My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Sunday, 22 December 2013

East Kent Opportunties

According to the Thanet Gazette  East Kent Opportunities (EKO), a 50-50 land development  partnership  between   Kent County Council and Thanet District  Council, has decided to appeal against Thanet Council's Planning Committee decision to reject EKOs application to develop 550 houses on agricultural land  adjacent to the New Haine Road.

This is a bizarre decision which  means  that Thanet Council is appealing against its own planning decision. Planning appeals can be very expensive, especially if lawyers become involved. But does that really matter to the Council, because at the end of the day council  taxpayers will have to foot the bill for Thanet Council fighting itself!

Interestingly  Councillor Clive Hart, the Leader of Thanet Council, is the Council's nominee to the Board of EKO (and I understand one of  its 2  Directors).  This is same the Clive Hart who constantly reminds us, despite the evidence of  the TranEuropa £3.4million debt scandal,  just how well his administration has managed the Council's finances.

It's reasonable to assume that as an EKO Board member/ director,  Councillor Hart must  have been directly involved in approving the decision to appeal against Thanet Council's Planning Committee. If this true then Councillor Clive Hart, despite his efforts to portray himself and his administration as prudential financial mangers, is actually taking a decision which is likely to cost the Council he leads tens of thousands of pounds. Surely this must be a conflict of interest which I hope he has declared.

I was however  heartened read that Councillor David Greene has expressed his concern about the ridiculous spectacle of Thanet Council fighting Thanet Council at the public expense. Does this mean that at long last some members of Hart's Cabinet have developed backbone enough to challenge the incompetence, secrecy and bullying which have become a hallmark of Thanet Council in recent years?

But although this is an extremely important issue there is another story at work here too and that's the growing trend to develop prime green-field land in Thanet  such as the Manston Village site, the totally unnecessary Manston Parkway station and EKOs proposal. Thanet has the largest number  of empty residential housing units in all of Kent and a lot of potential brownfield development sites. We should not be sacrificing greenfield sites when there are alternative options in abundance.

Here is a song about opportunities which might well apply to EKO


6 comments:

  1. You've got the land.........I've got the contacts.......let's make lots of money.........!

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  2. EKO is a 50:50 partnership between TDC and KCC. 50% of the money is provided by the taxpayer and 50% of the money is provided by...the taxpayer. So, we're paying for all of it. Now we find that our council (which we also pay for) is in conflict with EKO and we are expected to foot the bill for that too. It's absurd. EKO needs to be wound up with immediate effect. Without the backing of the taxpayer EKO would not exist and it is ridiculous to have an organisation using our money to do something we don't want to our area.

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  3. Is it true that EKO was set up to create jobs? KCC and TDC set up a company and bought a piece of prime agricultural land and applied for EU funds to create a business park. And did the EU gave them a grant ( something like €6 million?) If EKO have decided they want to abandon their job creation aspirations and have decided instead to get planning permission to develop, what was agricultural land, for housing, will EKO be giving the EU their money back? I can see how the Council starting a business venture could encounter conflict of interest issues. especially if the business involved land speculation, property development, planning permission etc. It is worrying that KCC and TDC's company, EKO, will have an interest, not only to see the approval of planning permission for its site, but also the approval of finance for projects that could add value to their investment, such as the near by Parkway Station.

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  4. Laura Sandys has said that she intends to stay on until the next election. If she's going to keep drawing her salary she ought to do something for it. In this case I think a public inquiry is needed to find out how the council got itself into this mess. However, bearing in mind that it isn't the only mess that TDC has got itself into perhaps the inquiry should focus on the council and the way it has been run

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  5. It is "government of the people, by the executive, for the executive", i.e. the Thanet Council version of the Gettysburg Address. One day everyone will wake up to this fact.

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  6. Total incompetence all round. Bring in an independant outside audit body, if you can find one, to sort out the whole sordid state. Get a clean sheet and start again.

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