Monday, 14 January 2013

The Royal Sands Development on the Pleasurama Site in Ramsgate Again


As they say here we go again, this time it’s the result of a series of emails sent to me by the chairperson of the council’s scrutiny panel.

I guess a major aspect of relates to the problem of who runs the council and raised the question, is the council a democratic organisation run for the benefit of local people, or is an officer run bureaucracy run for their benefit. 

Here is the correspondence:

From: Ian Driver
To: Sue McGonigal ; Harvey Patterson
Sent: Wednesday, 2 January 2013, 10:29
Subject: Your Meeting with SFP Ventures UK Ltd

Dear Ms McGonigal

Further to our previous correspondence I understand that yourself, Cllr Poole and several Council officers met with SFP Ventures UK Ltd to discuss the Royal Sands Development just before the Xmas break.

I would be grateful if you could provide me with a copy of the minutes of this meeting.


Yours sincerely



Cllr Ian Driver
Chair OSP


From: Ian Driver
To: Sue McGonigal
Sent: Friday, 4 January 2013, 10:40
Subject: Fw: Your Meeting with SFP Ventures UK Ltd

Dear Ms McGonigal

I wonder if you had been able to arrange for the minutes of the meeting to be sent to me. I am having  trouble with my council e-mail and would appreciate if the minutes could be e-mailed to this address.

Also are you able to update me on SFP due diligence. When we last exchanged e-mails on this subject you indicated that you were expecting documents in the early new year.

I look forward to hearing from you.


yours sincerely



Cllr Ian Driver
Chair OSP


From: Ian Driver
To: Sue McGonigal
Sent: Wednesday, 9 January 2013, 20:45
Subject: Fw: Your Meeting with SFP Ventures UK Ltd

Dear Ms McGonigal

I wrote to you on 2 and 4 January regarding SFP Ventures Ltd. I have not received a reply. Nor, despite your previous promise, have I received an acknowledgement of my emails.

I trust you will attend to my request for information by return of e-mail.

I would also like to add to my request by asking you to provide me with copies of documents submitted to the Council by SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd at the meeting which took place in December. This to include copies of the letters from the Hotel companies.

I would like to advise you that I am very busy at work at the moment. If Pleasurama due diligence is to take place in the near future I will need reasonable advance notice of any meeting so that I can plan my work accordingly.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely


Cllr Ian Driver
Chariman OSP

From: Ian Driver
To: Sue McGonigal
Sent: Monday, 14 January 2013, 18:32
Subject: Fw: Urgent Your Meeting with SFP Ventures UK Ltd

Dear Ms McGonigal

I have written to you on 4 separate occasions (2,4,9 and now 14 January)  requesting that you make available to me copies of documentation related to  the meeting held between the Council and SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd before Xmas at which the Pleasurama Development was discussed.

As Chair of OSP I have a right under the Council's constitution to see these documents.

Furthermore the subject of SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd and the Pleasurama development will be discussed by Cabinet on 22nd January. As Chairman of OSP I intend to make comment/ ask questions at the Cabinet meeting about this issue. Without sight of these documents  I may not be able to properly develop my comments and line of questioning. Your failure  to provide me with these documents in a reasonable time will therefore  undermine my abilities to function effectively and properly as the Chairman of a  Council Committee. In my opinion your failure to provide the documents  might therefore  be seen as a breach of the officer code of conduct.

Furthermore I am in the process of drafting a  motion to the next Council meeting on SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd and the Pleasurama Development. To properly frame my motion I will require copies the documents I have requested. Failure to provide these documents will undermine my constitutional  right as  an elected member of the Council to move a motion to Council.  In my opinion your failure to provide the documents might therefore be seen as a breach of the officer code of conduct.

My previous e-mails to you make clear what information I have requested.

Please advise me using this e-mail address when you will provide me with copies of the documents I have requested.

I will be in the Council building tomorrow evening for the OSP meeting. Perhaps you could let Mr Patterson have copies of the documents and he could pass them on to me before the meeting.

I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.

Yours sincerely


Cllr Ian Driver
Chair OSP

As you see it is a bit of a one sided correspondence, I guess if you want more information about this saga then follow the link http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Ramsgate%20royal%20sands%20development  


I have sent a quick note to the council’s chief executive for comment.

From            michaelchild michaelchild@aol.comhide details
To            sue.mcgonigal
CC            clive.hart , casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk

Hi Sue I am forwarding Ian Driver’s emails to you with this note as an open invitation to comment, I have published them at http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-royal-sands-development-on.html

From my perspective this looks like an attempt to cover up old errors and current problems relating to the Royal Sands.

