Saturday, 19 December 2009


Strife predicted in the spring of 2008 that TDC had no intention of keeping Eurokent designated as 'employment land' and that has been vindicated by the present 'consultation' document The Local Development Framework Core Strategy that needs your comment on by 18 Jan 2010. Was this site ever promoted anywhere as 'employment land' by the lately departed Mr Bunnet?

CPRE  has just announced its horror at what this document proposes. Ezekiel and his Ezekiel Party are proposing that we should build more than 600 exclusive houses here instead of retaining it as designated employment land and at the same time allowing all its policies on Thanet's fast dwindling plateau farm land to be over-ridden if a developer comes along with a promise of a good employment project. Are TDC so arrogant that they think its electorate is stupid? We know that CGI (aka CGP) has already purchased farmland for Phases 2 and 3 of The China Gateway project. Acceptance of the new LDF Core Strategy by our Councillors, in one fell swoop, removes presently designated employment land out of use whilst allowing uncontrolled development over yet more of Thanet's remaining versatile farmland, Are TDC unaware of Global warming and Copenhagen?

The unanswered question about these proposals is for whose benefit is this brazen manipulation being carried out?
Is it the TDC/KCC Quango called EKO LLP with our own 'Woger' Latchford as a director? ( You might be upset to know that a recent FoI request has revealed that EKO LLP cost Thanet Council tax payers £518,000 in 2007/08 and a further £50,000 in 2008/9 whilst your council was closing toilets and cutting back on street cleaning.)

Is it Rose Farm Estates Ltd that owns half the land for this project.(see map above). Who is behind Rose Farm Estates and what are their connections to TDC? (You might have been pleased to think that £6,700,000 of tax payers for that new link road was an investment for employment land but are you quite so happy when you realise that another  private company, building luxury houses,  is going to benefit from tax payers largesse from the setting up of the major infrastructure item through the site).

Is it CGI who will be able to develop its farmland that it has owned for two years and can get an application in for China Gateway Phases 2 and 3? (Bear in mind that Ken Wills has said that Gateway 1 depends on Phases 2 and 3).

What we have is the Ezekiel Party and 'Woger' pushing this for all its worth. (The pic above shows two Rogers out at Westwood  Cross in early 2008, canvassing ideas from shoppers for Eurokent as a PR stunt with no validity with any branch of statistics and questionaire use.) They argue that Thanet has a housing target to meet by 2026. So lets look at housing/dwelling targets and data of completions.

The problem is that SEEDA and Govt keep changing the 'goal posts' and it may well be that a Conservative Govt will reduce these targets anyway. (Is that why Ezekiel and Latchford are so desperate to get the new LDF sorted?)
In the period 2001-2016 Thanet had a target of 6000 new dwellings. The South East Plan (Approved 2009) now gives Thanet a target of 7,500 new dwellings between 2006 - 2026. What is interesting is that between 2001-2006, Thanet had 1,923 new dwelling completions (223 more than needed)
If we accept that nothing will change between now and 2026, the South East Plan requires 7,500 new dwellings at an average of 375 units per year. The completion figures, so far, look good:
2006/7 - 651 completions.
2007/8 - 606 completions.
2008/9 - 726 completions.
So in 3 years we have a total of 1,983 completions when the average requirement meant only 1,125. In otherwords we have exceeded the 'new goal posts' already by 858 (76%) and have more than 2 years 'in hand'!
So I ask the question again, what are Ezekiel and Latchford up to with the nonsense about housing on Eurokent?

What have we in the pipeline awaiting this recession to end?:  100 houses in Minster; 1000 houses on Nash Rd; 50 odd at St Augustine's Westgate; 70-100 still at Sea Bathing; 175-200 on the Hereson School site; 20 odd on The Pegwell Bay garden grab; etc etc. I could even mention the new house by 10 Berkeley Rd!

The point is simply that with the excess already, the big approved projects in the future and the private development within our urban areas, Thanet does not need Eurokent to be luxury housing for 'aspiring' incomers or  key Chinese workers and their families for China Gateway.

It needs to be kept and promoted for employment purposes and our dwindling versatile farmland preserved for food production that our grand-children will need, perhaps desperately. So Councillors, get with the facts and data and refuse to be kept in ignorance by the senior officers and Leadership of TDC.


Ken Tishman said...

I was under the impression that the British economy was based on the price of houses, that's why we have been flooded with foreigners over the last two decades; to create the demand! What concerns me is how many local and County council members have their fingers in the property developing pie!

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Bertie, this is very informative stuff. I seem to recall that EKO LLP was actually set up five years or so ago with around £11-12 million of SEEDA grant money to provide infrastructure such as electricity substations where it would otherwise prove too expensive/not worthwhile for the power companies to do so. The first site under this scheme was indeed one out at Manston, near the fire training school premises.

Bertie Biggles said...

15.12, EKO LLP was established in Mar 2008 so I suspect that you are thinking of the funding for infrastructure from Seeda that paid for the electricity requirements for Manston Business Park and Eurokent. I have no problems with this if it were for employment development and according to the requirements, as businesses move in, they pay 'their share'of the infrastructure costs which then return to the tax-payer for further investment. The problem is that how is the tax-payers money recovered and is it often overlooked?

Anonymous said...

The money for the infrastructure went through the Spatial Development Company. This is a not-for-profit company that was overseen by the Thanet Regeneration Board before its closure a couple of years ago.
Bertie, your numbers are close but your knowledge ofthe process is a bit lacking as some of your assumptions are way off. Try speaking to someone in Strategic Planning at TDC, or one of the members involved in the LDF, and a lot will drop into place. None of this is secret, or clandestine, just difficult to make sense of from the 'outside'.

Bertie Biggles said...

Thanks for the clarification 09.56.

My figures on requirements and completions are contained in The Kent Planning Officers Group Housing Information Audit 2008/09 with survey date 31st March 2009 andbased on the South East Region Plan (Approved 2009).

The figures that would be helpful if you have them are the number of dwellings approved by Planning Consents that are still in their 'time' but have not been started yet due to the bite of recession. e.g Royal Sands at Ramsgate?

The other aspect that comes to mind is why on earth TDC accepted this imposition and did not fight it. Thanet is already one of the most densely populated districts per sq km in the UK outside major urban connurbations. Add the policy of allowing the Wantsum and Stour marshes to flood by not repairing/improving sea defences and the situation in Thanet in 25 years will be quite dismal.

When you have 80% of the small percentage of most versatile soil for agriculture in the UK, one would think our Council would regard this as an asset for the nation to be protected and held in trust, rather than as just a building plot for unecessary but very remunerative housing for those 'developing'and building.

Anonymous said...

Isn't EKO made up of TDC elected members, TDC Officers and some KCC officers and elected members from KCC.
Sounds a pretty rum partnership when the directors of TDC are putting money into a LLP, what and one of the is the chief bean counter!!!