Friday, August 29, 2008

China Gateway What no minutes no agenda?

Sometimes I think we are all bogged down in to much detail, and sometimes we dont have enough, take China Gate on the one hand, we are told the development will concrete vast areas of farmland, and then possibly cause immense damage as the developers are looking for the cheapest drainage solution on offer, rather than spend a few hundred grand on mains drainage, when they confidently expect to trouser millions, what nobody has explained to anyone in Thanet, is just what are we getting, apart from a handful of flights to China for the chosen few.

Now I for one happen to be pragmatic, if China Gateway can provide well paid jobs for Thanet residents, unlike that other multi million development, which it now appears will be mainly for foreigners initially and supplied by labour agencies that aren't local.

Its right and proper for our local council, to make themselves available for discussion with chinese business, and of course there's a "but" coming and its this should anyone from Thanet be accepting hospitality from the Chinese government, and for this reason, they continue to abuse their own citizens and as witnessed recently simply ignored their agreements to improve human rights which was a condition for them to host the olympics.

Perhaps contact with the repressive Chinese regime has made them paranoid about what they put on paper, as I recently requested details of meetings they'd had with CGP, astonishing as it seems, TDC don't have any agendas or minutes from such meetings.

I cannot confirm or deny whether I received this from John Bunnett's PA,


I refer to your e-mail dated 19th August 2008 in which you requested copies of agendas and or minutes of meetings held between Mr. John Bunnett Deputy Chief Executive and CGP. I can confirm that no agendas and or minutes were prepared or taken at any of the meetings.
If I can be of any further assistance in this matter please do not hesitate to contact me."

For this reason, many organisations and Thanet council are no exception attaching (ladys, gents please look away! ) Bullshit conditions* to their communications, even replies to FOI requests but since, unlike china we don't have labour camps in this country, what can the do, well probably place me under surveillance.

And whats my interest, well nothing other than a desire to see Thanet conduct business in a business like manner, meetings with developers should be recorded properly, this project has massive implications for our health, wealth and future and I've seen nothing so far that gives me confidence, don't forget Sandy's administration bought a building worth about £2million for close to £5million, just imagine how out of their depth they are on this.

Wouldn't you just love to be a fly on the wall when Sandy & Roger discuss business especially, chinese business.
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  1. Ask them for the minutes of a meeting with Roger Latchford, Rob Prince (of CGP) and Council Officers that took place on 4 Jan 2008. If they are unable to produce them then ask them why? You can always ask ECR to rummage through his Tesco bag if it is not forthcoming from TDC?

    If you really want to dig, why not ask them about meetings and discussions held prior to CGP purchasing over 100 acres of farmland for Phases 2 and 3 in early 2007? Ask TDC what were CGP told about granting a change in The Local Plan or a change to the the LDF? Or do we really all believe that nothing was said and that CGP decided to speculate on the off chance, having borrowed £28.5 million from The Israel Discount Bank at LIBOR +2%? An expensive way of entering Farming in the Uk?.
    Freedom of Information is not a concept fully grasped by TDC yet, quite clearly.

  2. I've asked about various issues relating to all this and get replies along the lines of 'That's commercially sensitive' or 'That's not anything to do with us' or 'Mind your own business'. I made the last one up but it gives a flavour of their attitude.

    I'm still waiting for the answer to 'When did TDC sell land at Manston to CGP' and that was weeks ago so they've basically ignored that one altogether.

    If they wonder why the campaign against all this is gathering momentum they only have to look at the comments from people like me.

  3. They are doing whatever they please.

  4. if 12.20 is correct and there are minutes of the meeting on 4 Jan 2008 (I suspect a Tesco bag content 12.20) then clearly Mr Bunnet has been economical with the truth. One must assume that as a member of the 'TDC 4' who went to China last November, Mr Bunnet has, as a senior Council Officer, been involved closely in all discussions with CGP and as far back as 2006? Surely, he is required to minute his contacts and discussions with CGP? Keep pressing, Tony. Get involved with The District Auditor and Scrutiny fast as this is an utterly unacceptable situation where a Senior Council Officer is having talks with a potential applicant for an enormous Planning application and has the effrontery to suggest that no minutes were kept? You might like to ask him for all dates, times and lengths of ALL meetings with CGP involving him and his fellow Senior Officers since 2006 'that were not minuted'!
    Huh, go and look at Wigan for similar nonsense.

  5. "Commercial sensitivity" is not in itself a reason to withhold information requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

  6. Can we just not boil Thanet District Council who along with others including the Government as Buerocratic Bullshitters