Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Eurokent Consultation Update and an Apology From Me to the Chief Executive of TDC

First I should remind anyone who wants to take part in this consultation that they need to do so by this Saturday, here is the link to do so online http://www.eurokent.org/pages/feedback.html

The rest of this is a bit rambleish I will try to format it so it isn’t too boring.

The Eurokent website is a bit strange, in fact there seem to be two websites this one http://www.eurokent.org/EKO.html and this one http://www.eurokent.org/index.html you can get to the second one from the first one but not the other way around. The first one shows both of their business park sites and the second one only the Westwood one.

Next my apology to Sue McGonigal, this is a bit embarrassing to me as the dialogue between us that I published on Friday continued and I have just been reminded by the council’s Corporate Information & Communications Manager, Business Services, that Sue replied to me on Saturday and I didn’t add her clarification.

To read the correspondence so far click on this link http://thanetonline.blogspot.com/2011/07/eurokent-business-park-thanet-district.html

OK this now gets slightly complicated to explain, the original complaint I made on the 26.6.11 didn’t get the normal confirmation of receipt from the council and then I made another complaint and got the normal confirmation of receipt, so I assumed the council’s email system had cone wrong again. As it happened I had CCd the original complaint to the council’s leader and chief executive at their TDC email addresses, so I emailed them to see if they had received it. 

So here is the rest of the dialogue, first the email from me to the leader and the chief exec.

From:   <MichaelChild@aol.com>
To: Customer Services   <Customer.Services@thanet.gov.uk>
Cc: cllr-Robert Bayford   <cllr-Robert.Bayford@thanet.gov.uk>
Cc: Sue McGonigal   <Sue.McGonigal@thanet.gov.uk>

Sent: 28/06/2011   15:50:37
Subject: Re: Official complaint ref C2

Sue Bob could  you  kindly confirm that you received the email below (complaint link above) as it's one of  three I sent to customer services recently, this one and  another one didn't turn up at all and a further one took  nearly 20 hours to  arrive.

I assume this is a problem you wish to know about and resolve, so any help with it I am happy to provide.   

Best regards    Michael

Then her reply

In a message dated 28/06/2011  17:43:34 GMT Daylight Time,  
Sue.McGonigal@thanet.gov.uk  writes:

Dear  Michael,
Yes we received the complaint, and I have written a response, which
be with you shortly  (I am currently out of the office and  so have
someone else  to process it through the complaints  system)

My reply to Sue  

>>> <MichaelChild@aol.com>  06/29/11 4:55 PM >>>

General note. I am way behind with  responses to emails as  have had
forty complicated local  history questions this week, so sorry  about the

delay in replying  to you.  
Few crossed wires here I think Sue  
What I was  asking is had the council received the thing  as I have made 
four  feedbacks recently and what seems like an almost total  breakdown
The system seems to be partly busted, I send in a   complaint on a date
a reference to customer services email. 
I  then get a response from a different council email  address,  saying
complaint has arrived on a different day and giving it  an  entirely
reference, they don’t tell me what the  complaint was about  even. 
So I send them four complaints. 
C1 the  sky is green, date 1.1.01 
C2 the grass is red, date 2.2.02 
C3 the sea  is purple, date 3.3.03 
C4 my tea is cold, date 4.4.04 
And get two  responses  
We have revived your complaint C7 date 7.7.07 
We have  revived your complaint C8 date  8.8.08

Best regards   Michael


Then her reply 
In a message dated 01/07/2011 09:33:29 GMT Daylight Time,  
Sue.McGonigal@thanet.gov.uk writes:

Dear  Michael,
I have copied this on to ++++++, who oversees the  complaints
process, and ask her to provide a reply to you.  


Then I received Sue’s response to the complaint from the council’s Corporate Information & Communications Manager, Business Services. (link above)

And I replied to Sue

From: <MichaelChild@aol.com>
To: Sue McGonigal <Sue.McGonigal@thanet.gov.uk>

Sent: 01/07/2011 21:02:55
Subject: Re: Official complaint ref C2

Evening Sue sorry about the delay in replying, thanks, I  think part of the 
problem here is that the questions that relate to writing the  blog don’t 
fit very easily with having to use the complaints procedure to get  
I don’t want to be difficult about this one, I have just  sorted out last 
month’s web statistics which show I had more than 5,000  individual readers, 
so there is a sense in which I have some responsibility to  them. 
I have just done the post about Eurokent see 

corrections are welcome, both official and  off the record. 
As  you see there is a certain incongruity between the March press release 

and your reply, which I would like to iron 
Best regards  Michael

I then got the following response from Sue 

  Sue McGonigal 

Dear Michael,
The Eurokent Business Park, referred to in the press release that you attached, 
is entirely separate from the developments being consulted on by EKO (which 
unfortunately relate to a parcel of land also known as Eurokent). The former was 
developed by TDC, in partnership with SEEDA - and the latter is being developed 
by EKO, which is the joint venture between TDC and KCC. 

Finally to bring you up to date my reply to Sue sent today.

Re: Official complaint ref C2

MichaelChildMore Details 


  Sue.McGonigal Sue.McGonigal@thanet.gov.uk

Hi Sue, once again please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

With the consultation having to be in by Saturday there is obviously no time to follow the instructions on the Eurokent website and make a foi request to TDC to find out what this issue is about in financial terms.

I intend to a blog post about the issue later today, both highlighting the need to respond to the consultation by the end of this week and to try and explain what this is about.

