I put three questions to Richard Samuel the chief executive of Thanet District Council on 26th March about aspects of the Pleasurama development, this is a quote from my email to him:
“I have been told that as work has started on the access road work is deemed to have started on the development and therefore the consent didn’t expire after five years.
1 Does this mean that planning consent is granted in perpetuity for this development?
I have been told that before work can start on the development a bond has to be placed in a bank account, last time I asked about a month ago and after the five years had expired the bond had not been placed.
2 Does this mean that work has not officially started on the development and therefore planning consent has expired?
3 I gather that SFP as a company would need to have supplied you with a certificate of authenticity for prevention of money laundering purposes does such a certificate exist?”
I am very loathe to go down the official complaint road with the council as it costs them and therefore us a tidy sum of money, so I have had a considerable correspondence with Richard since then trying to get answers to my questions so I was very pleased to get the following email from him promising answers this week.
“Subject: Re: Pleasurama
Date: 09/04/2009 19:18:20 GMT Standard Time
An officer will reply to you on this next week. I have made some initial inquiries and I understand the obligations under the Proceeds of Crime legislation are not quite as you say. I think you may be confusing due diligence procedures with irregularities in the deposit of funds which do not come into effect until funds are received. However I am not the expert and you will receive a fuller reply shortly.
Thanet District Council
Strangely though I haven’t had any reply and I am now wondering if perhaps they just don’t know the answers, my main concerns are that we don’t get another five years of building site and another summer without temporary leisure use for the site.