Friday, 1 July 2011

Eurokent Business Park Thanet District Council’s Chief Executive’s Response


This post mostly relates to the complaint I made to the council about the Eurokent Business Park consultation.

Here is the complaint I made to the council.

Subject: Official complaint ref C2
Date: 21/06/2011 13:35:49 GMT Daylight Time
From: Send IM to: Michael ChildMichaelChild@aol.com


This relates to the council failing to publicise a public consultation that they appear to be partly or wholly funding, the Consultation appears to be being held in the three main Thanet shopping centres this week.

Although this consultation seems to be being held under the Eurokent banner, it says on the Eurokent website: “Any Freedom of Information requests about the Eurokent and its budget should be made to Thanet District Council.”

The substance of my complaint is that this is in reality a public council funded consultation that the council for some reason is trying to conceal from the public.

Of course as the council now see my local news website, that several thousand local people read, as non accredited I no longer receive press releases, so I don’t really know if the council have published a press release about this but have been delayed in publishing it on their website, as has happened often before, or if the council are genuinely trying to conceal a public consultation about an important local issue.

Best regards Michael
29/06/2011 16:26:58 GMT Daylight Time From: ********@Thanet.gov.uk
Sent by *******, Corportae Information & Communications Manager on behalf of Sue McGonigal, Chief Executive.

Dear Mr Child

Customer Feedback Reference:29032

Thank you for your recent communication which was received on 24/06/2011.

In respect of your complaint that the council is, by reasons of its involvement with the East Kent Opportunities LLP, undertaking public consultation which is being concealed by the Council.

East Kent Opportunities LLP is a joint venture between TDC and KCC, set up to deliver development on Eurokent and Manston sites. It is a separate legal entity, and as such is undertaking consultation on its proposals to inform the drawing up of plans, that will, in due course, be submitted to TDC's Planning Committee for consideration. It is behaving in exactly the same way as any other building developer would in assessing public opinion of its proposals, which it is legally entitled to do.

The consultation is being widely advertised, and it is made clear on all of the documents that support it (the press statement, exhibition letter, advert and flyer) that this is a joint venture between TDC and KCC. I therefore must refute your suggestion that any attempt has been made to conceal this.


I hope that this resolves the matter to your satisfaction.

If you are not happy with our response, you may write to us with your reasons within the next ten working days, requesting a further review. 

In order for us to respond as efficiently as possible, please ensure that you quote the above reference number and address your communication to ******* - Customer Feedback Co-ordinator, Executive Unit.

Yours sincerely

Sue McGonigal
Chief Executive
Thanet District Council

I have removed the officers names apart from the chief executives as I usually do, the reason for this is that the internet has a long memory.

My understanding of the Eurokent Business Park is probably inaccurate but I will do my best any corrections would be welcome.

I did go to the consultation in Ramsgate during my lunch break and I talked to a few people there, however they didn’t change my rather simplistic view of the situation, I was however very short of time.

In this country it is usually very difficult to build anything much on farmland and in this part of Kent farmland sells for much less than land you can build houses on, roughly farmland sells for about £10,000 £15,000 per acre.

Obviously if people were allowed to build houses on it the land would be worth a lot more.

What seems to have happened here is that TDC and KCC joined up with a private company, bought some farmland and got special permission to build industrial units on it, because this would provide employment for local people.

They then spent several million pounds building a large road through the middle of it to accommodate commercial vehicles and several more million pounds building a few industrial units at one end of the land. 


Then Thanet District Council issued a press release saying that most of the industrial units had been taken and the project was well on the road to success, see http://www.thanet.gov.uk/news/latest_press_releases/eurokent_business_park_success.aspx 

Then Eurokent issued a press release saying that the project had been a failure, very few of the units had been taken and that they wanted to build houses on the site.


I had rather stupidly got into my head that this was a council project and that the council should have issued a press release saying they were holding a public consultation about building houses on this farmland.

As you can see from the chief executive’s reply I was mistaken about this. 


I think the crux of the problem here is that the value of land for housing is so much greater than the value for land used for other purposes. 



On a very small scale I am up against this one as a small shopkeeper, obviously every town would like to have a bookshop, but frankly a bookshop on the edge of most town centres wouldn’t be able to pay the overheads related to the same space being used for housing.


