So how much money will the Council make from selling the Pleasurama site to Cardy’s; the big hearted builders who despite being asked to sever links with the original failed developers continue to have a close relationship with them in Lowestoft? How much will Cardy’s contribute towards the maintenance and repair of the cliff face which threatens to gobble up every last penny that TDC earns from the deal with Cardy? Will the freehold of the Pleasurama site be handed over to Cardy before the development is completed? What leverage will TDC have over Cardy if they do not compete the development on time and how much time are Cardy really being given to complete. What power does TDC have to stop Cardy selling on the site once they have got their hands on the freehold.? Will the flats ever be sold? Will a hotel ever be built and who will it be managed by? There are so many questions which need asking and which TDC’s pathetically condescending QA crib sheet on its website fails to ask.
In what might be my last act as Ramsgate Councillor, I asked to see a copy of the agreement with Cardy so that I could find the answers to some of these questions. I then planned to publish information from the agreement to keep the residents of Ramsgate fully informed about the latest developments concerning this controversial development which as blighted the seafront for over a decade. After unacceptable delays and the publication of misleading council propaganda I was eventually told by the monitoring officer, Steven Boyle, that the agreement contains a clause which "forbids disclosure and cites commercial sensitivity as the reason".
Mr Boyles response is utterly astonishing. Council’s do not normally sign agreements with developers which remain secret for what appears to be perpetuity. Council’s are supposed to be accountable to the public they serve. To keep the terms of this £multi-million deal with Cardy secret is profoundly undemocratic and extremely worrying. Local people have a right to know by how much they will benefit from the sale of publicly owned property. They also have a right to have access to information which will allow them to decide for themselves whether the deal with Cardy represents good or bad value. Its utterly inconceivable that this secrecy clause could have been inserted into the Cardy deal without the express authority of Thanet Council’s ruling Labour Cabinet which includes Ramsgate Councillors David Green and Rick Everitt who are seeking re-election in less than 5 weeks time.
I can only assume that by approving the secrecy clause in the Cardy deal the Labour Cabinet are trying to conceal important information about the Cardy deal from Ramsgate residents. Just as the Council did when it imposed a High Court Gagging Injunction on me which, with a threat of imprisonment, still unfairly prevents me from talking about certain aspects of the Council’s management of the Pleasurama development and the estimated value of the site.
The reason why the Council’s Labour bosses are happy for the deal with Cardy to be shrouded in secrecy must surely be because the deal is highly likely to be bad value for Council and its taxpayers. Many people have speculated that in the long run the deal will cost the Council and its taxpayers much more than it will ever gain. This is precisely why the Labour Cabinet have supressed the truth from the public by supporting a secrecy clause in the Cardy deal. But I guess I shouldn’t be too shocked. After all it was the Thanet Council Labour Cabinet which deliberately kept the debt deferral deal with TransEuropa Ferries secret until the company went bust almost 2 years ago owing the Council £3.4million. The people of Ramsgate have been misled, deceived and kept ignorance by a Labour-led Council for far too long. I have helped to publically expose their undemocratic treachery. In 5 weeks time you can vote for Green Councillors in Ramsgate and Margate who end the culture of political corruption and secrecy which has been a feature of Thanet politics for far too long.