My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Ramsgate Pleasurama: Lies, Deceit & Overspends

 In March 2015 Thanet Council announced that it had reached an agreement with building company Cardy to construct 107 flats and a   60 bedroom hotel on the Ramsgate Pleasurama site.  Cardy’s had recently taken over this prestigious £30million building project from failed developers SFP Ventures Ltd who had allowed the site to become a derelict eyesore blighting Ramsgate’s seafront for over a decade. The Council’s heralded the  agreement  with Cardy by publishing   a picture of the  then  Labour Council  Leader, Iris Johnston signing  the development  agreement  with Cardy  boss Mike Stannard.
In a press-release issued by TDC the then Labour Cabinet member Rik Everitt is reported as saying “I am delighted that we have been able to reach agreement with Cardy and bring this long-running saga to an end. This is a sensible solution for all parties, but most importantly of all this will bring about the regeneration of Ramsgate seafront and the town more generally …. Now at last we can move forward”.  Thanet Labour Party went even further proclaiming  in an election leaflet delivered to thousands of  homes in Ramsgate  that “Thanet Council’s Labour leadership has signed the deal with new partners Cardy to resume work on the Royal Sands … Labour has pledged that the £3million upfront cash boost will be ploughed straight back into Ramsgate”.

Well 9 months later, Cardy has still not begun work on the Pleasurama site and not a penny of the promised “£3million upfront cash boost” has been invested in Ramsgate. In fact it now looks as though nothing will happen on the Pleasurama site until well into spring of 2016 when contractors Steadline Ltd re-start the now suspended repairs and painting of the cliff face.  This means that the earliest Cardy will be able to begin building the long overdue Pleasurama development will be the summer of 2016. So much for Rik Everitt’s misleading promise that “now at last we can move forward”! In fact it now appears that that all of the self-congratulatory propaganda about how TDC and its then Labour leadership had rescued the Pleasurama Project from disaster was actually a cynical  exercise in the  wilful mis-representation of the facts.

Why do I say this? Because just this week I received an e-mail for Tim Howes, Thanet Council’s Director of Corporate Governance  who in answer to my  question – “please tell me if and when the Pleasurama development agreement was signed by Cardy” replied “the Pleasurama agreement has not yet been completed therefore the council does not hold a signed copy of the agreement”. This statement can only mean one thing - the picture of Labour Council Leader Iris Johnston allegedly signing the development agreement with Mike Stannard of Cardy; the statement made by Labour Cabinet Member Rik Everitt that an agreement had been reached with Cardy; the Labour election leaflet claiming that a deal had been signed with Cardy were are all untruthful works of fiction aimed at misleading the people of Ramsgate.  Shame on the Labour Party for abusing the trust of local people in such a deceitful and manipulative way in order to get votes!

The fact that the agreement with Cardy “has not yet been completed” and signed raises many interesting questions. Has Labour’s claimed “up front £3million cash boost” for the sale of the site actually been paid to the Council yet? Will  Cardy downwardly revise their £3million offer to a much lower sum?  Will Cardy demand that the site be handed over for free or will Cardy walk away from the deal. Without a signed agreement any of these options is possible. But  whatever the final  sale price might be, the cost of the repairs to the cliff face and the legal fees associated with TDCs  negotiations with Cardy will all be deducted from that figure. Which brings my nicely to the subject of  Steadman Ltd the cliff face repair contractor.  As I previously reported the value of the cliff face repair and painting contract was, according to TDC, £314, 950. I have been advised that payments to date total   £367,293  which is £52,343, or 16% over the contracted price. TDC has said that work will recommence on the cliff face repair and painting contract in the spring of 2016 which according a press release on its website “is estimated to only take a few weeks”. I reckon that this work will cost at least an £150,000. This will bring the total cost of repairing and painting the cliff face to £517,293 a staggering £202,343 or 64% more than the original contract price. How can a variance of this astronomic magnitude be explained and justified? Allowing for legal costs of at least £50,000 this means that a total of £567,293 must be deducted from the reported £3million selling price of the Pleasurama site leaving an upfront cash boost of just £2.4 million for Ramsgate – so much for Labour’s misleading and deceitful election promises of “ploughing straight back into Ramsgate” £3million. It was never going to happen and these hypocritical excuses for politicians always knew that.

As a campaigner for open and honest government in Thanet I am sickened by the way in which TDC and its then Labour leadership appear to have published misleading information about the agreement with Cardy. This information was published during the May 2015 local and general election campaign, presumably to secure  support for the Labour Party.  Many people would argue that politicians who knowingly engage in deception, mis-representation, manipulation and  telling un-truths to the public  are not fit to hold public office.  I would agree with that.

13 comments:

  1. The line "“the Pleasurama agreement has not yet been completed therefore the council does not hold a signed copy of the agreement”, would anyone care to say if it is common practice for the solicitor's to hold the documents (rather than the parties) during the interim period.

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  2. Offtopic but similar point on secrecy: Wells on Bbc news tonight confirming a £1m tdc compensation payment to Dreamland but with a gagging order so he refuses to say why the public are paying. It stinks

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  3. Driver for Newington councillor! Will u be calling for a police inquiry into pleasurama? And cancelling the injunction against you?

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  4. Is it £3m and if so why did the council want to incur court action to withold the info?

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  5. Why haven't ukip cancelled pleasurama already?

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  6. What is Lin talking about? The leases expired in February and now almost a year later nothing has been signed so the site can and should revert to Tdc. There is no requirement for the Crowley dodgy deal with BVI and Cardy and it's on even thinner legal ice now! Shambolic

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    1. A quibble barry as without the development agreement any leases are invalid. Presumably the leases are sold to sfp bvi who want to transfer them onto cardy...and with tdc approval? All of which could have been cancelled in Feb

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  7. Why would tdc sell a £30m site for £3m and to the builders who didn't manage to build it?

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    1. So that's bad value for the taxpayer...who can insist the project is cancelled

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  8. Iris and Everitt have lied to us over the signing of pleasurama...or has Howes? Why would Iris and Caedy pose for signing photos but not sign it?

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  9. Yes Iris has pen on paper and witnesses in the photo...and yet she didn't sign and nor did Cardy?

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  10. Why was the comment removed?

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