I did go to the consultation information drop in at Ramsgate Market and I did ask the people there about the Eurokent Business Park and the council’s press release, their response was that the business park hadn’t been a success with few takers for the units.    

From the way they spoke I had assumed that it was all part of the same enterprise, can you confirm that the Eurokent Business Park is wholly owned by TDC and SEEDA with no part of it owned by EKO?

The EKO questionnaire I have in front of me, this only mentions Eurokent as being joint venture between KCC and TDC with no mention of Rose Farm Estates. Could you please explain what Rose Farm Estates involvement is and if councillors or council officers are involved either financially or administratively in Rose Farm Estates?

My take on this issue and please correct me if I am wrong, is that the council have gambled with a land investment and the building of an industrial and commercial infrastructure that has misfired and left the council with a large liability. Now it appears that the council is trying to resolve this problem by granting itself planning permission to turn farmland into residential and benefiting from the huge profits gained from so doing. Within this compromise I am concerned that other individuals involved will profit excessively from this.

I am also concerned about the relationship with Manston Business Park which is I believe another EKO venture that has gone wrong, my understanding is that the environmental considerations would make it unrealistic to proceed with a large commercial development there. This of course raises the concern that once Eurokent Business Park land at Westwood has been developed for housing, when the economic climate improves there will be nowhere left in Thanet for this type of regeneration.

It also raises the further question of does the council envisage a residential development at Manston too?

With respect to the consultation process and it not being a council consultation, my understanding is that the consultation was being carried out by Savills estate agents, once again please correct me if I am wrong, this raises the question of how the consultation was funded, did the council pay for part or all of the consultation?

Best regards Michael

Anyway I then got this reminder.

Dear Michael,
It may be helpful to your readers, and avoid some confusion, if you published the response Sue McGonigal supplied to your enquiry below on your blogsite. Her response was as follows:

Dear Michael,
The Eurokent Business Park, referred to in the press release that you attached, is entirely separate from the developments being consulted on by EKO (which unfortunately relate to a parcel of land also known as Eurokent). The former was developed by TDC, in partnership with SEEDA - and the latter is being developed by EKO, which is the joint venture between TDC and KCC. 
Kind regards,
Corporate Information & Communications Manager
Business Services
Thanet District Council 

Sorry if all that was a bit boring, but I thought it would help those who are interested to see the thing in context. I think the underlying problem here is about trying to get information from the council for readers of this blog.

My difficulty is primarily that I have a lot of other things to do, apart from trying to formulate questions to the council in such a way that I get meaningful answers.

With something like this Eurokent business, I can’t just ask, what is this really all about?

To my mind something as important as over 500 new houses being built in Thanet on agricultural land that is partly owned by the council, ought to warrant a clear press release from the council telling us what is going on.

Listening to our MP stressing the importance of the UK being less dependant on food imports on BBC Southeast Today served to add to my concerns here.
I think that one of the problems that we have relates to wasted land empty properties another relates to taking into this area people with social problems from other parts of the country. What has happened in the social housing in my part of Thanet recently seems very like social engineering, producing ghettos of deprivation. I can see that these people have to be housed somewhere and I can also see that other people wouldn’t want to live in the noisy and often rowdy parts of the town centres. Living where one is cautious about going out of ones front door in the evenings is not pleasant. But to produce concentrations of deprived people without any sort of extra social support seems crazy to me.

Perhaps it would be best if the council built housing for the most deprived there and supported this with a special school, enhanced social services and policing.

Oddly enough what the council seems to be doing here is advocating building a housing estate with a centre rather like the one they have just demolished at Newington. The pictures on the East Kent Opportunities website, the High Street with no shops, accommodation adjacent to the dual carriageway rat run from Westwood Cross, the dated looking housing made of non traditional building materials, suggestive of an architect who wouldn’t want to live in what he has designed, none of this is encouraging.   
The picture is of coffins in St George’s crypt in Ramsgate. 


  1. Michael as much as I love reading your blog posts the changing of font, size and colour can sometimes be distracting.

  2. ‘twasn’t me Rob, apart from the colours to show which were my emails and which were from the council, the blog editor didn’t like the emails being pasted into it and threw a wobbly.

  3. Michael, I find the best way to copy & paste with blogger is to paste it into Notepad first, then when repasting it into blogger do the formatting there.

  4. Peter, thanks for the advice, I have just copied it all into Notepad and reformatted it, funny how it looked totally different in different browsers before.

    I have also had a chat with the people at EKO and thy have promised a bit more information.

    I suppose in a way I could have rewritten the email correspondence so it flowed a bit better, it is a bit difficult to know what people would rather have, I suppose personally I would rather wade through the unedited version.

    You can certainly see how time consuming and tedious all this sort of thing is, when it comes to covering Thanet issues I am becoming a bit of a lone blogger, we could certainly do with some replacements for ECR and Bertie.

  5. Michael, we could certainly do with someone like you up here in the north (north Thanet that is) now that Bertie is awol / retired. Tony Flaig used to cover local issues to a certain extent, but now seems more keen on national / party political news (I don't think he's even mentioned the Tesco / Arlington House development), & Matt on Thanet Star (though well-meaning) is often just too obviously anti-TDC to see anything objectively. So I guess the best we have is Louise with her Margate Architecture blog (excellent, though I disagree strongly with many of her opinions).

  6. ECR has been very busy on Twitter today. I suspect that the Tesco bag episode was the beginning of the end for BB

  7. Youve got a great deal to say about this subject, and so much knowledge.
    Sample Business Apology Letter


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