In March 2015 Thanet Council’s Labour Cabinet approved a deal whereby Cardy building contractors would take over the failed Ramsgate Pleasurama developers, SFP Ventures UK Ltd, purchase the freehold of the site from Thanet Council and proceed to build 107 flats and a 60 bedroom hotel development within a 3 and half year period. And that’s what appeared to be happening.
On 17th October 2014 Shaun Patrick Keegan and his partner’s daughter, Natalie Wood resigned as directors of SFP Ventures UK. On the same day Michael Stannard, managing director of Cardy Construction and a director of Cardy Health Care, Cardy Group Holdings and Cardy Ramsgate etc took over the company and became its sole director.
Fast forward 2 years – on 20th July 2016 Stannard via Cardy Ramsgate Limited purchased the freehold of the Pleasurama site for £3.515 million. This was made up as follows: a sum of £550k was paid in 2009 by SFP Ventures Ltd in 2009 (under the 2006 development agreement); a sum of £1m was paid as a deposit by SFP Ventures limited in 2009 (this deposit together with accrued interest formed part of the purchase price); the balance of £1.96m was paid by Cardy Ramsgate Limited. It appears that the £1.96million was funded by a loan from Panamainian company Mintal Group Inc. which is believed to be owned by SFPs financial backer and multi-millionaire Colin Hill. Less than a month after the purchase of the land a series of strange events happen at Cardy Ramsgate and SFP Ventures UK which came to light in documents published on the Companies House website on 22 August.
Lets begin by looking at Cardy Ramsgate. On 12 August a new director was appointed to Cardy Ramsgate’s board. His name is Anthony Albert Hollis aged 77. On 15 August Michael Stannard resigns as a Director of Cardy Ramsgate leaving Mr Hollis in sole charge of the company and presumably the new owner of the Ramsgate Pleasurama site.
Now let’s turn our attention to SFP Ventures UK Limited. On 12 August SFP changes its name to Aldress Developments Limited and Mr Anthony Albert Hollis become a director. On 15 August Michael Stannard resigns as a director of Aldress/ SFP Ventures leaving Mr Hollis in control of the company.
So who is Mr Hollis? Well basic research on the Companies House website reveals that he has longstanding and very close business links with many of the people associated with SFP Ventures UK Limited and their financial backer, multi-millionaire Colin Hill. Hollis was in fact a founder director of SFP Ventures Limited in 2006 along with Shaun Patrick Keegan and his partner Jennifer Wood. Hollis is a co-director of Greenwoods Hotel Management Ltd and Greenwoods Properties and Investments Ltd, Caran Property Consultants Limited, First Response Maintenance Limited and several more companies with Karen Haylock. Karen Haylock is close business associate of Colin Hill and Colin Hill’s wife Donna Benita Hill who also happens to be the daughter of Shaun Patrick Keegan. Together Haylock and Donna Benita Hill are co-directors of at least ten companies some of which were established by Colin Hill and Shaun Patrick Keegan.
So what does this tell us? By doing a deal with Cardy to buy out developer SFP Ventures UK Ltd, Thanet Council’s Labour Cabinet thought it had outsmarted Keegan and Hill. But they were totally wrong. SFP financier Colin Hill appears to have bank-rolled Stannard’s Cardy Ramsgate to buy the site from the council. Within days of the purchase being completed Stannard like an obliging wife in a marriage of convenience, steps aside allowing a close associate of SFPs Keegan and its financer Colin Hill to take control of Cardy Ramsgate and what was SFP Ventures UK Limited. In effect those same people who did virtually nothing to develop the Pleasurama site; leaving it derelict and festering and blighting Ramsgate’s seafront for over decade are now back in control of the site and this time they now own the freehold. I’m sure that what has happened is perfectly legal. The question now is will the owners of the Pleasurama site, ever begin development work or will we face another ten years of dereliction and blight of Ramsgate’s seafront.
There is one thing for sure the history of the Pleasurama development is one of appalling mismanagement and incompetence by Thanet Council and successive Labour and Conservative administrations who must take full responsibility for more than a decade of neglect and dereliction of Ramsgate’s seafront and the massive lost opportunities this dereliction has caused. I am sure I will be writing much more on this subject soon. As the Who once said - meet the new developers same as the old developers. Here’s their song