The bookshop in Sandwich is in the processes of closing, something that rather proves this point.


The Thanet Labour group have put up a blog post about the Eurokent Business Park today, see http://thanetlab.blogspot.com/2011/07/east-kent-opportunities-and-eurokent.html

The Eurokent site is about 54 acres and they want to build 550 residential dwellings on the site. 

I will endeavour to add to this one as the evening progresses.

14 comments:

  1. Michael I am of the opinion we do not have enough small starter bussiness units and if we had some with accomodation even better still. I have never been a fan of this TDC/KCC partnership and now they are trying to dispose of it without doing anything other than bluster over the good intentions they have I am even more suspicious. If they were to build 20 small units out there and they were reasonable rent they would soon be filled. RENT COSTS are the be all and need to be affordable. They talk a good talkk but have done nowt other than talk.

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  2. Tesco bag time maybe.

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  3. Hmmmmmmmmm I expect developers are providing back handers that TDC/KCC building starter units would never make available.I am very suspicious of the whol partnership and now the site has never been developed as intended I think it stinks. If it is going for housing why not TDC/KCC develope it and start building council houses again.

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  4. Unfortunately I was away during the consultation so unable to comment.

    However the situation is quite simple, EKO LLP aka TDC/KCC gave themselves planning permission for industrial units on farmland but found they had few takers as it is in the wrong position.

    They now prefer their other site, China Gateway for industrial development but cannot justify giving themselves planning permission again whilst so much land remains unused at the Eurokent site.

    Build houses on Eurokent, then say there is not enough industrial land available so we MUST have China Gateway.....simples.

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  5. Spot on Readit. But a few sceptic old Thanetians had seen a housing future in their wizardy bird baths some moons ago.

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  6. If anyone else is getting problems with Mighty Magoo malware (It highlights keywords in submissions to blogs etc and attaches links.) You could try downloading free trial of revo uninstaller and I think you can get rid of it that way.

    I am posting this as my trial for having got rid of it.

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  7. I seem to have got rid of it. Previously it was highlighting the word justify in Readits post.

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  8. Don I think the problems associated with truing to get cheap business premises to get started in are very complex, plenty available in theory but not so easy in practice. When I opened my bookshop here in Ramsgate back in 1987 things were much easier.

    What seem to me to be missing are the cheap premises that one can live and work in, something that many of the small businesses that developed into what used to be a successful economy was based on.

    Readit the consultation is still open for comment and I am engaged in a dialogue with officers to try and find just what is going on with this site before I make my response.

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  9. Oh dear Tesco bag time again.

    I find it incredible that the finance person does not know the history of this site and that of the Manston businesses Park, whatever is stated by TDC - the consultation is a rigged one from the outset...but more of that later!!!!

    The Conceigner (of China Gateway provenance) document anyone - and of course Rose farm estates.

    Bertie Biggles nailed this one a few years ago. Michael you might like to dust of a few blog comments? I feel a few things coming home to roost on this one.

    Revenge (of a political nature) is a dish best served straight from the freezer.

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  10. Micheal

    I have just FOI'd TDC for the following info.

    How much is the EKO consultation costing us?

    Which company is dealing with the consultation and did they obtain the contract via a bidding process

    More importantly how is TDC a part owner being impartial with the consultation?

    On a different note why did TDC suddenly remove the job creation area under the weak LDF system to housing - when at the same time stating this area was a success?

    Now where did I put the DA and AC's number...thank god the audit starts on the 6th July?

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  11. Is this one of the "funny" local companies and we find that the tdc chief exec is actually one of the directors, along with tdc cabinet members ?

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  12. For those who never read this post by Bertie Biggles in 2010, I suggest you look at:
    http://thanetstrife.blogspot.com/2010/01/lies-about-eurokent-continue.html

    Michael, where is the contact point for the consultation, TDC?

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  13. I know that tdc have been discussing change of use and putting houses there since autumn 2008, these discussions included "all the big cheeses"

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  14. ah so they old brown envelope game has started again, and who gets all the profit....and who is tdc's prefered builder....the one with thew A4 envelope not the C5 i suppose.

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