Friday, 21 November 2008

WHO IS RUNNING THANET: KCC OR OUR ELECTED COUNCILLORS?

I have put up an extract concerning Manston/Eurokent JV (Joint Venture?) issued by KCC to its Economic & Regeneration Policy Overview Committee and dated 5th November. (Click on it to see more detail)

As well as having formed a set up with TDC called East Kent Opportunities as a Limited Liability Partnership with tax-payers assets (land holdings at Manston & Eurokent) which appears to have no democratic control exercised over it by TDC's elected Council, we now have KCC forming a 'management company' for Manston Business Park. Instead of offering land to CGP for a good Phase 1 Plan we have KCC now forming another 'Company'. What is also worrying is that F o I requests to KCC concerning land sales to CGP of 5 acres for its Gateway Building and the 'ransom' strip by the 'Cummins' Roundabout at the end of Columbus Avenue were met with the response 'that no sales have been made' and yet the document above refers to Land Transfers and Stamp Duty Land Tax having been paid. Is this at Manston or at Eurokent?

KCC (under its guise with TDC as EKO LLP) unveiled its plans with TDC and Rosefarm Estates in September to build 700 homes on Eurokent. This 'Master Plan' met with a big thumbs down from many Thanet Councillors and from our two MPs and of course was contrary to Thanet's Local Plan; this site is designated for employment development which is not as lucrative. As CPRE has pointed out to TDC, KCC , GOSE and SoS, Thanet has sufficient development land for employment purposes until 2025. This would all change, however, if KCC and TDC can alter The Local Development Framework and designate Eurokent for housing. KCC and TDC could then argue that farming land already owned by CGP for 'China Gateway' Phases 2 & 3 could then be 'redesignated' for employment as TDC would then have a 'shortfall' of employment land!

So what is KCC doing? Well, its working, as is TDC Cabinet, to change the Local Development Framework so that Eurokent can be developed for housing and the 700 homes. The extract above states:

"The evidence base for the Local Plan DEPARTURE (my capitals) continues to be worked up in order to ensure a robust case, should the application be called in. Work on the master plan with Rosefarm Estates is ongoing to ensure they will support the application."

So, quite simply, whether our Councillors or MPs like it or not, KCC with TDC Cabinet seems to be pushing on with its own schemes, in conjunction with a private property company (that will make even more money for this company) without any real democratic scrutiny, control or even awareness by our own elected Councillors and cover Thanet in concrete. Time for an 'elected' Mayor to stand up for Thanet?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why don't you just ring people up to find their actual views, rather than indulge in your constant innuendo and supposition about what KCC and TDC Cabinet think?

What is going on in your head that makes you believe everything these people think is automatically wrong?

Bertie Biggles said...

Thankyou 23.02. I find it fascinating that whenever I raise an issue about TDC that I attract a personal attack rather than a reasoned argument or rebuttal. Are you denying that Cllr Kirby presented a paper to Cabinet outlining a change to the LDF? Are you denying that KCC is preparing its arguments to support a change to the LDF in Thanet? Has this even been discussed by our Councillors? Are they even aware of it? Are you denying that our two MPs have said they do not agree with 700 houses on Eurokent? Are you denying that Roger Gale has said that he will ask for any changes to the LDF to be called in by The Secretary of State?
Rather than speculate on what is going on in my head, ask yourself, Cllr, (forgive me if I am wrong in that assumption) if our Local Governance in Thanet is open and transparent? You may or may not be aware that as long ago as April, 'Strife' made the simple supposition that a change to the LDF at Eurokent was envisaged. That is now clearly the case?

Anonymous said...

If you read the document extract you'll see quite clearly that EKO LLP has every intention of trying to change the local plan so it can make what Roger Latchford referred to as 'filling our coffers'. I've seen several of the earlier months' editions of the document Bertie has posted and each one refers to Eurokent and Manston in similar terms including 'enquiries for sites at Manston and Eurokent continue'. Now we know CGP is trying to buy land at Manston but EKO LLP is holding out its hands for ridiculous amounts of money and, as a result,is one factor why CGP has been stalled in its plans. Let's not forget, Paul Carter, Leader at KCC is himself a property developer so perhaps we can assume KCC has its own plans for the Manston site. Housing on Eurokent against the wishes of everyone except, I think, Cllr. Latchford since he is on EKO LLP. This organisation is impossible to track down and KCC refuses to answer FOI Act requests on this topic citing 'commercial sensitivity'. Draw your own conclusions from that, anonymous 23.02.

Anonymous said...

I'm attacking you because you always float a story with only one side of the picture and present it as true. If you are so worried about the consequences of 700 new homes and have the time to research, why don't you do a proper job and phone the people you who are supposedly pushing this through to find out what is really happening, and what their intentions are.

Then you might have a real story to write about.

And while you are about it, please explain why you think more homes for families in the centre of Thanet is a bad thing. Your opposition to most things the council does leads me to think that you would also oppose building on green belt land, so what exactly do you want?

Or perhaps you believe that the China Gateway should have been built in the centre, and the houses out of town?

Matt B said...

I agree it does look very compromising. Thanet District Council seem very good at appearing to be thunderously two faced even when being relatively innocent (as they can be).

Bertie Biggles said...

10.25, I am slightly at a loss. We have planning consent for 1,200 houses at Westwood Cross already; we have EKO LLP (KCC & TDC)and Rosefarm Estates wanting 700 houses on Eurokent and we have KCC wanting 200 houses on Hereson School site and goodness knows how many on the Go Wild land at Holy Trinity School. We have over 800 flays empty and unsold and goodness knows how many new houses unsold. We have TDC wanting to squeeze in development on its 'assets sales'. Thanet is well ahead of its target set by GOSE for housing builds.

All I can do is point out what is going on from what EKO LLP (KCC/TDC) do and say in their public releases. If you know or can get anymore out of this secretive set-up, please feel free to put ip up here and share it.