Exactly where the council are going with this one is a bit of a mystery, allowing the developer more time, when they already appear to have had ten years, takes a bit of explaining.
Anyway here is the news item on the BBC website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-22764636
It appears the problem with the development is still focusing on the developer’s ability to raise the money, with the BBC saying that this is because of the wording of the development agreement between the council and the developer.
The key question here being is the developer a credible company, able to raise the money and complete a large development.
I will start at the beginning here and to them chronologically as I get time:
Document 1 TRANSCRIPT OF PART OF COUNCIL MEETING
5TH DECEMBER 2002
ITEM 7 - PRESENTATION ON RAMSGATE RENAISSANCE - SITE E
I obtained this from the council under foi legislation, here is the link to the whole document https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0erQxRYd9_rVVc5MnRZVG5PTGs/edit
So here is the first quote from it.
“Over the past year we have been working with officers to find a suitable location for Whitbread, and their Travel Inn Restaurant and Pub, and this location was their preferred site. Whitbread also have won Margate's Civic Society Award for their Promenade development in Margate. We know they have a sustainable product and it's deliverable, and they do deliver.”
And here the second.
“What is important about this is that it's in the key position on the site, and a lot of funds have been put aside to make this an extremely attractive building rather than the normal Whitbread scheme that you would see elsewhere.”
After this meeting Whitbread were contacted and here is what they had to say:
Here is the next quote from the council document:
"The Promoter behind the scheme is Sean Keegan. Sean is in Portugal at the moment and can't be with us. He's our Project and Director of SFP Venture Partners Limited, which is the project arm of the investors in the SFP Private Bank of Geneva."
In 2003 the SFP Private Bank of Geneva obtained a banking licence and replace the F for financial in their name with B for bank causing them to be renamed SBP Private Bank of Geneva.
After this meeting SBP were contacted, here is what they had to say:
Still in November 2002 here is the presentation document that SFP produced for the council outlining the development http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts10/id5.htm this may be helpful for people trying to understand why the council decided to chose this developer.
I think the next main stage was planning, the planning ref is F/TH/03/1200 and lots of planning sheets can be found on the council’s planning website http://www.ukplanning.com/thanet the plans were approved in January 2004.
The planning and deign statement, which is the non technical explanation of the development document that forms part of the plans published on the council’s website says; “Great care has been taken during the design and development to ensure that the roofline of the proposed building does not obscure views from, and of Wellington Crescent. As a consequence the roof of the new building sits below the cliff top balustrade.”
The problem was though that the actual planning sheets were for a building that was higher than the cliff top balustrade, at the highest point about 3 metres.
I don’t really know if the developer had intended this and hoped that it would slip under the radar or whether his architect was just incompetent, either way the council wouldn’t take any notice of the people who pointed this out and passed the plans.
Later the council tried to address this problem at various meetings here is one of the documents http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/Data/Cabinet/20040513/Agenda/$Agenda%20Enclosure%2012.doc.pdf and another http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/Data/Cabinet/20040617/Agenda/$Agenda%20Enclosure%2014.doc.pdf and another http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/Data/Council/20040401/Agenda/$Agenda%20Enclosure%201.doc.pdf
Of course once the council have passed plans for a development that doesn’t fit in the available space, everyone involved is landed with a huge problem. The developer doesn’t want to reduce the number of apartments as this will reduce the profit. The public won’t really accept a building that is higher than the cliff top. The council can’t admit that it has made a mistake, what you have is a mess and very little chance of completing the development.