Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Royal Sands Development on the Pleasurama Site Ramsgate update.


First an update from Cllr Ian Driver who has sent me a copy of an email he sent to the council’s chief executive today.

Dear Ms Mcgonigal

Thank you for meeting with me last week.

I neglected to mention in my summary of the meeting that Mr Patterson agreed that he would check with Eversheds as to what records they hold on original due diligence of SFP and any other relevant information.

I also forgot to ask at the meeting if I could be provided with a copy of the confidential report on the Pleasurama Development which  went to Cabinet on 16 June 2009. I understand that the constitution allows me to have a copy of this document.

In the meantime I have had the opportunity to see extracts from this report which give me cause for concern.

On page 18 of the report there is a letter which appears to be from Nat West Bank. The letterhead does not appear to me to  be the usual Nat West corporate style letterhead. It differs markedly from the the letter from Nat West on page  21 of the report in realtion to Cardy's.  As the author of the report could you tell me if checks have ever been made with Nat West bank to ascertain if the letter on page 18 of the report is genuine. 

I am also very concerned by the letters from SBP Banque on pages 17 and 22 of the report. The letterhead of the letter on  page 17 does not appear to me to be professional orauthoritative and is not what I would expect to see in correspondence relating to financial due diligence from a major Swiss bank.

I was also very surprised that the letter on p21 of the report is headed "draft letter from SBP Banque to TDC". Once again this letter does not give me the impression of a professional and  authoritative communication from a Swiss Bank. As the author of the report could you tell me if checks have ever been made with SBP Bank  to ascertain if the letters on pages 17 and 21 of the report are genuine.

If these documents have never been verified for their authenticity then I would respectfully request that you take action to ensure that they are checked, even though time has elapsed since they were written.

Speaking hypothetically, I assume that if Cabinet and Council approved an agreement on the basis of misleading or falsified information then this agreement would have no basis in law.

I apologise for taking up you time with this issue. However I do belevie that the Pleasurama Development is an extremely important matter and the Council should take all reasonable measures to ensure that the the public interest is being served.

I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.


Yours sincerely



Councillor Ian Driver
Chair OSP

I guess with Ian Driver running the council’s overview and scrutiny we all have to consider the implications of this type of openness and transparency.

Next is the original proposal that was presented to the council, this link takes you to the whole document http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts10/id5.htm

This link takes you to a series of pages showing the planning drawings that the council actually approved http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/seafront/


It was these plans that caused consternation among Ramsgate residents, mainly because of the height of the proposed development, which when measured suggested the new development would be as much a 3 metres higher than the cliff top.

Despite all of the alterations I genuinely don’t think anyone really knows exactly how high the thing would be if built. Nor do I think anyone really knows what the impact of an acre of ribbed rubber roof at an unknown height adjacent to Wellington gardens would be. 

My own feelings here is that if the present Labour administration impose this development on Ramsgate, without any transparency or consultation and the end result is anything like the planning drawings suggest it will be then they will make themselves universally unpopular.

Something I find very concerning is the total absence of comment from Ramsgate’s ward councillors.   


Alternatively if they go down the road of selling the freehold to obtain short term funding and make no mistake here the long term liability to council taxes of maintaining the cliff to a standard suitable for its proximity to this development is likely to be considerable.



£1m of council taxpayers money has already been spent on it and there has recently been another survey requiring another and considerable amount of cliff works.


While the developer doesn’t achieve anything much apart from the hideous mess that has blighted the main leisure site in the town, this wont be universally popular either.      

The Guardian has an article on British Virgin Isles companies today which may interest some readers http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/nov/26/indentities-behind-secret-property-deals 



I am adding an a further update here, first another email From Cllr Driver to the chief executive:


Dear Ms McGonigal

Further to my previous e-mail I have now had the opportunity to study further information which was submitted to Cabinet in June 2009.

On p19 of the report there is a letter from SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd which states that a company called  Wetmore Investments will be the funding the hotel development to the tune of £5million.  This is confirmed on p22 of the report in the "draft letter from SBP Banque to TDC" which I have already expressed my concern about.

