Friday 28 February 2014

End of an agreement

The development agreement between Thanet District Council and SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd, signed on the 20th October 2006, finally runs out today.

Quote "The agreed build programme required the development to commence in May 2008 and be substantially complete by January 2012" (from the 2006 agreement)

This development agreement was varied in the Autumn of 2009 to change the £5.6M bond to a £1M surety and the practical completion date was changed to the 28th February 2014 (TODAY).

As no development has taken place, bar the tombstones , and Friends of Ramsgate Seafront had been campaigning against the developer and TDC, the Council decided to set up a committee to look into this sorry situation. The Task and Finish group met for the 1st time 25th June 2013.

This committee decided that the developer was in material breach of the 2006/2009 agreement and asked a leading Law firm to look at these agreements with a view to terminating them and so in October they forwarded a brief to Pinsent Mason for a legal opinion.

Pinsent Mason have concluded that:

SFP Ventures (UK) ltd are in breach (obvious really as they haven't built Royal Sands)

The Development Agreement, drafted by Eversheds, did not contain a "conventional longstop date" which means the Council does not have an "unconditional right to terminate the Development Agreement" and further they say "This is a material defect in the drafting of the Development Agreement"

In Lawyer speak they are saying someone made a mistake!!!

This mistake has meant that the developer must be given an opportunity to remedy the breach (the breach being the building of the development) albeit under conditions.

These conditions are what TDC refer to in their recent statement which says an expert will draw up a schedule with specific dates for completion of each stage which will provide opportunities for SFP to complete the job assuming they have the will and the money, Should they fail to get the work done then, and only then, will they forfeit the site.

The Task & Finish Group also had another stipulation that Eversheds are contacted to see why they so clearly failed in their "duty of care" towards the Council in the drafting of two legal documents.

The question that needs answering is did they, in 2006 and in 2009, make a huge error of judgement or where they instructed not to include a "conventional longstop date"

Because of this error the People of Ramsgate will very likely be unable to have a say on Pleasurama for at least 2 years or if they build, ever.

When will the "Fat Lady" be singing?

When will we get to see the back of this inept developer and move on in Ramsgate?

Saturday 1 February 2014

Not very Prettys

This issue over "the letter" that Dr Sue had described thus:

"External solicitors were used to validate the ability of Wetmore to provide the agreed level of finance, and that a binding legal agreement was in existence."
The FOI request to Harvey Patterson stated the external solicitors were "Prettys" however it seems someone is being economical.

Further looking at the answer from Dr. Sue I wonder whether what she told the T & F committee is reflected in the letter. Unless of course there is further correspondence still not disclosed to the Councillors.

No mention of a binding legal agreement and is only a solicitors opinion on the subject matter.

Further the 2 further letters mentioned " a development appraisal document"

and " a confirmatory email from SFP's funders"

Both leave a lot to the imagination. This is a £20M development on Ramsgate seafront that seems to be funded at least in part from the word of a lawyer who doesn't seem to be the developers lawyer (according to TDC lawyer) and at least £5M on the say so of a letter that looks like Micky Mouse drew it up.

The only correspondence to detail anything to do with finance is from Shaun Keegan who says they have lodged £650K with TDC (£100K for cliff works and £550K for the 3 leases) which completely agrees with the January 2010 accounts which show Assets and liabilities of £1.6M (the £1M being the deposit alluded to.

The more TDC try and hide their "duty of care" to the people of Thanet the deeper the hole they dig for themselves.


If anything changes I will add to the blog