Pyramid Comment

This journal takes an alternative view on current affairs and other subjects. The approach is likely to be contentious and is arguably speculative. The content of any article is also a reminder of the status of those affairs at that date. All comments have been disabled. Any and all unsolicited or unauthorised links are absolutely disavowed.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Secondary Legislation And China Gateway

Secondary or delegated legislation is similar in principle to planning amendments after the original plans have been approved. The original plan is 'approved' by a committee of more than one person. Once approval has been granted (and possibly construction commenced) amendments can be made that only require 'rubber stamping' by one person. The potential for massaging plans is limitless with this arrangement. A three storey building can become magically four even when the local community has been advised of a three storey construction.

All approved

All legal

China Gateway A possible example in progress is the China Gateway. October 2008 was the initial approval for the 1st phase that was 'examined', when considerable resistance to this entire project was met by Thanet District Council (TDC), based on significant safety grounds. The details of phases 2 & 3 are still 'officially' unknown, yet in principle they now have approval. So through TDC's blindness, the project will begin and ignore serious and genuine concerns: potential drinking water contamination. The high ground at Manston contains the aquifers that serve Thanet. The entire area will be concreted over effectively sealing the ground underneath from the rainwater that soaks downwards through the chalk. The ground above will be covered with lorries and the potential contamination of drinking water for all the people of Thanet is very real. The aquifers could even run dry. The decisions of the few affect the many. If any individual suffers as a consequence of the action to allow this process to begin, then clearly any potential criminal behaviour that allowed it can be examined. Not that retrospective action helps any injured party. The blindness of TDC is exemplified by the fact that at least some of those who 'approved' these plans will use this water. The obvious question arises: when will the water run out if not adequately replenished by rainwater? This possibly wasn't even considered since the designation of agricultural use has been changed to employment use.

Cynical or essential?

Moving the goal posts once the game has begun is an old ploy to gain unfair and unwarranted advantage.

  • Phase 1: approved (hostile)
  • Phase 2: details unknown. Approval by rubber stamp
  • Phase 3: details unknown. Approval by rubber stamp
Recent manoeuvering has already become sinister. The company behind the plans for the business park near Manston has offered Kent County Council £3m for more land to increase the size of the development. This after Phase 1 approval, but before Phases 2 & 3 rubber stamping. This also at a time when KCC has become financially stretched (Kent taxpayers' money) through investments in a collapsed Icelandic bank. From a business point of view it is probably perceived as a good time to make such an offer although morally (in business? - DA) it is a disgrace. KCC should send the company packing. But it is inevitable that it won't. Another short term solution to a long term problem. Carter will be long gone, while the people of Thanet will still (hopefully) be here: 50 miles distant from Maidstone. Commercial Group Properties desires that KCC sell 27 acres of land at Columbus Avenue, Manston Park, Ramsgate, Kent.

The price of this land (employment or agricultural?) is clearly rated at £111,111 per acre and the value is suggestive of some sort of planning approval attached. The mist gathers over Manston. Work is to begin on the China Gateway development in October whether or not any further movement is made on the 27 acres and planning permission is still outstanding for Phases 2 & 3. Officially. But rubber stamps can be activated in an instant. Some of CGP's shares have been sold for just 3p, so if they are sold at 4p they will make a 30% return. Go figure the maths, but the potential is huge when starting at such a low value. Investment from China will ensure that the development gets built. It was represented last year of the China Gateway being driven by the Chinese government. It now sounds as though it is simply a source of finance in the current economic crisis that did not exist when approval was sought and acquired 12 months ago.

  • Something smells very bad in the air around Thanet, especially when the background detail does not add up.
Phase 1 was 'agreed' and forced through by Thanet District Council in October 2008. It comprises 21 different-sized warehouses and covers about 138,000 sq. metres. Phases 2 & 3 remain technically unapproved. Theoretically, if the entire set of three phases are approved, the coverage could be up to 307,000 sq. metres. Details remain secret and this in itself raises suspicion about the deal, only that the commercial wing of the Chinese government Chinamex is involved. This is a Dubai-registered company: Middle East Investment and Trade Promotion Centre and backed by the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing.

China Gateway, Manston

Attention has turned to China for investment since using banks is apparently not possible (still). Also apparently impossible is raising money on the London Stock Exchange. The justification for China is at the surface simple funding and examining any deeper is not possible.

  • "I believe that the quality of the site will entice companies to establish headquarters here which will underpin a long-term investment in the community."
Clearly, much is unknown and patently uncertain or deliberately hidden from public scrutiny.

  • Development apparently comprises buildings for mixed commercial use that includes marketing, research and development...

of what?

All defined, presumably under the approved phase 1 plans. The question remains:

What are phases 2 & 3?