Monday, 11 May 2015

Is Chris Wells the new King of Thanet? Who are the new UKIP Councillors?

Is Chris Wells the new King of Thanet? Who are the new UKIP Councillors?

Does anyone know if Chris Wells has been crowned on the QT as leader of Thanet UKIP or leader of TDC?

I keep reading Tweets saying he is leader
1.        UKIP @UKIP  1h1 hour ago
Manston: Thanet council #UKIP leader Chris Wells says council will try to buy the site with compulsory purchase order kentonline.co.uk/thanet/news/co
10 retweets7 favorites

This is all a bit strange to me as wasn’t it only last August that Chris was a member of the Conservative TDC cabinet and saying that UKIP were a disorganised rabble. Actually I have probably misquoted him so I had better check, wasn’t it here https://www.facebook.com/InTouchWithThanet/photos/a.600157566675202.1073741828.599779690046323/846891095335180/ 

You see I was wrong it was actually

"Whoever stands here from UKIP risks letting labour in on a minority basis by splitting the right wing vote more than labour's

 It does highlight some difficulties for UKIP regarding discipline and unity as a party. It was Rozanne Duncan who stood out against the party line on Manston as well. She appears somewhat disconnected.

From what I am hearing there is real indecision involved at all levels. Locally they are desperate to have the national name, and have claim on his loyalty because of their recent successes; however, it's a national election and his office have to take that into account as well, and also assess the other candidates in each seat."

Perhaps Chris is a Conservative mole.


Who are new councillors? Here is the link to the TDC website http://democracy.thanet.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?FN=PARTY&VW=LIST&PIC=0 no pictures as yet so I copied them off the UKIP shop door, sorry about the quality of the photo.
Quite a few of the names are/were also SMA committee members so that may help u identify them. 

19 comments:

  1. Michael

    It certainly is a strange world, UKIP in Thanet being lead by an ex-tory, and the MP for Thanet South an ex-UKIP man...

    I see that Nigel Farage has been re-installed as leader of UKIP, I suppose that, at least technically, he did stand down as leader...

    Iris and Chris were on the BBC earlier, Iris seemed to say that the leader of TDC would be appointed after a vote at the council meeting on Thursday, I suppose until then Chris is the leader of UKIP in Thanet but not officially the leader of TDC...

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  2. There is a sense here of had most of the Tory and Labour leading councillors walked across the floor to UKIP in the last few months would they now be forming a cabinet?

    My take here is that the people of Thanet voted for a UKIP council and that is what they should get.

    But really the question being begged here is was he the leader of Thanet UKIP? And perhaps is he the leader of Thanet UKIP? I know he has been saying he is and I haven’t seen any one saying he isn’t, so perhaps he is.

    Perhaps the UKIP councillors will hold a meeting and elect their leader and cabinet, or perhaps Chris will just select his cabinet members and the committee members.

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  3. UKIP takes the council one day, the next, eight caravans park up in Dreamland car park. Still there!

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  4. Reasonable to assume that the leadership of UKIP on the council could not really be decided until after the election results were announced. After all, some prominent UKIP candidates, like Roger Latchford for example, did not win a seat.

    In my view Chris Wells would be a good choice because he actually, for a change, has qualities of leadership and a sound brain.

    On the issue of being an ex-Tory, are not most UKIP folk ex something as is the norm with any new party. Was not so many years ago that all the Social Democrats, ultimately to become Liberal Democrats, were all ex Labour.

    Let us just hope the new regime works well for Thanet. It could hardly be worse than what went before!

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  5. Given we have a UKIP Council James, perhaps the question they might first be asking themselves is this:

    Do any of them have any significant roots in Thanet and find themselves in need of a home? And if they were in such need, would they be deserving of our Council's assistance?

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  6. I see from Kent online that C&M have fired a warning shot across UKIP's bow:

    http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent-business/county-news/buying-airport-will-not-work-36769/

    It sounds as if Thanet needs to prepare itself for many years, perhaps a decade or more, of wrangling over Manston, with all the uncertainty and lost opportunities that this will cause.

    Pleasurama is an object lesson; the site has been effectively derelict since the fire in 1998 and, despite TDC owning the freehold, they have not been able (so far) to compel commercial partners to develop the site.

    We live, as they say, in interesting times!

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  7. James perhaps It's an omen.

    William I would expect all of the Conservatives to look forward to a Conservative leader like Chris.

    Echo I think the main issue for the councillors will be, if they force through the cpo without officer consent where will the liability lie. I am pretty sure that Chris recently went bankrupt, but I would guess some of the other councillors would have significant assets, houses and so on. According to what Iris has said online. River Oak haven't offered any compensation at all in the event of the cpo failing, so that would be Discovery Park's legal bills say £1m and the costs relating to loss of rental value on the 700 acre site during the period the cpo delays the development for, say it's value is £500,000 per acre and it's rental value is 10% then this compensation would be £35,000,000 per year.

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  8. Michael

    My understanding was that the officers HAD to sign off on the CPO for it to proceed to the next stage.

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  9. For anyone interested here is the link to a number of booklets regarding CPOs:

    http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/planning/planningpolicyandlegislation/currentenglishpolicy/goodpracticeguides/comppurchase

    Booklet 1 page 11 section 3.12 states:
    "the Council
    Executive or the appropriate Executive committee will consider a report prepared by officers
    recommending the use of compulsory purchase powers and make a decision."