Obviously I don’t have all of the information supplied to the council, however I do know that on two occasions, once when the development was first put to the then controlled Labour council in 2002 and later when the Conservative controlled council decided not to determine the development agreement in 2009, the supporting banks didn’t in fact appear to exist.

The project that was initially proposed in 2002 was financed by what what the documents say was a Swiss bank, Société Financière Privée S.A (SFP), via SFP Venture Partners Ltd and supported by the brewer Whitbread as set out in this document http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts10/id5.htm  at this time however SFP had no banking licence

In 2003 Société Financière Privée S.A. (SFP) was granted a banking licence so it changed its name to Société Bancaire Privée S.A. (SBP), it continued to trade as a bank – apart from a period when its licence was revoked – until mid 2009 when it got into difficulties, was taken over and became Banque Profil de Gestion (BPDG)

The documentation I have seen supporting the 2009 variation and the decision to proceed with a substantially less guarantee, seems to have a similar problem with a non existent Swiss bank to the 2002 documentation
Then at the end of 2009 SFP came back asking for more time and reduced financial guarantees, most of the documentation seems have been based on supporting documents from Société Bancaire Privée S.A. (SBP), a bank that as far as I can see no longer existed.

Obviously you will also treat this as customer feedback in accordance with the rules relating to members of the electorate contacting officers, so I am sure I will receive a response within the statutory ten working days. However in this instance with the publicity you feel fee a more prompt response appropriate.  


Best regards Michael. 

I will endeavour to add to this post 

25 comments:

  1. Nobody takes Ian Driver seriously. He has cried Wolf far too many times. His post clearly shows that he is a self-publicist and a laughing stock

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous 8:09,

      Maybe, maybe; yet you may discover that this wolf has teeth. Which probably explains why you choose the hide behind the skirts of anonymity.

      Delete
  2. Ian Driver = Me, Myself and I

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  3. Ad Hominem and Fallacy according to you Anon

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  4. Anyone that does not think Ian Driver is trying to use his position to forward his personal agenda, is either politically naive, a liar or from another planet!

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  5. I don't know if you include me in your latest tirade there Anon.

    But a fella of your apparent erudition might advise, what are the chances I can park my caravan there this summer (a suitable distance from the cliff edge must add).

    I'd heard there may be a bit of tarmac work there soon.

    Perhaps working for The Kent Hotel Company Ltd if they are good for the money. Very confusing with all those multiple directorships of Ltd companies of Bill a Ricky (Tinker joke)





    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon, in this instance Ian Driver is writing to the chief executive of the council as chair of the council’s scrutiny panel, asking for documentation that the council is obliged by its own constitution to provide him with.

      You seem to be suggesting that the officers should base their constitutional obligations to elected members on whether those officers have some sort of preference for particular members.

      Delete
  6. Ian's problem has nothing to do with the earlier backbiting comments, but the fact that the senior management team (god help us), don't like anyone rocking their little boat for fear of someone identifying that they are as equally useless as the Members. You can imagine how much influence Poole didn't have with McGonigal and the "several Council officers". She took re-inforcements along because she hasn't the faintest idea either, which is why she hasn't answered Ian and in order that someone else will be to blame when it all goes wrong again later. The officers rely on most Members not knowing what day it is, let alone having the faintest idea of what they are up to behind the scenes. Ian should put down a motion of no confidence in the Chief Executive at the next Scrutiny Meeting for ignoring his emails and not complying with the previous decision in a timely manner.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous 9:16PM,

      The fact that Councillor Driver has not received a reply is an egregious omission on the part of the CEO. Your subsequent recommendation has merit, in my opinion.

      Delete
    2. Well said Anon: McGonigal must go. Excellent work from Cllr Driver and Michael in raising these points. I'm surprised at Cllr Poole not taking the opportunity to cancel Pleasurama immediately.

      The Anon/Driver point on council service is a good one too: responses within 10 days, documents in advance, minutes, FOI etc etc. TDC is a shambles with overpaid officials doing as little as possible and nothing to do with democracy.

      Gross misconduct in failing to work within 10 days etc requires summary sacking and cancellation of pensions. They seem to think it's their money.

      Delete
  7. I agree in most part Anon 916


    The efforts of Councilor Driver

    Fired off emails like a striver

    But no reply and no reason why

    Is Silent Sue conniver or skiver ?






    ReplyDelete
  8. me thinks that some people have things to hide perhaps fingers in the pie???

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  9. The audacity of this elected councillor; to think that the mighty Chief Executive has to respond to (let alone be accountable to)him. For many years it has been proposed that the councillors are a waste of space and money because they don't actually run the council. Here we see the full extent of their impotence. Of course, nothing will get done because the other councillors will all sit on their hands and play politics with the issue; anything to get one over on that troublesome Driver. And they wonder why people don't vote.

