When it comes to common sense statements about the development this press release is the nearest to expressing my own views on the subject that has ever appeared as an official statement, from either or Thanet’s main political groups.
It also suggests that Thanet’s Conservative group have finally woken up to the fact they have completely lost Ramsgate and in doing so have lost control of the council. I think that the Pleasurama acts as a constant reminder to the voters in Ramsgate of council shortcomings. This position has been considerably enhanced by the council’s costly and highly publicised work to return the sister leisure site, Dreamland in Margate to a leisure site, despite considerable opposition from a residential development company.
This leaves us all guessing as to the council’s, officers and councillors motives, so this is just a best guess of what they may be.
I think since the project was first approved officers concerns both about the viability of the site and the nature of the construction work done on the site so far have increased considerably. However I think their main concern has been the nature of the developer who started out a partner of Whitbread in the project and became the sole developer when Whitbread pulled out. I think officers moved to a state where they wanted the council to pull out of the project some time before the previous cabinet meeting about four years ago, when the officer advice to the then Conservative council was to pull out.
This took the council from the position where they could pull out with very limited risk of the developer making a successful legal action to recover the money he had already spent, to one where there is much more risk of this happening.
The two main safety aspects that concern me are the cliff and flood risk, in both cases I have pressed for proper independent safety assessments. With the cliff I was partially successful, part of it was surveyed and the council had to spend £1m on it, then recently part of it was surveyed again and the council will have to spend a further and as yet undisclosed sum on it. I failed to get a flood risk assessment and now the Conservative group are saying. “Does the council have a moral, if not a legal, duty of public safety to conduct a flood risk assessment on the site?” Obviously the results of this may possibly mean more money has to be found.
It’s been a busy day in my bookshop and I will endeavour to continue this post if I get time.
The Royal Sands development has produced many unanswered questions, some of which are quite difficult to follow, but the simple one. How can a new development be built on a high risk flood zone, without first having a flood risk assessment? Should be easy for anyone to understand.
Does this mean we will see Simon Moores questioning the safety and the financial viability of the development on Thanet Life? Does it mean that the new development agreement will come before full council?
Obviously I phoned the council to ask them what the position is with the decision, I got the promise that that someone would phone me back during the afternoon, however no one phoned me back. So it is possible that the council’s democratic services don’t know the answers either.
It further occurs to me that perhaps the press release was a fake, sent out maliciously to make the Conservative group look…… I realise I am lost for word here.
I have just cheked this with a shadow cabinet member and apparently it is a genuine press release.
Minor update here, I just tried to find out if there were any more call in documents relating to the decision and this came up http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/Data/Cabinet/20040617/Agenda/$Agenda%20Enclosure%2014.doc.pdf well it made me chuckle.
and this http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/Data/Cabinet/20050310/Agenda/Agenda%20Enclosure%204.pdf