Despite TDC and 'Woger' seeming so proud of an improvement in TDC's timings of handling Planning Applications in today's press release from Cecil Sq, I wonder if they are so proud of the lack of strategic planning in the environs of Manston?
The diagram above is from Page 66 of the KIA Masterplan. The perceptive will note that KIA want a road to be put through CGP's China Gateway Phases 1,2 and 3 and the closure of the present B2190. I am beginning to feel sorry for Ken Wills and CGP. Let me explain why.
His new Summit Aviation building has had to be re-designed due to airport safety concerns, despite TDC and KIA 'approving ' the original plans and the back will now have to be the front and parking sorted out. Now, we have this road punching through the plans and having to circuit round the 'Gateway Building' and possibly effect the No 15 buildings! This saga seems so typical of Thanet and its Council. What have Infratil and CGP been told about their conflicting plans? Is there really no strategic planning section working at TDC? Is the whole Manston development around the airport to become a re-run of piece-meal and unjoined up planning that has blighted Westwood Cross?
If this wasn't enough to make CGP wonder what is going on, let me offer some snippets that have come my way recently. Firstly let's quote Paul Carter of KCC in a reply to a Thanet resident: "However, that said, I do have serious concerns myself on The China Gateway Development and have let my views be known to Thanet District Council."
Whilst we are quoting 'Leaders' let's examine what 'Mauwice' said to Jane Wenham -Jones in the IOTG of 17th October: " I do support the phase one development of China Gateway but I will need convincing with the two other phases."
Hang on a moment! CGP has made it quite clear that The Gateway project has to consist of all 3 phases and that Phase 1 can only go ahead if Phases 2 & 3 can be delivered. Despite TDC meeting in 'full council' on the 9th Oct and considering what it liked to regard as a 'stand-alone' application, CGP has always maintained its a 3 phase job. Has CGP been mislead by TDC? What was it told when it went ahead and purchased land in 2006 and then 2007?
If this nonsense was not enough, readers might like to know that EKO LLP which appears to have no democratic control over it from our elected Councillors, is still prevaricating over selling CGP its 5 acres of land (at the exorbitant price of £225,000 per acre) for its 'Gateway Building'. In addition KCC has admitted in response to a 'Freedom of Information' request, that its RANSOM STRIP (never included in sharing of assets with TDC in EKO LLP) is not subject to a formal offer of purchase yet from CGP. (This ransom strip is on offer at the 'extortionate price' of £1,000,000 and controls access into the NW corner past the Cummins roundabout where the X types are to be located).
Readers also might like to remember that EKO LLP (KCC and TDC's own property company) has land at the South end of Manston Business Park that it will not sell at a market value to CGP so that the whole Phase 1 Plan could be re-drawn to remove the contentious X type warehouses away from Acol and the aquifer and thus result in a good plan for Manston Business Park. So much for representing the people of Acol?
Well, if you have got this far, some further snippets to digest. The TDC Planning Committtee meeting next week (Wed 19th Nov) has no 'Conditions' items on the agenda relating to Phase 1 of Gateway, 6 weeks after planning consent was approved on the 9th Oct and it has come to my attention that some residents in Alland Grange Lane have had a letter from CGP, withdrawing its offer to purchase properties until issues about Phases 2 and 3 are resolved. Very understandable in the circumstances.
My position, unlike that of vacillating Council leaders is the same as always; good sustainable development for jobs on Manston Business Park by CGP or anyone (if EKO LLP stops playing silly beggars) but no further development on prime agricultural land for Phases 2 and 3.
Sam Dodson at York Street Gallery in Ramsgate - Sam Dodson this week until Wednesday of next week
4 minutes ago