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  10. Elected Chief Executive`s are the way to go!

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  11. Well written Michael. Good summary. Ten days takes the reply deadline beyond the council meeting date though ?

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  12. Maybe its taking a bit of getting used to by the council officers: the chair of the OSC asking for written replies and documents on an important disposal, if not the most important disposal ever, of Thanets assets. Did the previous occupants of the chair not do that?

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  13. done deal then another ten years of bomb site eyesore on the main seafront site

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    Replies
    1. what another ten years without an ice rink what a pitty and waste of space just like our so called elected representitives at tdc

      Delete
  14. The blog has featured, in an earlier thread, the Proceeds of Crime Act guidelines used by other councils. IE Suspicions about offshore companies. My opinion is that if someone has the money to launder then they have the money to do a good job ?

    Yet Michael has been repeatedly vindicated in his questions about structure, planning, access, cliff safety and flood risk.

    Now the questions are whether the council even ensured the draft letters re finance were genuine. From the outset nearly 11 years ago.

    The question whether the developer has ever developed anything appears to be answered NO.

    But the developer appears to have committed TDC to contractual obligations.

    What is the value of the rights the developer owns on the site ?

    If someone does buy it and builds the much heralded ice rink, willing to take an annual loss running a leisure facility, bet they don't buy the site from TDC ? They will buy it from the current developer ?

    If that happens then take yer hat off to Shaun Keegan and Co. Got into a win win situation and not surprisingly emerge as winners ?



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  15. THEY NEVERB HAD ANY INTETION TO BUILD ANY THING ON THAT SITE BY IT FOR NEXT TO NOWT SELL IT ON FOR MEGGER BUCKS TDC SILLY DUFFERS TO SLEEPY TO SEE IT COMING OR MAY BE THEY STAND TO GAIN AS INDEVIDUALS WHEN ITS SOLD ON MAKES YOU WONDER.

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    Replies
    1. Are you surjesting fingers in pie like 17.43hrs of the 14th

      Delete
  16. Pleasurama was on the South East today 13.40 lunch time news (15 jan), so look in at 6.30 tonight if you missed it. A lady was intervied who had paid a £2,000 deposit to local agent T Painter for a second floor appartment. She claims she was told the developer owed the site already.

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    Replies
    1. Very interesting 3:22 - deposits can be refunded though. Separately I suspect the same will happen with KLM flights.

      On Pleasurama though why haven't BVI etc tax haven/secret companies been banned from projects with public funds already: a preference for UK companies only? A no-brainer.

      Pleasurama needs cancelling and turfing as an interim measure for the Summer season.

      Where are the Police?

      Delete
  17. Busy today so I have only just got to the comments here, block reply I am afraid.

    2.51 no one can cancel Pleasurama immediately and if they did it is very likely we council taxpayers would be landed with a huge bill for the resulting litigation.

    The same applies for unfair dismissal and breaking employment law, which you seem to advocating, you seem to wish to set us all to foot a bill of millions.

    Gypsy Jack at 10.27 I thought it was fairly badly written, ten days is the rule which in council speak means two calendar weeks.

    11.45 Ian Driver does seem to be doing what most local people have been saying for years they want local councillors to do, I was speaking to the local press today and they seem to approve his actions too.

    Gypsy Jack at 12.42 my take is the key problems are lack of a flood risk assessment for a new build on a high risk flood zone this would preclude any reasonable development funding and lack of communication from the developer, no website, mock up pictures of how the modified development will look, particularly from the top of the cliff.

    3.22 saw it and just included it in today’s post.

    5.09 I think you would have to change the law about BVI companies being banned from projects before any police involvement.

    In a general sense I believe police involvement in politics is what you get in a police state, there are plenty of these around the world if you fancy trying one out for a while.

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  18. Yes Michael yer reply to 509 is on the button. Draft letters and the like are slippery as eels for fraud or false instrument charges. But the relevance of money laundering awareness may be a fair measure of lack of diligence ?

    Police involvement in politics is a very sensitive area. They can't even open a gate for a minister without the over political police federation sticking its oar in. But let's not forget that policing by the state was an unlawful political imposition from about 1829. The people refused to call the new police "Constables" and called them "Police soldiers". And an early attempt to kettle a political gathering ended with the killing of a policeman Culley. A 21 man coroners jury unanimously returned a justifiable homicide verdict. So from the outset police affronts to the liberties and freedoms of Englishmen were met with prompt and terminating action.

    Longer memories will recall one Cllr Hoser who, from time to time, would call for a full Kent Police investigation of his business dealings. That from a chap whose Rolls Royce had a four year out of date tax disc on it. How we laughed at his front. Nice one Cyril.





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