I have spent several hours researching Wetmore investments. It would appear that Wetmore Investments have never been registered at Companies House. I have been unable to trace any references to this organisation apart from an estate  agent in the USA. As the report author could I ask you what checks were were made to establish the bona-fides of Wetmore Investments in 2009 especially in light of the fact that documents in the report to Cabinet suggest that it is was to be one of the  major funders of the Pleasurama Development.

At our meeting last week you asked me to let you know if I had any suggestions for the forthcoming Pleasurama due diligence process. After having seen the June 2009 report to Cabinet, I would like to suggest that it would be sensible if the Council conducted thorough checks to ensure that documents from banks and  funders are bona fide and that these organisations actually exist.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Ian Driver 
 

84 comments:

  1. Bit difficult to comment on this given the documents that Driver refers to will be confidential. Its also a bit early to be talking about falsifying information, at least until all documents have been reviewed and actual evidence collated. That said, Driver thinks something is up and it's entirely within his gift to investigate it.

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    Replies
    1. And you believe that everything's ok?

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    2. Without having looked into this in real depth, I can't say.

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  2. Is it worth raising a petition locally?

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  3. Sod the petition.
    Just get the national media involved - big time.
    Con artist 'developers' and ineffective councils should be exposed.
    This has gone on too long.
    Cut the crap and ACT.

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    Replies
    1. I’ve tried and as you have no doubt noticed from his letters to the papers and appearance on the bbc so has Ian Driver, perhaps you could send the an anonymous letter.

      ‘Fraid to say this is the stuff of investigative journalism, not the fast sound bite and so far I haven’t had any luck.

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    2. Has anyone tried Private Eye? Many big news stories start there.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Peter,

    A usually reliable source has informed me that Private Eye has been informed, and that they are up to speed.

    [previous comment deleted only because of grammar errors]

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  6. I wont state the obvious but if the authenticity of the letters from the banks can not be verified then its not Private Eye that need to get involved. I am not sure whether this task should be given solely to the chief exec but rather jointly with cllr Driver himself as the chief exec could be in a very difficult situation if the letters are false.

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    1. The faith in Cllr Driver is quite moving. Don't hold your breath on him tiring of this when the publicity dies down and then moving on to the next bandwagon as he has done so often before. Pizza last week, Pleasurama this, what next?

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    2. Anonymous 1:28PM,

      Then I suggest that you inform whoever it is you believe should know.

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  7. Don't think you are quite right there Anon. Driver has been championing the anti-live exports campaign at the Port of Ramsgate for 18 months. Hardly a bandwagon, more determination and commitment I would say. We have in Driver one of the most pro-active local politicians Thanet has seen for a long time. Support and encourage him don't knock him. And I'm a Tory as well

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    1. It is not about being Tory or Labour for that matter. It is simply that Cllr Driver has a tendency to kick off, sometimes without foundation, as with Thanet Earth and The A & E Department, and then drop things just as quickly. Did you, for example, agree with his call last week to boycott a Margate restaurant. He may be active, but he ain't the messiah.

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    2. I think the point here is much more about what we expect from local councillors, I don’t think we expect them to be perfect on the other hand I think we do expect a little more than covering their backs and keeping their heads down.

      In the first instance I would say in this age of the internet, we expect them to have some sort of online visibility, twitter, facebook, blogger. Councillors Moores, Driver, Scoobie and Hart seem to achieve this somewhere and councillors Wells and Green occasionally comment here.

      When we expect to see them on the local news and we expect to read their views in the local papers.

      If we contact them about an issue that is reasonable, as I did when I asked Cllr Driver to call in the Royal Sands, we expect some sort of action.

      I think the difficulty here isn’t that Cllr Driver is acting as councillor should, but that the other councillors for the most part are not.

      This really comes down to the function of a politician, which is supposed to be representing as the electorate and as importantly being seen to do so.

      Personally I look forward to the extra business generated by a politician telling people to boycott my bookshop on the TV.

