opportunity to address you.
Few are likely to object to high quality development that brings jobs to Thanet. This application isn’t a high quality development.
I have a number of serious reasons why I feel Councillors should not approve this application this evening.
This application is quite clearly not ‘stand-alone’ and to argue otherwise, is to fly in the face of all the evidence to the contrary including the memorandum of understanding with Chinese Industry to develop agricultural land and Mr Wills’ own TV admission last night. Approval will create ‘inland Docks’ with more HGV traffic than Dover.
If we accept the ‘charade’ that this application stand’s alone, then I urge you to reject it on the basis that it is quite simply a shambles. KCC has said it is over-crowded; Theatrical Pyrotechnics punches a hole in the plans. What is left, is effectively a Gateway Building and 5 huge redistribution warehouses placed closest to Acol and on the most sensitive part of the aquifer.
There is, in the background, a serious issue of this Councils property company partnered with KCC, East Kent Opportunities. Your own ‘company’, with your TDC Director, Cllr Latchford, is charging CGP £2.25 million for 5 acres for its Gateway Building and a ransom strip. If ‘your’ property company, Councillors, had released all its holdings, a better plan could have resulted. Is this Council now compromised being a direct beneficiary of its own approval decision?
My final comments to you , concern the perception of integrity and probity in this whole issue and the good name of this Council. Your Cabinet and Senior officers over 2 years have developed a close relationship with the developer. This may require your scrutiny in due course. A ‘respectable’ distance could and should have been maintained.
.An acceptance by Cabinet of £12,500 sponsorship for TDC’s Big Event from this developer whilst its planning application was ‘live’ and under consideration by this Council has, I would suggest, in one fell swoop, undermined the integrity of this planning process. Who was responsible for such folly?
I urge you to consider not only this Council’s good name and integrity which is now in question but if you move to pass this application, you will have missed the opportunity to enhance this Council’s reputation rather than further damage it. It is time for an Independent Planning Inspector to look at this application with clean hands and fresh insight and the sooner the better.
I am now off to Gatwick with Ranulph Fiennes book on Scott of The Antartic (Captain Scott) to remind me how honesty, honour and integrity were once traits that were held in some esteem. To paraphrase, Captain Oates, " I might be gone some time".