Monday 3 November 2014

Manston CPO decision on the 13th November and some other stuff on the airport + Flat fails to talk about sweets and sweetshops and I ramble on about collecting Shire Publications.

Frankly when Discovery Parks bought the Manston Airport site it was a major game changer, up to this point TDC were pursuing a cpo based on perceived public opinion as the result of a petition that hadn’t been properly validated and was signed before Discovery Parks announced that they had plans for the site, which would provide thousands of jobs for local people.

A very important factor here is that Thanet taxpayers money is being spent by Thanet council to investigate whether the council can remove a major brownfield site owner with a proven track record for producing UK jobs, in favour of a foreign company with no track record of having produced any UK jobs, of for that matter any aviation jobs. That they are doing this without any sort of public consultation seems ludicrous.

Make no mistake here I am not anti airport, when a plane flies over I am first out the door with a camera, but much more important than this is local jobs and when the council is engaged in hostile action towards a company with a good track record of investing in the UK and providing jobs, that says it intends to invest £1bn in a site it has just purchased in Thanet, with the intention of providing local jobs, then I become concerned.

A good parallel to this on a very small scale is, I think, the council buying up town centre shops in active and fully let parts of the local towns, with the intention of turning them into social housing.

Anyway here is the Isle of Thanet Gazette article about how much the council are spending on the cpo

Part of the problem is that TDC are not really spending this money on a cpo, not even on discovering if a cpo is viable, they haven’t even really reached the point of considering whether an airport would have economically beneficial, environmentally viable, or socially beneficial. This doesn’t come until the draft local plan is published around Christmas, once they have this they can consider these things.

What they are doing is basically looking for a partner to fund them so the can chuck out the existing owners and their plans for local job, should the whim take them sometime in the future. 

Anyway as far as I can see we only have another couple of weeks of this nonsense.

This is a quote from TDC cabinet member David Green: “TDC at present are not considering the airport against economic, environmental and social criteria, that will come with the publication of the preferred options draft of the Local Plan, expected in Dec, and the subsequent consultation in the new year. They are not even considering the merits or otherwise of a CPO as that could only happen if TDC had a commercial partner willing to take all the financial risk and would depend upon the relative merits of the business case and many other factors. What we are doing is a soft market test under EU contract legislation as to whether such a partner exists. I have to tell you that at the moment none of the Councils prospective partners have forfilled the Councils requirements for such a partner. We have decided that this process must end with the Cabinet meeting on the 13th Nov. TDC Officers recommendations will be in the Cabinet papers for that meeting. It is possible that any decision we make could be called into Scrutiny Committee, who could ask Cabinet to think again. We will ensure that this process happens as rapidly as Councils procedures allow.”

Business wise I shall be pleased when the uncertainty about the airport is over, the airport itself has never done very much either way for business as there has never been enough activity there, but the uncertainty about its future has been very damaging.

On to Flat’s discussions about books, as you see he has chosen one today about sweets and sweetshops, he has gone off to look in the sweet jar and I can’t get any sort of comment from him, so will do my best.

The two Thanet sweetshops that stick in my mind are the one where Pete’s Fish Factory is now, where you could watch Ramsgate Rock being pulled and the one overlooking Margate beach that closed about seven years ago.

Anyway I suppose that one thing that all collectors of book series are on the lookout for is a series that is going to become collectable in terms of rare editions and so on, while all of the books in series are selling for pretty much one price an no one much knows what’s scarce. All the Shire books we have in stock are priced at £1.99 or less.

I think it is possible the Shire publications fall into this bracket, anyway I bought some more today, bottom left of the pile of books in the store waiting to be priced.

I have been gathering them up from around the shop with the view of putting them all together somewhere, viewed spine on our entire stock of Shire books doesn’t look very impressive and out in the various bookshop sections they pertain to, they vanish between larger books and get damaged.

Lay a few out and they look more interesting.

Anyway today I made a new bookcase in the bookshop to take them and a few other series.

The canal Shire book is a good example to explain what I am talking about, it was in the canal book section in the bookshop. To be honest our canal book section isn’t much use if you are planning a narrow boat holiday, you would need to look on the internet for that sort of information. My objective in the bookshop is to try to have books where the content either won’t be on the internet, or will only be available there more expensively than buying the book off the shelf.

Just a further point while I am on the subject of the internet, if you go to buy a secondhand book from a site like Amazon, you will find that a lot of the cheaper ones used to belong to public libraries. If you click on the picture of the books in the canal section to expand it you will see the tell tale signs of an ex-library book, top left with the accession number selotaped to the spine. 

The main thing to check if you buy an ex-library book is that it has the proper cancellation stamp on it, the Kent libraries one is the black round one, if not it is probably stolen.