    Which would seem to prevent a council from deciding to pursue a CPO without officer approval. I would imagine that a judicial review could be requested, if the council deviated from the process.

    The only thing that is certain is that a lot of time, effort and money will be spent on this battle, all of which could be better used elsewhere.


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  10. Looks like the first thing the 32 newbie UKIP councillors will need is to be training in what they are allowed and not allowed to do. They will also need training in how to conduct themselves within the TDC Standards framework. It wont be a bad thing for Chris Wells to be reminded of this as well. No doubt every word uttered and jester displayed by UKIP councillors at council meetings and in public will be closely recorded and reported.
    If they do plough on with the CPO regardless to TDC's own legal advice then they will need to have good reasons to do this rather than just for political ends. Ihe Dreamland CPO took 29 months to get to the final approval.
    The Manston one with the financial might of the owners could still be unresolved when the next election comes.

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  11. Echo my understanding is that the officers would give four types of advice, recommend, for councillors to decide, recommend against but for councillors to decide and don’t do it. In the first three cases I think if anything went wrong then the council would pay the compensation.

    In the case of Pleasurama the council recommended against but for councillors to decide and the cabinet lead by Sandy Ezekiel, which I think Chris was part of decided to go against the officers advice and I think you could say that the council and Ramsgate have absorbed the cost.

    With the cpo the council officers have turned it down for several reasons, mainly that there is no way of proving that RiverOak have any funds, that those funds are legitimately sourced, that the company has any track record and are likely to remain viable.

    The main issue is the compensation, the amounts paid for the airport in the past have been for the companies operating the airport and have related to the profit those companies made. With a cpo the amount paid would relate to the value of land and as the airport is closed, has no planning consent as an airport I think it must have brownfield status, so it really isn’t likely to be valued at less than about £500,000 per acre, so huge amounts could be involved.

    I think that it is the councillors who ultimately decide the issue, but I think there is a good chance that if they did so totally against officer advice then if something went wrong, like RiverOak becoming insolvent or the cpo not succeeding, then the matter would come to court.

    I think if the court found that the councillors had acted negligently by ignoring internal and external legal advice then compensation would be sought and the councillors would probably eventually be bankrupted.

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  12. Michael

    I guess TDC are awaiting the outcome of the PWC report, presumably when this is out we'll have a better idea of how the next five years will go.

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  13. Echo I think the billion dollar question is, will they wait for the report?

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  14. Michael are you sure about the bankruptcy you pointed out at 4.24? If not true you could get into trouble.
    Most bankrupts are barred from being councillors.

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  15. Dave I guess the internet could be wrong and I am sure that if it is Chris (who I know reads this blog will correct me.

    Councillor Declared Bankrupt after Failing to Pay Council Tax

    Isle of Thanet Gazette
    Isle of Thanet Gazette
    March 14, 2014

    A Tory councillor has been declared bankrupt after failing to pay council tax and school tuition fees.

    Chris Wells, shadow cabinet member for community services at Thanet District Council, has failed to pay outstanding costs to Alpha Holdings, which owns the Haddon Dene Preparatory School in Broadstairs.

    A notice in the London Gazette and the Government's insolvency register states that a court declared the father of 12 bankrupt on December 5, 2013.

    The former county councillor failed to pay council tax for several months and bailiffs attended his property to reclaim some of the significant arrears and associated costs accrued.

    There is nothing in bankruptcy legislation or council rules which requires Mr Wells to resign his position as councillor for Viking ward.

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  16. They may be nothing in the local government act to make a bankrupt stand down but there is a rule barring a bankrupt from standing with a proviso:
    A person is barred if they are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions
    order or interim order.
    These orders are issued by the Official Receiver if he believes the bankrupt is to blame.
    I wonder if the council checked?
    In general its not a good if a person that cant manage their own affairs is spending the councils money.

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  17. Dave,

    Link to bankruptcy order in the London Gazette:

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/L-60774-1991026

    The address given is the same as his contact details on the TDC website.

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  18. There are several Internet references to Councillor Wells having been declared bankrupt, so one assumes it is true. I also recall Councillor Bayford launching a strong attack on him when he defected to UKIP because of the financial help his fellow Conservatives had given him.

    Whatever, I assume there is no legal bar to his being a Councillor - as there would be to his being an MP. But it must be a matter of concern that a person could be elected Leader of the Council when he has a troubled financial background - and failed to pay his Council tax!

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  19. A further thought, picking up on William Epps's earlier comment.

    UKIP has presented itself as a new, clear and "fresh" alternative to the mainstream political parties. Whatever many of us may think of their policies, and the antics and attitudes of many of their supporters, the electorate in Thanet has endorsed UKIP. The party has given a huge smack to Labour and a pretty big smack to the Tories as well. A smaller reduction in numbers of seats for the Tories, but set against their successes elsewhere, in Thanet they have been given a bloody nose.

    Against that backdrop, it would seem odd for the Council Leader to be an old hand who has, as a Tory, held senior office locally over a number of years.

    Might the electors not argue they have voted for fundamnetal change?

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