Thursday, 11 March 2010


It is often at the end of a recession that many who have managed to hang on through the harder times, find that the period before growth returns, is the hardest to get through. Is this now the case for China Gateway International and their plans of October 2008 for Manston Business Park?

It would seem that not only are they in the process of selling off assets in Dover to raise money to reduce lending from The Israel Discount Bank (IDB) but last Monday CGI (formerly CGP) also announced a further 'share issue' of  2,142,858 ordinary shares at 14p each that have been bought effectively by directors Ken Wills, Chris Seymour- Prosser and Laxey Partners. Each has simply put a further £100,000 into CGI to, it would seem, pay some interest on the £31+ million owed to The IDB. Here is how CGI's announcement of Mon 8 Mar 2010 ended:
Commenting on the subscription, Robin Bolton, CGI's chairman, said "This subscription is in accordance with an agreement with Israel Discount Bank to enable the Company to pay interest and, in conjunction with the recently announced sale of the Dover Properties, reduce its total indebtedness. I am grateful to both IDB and the subscribers for their continued support for CGI".You can mull over the whole press release here.

Whilst rummaging through old files and the odd Tesco bag, I found a copy of the 2007 AIM Prospectus for CGP's launch on to the AIM Stock Exchange for listing as an AIM Company. Readers might remember that members of the Strife Team extracted from TDC (through FoI) that CGP (now CGI) had had over 17hrs of meetings with TDC and that extraordinarily, TDC had kept no minutes of these long and frequent meetings. As we revealed some time ago (courtesy of the Tesco bags) the only minutes taken and kept were by CGP. (hence our knowledge that 'Woger' Latchford came up with the idea of the sign shown in the pic above).

I digress, forgive me. Back to the AIM Prospectus prepared for CGP by Savills.  Does this sound familiar, given TDC's recent idea that Policy 25 of its Core Strategy should allow all its policies over farmland, environment etc to be over-ridden if a prospective 'employer' came up with a big scheme 'offering' loads of jobs? :

This is an extract from the AIM document of Jan 2007 that clearly refers to discussions with Mr White's Team at TDC Planning in 2006 regarding farmland outside the boundary of Manston Business Park that was then purchased by CGP; you might note the comment in italics that presumably refers to a specific officer! :

It must be noted that the site currently does not have planning permission for a business
park, and this will need to be applied for.
We would comment that part of the land falls outside the existing allocation identified in
the Thanet Local Plan which was adopted on 17 June 2006. We have considered the
existing Policy together with enquiries directly to the Policies Section of Thanet District
Council. The Council are keen to see the existing employment allocations taken up before
they consider extensions to existing Business Parks.
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.
Further to this the Planning Officer stated that the designations for Manston had taken
place in 2 phases, and that there may yet be a third phase. This view was supported by
PRC Planning Consultants who stated that the business park was intended to be the hub
of the business section in the region hence its title Manston International Business Park.
PRC suggested that the wording of the Council’s planning documents suggests that
additional land will be granted employment zoning in the future.

So the conclusion that can be drawn is that within TDC, as early as late 2006, a Senior Officer at TDC was happy to bin the Thanet Plan 2006, just approved by Full Council and set the scene for Policy 25 in TDC's Core Strategy proposals of 2009. In doing so at the time, he was quite clearly going against the Thanet Plan just approved by his own Council and its Cllrs. It begs the question of who has been running TDC; its Officers or its elected Cllrs?

Can you really trust this Council, its Leadership and Officers to play straight with its own Cllrs and electorate?


derick97 said...

The simple answer Bertie is no, they cannot be trusted because they are self serving, all that matters its whats in it for themselves

Peter Piper said...

This is not the only occasion when a planning officer has been quite happy to bin the Thanet Plan. I have found that officers within the planning department can be obstructive and push through developments, giving approval to the applicant months before an application goes to committee.

It is at the 'planning officers' discretion as to whether an application is approved or refused. Their report can be skewed (bent) in favour to some considerable degree. I have seen reports that are quite literally full of falsehoods. Councillors however, have to take these reports at face value and form an opinion on the basis of them, (if they bother to take the time to read them in the first place and don't just follow the planning officer's final recommendation).

Brown envelopes come to mind, but I am sure this cannot be the case.

Anonymous said...

The officers have been running the council for a long time, the Cllr's are seen as a pain who interfere with the "people who do the real work". Accommodations are made to keep the Cllr's happy as long as they fit in with the officers view of things.

Michael Child said...

Bit of an odd one this from my point of view, I believe I have to concede that the planning officers were right and that I was wrong, particularly in the light of The Marina Restaurant planning appeal.

Just before the application was approved I asked them about their recommendation to approve and they told me that it was better to approve it with conditions, than to turn down the recommendation, something that would mean the applicant would have been able appeal.

Their thinking on this was that if the planning inspector upheld the appeal the plans could have gone ahead in their original form, the worst aspect of this would have been the Chinese companies processing their sewage in septic tanks and pouring the results into our drinking water aquifer.

Anonymous said...

I would be reading up on Circular 01/06 from the department for communities and local government.

Whilst your at that Bertie old chap have a gander at reserved matters stage, under article 3(2)of the General Development Procedure Order (1995.

Not enough detail Bertie not enough detail!!!


The old duffers club (ODC) (not in any way associated to the TDC old duffers club (TDCODC)

Anonymous said...

I gave up trusting any of them 2 years ago, the whole lot are corrupt. How can a Council leader justify paying around £2000 a day for a QC to fight against the residents of Thanet who are only trying to safe guard their inheritance of land given to them years ago. It is anticipated the QC final bill will be around £25.000 of OUR TAX PAYERS MONEY this is disgraceful and unacceptable, we were not even consulted on this expenditure. This is why this whole council has got to be cleared out and a new Thanet Council voted in by the public.
So many of them haver proved they are only there for what they can get, not for what they can do for the residents.

Anonymous said...

dear 19.21 Alan Poole why do you hide behind an anonymous title, you know what you have written is rubbish and I am sure Bertie and his team also are intelligent enough to know it is you yet again banging your hoot drum !!!

Bertie Biggles said...

09:12, Cllr Poole, Cllr Moores, Cllr Wells, Cllr Gregory and Cllr Hart and quite a few Cllrs are happy to post under their own names, so I think you are off target here.

On the HOOT issue, 19:21's comment is banging the tune on the drum that I personally like and many readers approve of. We await the costs to TDC (and us as tax-payers) of the opposition to its electorate as TDC continues to have its own warped interpretation of Govt Policy about asset disposal. Our South Thanet MP clarified Govt policy in IOTG a few weeks back and TDC still persists in its odd course.

Anonymous said...

There is an FOI Act request in to ascertain the full cost to the Thanet taxpayer of the recent village green enquiry.

As soon as it's received Bertie will post it then, anonymous 9.12, we'll see who is right about the final cost.

Six days' expenses and fees for the TDC barrister, officers' expenses and any other incidental costs.

I'd say £25k is probably about right but we'll have to wait for the 20 days after which TDC has to give the information to me.

Anonymous said...

By applying for yet another fOI the tax payers bill has just gone up yet again, that sounds like a matterface example, critiscise, then do the same thing herself.

Bertie Biggles said...

Establishing the cost to the tax-payer (TDC costs) in employing a barrister and spending hours of officer's time fighting its own electorate(Hoots) in order to facilitate a sell-off to the benefit of developers is a very valid use of F o I and I fully support it. I will certainly publish details as soon as anyone sends me them.