Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Royal Sands Development on the Pleasurama site in Ramsgate this time it’s have the council misplaced £800,000?

First two pictures from Ben, then and now ones relating to one of the cliff collapses in the area of the site.

If you expand the now picture you can see the tell tale cracks in the road surface which indicate movement of the chalk below.

However what this post is about is that the council have published the agenda for the “Pleasurama site review task and finish group” scheduled for 31st of this month http://democracy.thanet.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=544&MId=3575&Ver=4

One of the associated documents http://democracy.thanet.gov.uk/documents/s33403/Response%20to%20OSP%20Questions%20-%20Pleasurama%20Site%20Development%20-%20amended%20-%20Annex%201.html?CT=2 contains answers to some of the questions that councillors put to council offices at the last meeting.

One aspect of these questions relates to the developer SFP’s financial commitment to the project i.e. how much have they actually spent on it?

Here is the question:

“Statements have been aired publicly regarding the construction costs borne by the developer. Does TDC have any proof of this expenditure? If so, how much in total and has it been justified as reasonable?”

and here is the officer’s answer:

“Over £600k has been spent on reinforcing the cliff facing wall; TDC undertook this work which was paid for by the Developer.

Road and drainage works have been undertaken by the developer – TDC have no detailed costs for these works.

Site works including laying the foundations – we do not have detailed costs for these works.

A sum of £1 million has been paid to the council as a bond in relation to the completion of the hotel.

There are professional fees for a significant number of aspects of the development – but the council do not have the detailed costs of these.

The developer has indicated that the total of these costs to be between £4- £5m, but the exact sum has not been a major issue as the significant sums obviously invested demonstrate a serious intent with regard to the site.”

The trouble here this bit “Over £600k has been spent on reinforcing the cliff facing wall; TDC undertook this work which was paid for by the Developer” difficult as TDC have already stated in response to an foi request I made at the time that the developer only contributed £100k to the works, which they said cost about £900k and was paid for out of your and my council tax.

So either someone has pocketed £800k or TDC’s new answers are a bit economical with the truth. 

It does make one wonder about the professional fees of between four and five million pounds, I mean professional fees wouldn’t mean the cost of actually doing something, but would be the fees for who? Architect perhaps, seems a tad on the high side, particularly in view of the various problems with the plans being the wrong height and the various attempts to get the building to fit in the space available.  

Anyway if anyone finds an envelope with £800,000 in it, then it probably belongs to those nice people at council and if anyone finds one with around £4,500,000 in it then it probably belongs to those nice people at SFP.


  1. Isn't it a criminal offence to give false information in response to an FOI request?

    1. Yes. I hope Michael, Ian (etc) persues this, as something is clearly amiss.

  2. What professional fees, what for as you suggest..is this scaremongering by SFP? This should all be sorted out in court, whatever the cost implications for the people of Thanet. It would be refreshing to have all this apparently devious accounting laid open to proper lawful scrutiny.

  3. Michael many thanks for this important information. I am disappointed by the quality of answers provided to the Pleasurama Working Group and will be raising my concerns at the meeting on 31on October

  4. As far as I can see Ian, Peter et al, this group has asked a number of questions which boil down to.

    1 Did the developer deceive the council into choosing them instead of another developer?

    2 Did the council carry out proper checks that the developer had the money to carry out the development?

    3 What has been the developer’s financial commitment to the development thus far?

    The only answer that is verifiable is a complete fabrication, and other answers, like the developer having spent £4m to £5m on professional fees which is patently bonkers, look like they need further examination.

    My guess would be that the council sees the “Pleasurama site review task and finish group” as a bit of a joke.

    I think I can see the direction that this line of questioning is leaning towards, which is something along the lines of. If the information that the council granted the development agreement and leases on was flawed, are those documents legally valid?

  5. Surely everyone has worked it out by now, the Council's records are in chaos or non-existent, public funds are not protected, but the executive is prepared to do or say or write anything to cover up. For "Task and Finish" read "bury".

  6. I think the vast majority have worked out that there are no more than a dozen people who prattle on endlessly about the same old rhubarb on this site, repeating their unproven claims, scaremongering and getting precisely no where other than to give succour to a right chancers political aspirations. Believe me folks, there is actually more to life.

  7. At least the SFP ventures accounts are up todate. The Sept 2012 accounts showed both assets and liabilities of about £5 millions, Up from about £2 millions from 2011. The 2013 have been filed but not available for free yet. But it could be that they have other projects.

  8. Wasn't there, at one time, a prolific contributor to the blog who re-assured the readership that all would be well with the Pleasurama Development ? All that was required, he argued, was for the usual suspects and the nimbys to be quiet. As the hush developed and hands cupped ears, to better discern his prophecy materialise, we still didn't hear the joyous sounds of heavy plant and cement mixers ! Then rumours began that he was planning to do the honourable thing. A bottle of whisky and the mess Webley (that nowadays appears to be available only in Arizona).

    Time to put aside Hammy things. Laugh though he is.

    Ian has undertaken (above) to ask for the detail. But it still looks as if the only people smiling are the lawyers. They'll get paid win or lose. It would be ironic (or ruddy clever) if SFP now commission a critical survey of the cliff face ............

    1. And of course...God was an Astronaut, and Kennedy was Killed by the CIA.....

    2. It only took you two minutes to read the comment above and come up with that reply. Was it suggested by the chap in the next bed or have you stopped taking your meds again ?

      I am unable to discern any relevance in your comment, to the thread theme or the comment you purport to respond to.