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    3. All I can say, Michael, is thank God that most councillors do not act like Ian Driver, which you seem to see as the way they should. Whether you might appreciate a councillor calling for a boycott of your shop or not, does not make it a right thing for a local councillor to do.

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    4. I think my point here is that not only should councillors do something but they should be seen to do something.

      Going to meetings, moaning about the other councillors, the other parties, isn’t sufficient.

      We need some sort of vision from them, based on openly communicating with the people they claim to represent.

      Pleasurama is a good example of the problems in Thanet, it is the prime council owned leisure site in the town, avoiding it, having no opinion about it, making no effort to resolve the problem won’t help.

      It isn’t an isolated problem next to it is the Royal Victoria Pavillion also council owned.

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    5. Fully agree Councillors should be seen to be doing something, but most are not. Sitting somewhere counting their expenses and laughing down their sleeves at everyone more like.

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    6. Michael, don't forget Mick Tomlinson ("The Daily Thanet").

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  8. Could the Council kick SFP off then sell the site on with planning permission?

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    1. The planning permission would still stand, but frankly I don’t see any developer with experience building on a high risk flood zone without a flood risk assessment. The other sites in the area that have been built on the Thanet foreshore in recent years have had to be about a metre higher and behind a new sea defence. The Turner Contemporary is an example. Another aspect is emergency escapes which the Environment Agency asked for, included in the TC design.

      All in all I would think this could only result in a change of plans that would constitute material change requiring a new planning application, frankly the 1993 design for The Royal Sands was pretty dated then and I don’t think anything like it would stand muster now.

      There is also the cliff issue, I don’t think there is really enough room to maintain the cliff properly, particularly since the plans were changed in an attempt to address the height issue. You have to appreciate the plans weren’t drawn up taking into account the demanding problems of building between an unsupported chalk cliff and the foreshore.

      I guess you have to consider what SFP’s objectives could have been in commissioning an 80 foot high building to stand in front of a 70 foot high cliff.

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    2. Michael I think you will find that a scheme indemtical in design to the Royal Sands was granted Planning Permission only 6 months go. It is only 500 yards further along the seafront...

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  9. Michael,

    You mention the Royal Victoria pavilion. What is happening with that site. Yet again the Council own another significant asset which is left boarded up and in poor condition. How many more unused sites do they control or rather don't control.

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    1. Anon 6.58

      Another site is Arlington House in Margate and the car park next door. Arlington House the empty shops and the car park are in an appalling state with the tenant in breach of covenants. Instead of enforcing the covenants, TDC want to roll over and let the Leaseholders develop the site for Tesco. I haven't noticed any Council agenda item dealing with the potential increased value and how much the Council will collect if that development gets permission and goes ahead. Should be millions.

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    2. I did take a look at the pavillion a while back and took a few hundred pictures of the inside, here is the link to them http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/pictures-of-inside-of-royal-victoria.html

      Arlington isn’t really on my patch, my take is if at one end of the seafront you have The Turner Contemporary with art exhibits centred on the 1960s, surrounded by a revival based to a large part on shops selling retro, you don’t let the largest piece of 60s retro go.

      Putting an box like Tesco underneath, painting it magnolia, installing plastic windows and filling it with dhss claimants from the London boroughs isn’t the way forward.

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    3. Demolish Arlington and reopen Dreamland and every 6 months sack the civil servants if they cannot deliver

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  10. Good for Ian although he needs to remember - as do the other councillors that McGonigal should be sacked or jailed for failing to exercise due diligence with public funds. It's not her money.

    Manston and Pleasurama alone look like Mickey Mouse developments. No more payoffs or gardening leave or 0% fraud or trade unions on the rates flannel.

    If it looks fraudulent sack 'em and claw the money back or jail 'em. Welcome to the working world.

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    Replies
    1. so with pleasurama and EKO we have a ch exec who is really on the ball....or is it performing seals who are on the ball or a bunch of clowns all much of a muchness really.

