My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Maternal Wisdom & O'Regan's Port Plans

My mum always used to say to me "its not what you know but who you know that counts". My subsequent life experience has  proved her to be right about  this and many other things. However before I digress on to the subject of maternal wisdom, I have  contacted Thanet Council's Monitoring Officer Steven Boyle, to seek assurances that mum's wise words will not apply in any shape or form to the O'Regan Group's plans for the Port of Ramsgate. 
Dear Mr Boyle - Proposed Development at Ramsgate Port
I understand that discussions are  underway between the Council,  the O’Regan Group of Companies and its agents about the development of waste wood processing and concrete block manufacturing operations at the Port of Ramsgate. I understand that there is a public meeting in Ramsgate about this matter on 12th January which will be attended by Council officers and that planning permissions, statutory licences and lease agreements may have to be secured if these proposals are to be implemented.
I have many concerns about these proposals particularly the
environmental implications which I will raise at the appropriate time through the appropriate channels. However my reason for writing to you as the Council’s Monitoring Officer is my concern about the agents working on behalf the O’Regan Group.
It is my understanding that the agents are Mr Brian White former Director of Regeneration at Thanet District Council and Mr Doug Brown formerly a senior planning manager at Thanet District Council. I believe that Mr White may have had director-level responsibility or involvement in  the management of Ramsgate Port and Harbour and was involved in dealing with the  TransEuropa Ferries  debt problem. I believe that Mr Brown was also involved as a Council officer in the work of the Port including managing the development of the Port and Harbour Master Plan.
I am not any way suggesting or implying any inappropriate behaviour, but because Mr White and Mr Brown were both formerly very senior council officers and both had in-depth involvement and knowledge of the workings of Ramsgate Port and Harbour, I believe that Thanet Council should in the interest of transparency and accountability proceed with the greatest of care in its management of this matter.
As you are probably aware the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee, the Committee  for Standards in Public Life and the highly regarded anti-corruption charity Transparency International have all recently published reports which highlight  the dangers of the so-called “revolving door”  in the public sector. These reports recommend  that where former public employees take up employment with other organisations which requires them  to negotiate  with their previous employers great care must be taken to ensure that old or continuing relationships with former work colleagues are not exploited to gain advantage for the new employer.
As I have previously stated  I am not suggesting for one moment that what is happening  in this case is any way untoward, however  as an elected Councillor who is aware of the controversial nature of the O’Regan Group plans and the involvement of 2 very senior ex-employees in their  execution, I seek your reassurances that the Council will take the utmost care in managing this sensitive matter. In this regard  I would be grateful if you set out in writing what practical steps the Council will be taking to manage this unusual situation.
I look forward to hearing from you.


  1. Dear Councillor Driver, I am of course delighted to set out in writing what practical steps the Council will be taking to manage this unusual situation. Err... let me see now.... oh yes I know, the first step will be a Confidentiality Agreement, then a business plan with no figures, an expensive and onerous one-sided agreement binding the taxpayer to provide port facilities to a company that could be folded at any time, with a verbal but secret gentlemen's agreement as to the payment plan, and a commercially sensitive brush-off for anyone sticking their nose in and requesting information under FOI Act. This way we can avoid the time-wasting nuisance of anyone with an ounce of practical business experience seeing what we are up to in the run up to the election. After all when it all goes belly up, we will of course have a Task and Finish Group headed up by an industry expert who will write down everything we should have done, and nobody will be held accountable. Don't worry we have done this before. We know what we're doing with the port.

  2. hahahah well said 16:17 sounds exactly right. It's very concerning that Brian and Doug have popped up again presumably they are simply selling onto ORegan their knowledge of TDC and the Port? FOI of such contracts should be made available...

  3. It is rumoured that it is being prepared to take in Thor mercury waste from South Africa. Concrete encasement of mercury sludge. A problem being the Natal stored waste is no longer identifiable what is in the barrels.