Thursday, 20 April 2017

19 years wasted

May 26th will see the 19th anniversary of the fire that destroyed Pleasurama. 19 wasted years will claim and counter claim. The alleged "firestarter" is no longer with us but his legacy remains.

What a waste of the last 19 years.

So what happened to Mike Stannard the man who the Labour Councillors said would resurrect this building site? Well it seems Mike Stannard has joined the list of Labour Councilors in being shafted by the real "puppeteers" behind this landbanking scheme. Today (because Companies House makes it hard to hide behind foreign companies) we have "persons with significant control" documents. This is the Company documents of the Ramsgate Development Company Ltd which clearly show the 100 shares are in the name of Albert Hollis (Colin Hill's tame ex accountant) but significant control is held by Colin Hill and his son Robbie James Hill.

You will note that their address is in Switzerland however Stutton House near Ipswich is where they live when in England. Current value circa £25M a far cry from the mess they have caused on Ramsgate Seafront.
Currently the people of Ramsgate and UKIP TDC is being held to ransom by these two men and legally there is nothing that can be done.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Stopping up order

Kent County Council are applying for a court order to re-designate a piece of highway to enable clear title on the piece of land as shown on this title map.
Why is this important is because currently the area marked in pink is still designated as a roundabout and highway because when they moved the roundabout up towards the tunnels in 2007 the legal work to change its designation should have been completed at the same time.

The original site
This shows the work being carried out 2007-8 clearly marked is the old road, carpark and roundabout
This shot is from the new roundabout by the tunnels showing the line of the promenade and where the original boundary line.

By 2009-10 this boundary had been moved to where it is today and at the same time Cardy decided to "borrow" some of the promenade to place their site huts. This actually saved them money as the promenade made a more substantial support for the huts

The last picture, courtesy of Michael Child's blog shows that the installation of the wall was in addition to the original boundary wall being erected.

Now why is this important:
1. It shows that KCC, who built the new roundabouts, have allowed Cardy to build on their highway and it shows that they were incompetent in allowing this to occur.
2. It also shows that when the site freehold was transferred to Cardy Ramsgate Ltd in 2016 part of the land being transferred was still a designated highway.
It also means that when this stopping up order is achieved then there will be nothing stopping the freeholders selling it on with extant Planning Permission.
From this
To this
I know which is best for Ramsgate.

Monday, 9 January 2017

What mistakes were made

With the fate of the building site still unresolved I thought a short history lesson might be appropriate. Many "mistakes" were made, some incompetent but some may have more perverse reasons. In 1998 the listed former station building burnt down. To date no one has been charged with arson but Ramsgate residents know who caused the fire.
After 3 years of wrangling with James "Jimmy" Godden he finally gave in and left leaving TDC to advertise the site for an alternative development. This was in 2002 and led to the release of a document called the Ramsgate Renaissance Commercial Development Opportunity. This document, whilst not ruling out housing, made it clear that the development should be a mixed leisure and retail development.
However after 6 initial inquiries were whittled down to just two the final winning bid emerged at a Full Council meeting in December 2002 which seemed to be residential in nature and proposed by a Broadstairs Estste Agent acting on behalf of (who we now now as Colin Hill) of an offshore comppany registered in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. This company was called SFP Venture Partners.

 I'll leave the reader to decide whether this offer meets the needs of the previous document and whether the money changing hands and the word Whitbread swung the vote.
Needless to say the Labour run Council chose SFP and whether the choice was right or wrong would only be known in the future. These are the original drawings submitted however this author believes this could have been stopped in its tracks with a simple phone call to Whitbread who, in early 2004, denied any involement in the development.
Note the use of Whitbread logo!!
You will also note it wasn't the Council or even an Officer that discovered this fact.

The next opportunity to stop this development was when the actual planning application was made however by this time Labour had lost control of the Council to the Tories under Ezekiel.
The actual application was made in November 2003 and validated 15th December 2003. Now this is where I believe something occurred which was extremely unusual. Planning a development of 107 flats with ancillary uses as per this planning application should have been scrutinised with a fine tooth comb seeing as how prominent the position of the flats however planning was granted on the 28th January 2004 with work to commence within 5 years.

Please note the name of the planning officer (Mr. B. White)

So why did this application not receive the proper investigation it deserved?

No work was actually done on the site within the 5 years stipulated however KCC did move a roundabout and build a storm drain and that has been used as the reason to allow the PP to stand in perpetuity. Whether this is legal is a moot point as TDC will not rescind the PP.

In 2006 a development agreement was signed but a stipulation was that SFP (now a Ltd Company run by Sean Keegan) obtain a £5.6M surety to reimburse the Council should the company fail.

By 2009 it becomes obvious that Sean Keegan had failed to obtain the requisite surety (cynics might believe they had no intention of getting it) and again TDC fail to remove them as developers. The Chief Accountant of TDC actually said to Ezekiel the due diligence was inadequate yet Ezekiel ignored this advice and on the promise of a local builder being bought in (Cardy Developments Ltd) he swung the Council to accept the continuing use of SFP.

In February 2014 this Development Agreement ran out and at this point the land should have been returned to TDC however the legal advice given to TDC was somewhat ambiguous and TDC bottled it and continued to negotiate with a developer who had failed to develop the site since 2003, over 10 years of procrastination.

Since the Freehold was sold for £3.915M to Colin Hill there is simply no legal way the site can be taken back except by paying Colin Hill the money he demands. This is likely to be in the region of £10M and will be similar to the way he ransomed Peterborough Council from 2003 to 2008.