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  11. The difficulty most Councillors have with this sort of debate is very straightforward. The majority of what is being discussed, and I do not endorse or quantify which bits are right or wrong, was originally issued to all Councillors on pink - ie as confidential documents which could not be discussed in public. Indeed in the 2009 debate in full council, many of us struggled to make appropriate points in the public debate, whilst not straying into public debate on the confidential material. The material is classified confidential due to the commercially sensitive nature of the arrangements, not to hide anything - to anticipate a response.

    As far as I am aware, it remains confidential material, even though some individuals like Michael have acquired copies, and all councillors are therefore restrained in their ability to debate the issue with the opublic.

    That is why, whichever decision may have been right or wrong in retrospect, major changes to the development terms and conditions have always previously been debated by full council, as otherwise given the confidential nature of the documents, councillors may be unreasonably restrained in putting their points across. This current change, under the current admonistration led by Clive Hart, is choosing to keep the decision to a limited number of people by keeping the decision in Cabinet, and then delegating it to individual cabinet members.

    To comment openly on the debate here will serve to confirm, or deny, what has prerviously been deemed confidential, and could lead councillors into serious difficulties.

    Councillor Driver is certainly very active and very visible. He also has the advantage in this scenario as having not been involved with the issue before, and therefore has no 'legacy' issues to restrain him, which both of the other parties do. That is not to say anything he has said may be new insight to the debate; but confirming or denying that leaves me knowingly commenting on confidential material, as he 'appears' to have done.

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    1. Cllr Wells appears to be hiding behind Political mumbo jumbo to hide the fact that the council have yet again cocked-up. Whether it is confidential (euphamism for cover-up) or not the council on both sides have a reputation of being utterly and hoplessley useless when it comes to planning situations. I am no fan of the student politics of mr Driver but he is certainly far more proactive and capable than many of the coucillors in the blue or red corners.

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    2. Cllr Wells is acting properly under the rules applicable to councillors and which, if breached, could result in disciplinary action. Cllr Driver, not being privvy to those earlier decisions is not so restricted and, as Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Panel, can legitimately claim a right to ask questions.

      The present situtation whereby even councillors, outside of a selected few, are being denied information on developments is much more worrying, but not an unual stance by those on the left. Inner circles of those in power does not auger well and, in that respect, Cllr Driver is doing a public service on this occassion.

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    3. So, WHO makes the decision to keep these things "confidential" in the first place ? Is it the councillors themselves, the employees of the council, who precisely ?

      And what could there possibly be to gain from keeping it confidential ? Someone else might come in and trump the bid price ? Surely that could only be a good thing ?

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    4. Ross: the civil servants do usually. And the councillors then fall into line and do as they're told. It seens the civil servants even threaten them with discipilinary action - as well as the usual Party Whip?

      11:03 is right with the political mumbo-jumbo and coverup euphemisms.

      As is 12:51 below on whistleblowers and how this crap goes on for years.

      We don't have one of Britain's worst councils by accident - it's carefully crafted incompetence and idiocy. The disconnect is we fund them but don't have FOI and don't vote for them any more.

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    5. Anon 12.22 You are so right when you say councillors are being denied information, but why don't they wake up and realise that they can demand the information. It's a pathetic excuse by a pathetic opposition. Section 100F as amended of the Local Government Act 1972 gives rights of access.

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  12. Well at least as chair of the OSP cllr Driver hopefully will get to the bottom of whether SFP is a bone fide company that has the funds and has developed simmilar development in Portugal, Ipswich and elesewhere. Until this is done the public will always be supsicious of the relationship between this company, TDC officers, TDC councillors and in particular the TDC cabinet who always claim everything is confidential.

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  13. Whistleblowers!

    Without them, this sort of crap would go undetected for years more.

    Good on driver for having the nuts to stick his neck out. Shame on every other councillor and officer who have not asked some. Dry simple questions or smelled the rat sat astride the elephant in the room.

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  14. There is a Wetmore Investments registered at Kingsbridge Road, Madison, Wisconsin - but that is a residential address.

