Saturday, 18 April 2009

ChinaGate Takeaway

And out of the woodwork pops ChinaGate.

The front cover of the Thanet Gazette details how Ken Wills and CGP want to spend £3M to purchase part of the ChinaGate business park from KCC and/or EKO and/or TDC.

I thought they had anyway but never mind. Perhaps CGP haven’t spent one penny into TDC’s coffers yet apart from the China trips and Ladyman donation.

With no other regeneration on the horizon from the Tesco bag Gang of Four except the Election Ferry.

And claims from Ken/CGP that work will start anyway in October – it seems Council and Public permission is optional for CGP.

And funding is coming direct from the Chinese – time to open a renminbi account at the bank in Broadstairs.

Cobblers the lot of it.

And as credible as the architects drawings of hundreds of acres of cargo warehouses shunted into view a fortnight before the TDC shambles vote.

And all shortly after the Gang of Four creation of EKO and trips to China funded by CGFP. And Steve Ladyman’s £25,000 donation.

As with much of ChinaGate - when the whistleblower information dribbles out into the public domain - the realities are rather different:

The whole of Manston airport and the surrounding suggested business park sits on top of the drinking water supply. Any development would necessarily reduce and endanger the already polluted water supply.

The case for development is unproven even if the water supply was not there: the units at the new Manston Business Park lie empty as do almost all the units at the SEEDA Lakesview Industrial Estate on the former coalfields of Hersden just 15 minutes away – throw in the recession and the failures of Grupo Antolin etc and there are hundreds of business units available.

Unless the whole point of ChinaGate is simply to make a developer profit on turning the land.

As with Manston airport the issue is not whether you want to develop on top of the drinking water supply or not – it’s simply unfeasible. A Planning disaster from the time of Sopwith Camels and WW2. Like building a new cargo airport opposite Ostend Cargo Airport.

I’ve yet to hear any reason as to why Aigo the Chinese mobile phone manufacturer would want to manufacture American Blackberry phones in England and make a profit. Again Grupo springs to mind: securing investment in a Spanish car door manufacturer in the furthest part of the UK for the car industry.

Unless the aim is to make a developer profit on turning the land. A lot of public money and time can be burned that way. Take a look at the Hoverport fro the 1970’s equivalent.

Steve Ladyman remains very quiet on the £25,000 donation to Labour Party funds: 50% of the total donations for 8 years.

Surely in the face of overwhelming public opposition and rather murky dealings TDC’s councillors would want to call this application back in for scrutiny.

I know as MP I’ll be calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry into ChinaGate and the back-top-front CGP/Ken/Jet Summit building on the aquifer contravening planning permission – and the cargo sheds at Manston airport built with the planning permission for a passenger terminal.

As with Infratil and Grupo the reality is that public land and public funding simply circulates, being cut ever tighter for Ponzi profit until the projects are unsustainable in the first place, collapse after years of failure in the second place or the cheapest and nastiest development results with corners cut all down the line in the third place.

Squint at Debenhams Westwood Cross, Fenwicks Canterbury and Debenhams Ashford and the results of cookie-cutter planning and developing are plain to see. Kent looks like Milton Keynes.

Thus might just be acceptable on contaminated land such as CGP’s plans in central Wigan or MOD housing refurb in Dover but not for existing farmland surrounded by dozens of vacant business units.

TDC is merely another short-sighted and incompetent council going along with developer greed out of laziness, foolishness or political fear at the failures to date.

As with the Election Ferry and Infratil’s 2M passengers the schemes are half-baked white elephant nonsense. With ludicrous extrapolations of quick-fix jobs (jobs! Jobs!! JOBS!!!) to keep the politicians quiet.

97% of businesses in East Kent are small businesses. 99% of employees are in small businesses. And 100% of residents and voters. All held hostage to half a dozen politicians and developers in bloated vanity schemes.

It’s not better or worse to deal with big business – it’s just easier for our lazy politicians and sheep-councillors.

When Infratil collapses – after 4 years of not one extra job being created when Planestation left – then the failure at TDC will be complete with the sackings of the Gang of Four and clear-out of lazy MP’s and civil servants and sheep-councillors.

Ring roads to nowhere, derelict town centres, out-of-town shopping centres built near-to-the towns, minimum wage retail jobs and hundreds of empty flats and houses. Old and new. And 12% unemployment in Margate.

And thinking aloud if Westwood Cross was such a great idea: new public services (that’s nonsense for a start) and certainly providing new retailers and increased retailing space (largely true) – then where is the extra uplift in council tax and business rates revenue?

Two minor glimmers of light at the moment: Thanet Earth (built on farmland to grow tomatoes) and the Turner Centre an art gallery.

A council by the people for the people and the construction industry bottom line.

And Steve Ladyman (majority 664) remains very quiet on the £25,000 donation and what exactly this has been spent on.

As MP I will call in ChinaGate, seek the public distribution of Steve’s £25,000 and pull planning permission for the back-to-front building and cargo-shed-passenger terminal.

Manston airport will be closed, decontaminated and redeveloped to protect the drinking water, straightening and improving the perimeter/access road to Ramsgate and redevelop Richboro.

Matt Clarke and the Infratil Board will face criminal charges for the repeated pollution and public endangerment and 106 breaches: the traditional free trip Down Under in chains awaits the Kiwi Criminals.

Westwood Cross and the empty business parks and houses will be the legacy of the Gang of Four. As MP I will reverse salary increases and reduce and freeze pensions to evaluate performance with the New TDC.

CGP’s Chinese takeaway will be goneaway as the first failure of Climate Change Construction.

Failed. Failed. Failed.

Time for Change.

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