The former Alexandra Hotel’s scaffolding has come off sorry about the picture mobile phone in the dark, if it ever stops raining I will go and take a better one.
I managed to get out and get an Isle of Thanet Gazette it seems Cllr Shirley Tomlinson is standing down from her role as cabinet member and offering to stand aside from the Conservative group while she faces her drinking and driving charge.
The Conservative group don’t seem to have found a new shadow cabinet member and appear to be carrying on one down for the time being.
The ongoing Royal Sands on the Pleasurama site is rumbling in the letters, I guess it is looking increasingly unlikely it will ever get over the cliff top. I always thought it would be the safety aspects, particularly building on a high risk flood zone that would do for it. Now it is looking much more likely to be the credentials of SFP the company behind it.
Here is Cllr Driver’s letter from the previous week’s Gazette:
I read with interest (Thanet Gazette 2 November) Terence Painter’s claim that the developer of the former Pleasurama site at Ramsgate Royal Sands, SFP Ventures UK Ltd, “has a strong track record of (managing) similar developments in Portugal”. I understand that SFP Ventures UK Ltd also claims to have managed large developments in Ipswich and Lowestoft.
I spent several hours Googling to substantiate these claims. I found no evidence to prove that SFP Ventures UK Ltd have managed developments in Ipswich, Lowestoft, Portugal or anywhere else for that matter. I also understand that Thanet Council has never been provided with independent, corroborative evidence which demonstrates that the company have managed any building development projects.
I checked SFP Ventures UK Ltd vital statistics on the Companies House website. According to it’s latest accounts it had a turnover of £1.9million in 2011. After paying its creditors the company made an operating loss of £859.
These are not the type of accounts I would reasonably expect to see from a company which Mr Painter describes as having a “strong track record” of managing large building developments in Portugal.
SFP’s lacklustre financial performance, coupled with its long record of inactivity at the Pleasurama site, leads me to wonder whether this company is the right partner to work with Thanet Council to deliver this major £36 million regeneration project.
I also discovered on the Companies House website that SFP Ventures UK Ltd recently appointed a second director who is a 23 year old student. Not wanting to sound ageist, I doubt whether the vast majority of 23 year olds would have the experience, skill or knowledge to be a Director of a company which according to Mr Painter has a “strong track record” of managing large multi £million building projects in Portugal and elsewhere.
SFP Ventures UK Ltd the current developer, its predecessor company SFP Venture Partners Ltd and it’s parent company SFP Services Ltd (both of whom are off-shore companies which have never been registered at Companies House) have been involved in the development of the Pleasrurama site for more than 10 years. In that time precious little work has taken place, apart from turning a large piece of publically owned and valuable real estate into a disgraceful eyesore.
I note Mr Painter’s suggestion in his capacity as SFP’s official spokesman and sales agent, that to overcome the decade of delays your readers “should be shouting at Councillors” to encourage them to reach a new agreement which includes the Council handing over the freehold of an extremely valuable plot of prime site public land to his clients for the princely sum of £3 million.
I totally agree with Mr Painter about the shouting! However, I suggest that your readers should actually be shouting at Councillors to encourage them to carefully review how the blot on our landscape we fondly call the Pleasurama development came about, and give thoughtful consideration as to whether Mr Painter’s client is actually the most suitable organisation to continue the development of this site.
Failure to take a long hard look at the proposed new agreement with SFP might, despite the £3 million, cost the Council and the people of Thanet dear.
Cllr Ian Driver
I think this is the first time that a Councillor has publicly gone as far as to say the company behind the venture doesn’t appear to exist in any real sense.
I guess this really does leave the onus on those supporting the development to show us some evidence of the other developments this company is responsible for.
Another taxi office opening in Ramsgate town centre, that’s two in two weeks.
Last nights sketch in The Belgian Café didn’t go that well, my excuse being that people kept moving