    A US company information site says just this about them: Wetmore Investments in Madison, WI is a private company categorized under Investors (Unclassified). Our records show it was established in 2006 and incorporated in Wisconsin

    Could this be the company backing the development?

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  15. Irony - Anon 3.04

    Their sales volume was $160,000 - so I can't see it, but apart from a realtor they are the only US company 'trading'under that name that I can find. There is a Canadian namesake, which seems even more obscure and a Paul Wetmore from Merill Lynch, which might inject more confidence but I don't somehow think it's them.

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  16. There is Halford Wetmore Estate Agents in Suffolk ? "SBP Banque" of Switzerland ? Is this the Geneva branch of the Sharia law State Bank of Pakistan ? Or is there another SBP Bank ?

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  17. I have heard from a reliable source that the Developer is allegedly investing £5million of his own money in the project. I do not know the name of this investor.

    There is nothing necessarily sinister in marking government papers 'Commercial In Confidence'; it is a legitimate caveat in certain circumstances. Though it should not be used to protect political reputations. Of course the danger is that once the public learns that a document is 'classified' rumour and suspicion run rife.

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    Replies
    1. Perhaps you should run for Thanet mayor. You seem to know everything. I'd vote for you

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  18. If bank and business letters are false then the matter of using a false instrument would arise and that is police time.

    Kent Police are studying the subject anyway as they are under request to investigate whether Kent Police used a false instrument (A purported will) to the disadvantage of Daniel O'Leary in Thanet County Court earlier this year.

    So at least someone in Force Pro Standards may have done some research ?

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  19. I have read the various posts and indeed the somewhat juvenile conspiracy theories and it is very evident that people have been watching too much Miss Marple.

    Everyone sems shocked that Funders have not thrown themselves at the Royal Sands project. Do people not read the news.....we are deep in recession, no one is lending,other more high profile developments are on hold throughout the UK.
    And if I am right the Development Agreement, in the event of economic downturn,the Development Agreement between TDC/SFP has a clause that allows the Developer until 2017 to complete the scheme. Let's agree that we are in the midst of one of the worst recessions for many a decade.
    Land prices ahve dropped over 40% in this period.
    Rather than slate the current Council and the Developer, they should in fact be congratulated. They appear to have found a solution that gets the project delivered very close to the original dealine. BRAVO


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  20. It is very easy for Councillor Driver to make hypothetical, and unbstantiated statements. But without any facts,it would appear that Councillor Driver is purely re-fuelling his own ego.

    In the same way, and again hypothetically, how would we know that Councillor Driver was not party to vote rigging in the local elections. We dont.

    How would we know that Councillor Driver was not working for another Developer, who was aiming to get control of the site for commercial gain. We dont.

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  21. At least when Cyril was a tory cllr there was a decent standard of document.

    Night John boy.



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  22. SECOND HAND POOP SCOOP FOR SALE £3.50

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  23. Private Eye. "Conspiracy" is just one part of a priori reasoning. Cllr Driver has asked

    (1) Whether validation of investor and banking draft letters was obtained

    (2) For validation to be sought now/

    Until this EVIDENCE is obtained then you have no basis to label any party as "Developer" because such a term would imply that bona fides have been properly established.

    You indulge a "Begging the question fallacy".

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    Replies
    1. 10.27 Anonymous....are you also 10.25 Dog Turd

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  24. Conspiracist

    Yours is a circular argument of no merit. You attempt to criticise Driver for having no facts when that is rather his point. Hence he is seeking inquiry and facts.

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  25. For those mocking driver and others thinking and shouting conspiracy, maybe iits because us plebs can't quite understand why a hole has been left in our seafront that is council owned for a very very long time, during which time two turner centres have been designed, one built in same council run Margate.

    And to the bright light Private Eye, we may be in a recession now, but the country and Thanet went through a huge property boom to 2007 and this development still did not get out of the ground. Even SFP should have been able to borrow money then.

