Friday 10 October 2014


Having attended the Cabinet meeting in September and listened to the political point scoring from both Labour and Conservatives, One point that escaped the interest of the participants and that concerns the Freehold of the 7 acre former Pleasurama site.

Iris Johnston has said during a further meeting that the Conservatives (Ezekiel & Latchford) walked TDC into giving up the Freehold of the site, and Rick Everitt in his Q&A has clearly stated that:

6. Who will own the freehold once the site is developed?

The current contractual arrangements with SFP entered into in 2006 mean that the Council has substantially disposed of its freehold interest in the land (with freehold transfer provisions documented in the development agreement); the Council’s only continuing legal interest is the right to receive overage payments in respect of the completed units.
There is no change in this situation, the reason it is necessary for the transfer of the freehold is because the arrangement will enable the developer to grant for sale long leaseholds in the finished property.

Is this true? and does the blame for the disposal of the Freehold lie with Ezekiel & Latchford? Well No!
Although the wording in 6 above is true as it did form part of the Development Agreement signed in 2006 and also in 2009, the giving of the Freehold goes back to July/August of 2002.

During the Council Meeting held on the 25 July 2002 under point 41 the Council state 3 things

1. Officers be instructed to inform Ramsgate Boulevard Limited that the Council are not prepared to go forward with their scheme (effectively ending James Godden's interest in the site)

2. Officers be instructed to prepare a marketing brief to enable the site to be marketed as soon as possible. (This document was called "The Ramsgate Rennaissance Commercial Development Opportunity")

3. Officers be instructed to take possession of the site immediately

Now you have to remember that Leader of the Council and his deputy were Richard Nicholson and Iris Johnston and the Council majority was under Labour control. So it was Labour who instructed the Officers to prepare "The Ramsgate Rennaissance Commercial Development Opportunity" and what an opportunity as it is very unusual in Thanet that TDC relinquish the Freehold of a major (7 acre) seafront site but that is what was offered.

"7. Basis for disposal
 7.1 The Council intends to dispose of the identified development site on a freehold basis"

(page 24 of the above document)

So it is completely ridiculous for Labour to blame the Conservatives as it must have been their instructions to Officers which help sell the site to SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd in the first place.

As an aside it also begs the question as to why Ezekiel and Latchford used Leases to enable SFP to own the site as it could and probably should have been the Freehold that was sold in 2009.

No comments: