Friday 20 October 2017


It is now October 2017 and I have been writing this blog for nearly 4 years so thought it about time I posted a timeline of events.
On Bank Holiday weekend 1998 the site of the former Pleasurama, listed building that used to be the Ramsgate Sands Railway station mysteriously caught fire.
It ended up like this
Picture credit John Weatherly

In Summer 2002 after TDC took the site back off James "Jimmy" Godden (He walked away because TDC let him keep the insurance money from the fire in 1998). TDC marketed the site in a document called The Ramsgate Renaissance Commercial Development Opportunity”.
This document laid out the criteria for any developer to follow should they have wished to bid for the site unfortunately when they (The Labour controlled TDC) chose the developer they ignored the criteria. 
What they also did was state quite clearly at the outset the sale would be on a FREEHOLD basis
 Clearly TDC had no intention of retaining control of the site in perpetuity. In the opinion of the author they only chose an offshore company, controlled by a person they never vetted (they failed to do the basic checks such as driving licence or a utility bill) because SFP Venture Partners offered a larger sum of money for TDC's coffers.
Still Labour lost the local elections in May 2003 and Sandy Ezekiel's Tory party took control surely now something could be sorted? What could possibly go wrong?
In November 2003 SFP applied for planning permission (only took a year) and planning officers, who we all know work as fast as snails, had a chance to look over plans for a site on Ramsgate Seafront which had the potential to forever change the look of the area surely they would do a thorough job?
On January 28th 2004 planning was granted WOW!!!

Fast (Slow) forward to 2006, no building had taken place however as you will see at 7.2 a Development Agreement had to be put in place so in September 2006 a DA was signed by Ezekiel's Tory Cabinet and the renamed SFP Ventures Ltd. Building could start. 3 leases were paid for as part of this agreement at a cost of £550K.

Slow forward to 2009 and plenty of excuses but no building happened. The main excuse was Colin Hill and Sean Keegan couldn't find a bank to underwrite a Bond for £5.6M and finance for building was difficult to obtain. Interesting however at the same time Colin Hill appears on the Forbes rich list with a personal fortune of £300M.

So in August 2009 the DA was amended to a surety of £1M and an extension to the agreement to Feb 2014. Cardy were appointed by SFP to build and they confirmed to TDC they were prepared to contribute £1.5M
 It does seem that Cardy paid for the work done on the site however when this ran out work stopped and hasn't ever recommenced despite many promises.

At the end of 2012 after the Tories lost control of the Council rumours started circulating that the new Labour controlled Cabinet were planning to sell the freehold to Colin Hill (At this time no one knew that Labour had originally marketed the site with the freehold the prize) So a group of locals banded together to try and stop this sale. This group called themselves the steering group and it later became Friends of Ramsgate Seafront. This group comprised the author, Terry Askew, Nick Cooper, Angie McKenzie, Gerhard Mueller, and Kandy Jones. This group successfully petitioned to stop the sale of the freehold in 2013 and with the termination of the DA on the 28th February 2014 it was assumed this would see the land returned to TDC. How wrong were we!!!!

Unknown to FORS in November 2013 Pinsent Mason were engaged by TDC to provide advice to TDC as to how to take the land back from SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd (Colin Hill and Sean Keegan). In a written report (private and confidential) to TDC the advice said that TDC would stand a good chance of losing any court case. This was discussed here and concluded that due to actions from a sitting Councillor and other legal constraints they would fail at court. 

In 2015 Labour proposed a transfer of the freehold for £3.515M of which £550K had been paid as well as the transfer out of escrow the £1M (plus interest) surety leaving a final payment of about £1.9M to the UKIP council in 2017.

To date no work bar what Cardy (now dissolved) Developments Ltd had done at their expense and still TDC are impotent to terminate.

 Ramsgate Henge

Thursday 20 April 2017

19 years wasted

May 26th will see the 19th anniversary of the fire that destroyed Pleasurama. 19 wasted years will claim and counter claim. The alleged "firestarter" is no longer with us but his legacy remains.

credit John Weatherly

Credit John Weatherly

credit Paul Narramore

What a waste of the last 19 years.

So what happened to Mike Stannard the man who the Labour Councillors said would resurrect this building site? Well it seems Mike Stannard has joined the list of Labour Councilors in being shafted by the real "puppeteers" behind this landbanking scheme. Today (because Companies House makes it hard to hide behind foreign companies) we have "persons with significant control" documents. This is the Company documents of the Ramsgate Development Company Ltd which clearly show the 100 shares are in the name of Albert Hollis (Colin Hill's tame ex accountant) but significant control is held by Colin Hill and his son Robbie James Hill.

You will note that their address is in Switzerland however Stutton House near Ipswich is where they live when in England. Current value circa £25M a far cry from the mess they have caused on Ramsgate Seafront.
Currently the people of Ramsgate and UKIP TDC is being held to ransom by these two men and legally there is nothing that can be done.

Monday 6 February 2017

Stopping up order

Kent County Council are applying for a court order to re-designate a piece of highway to enable clear title on the piece of land as shown on this title map.
Why is this important is because currently the area marked in pink is still designated as a roundabout and highway because when they moved the roundabout up towards the tunnels in 2007 the legal work to change its designation should have been completed at the same time.

The original site
This shows the work being carried out 2007-8 clearly marked is the old road, carpark and roundabout
This shot is from the new roundabout by the tunnels showing the line of the promenade and where the original boundary line.

By 2009-10 this boundary had been moved to where it is today and at the same time Cardy decided to "borrow" some of the promenade to place their site huts. This actually saved them money as the promenade made a more substantial support for the huts

The last picture, courtesy of Michael Child's blog shows that the installation of the wall was in addition to the original boundary wall being erected.

Now why is this important:
1. It shows that KCC, who built the new roundabouts, have allowed Cardy to build on their highway and it shows that they were incompetent in allowing this to occur.
2. It also shows that when the site freehold was transferred to Cardy Ramsgate Ltd in 2016 part of the land being transferred was still a designated highway.
It also means that when this stopping up order is achieved then there will be nothing stopping the freeholders selling it on with extant Planning Permission.
From this
To this
I know which is best for Ramsgate.

Monday 9 January 2017

What mistakes were made

With the fate of the building site still unresolved I thought a short history lesson might be appropriate. Many "mistakes" were made, some incompetent but some may have more perverse reasons. In 1998 the listed former station building burnt down. To date no one has been charged with arson but Ramsgate residents know who caused the fire.
After 3 years of wrangling with James "Jimmy" Godden he finally gave in and left leaving TDC to advertise the site for an alternative development. This was in 2002 and led to the release of a document called the Ramsgate Renaissance Commercial Development Opportunity. This document, whilst not ruling out housing, made it clear that the development should be a mixed leisure and retail development.
However after 6 initial inquiries were whittled down to just two the final winning bid emerged at a Full Council meeting in December 2002 which seemed to be residential in nature and proposed by a Broadstairs Estste Agent acting on behalf of (who we now now as Colin Hill) of an offshore comppany registered in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. This company was called SFP Venture Partners.

 I'll leave the reader to decide whether this offer meets the needs of the previous document and whether the money changing hands and the word Whitbread swung the vote.
Needless to say the Labour run Council chose SFP and whether the choice was right or wrong would only be known in the future. These are the original drawings submitted however this author believes this could have been stopped in its tracks with a simple phone call to Whitbread who, in early 2004, denied any involement in the development.
Note the use of Whitbread logo!!
You will also note it wasn't the Council or even an Officer that discovered this fact.

The next opportunity to stop this development was when the actual planning application was made however by this time Labour had lost control of the Council to the Tories under Ezekiel.
The actual application was made in November 2003 and validated 15th December 2003. Now this is where I believe something occurred which was extremely unusual. Planning a development of 107 flats with ancillary uses as per this planning application should have been scrutinised with a fine tooth comb seeing as how prominent the position of the flats however planning was granted on the 28th January 2004 with work to commence within 5 years.

Please note the name of the planning officer (Mr. B. White)

So why did this application not receive the proper investigation it deserved?

No work was actually done on the site within the 5 years stipulated however KCC did move a roundabout and build a storm drain and that has been used as the reason to allow the PP to stand in perpetuity. Whether this is legal is a moot point as TDC will not rescind the PP.

In 2006 a development agreement was signed but a stipulation was that SFP (now a Ltd Company run by Sean Keegan) obtain a £5.6M surety to reimburse the Council should the company fail.

By 2009 it becomes obvious that Sean Keegan had failed to obtain the requisite surety (cynics might believe they had no intention of getting it) and again TDC fail to remove them as developers. The Chief Accountant of TDC actually said to Ezekiel the due diligence was inadequate yet Ezekiel ignored this advice and on the promise of a local builder being bought in (Cardy Developments Ltd) he swung the Council to accept the continuing use of SFP.

In February 2014 this Development Agreement ran out and at this point the land should have been returned to TDC however the legal advice given to TDC was somewhat ambiguous and TDC bottled it and continued to negotiate with a developer who had failed to develop the site since 2003, over 10 years of procrastination.

Since the Freehold was sold for £3.915M to Colin Hill there is simply no legal way the site can be taken back except by paying Colin Hill the money he demands. This is likely to be in the region of £10M and will be similar to the way he ransomed Peterborough Council from 2003 to 2008.