Friday, 1 July 2011


In follow up to last week's post on EKO:
Note: The Eurokent site is land between Westwood Cross & the Newington estate on either side of the new main road.
From Cllr Clive Hart - Labour Leader of the Opposition at TDC.
"In recent years we in the Labour Group at Thanet District Council have had reason to voice concern about just who exactly is deciding the direction of the district council. Our feelings, clearly outlined in our 2011 manifesto, are that all too often officers appear to be deciding the direction of TDC rather than councillors who have been democratically elected by local residents.

The East Kent Opportunities Eurokent proposals are yet another point in question. Land clearly designated for employment use by councillors through robust council procedures is simultaneously being promoted by EKO (a joint TDC and KCC venture) for substantial housing development.

We Labour councillors cannot understand how council officers were ever directed to make proposals which go so blatantly against TDC's own established policies. At last weeks public 'consultations' EKO officers promoted plans that go totally against TDC Planning Policy and did so whilst at the same time clearly stating that EKO was 'answerable to councillors'.

None of our 26 member strong Labour Group of councillors have endorsed the EKO housing proposals and I cannot imagine that any of the 3 members of the Independent Group have been involved either. At best, some of the 27 members of the Conservative administration may have had some kind of involvement but in any event they are now clearly a minority of members at TDC.

In short, at a time of austerity and cut-backs, council officers have been allowed to carry out a substantial and extremely costly amount of work on a project that may well not meet the requirements of the full council. Possibly worse still, proper employment opportunities for the site may well have been missed whilst officers have been clearly misdirected in their efforts".

Cllr Clive Hart - 01843 298770 or 07980 652 896.
Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office, 44 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 2RW.

1 comment:

  1. Questions at the consultation were limited to distracting fluff such as "What would you like the new town to be called?" "Do you like the look of the houses?"
    The big questions, such as
    "should permission be granted to build on agricultural land."
    "Do you think the roads can cope with 1,700 new homes, in addition to the expansion of shopping (Sainsbury is building a new store and the big new Primark)?"

    What I have understood is that KCC and TDC got together to for a commercial company called EKO
    The idea was to transform agricultural near Westwood Cross into a business park to create jobs for the area.

    TDC gave the land
    £4.4m was given by SEEDA (South East of England Development Agency) for the construction of the buildings.
    £1.3m came from the European Regional Development Fund.
    A substantial amount came from from bank loans.

    The Council set up up a property development and speculation company, but it didn't work and EKO periodically come back to TDC to ask for more money to cover the bank interest on the loans.

    Now EKO wants planning permission to build 550 new houses on the area. Just next to where permission has already ben given for 1300 houses.

    So it is no longer about creating jobs, but creating houses on what was Grade I agricultural land.
    More housing means more people in Thanet (there are 830 empty dwellings in Cliftonville and Margate centre. But no new jobs.

    It is easy to imagine that the houses will be built by housing associations that will use them to put their unemployed tenants who will no longer be able to afford to live in London because of the rent caps.

    So, to protect EKO's investment, we actually raise the unemployment levels in Thanet.

    if EKO is going to be for housing instead of creating jobs, should the SEEDA and the European Development Fund get some of their money back ?

    If you don't see that as a problem, think about the traffic at Westwood Cross on a Saturday or Sunday and imagine what it will be like if these 550 houses are built, in addition to the 1300 that already have planning permission on the other side of the road.