    If there is nothing to hide, make it public. It's our land. We have a right to know what is being negotiated and discussed in our names, especially when it is so bloody obvious it's not going well at all.

    John holyer - you talk of the public in the 3rd person. Do you not include yourself in that group?

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    1. John - the public.

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    2. Anonymous 6:14PM,

      Ah I get it now. You were just attempting to be caustic. More fool me for rising to your bait.

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  26. FOI means all documents should be revealed. Maybe a price could be censored or bank details. But minimal and again could be revealed.

    Council pink confidential papers are illegal - FOI applies. Every councillor should refuse them or hand them to a journalist. Barring the press and public from council meetings is illegal.

    Pleasurama looks like either an insurance fire, a tax haven company for a tax boost or a fiddle in shunting money offshore and then back again specifically for payoffs whether councillor or civil servant.

    The lack of plans, delays etc etc looks like the latter. Dreamland housing or Pfizer housing don't look much different from the usual Kent corruption and overbuild.

    A blacklist of tax havens for public contractors etc would be easy.

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    Replies
    1. A DFL who made a big mistake!November 30, 2012 1:57 pm

      Thanet went through a huge property boom one day in 2007? OMG, I must have been having a nap otherwise I would have got my house on the market that day to escape the place and its ever moaning population. Somehow you lot deserve Driver, megaphone and all to add to the volume of your perpetual whinging. What a dump and I thought it was up and coming.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous 1:11PM,

      You believe, "FOI means all documents should be revealed." I find your stance on this curious. What would you say to an FOI request to the Secret Intelligence Service and the Security Service demanding that they publish the names of their agents?

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    3. John - your quibble approach is tedious now.

      As with Chris Wells you're drawing national parallels to a local council. All TDC and KCC information should be routinely available - does that help?

      How would you quibble with this? SIS agents live in a council's area although I doubt their council tax bill or bin collections or street cleaning would expose them.

      Although Eliza Bullingham(?) was publicly confirmed as head of SIS for the first time.

      I won't be commenting on any of your posts in future nor would I read your blog if you produced one of this pointless quibble.

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    4. anonymous 11:41PM,

      There is nothing helpful in your comments. They lack judgement and have not been thought through.

      Eliza Bullingham was not the head of the SIS, she was head of the Security Service.

      Would you be able to explain why you consider that all TDC and KCC information should be routinely available to you.

      You say that you will no longer be commenting on any of my future posts, and neither would you read a blog if I had one. This is indeed a mighty penalty. Never mind, I will struggle by without you.

      Delete
    5. TDC and KCC are public bodies paid for by public money voted in by the public. I know you do not deem yourself as one of the public, perish the though, but others like 1141 and myself would quite like to know what's being negotiated in our name with our money,

      Especially if it's negotiated and managed as badly as royal sands.

      You stick your head above the parapet into public life, be prepared to be accountable for the cock ups. Councillors and council officers Seem to think the are above such things.

      I would like shops, hotels, restaurants in the whole in the ground that was pleasurama. I want it to be an asset to the town, not a source of embarrassment. The simple fact it's been derelict for so long is enough for some, many, to have lost their jobs already.

      What's your view John?

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    6. Not 11.41pm AKA anonymous 11:41PM,

      You said that you would no longer be commenting on my posts.

      Delete
    7. John, the arrogance in the disbelief that more than one anonymous poster could be disagreeing with you is staggering.

      So simple question repeated - do you have an opinion on the pleasurama saga?

      Delete
    8. Anonymous 7:55 aka Not 11.41pm & anonymous 11:41Pm,

      You said that would no longer be commenting on my posts. If you do not mean what you say then you should Say so.

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    9. A test - when I wrote a comment about the future of Manston, John Holyer's retort was that I was all sorts of other posters of whom I had never heard. Am I now 11.41 and not 11.41 as well? I feel I have a right to know!

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    10. What is it that you feel that you have a right to know?

      Delete
    11. The answer is he has no answer. John just likes to give polar opposite opinions to anything remotely sensible to stir up discussion. Others have lives to lead. John has his little games to keep him occupied.