      But if you care to explain ?

    3. It took you 1hr 37m to work out that? I am afraid I cannot perceive a conspiricy behind every telegraph pole...so I think you must be in need of the medication that you think I have missed... I am obviously one of the vast majority that trust Local Government...of what ever coluor...(except Green)

    4. Would someone like to have a guess at the breakdown in development costs.

      Surety (Bond) £1M
      Cliff works contribution £100K
      Site leases £550K
      Groundworks £unknown but paid for by Cardy
      Storm drain £unknown but estimated at £800K
      Roadworks £600K as stated by Estate agent in interview with BBC SE

      any thing else ?

    5. A couple of thoughts here, one I haven’t heard any confirmation either way as to whether Cardy Construction have been paid wholly or partly by SFP. Another is the storm drain work was subcontracted by Cardy Construction to Oatmor Harris Excavations Ltd. So who actually paid for this is also something I don’t have information on.

      I guess the anything else would be planning, legal and architect’s fees.

    6. adds up to a shortfall of £2M, expensive groundworks, planning, & fees. The other issue is a shell company doesn't make money so the liability of £5M+ must have been paid to SFP by investor(s) just who are they. Some mention in the Q&A over a group called Wetmore.
      This £5M must be by way of loans but as there is no charge noted in the company accounts they must be very trusting people.

    7. I have a vague recollection of tdc being involved with the storm drain and arranging to empty into the harbour, i think mh was the engineer involved at the time.

  9. 1.53. Steady on old chap. You are identifying with a "Vast majority" who trust local government. Obviously you need the comfort of inventing a number of people who you can claim agree with your perception of reality. If you read the comments and the OP do you see evidence of trust in the local government ? I assume your "Vast majority" are silent ? Perhaps each hidden behind a telegraph pole where you admit that your perception cannot reach ?

    Where, in the post you purported to be replying to, is there a "Conspiracy theory" ?

    There is a quip followed by the suggestion perhaps the developer may make issue of the TDC cliff face safety work. Where have you seen such an issue debated before ? Yes well done. On this blog. The safety of the cliff is an intrinsically worthwhile issue. But the conjecture was whether the developer might yet exploit it.

    If the developer has indeed parted with money to TDC for work and that work does not meet safety criteria for the development TDC could have a problem ?

    Take your meds there's a dear

    1. 5:25, there are about a dozen people regularly comment on this blog site so whether you, in turn, can claim that represents anything other than a very small minority is questionable. The only way to test out what a majority think is to hold a referendum, but that has not been done nor is it likely.

      As a councillor I can only judge by the people in my constituency who contact me or who I meet around the place and have a chat with. Certainly, although not TDC myself, I do not get the impression there is massive dissatisfaction with the district council anymore than there are a mass of people willing to take on the job.

      Perhaps we all need to take a reality pill to reaffirm that comments on blog sites are not, anymore than are articles in the Mail or Mirror, representative of any great number of people.

    2. Rather the point William. What I can claim (and did claim) was that the subject of the post is an answer by officers that is inconsistent with the earlier result of an FOI. IE A basis for lacking trust.

      I did not "In my turn" claim to know the opinion of a majority. I was questioning the psychology of the contributor who "In his turn" invents groups of people who he claims agree with his views. Obviously if this is a silent majority short of being a mind reader how the hell would he know what their opinions are ?

      The subject of the thread is Pleasurama and in that regard figures provided by TDC. And on this thread so far there has been no evidence of trust in those figures.

      It follows that, apart from displaying his psychological need for a gang to bolster him, the anon I was answering had deployed a Strawman argument. I suspect I know who he is and the comments he made are his usual brand of nonsense. Though he did spare us, on this occasion, his other inventions of "Usual suspects" "Nimbys" and so on.

    3. Not disagreeing with you 6:46, but do you ever stop to wonder how many of the greater general public really care. As long as things do not directly effect them they happily get on with their lives, but, don't empty the dustbins and then the excreta tends to hit the fan big time.

    4. But William even the Government itself describes TDC as one of Britain's worst councils, yet at 6:07 above you are saying as a town councillor that you see no problems with TDC?

    5. 5:45, I said that the people I talk to in my ward do not seem that dissatisfied with TDC.

  10. It does seem exorbitant to have paid out £5 million on "professional fees" when you have so little to show for it. I don't think this figure should be accepted without some documentary evidence, which would be required before such a claim could be entertained in court. I can't imagine they had to pay much for advice on how to outwit and outmanoeuvre TDC.


Please note comments that may be libellous, comments that may be construed as offensive, anonymous derogatory comments about real people, comments baiting internet trolls, comments saying that an anonymous comment was made by a named real person, boring comments and spam comments, comments in CAPs will be deleted. Playground stuff like calling real people by their time stamp or surname alone, referring to groups as gangs, old duffers and so on will result in deletion. Comment that may be construed as offensive to minority groups is not allowed here either, so think before you write it, remember that the internet is a public place, that it is very difficult to be truly anonymous and that everyone who uses it leaves a trail of some sort. Also note the facility to leave anonymous comment will be turned of during periods when I am unable to monitor comment, this will not affect people commenting who are signed on to their blogger accounts. When things are particularly difficult on the commercial spam front I may turn comment moderation on for periods.

If you feel that someone has left a comment that is offensive and directed at you personally please email me (link on the sidebar) asking to have it removed, you will need to tell which post and the date and timestamp of the offending comment. Please do not reply to the offending comment as I will assume you continuing the dialogue as meaning that you want the comments left there.