Friday, 6 September 2013

Pleasurama Agitators, Spoilers & Golden Testicles

They say that  truth is stranger than fiction and here in Thanet that's often the case. So here is my story and tell me what you think. Is it  truth, is it fiction, is it strange?

Pressured by  growing public anger, Thanet councillors were eventually forced go agree to set up an enquiry into  the Ramsgate  Pleasurama development project which has blighted the  seafront for nigh on a decade. After being cheerleaders of  businessman Sean Patrick Keegan and estate agent Terrence Painter's   SFP Ventures (UK)  Ltd for many years, councillors  were forced, by the possibility of losing votes at the next election,  to recognise that this company was extremely  unlikely to  build the 106 flats and luxury hotel by the agreed deadline of 28 February 28th 2014.

 Last week councillors  agreed that the so-called due diligence conducted into SFP Ventures in 2009 was entirely insufficient. Some  (but not all)  of the councillors expressing their dissatisfaction about the due-diligence, were quite happy in 2009 to uncritically accept the documents they are now concerned  about and vote  in favour of SFP continuing to be the project developer. A word beginning with "hypo"  and ending in "crite" comes to mind. 

At the same meeting, councillors also called for legal advice about whether Mr Keegan and Mr
Painter's SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd were in breach of their Development Agreement with the Council and what action could be taken to determine the agreement, sack the company and seize the land from them.

All good stuff and all heading in the right direction you might think. But hang on a minute there is a  twist in my tale. Just when the council appears, albeit  reluctantly,   to be doing something positive about the Pleaurama scandal evidence of what might possibly be a secret double game has emerged. 

An e-mail from Mr Mike Stannard  boss of  building company Cardy's who are contracted by SFP to do the Pleasurama construction work has been circulating in cyberspace. The e-mail suggests that the Council's Chief Executive approached him in on 21 August requesting an off the record  discussion about the Pleasurama development. Here is that e-mail re-produced in full.

21 August 2013
Hi Graham/Daniel/Stuart

This chap runs a local blog in Thanet, and I suspect without any doubt his interest in Cardy is fuelled solely by agitators and spoilers who are against the Royal Sands site.
I spoke with this chap about Two months ago,  and at that time it was to put him straight regarding a story he was going to write then about Cardy Construction Ltd being struck off at Companies call to him prevented a negative and damaging story. I doubt he has much of a following, and most of them would be odd.
I do not intend responding by email but I do think I should phone with a "positive" and up beat conversation.
Cardy Healthcare is separate to Cardy Construction Ltd and was a specialist company that we set up to develop and explore opportunities within the Healthcare Sector, including healthcentres, medical centres, GP Surgeries, Pharmacies and Hospitals both in the Private Sector and the NHS. 

This has been a speculative 5 year plan , and our initial investment in this process has proved to have been very successful and we have a secured and confirmed order book of approaching £10million pounds of quality and profitable work.
Let me know your thoughts, I do not intend speaking with him today.
Ironically a took a call from the Chief Exec of TDC yesterday at 4pm. And he asked if he and I could have an "off line" chat re Royal Sands. He does not want lawyers or others involved and felt that me/Cardy and him were the two people in this project that could influence success for the project . Not sure why I have been singled out, but I guess if I can finally pull this one off, I would be Billy Golden Balls.
I am sure it will end up being more hot air. Seeing him at 8.30 this morning. Will update you.

If this e-mail is true then, apart from getting the gender of the Chief Executive wrong, it raises some very important questions about the way Thanet Council is being managed. Although  speculation on my part this e-mail  appears to mean that the  Chief Executive wants to do a deal to save the  Pleasurama development behind the back of the Council's Task and Finish Group which is currently reviewing the Council's options on Pleasurama.

Is it possible that the  Chief Executive wants to tempt Cardy's away from the discredited developers SFP Ventures and offer it the role of  project developer once SFP has been sacked?  Also who authorised the Chief Executive to approach Cardy's?  The Council's Cabinet says that it fully supports the work of the Pleasurama Task and Finish Group. But  that would not stop them from  commissioning a secret mission to try to save the Pleasurama Project. After all, Cllr Allan Poole the Cabinet Portfolio holder responsible for Pleasurama has on several occasions  publicly sated that he supports the development. Did he order the Chief Executive to make this approach. Interstingly at the Task and Finish meeting last week Harvey Patterson the Council's Legal Officer argued quite strongly against the Group placing restrictions on the Council's freedom of action vis-à-vis SFP. I wonder why?

Anyway I have e-mailed the Council's Chief Executive to find out what's going on. Not that I expect a prompt or forthright reply. here is my e-mail.

Dear Ms McGonigal
I have had sight of an e-mail which suggests that a senior council officer recently  approached  the building company Cardy to hold informal and private discussions about the future of the Ramsgate Pleasurama  development. I would be grateful if you could let me know if such an approach has been made, or if the building company Cardy has made such an approach to the Council
If such communications have taken place could you tell me which officer has been in discussion with building company Cardy and under what authority this officer has been conducting discussions. I would also like to know what subjects were  discussed at this meeting if it has already taken place, or what subjects are being planned to be discussed if the meeting has not yet taken place.
This is a very serious issue, especially because an OPS task and finish group has been set up to consider all aspects of the Pleasurama development.
I look forward to hearing from you on this matter
Cllr Ian Driver

Assuming that this e-mail is genuine, the thing which concerns  me most of all is that many  people in Ramsgate want to see an end to the Pleasurama scandal and the decade long  seafront eyesore it has caused. They want to have meaningful discussion with the Council  about new ideas for the use of this important piece of valuable seafront land. But despite this powerful  public feeling officers and politicians at Thanet Council appear to be secretly conspiring behind the backs of local people to force Pleasurama  onto  them against their wishes. This is not democracy its what I believe to be  organisational and political corruption.

Also if this e-mail is genuine then I think that Cardy's Mike Stannard has made  big big mistake by insulting the 1,200 people who signed the Pleasurama petition by describing them as  "Odd, Agitators or Spoilers. Perhaps Mr Stannard should have joined his colleague Mr Painter at the public meeting about Pleasurama at  Chatham House School in July. Had he done so then he might have been a bit more respectful towards local people and recognised that not many of them want his development.

In any event I agree with Mr Stannard on one thing - he really does need  to have Golden Balls after pissing  off  so many  Ramsgate people. If of course the e-mail is true, which it looks like it might be


"Further to your email and following an investigation by our IT manager, I can confirm that the email was edited and issued by an unauthorised person within our organisation and subsequently we will be undertaking an internal review. This review may well result in disciplinary actions being taken".




  1. FOI "the investigation" - this is so inept and grotesque that the perpetrator needs to be made known publicly. John Hamilton's best friend?

  2. Why would a director of cardys get the sex wrong? Who did they speak to??

  3. A company's reputation can go up and it can go down. It will all depend on the conduct of the company. If a company refers to people who live in the town and want the best for the area, as agitators and spoilers, you shouldn't be surprised if that company's reputation declines. If the E-mail posted above is genuine, I would suggest that Cardy Construction needs to look at who they employ to present themselves to the public. In my day Mr. Stannard would have been "sent on a course."

  4. Happily Thanet Blogs have their own insider (he implies he has such access) in the Pleasurama Developer and construction set up. John Hamilton. If this email is a red herring could it be a double whammy hammy.

    Munchausen syndrome setting up the situation in which the sufferer can draw attention to themself and emerge as a hero, wisest counsel or victim.

  5. Far be it from me to start a rumour about the proximity of the harbour slipway area to the Pleasurama site. Or to in any way compare it to the proximity of the Trent and Mersey Canal alongside the above Northwich development.

    But Thanet can be re-assured by the erudite and informed opinions of Michael Child, William Epps (or his alter ego John Hamilton) that Thor and Sericol aquifer contamination facts, although true, must not be mentioned. Because such mention they think is talking the area down. As long as we don't mention it perhaps potential investors in Thanet won't notice the contamination problems.

    The point is that there may actually be hope of a late in the day saving swoop on Pleasurama as TDC contemplate the potential legal costs etc.

    I never even hinted that the swoop might be from a company that may be required to import a substantial tonnage of mercury waste into UK for recycling.

    Eppsy/Hammy and Co have reassured us all that industry is clean and pure. Just because a company has an explosion and fire at a Cheshire PLant and has contaminated Cato Ridge South Africa environment and water. According to the Encyclopaedia Hammy,Holyer/Epps we should disregard all that. as well as disregard a remediation project in Margate supervised by EA and an explosion and fire Margate 2007.

    In the past Hammy wise predictions have been reassurances about the Pleasurama Build. He is now a failed Nostradamus. Only he seems to have moved on without apologizing for his foolishness.

  6. Is William Epps John Hamilton then?