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
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 thatadditional 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?