My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Thursday, 15 January 2015

O'Regan Ramsgate Port Plans Transparency & Meeting Video

I publish below and exchange of correspondence between Steven Boyle TDC Legal Officer and myself about about the O'Regan Group proposals for Port of Ramsgate. I am very intrigued to know how many meetings the O'Regan Group and/ or its agents have  held with the Council and what internal discussions have taken place between senior council managers and political bosses. The Council said they want to be open. Lets see how open they will actually be, espescially due the to the massive public interest demonstrated at the meeting on Monday.

Dear Mr Boyle,

Thank you for your e-mail. 

I am pleased to note that the Council is aware of the need to be open and transparent about its  dealings with the O'Regan Group and its agents Mr White and Mr Brown.

With this in mind I would be grateful if you could tell me how many meetings  Council has had with the O'Regan Group over the past 18 months. Could you let me have the dates of these meetings and the names of those who attended including agents acting on behalf of the O'Regan Group. Could you also provide me with copies of minutes/ notes of these meetings and copies of any documents discussed at these meetings. I would be grateful if you could tell me if the Cabinet and/ or the senior management team have discussed the O'Regan proposals. If so when and could you please let me have copies of any reports, notes, emails etc pertaining to such discussions.

I would also be grateful if you could tell me whether there have been any discussions about rentals and costs which might have to be  paid by the O'Regan Group for use of council land at the Port or elsewhere. Could you also let me know if  the council has  adopted a view as to whether planning permission will be required for the O'Regan group to implement its proposals.

Finally as the Green Party PPC for Thanet South and as a Ramsgate Councillor I would be grateful if you could keep me up to date with any ongoing discussions with the O'Regan Group or its agents about their plans for the port. I would also like to be notified as soon as the Council receives any planning application from the O'Regan Group regarding its proposals for the Port.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely
Cllr Ian Driver 
  


From: Steven Boyle
To: Cllr-Ian Driver
Sent: Thursday, 15 January 2015, 9:50
Subject: RE: Proposed Development at Ramsgate Port

Dear Councillor Driver

Thank you for your e-mail concerning the O’Regan Group of Companies and the potential
for them using former employees.

You cite two former employees as being involved with the company. As far as I have been able to ascertain there is no restriction on these two former officers in terms of their work preventing them working for a company in relation to this matter and I note that you are not seeking to imply any impropriety on either of their parts. That said given the former status I agree that the Council needs to be open on its dealings and mindful that no advantage is conferred.

You are perfectly entitled to raise this as an issue and as such I will be ensuring that those who have involvement with the company in their dealings with the Council are aware that they need to be open and transparent in their dealings.

I am grateful for the notification.

Yours sincerely
Steven Boyle
 ________________________________
From: Ian Driver <ianddriver@yahoo.co.uk>
To: "steven.boyle@thanet.gov.uk" <steven.boyle@thanet.gov.uk>
Sent: Tuesday, 30 December 2014, 15:24
Subject: Proposed Development at Ramsgate Port

Dear Mr Boyle
Proposed Development at Ramsgate Port
I understand that discussions are (or are likely to be)  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.

Cllr Ian Driver



2 comments:

  1. Well done Councillor Driver and Green Party PPC for Thanet South!

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  2. Indeed, well done! I'd heard via the grapevine that the meeting was a bit of a shambles. However, watching that clip, showed me that the residents of Ramsgate consist of eloquent, articulate intelligent people. I would be amazed after the meeting of this project goes ahead.

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