Wednesday 3 July 2013
Is TDC competent?
A question I have seen discussed a lot lately however Thanet District Council is an inanimate object and cannot be either competent or incompetent, only people can be incompetent and the buck stops at the top. The main issues with the development (or not) of the former Pleasurama site can be divided into 2 main areas.
Firstly who makes the decisions is a problem.
The way it is supposed to work is Councillors decide and Officers advise.
So unqualified Councillors make choices based on the WIIFM principle.
Then Officers either not being asked or when asked having their advice ignored.
Secondly when problems occur the “wagons are circled” and the CYA principle then comes into play.
Lets take a look at the decision making process right back at the start of this journey.
When the original offer was made by Terry Painter, on behalf of SFP, on the 7th October 2002 it was in this form:
“At the appropriate time they are prepared to make a single capital payment to the Council payable on the date when the development agreement becomes unconditional”
“Anticipated Proceeds from Whitbread £550,000”
“Additional Sum from Main Developer, SFP Venture Partners Ltd £810,000”
“Additional sum from main developer, SFP Venture Partners Ltd, equal to20% of the net proceeds from the sale of the residential properties, which should include the affordable housing contribution.”
The offer from Westcliffe Park Ltd was as follows:
Financial offer of £635K, + a % of the units equal to £423K plus the donation of a 25 meter pool (worth about £100K) also included in their offer was an “Arts and Performance area”
So which deal was accepted and why was the other rejected?
SFP offered more upfront money and Westcliffe offered a swimming pool and an Arts and performance area with less housing. You would assume this is a no brainer however we know today which they chose however it is not clear why. The minutes are unclear however they do say that the decision making team decided that “the running costs” of the swimming pool and Arts area would be an unknown ongoing drain on Council resources.
So was this decision based on the long term use of the site or a quick fix to get money in the Council coffers?
Westcliffe Park Ltd was under the stewardship of Anthony Brown an award winning architect with a proven track record. SFP Venture Partners ltd was fronted by Shaun Patrick Keegan, a man with an unknown track record, an unknown UK address and as we know now has never been formally identified by the Council.
WIIFM principle "what’s in it for me?"
CYA principle "Cover your a**e"