      Ignore him!

      Delete
    12. Anonymous 6:49 PM,

      You keep promising under assorted transparent disguises that you intend to ignore me. Then please do. Go away and lead the life you claim that you have to lead.

      Delete
  27. anonymous at 1:11PM states that Council pink confidential papers are illegal, and that barring press and public from Council meetings is also illegal. Can anyone tell me whether not this statement is accurate?

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    1. To go from the start under the Local Government Act 1972 Part VA 100A(4) 'Admission to meetings of principal councils', "A principal council may by resolution exclude the public from a meeting during an item of business whenever it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during that item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as defined in section 100I below". 100I states that Schedule 12A specifies exempt information. Paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A states "Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).".

      As for confidential papers, under Part VA 100B "If the proper officer thinks fit, there may be excluded from the copies of reports provided in pursuance of subsection (1) above the whole of any report which, or any part which, relates only to items during which, in his opinion, the meeting is likely not to be open to the public".

      The Schedule 12A section is quoted in the Council papers, for example in the Royal Sands recall at OSP in August, held in private session. Sorry about the long comment but this is the legalese...

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    2. James I guess a problem here is if in a purely hypothetical situation the secrecy is used to conceal misleading information by a third party.

      The councillors involved won’t want to risk breaking the rules, the local press are more interested in selling advertising than investigative journalism.

      This leaves the problem in the hands of local bloggers with out the resources to easily deal with the situation.

      Delete
    3. ...the 2007 FOI Act redraws access to information ie (as you'sd excpect) the publci should know and have a right to know. tHE RIGHTs of coUNCILLORS, CIViL SERVANTS AND DEVLEOPERS OR BUSINESSES ARE secondary if at all (sorry caps).

      Unsurprisingly councillors and civil servants prefer the confidentialiorty/coverup/secrecy etc.

      Whatever happened to the council meeting webcams?

      Delete
  28. Replies
    1. I think you may be looking at the wrong bank anon, simple question and all the information is in the public domain so you don’t really need to ask a councillor.

      The project that was initially proposed in 2002 was financed by what appeared to be a Swiss bank Société Financière Privée S.A. (SFP) and supported by the brewer Whitbread.

      Société Financière Privée S.A. (SFP), changed its name to Société Bancaire Privée S.A. (SBP), it was granted a banking license from the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) on January 22, 2003, in addition to the securities trading license it received in 1999. SBP is listed on the SWX Swiss Exchange.

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    2. I understood SFP was Site of Former Pleasurama ie a specific company for Pleasurama. Not unusual in the building world. Although registering in BVI etc is.

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  29. Thanks Michael. I thought the Swiss banking licence to the bank you name was suspended March 2007 to April 2008.

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  30. Société Bancaire Privée (SBP), became Banque Profil de Gestion (BPDG) in 2009, there is a fairly bumpy history of licensing.

    The Pleasurama project was first initiated back in 2002 on the basis that it was a Whitbread project funded by a Swiss bank SFP, via SFP Venture Partners Ltd which turned out to be a Virgin Islands Company.

    In 2002 Société Financière Privée S.A. (SFP) didn’t actually have a banking licence.

    I don’t think any suggestion that the initials SFP has anything to do with the name Pleasurama appears anywhere, that I am aware of.

    I hope this helps with the confusion here.

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  31. Thanks Michael So this is the bank that had no licence as a Swiss bank March 2007 to April 2008. Paid no dividend 2007. Changed its name again 2009 and posted losses for 2010 ?

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  32. Well I guess it is only really relevant if the Swiss bank was involved more than some rather creative use of its stationary. To know that I would imagine we will have to wait until Cllr Driver gets answers to his questions. You could say something similar about a lot of British banks, I suppose but - once again - Whether Nat West did offer finance the construction with a loan of £13m, depends on if the letter from them turns out to have been genuine.

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  33. Can't that Painter chap clarify the situation? Wasn't he acting as a spokesperson for the developer?

    ReplyDelete

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