The rule is something like this, a fine condition first edition of a specialist canal book about the history of an individual canal is going to cost about £10, with a reprint costing about £6. Take the fine first edition, write your name in it and it becomes worth about £6, clip the price off and it becomes worth about £7, lose the dust jacket and it becomes worth about £5, a cancelled ex-library copy with no jacket being worth about £2 to £3 and an uncancelled one being worth nothing at all.

So with the internet it is buyer beware. 

   Finally half term at the moment and my children are old enough to do their own cooking producing some unusual items in preparation.  


Anonymous said...

Yet still the Save Manston lot say there is no financial risk to the taxpayer.... based on the current situation a CPO would be laughed out of court leaving TDC to foot the bill as there is no way that Riveroak would fund a failed CPO attempt, hence why they don't want to hand over any money now...

Anonymous said...

TDC could have loads of cash coming their way that makes the £70k look chicken feed.
The planning permission confirmed by the government this week at the Eurokent site is a life saver for TDC rather than the albatross that it was hanging round their necks. At a stroke a multi million pound loss maker will become a potential money spinner on a scale never seen before in Thanet. The 50 acres of green field land once worth £6,000 an acre, being developed on increases the price to over £1 millions per acre. Plus any profits on the development itself. No doubt TDC's share of this will be confidential and must not be reported anywhere. On top of this the 550 dwellings attract a grant from the government's new build scheme that will be in the region of £25 millions. And if the development of 800 dwellings at Manston Green goes ahead then thats another £40 millions in grants.

All TDC will need is the parkway station so that many of the dwellings are occupied by commuters as there wont be enough local jobs.

Anonymous said...

Just like other clutching at straws by the SMA with a petition against Paul Carter, it doesn't make the case any better/different for trying to take away a site from its owner and handing it to another foreign party based on pure speculation on what they might do....

Anonymous said...

It has occurred to me having jumped through hoops to get planning permission at EastKent the last thing TDC will now want is a cargo/breakers yard at Manston, who wants to buy a house near an airport you cant fly from? Its no longer in the council's interest for a CPO to proceed.

God help us said...

To be fair this is Iris's response I assume today
"I have no doubt that Dave was referring to the fact that none of the possible back to back investors had provided ALL the information our 151 officer required .

The deadline was the 29th August which we extended as we especially asked the main party for more detail.

At our meeting with them on 29th October our officers agreed that the required information was still needed.

Elected members need to allow the company and officers to follow through and I understand there has been more contact.

The report I had hoped to have for 13th still needs to collated with any new information. The Scrutiny Committee of course can call in any decision Cabinet makes."
Makes you wonder how many other deadlines will pass.
Also I wonder just why they didn't meet the deadline is it all smoke n mirrors

Chris Wells said...

No, Barry, it is the position of the administration that is all smoke and mirrors. Cabinet members saying one thing, clarified by leader once again, completely changing what was said. This administration, particularly it's leader, is playing games with public opinion, as it has done over Pleasurama. I confidently predict the leader will seek to blame everyone else, Riveroak, the government, KCC, and probably when she reads this, me, so she can maintain her 'integrity' with previous statements. However, her track record on Pleasurama, Turner, and EKO tell a very different story. No reason why Manston will not simply provide the next blatant evidence of spin and bluster which is her proven habit over many years. Being fair does not come into it, it is not in the Labour Party dictionary.

Anonymous said...

Even if TDC were 1000% behind the idea of the CPO, it would still fail as they haven't had exhaustive talks with the new owners about their plans and they have no idea with the land valuation - if they approach the Secretary of State to ask for a CPO with the current state of play they will sent away with their tail between their legs !

As much as I would live to see Manston flourish again, it is an extremely expensive thing to run. Save Manston lot get excited that apparently KLM had 16,000 passengers inconvenienced, but that is just peanuts towards the running costs and doesn't prove viability at all.

God help us said...

Making the assumption that DG is making a factual statement the question is "Why isn't RO providing satisfactory answers to the "due diligence" conducted by officers?"

Anonymous said...

I'd imagine that they don't have any money and that they will be after investors to put money in, but how can they when they don't have a clue as to how much it would cost them to buy the site through a CPO??

Also how can they guarantee jobs, when they can't guarantee that any cargo companies want to use the site? Why would a cargo company commit themselves to someone that doesn't own the site and that doesn't know they outlay so cannot tell them what their rates for using the site will be

How can you progress a CPO on the basis of pure speculation ?

Anonymous said...

From my perspective, a book that in fine condition is worth a tenner is pretty much worth 'nothing at all'; a tenner's just a tenner, not much in the world of 'collectable books'. But assuming my personal level of the bar doesn't apply, an ex-library book without a cancellation stamp is not worth 'nothing at all', it's worth whatever anyone's willing to pay for it, which is certainly 'something' because not everyone gives a **** and they do get sold. :-)

Michael Child said...

Ah anon, book collecting just don’t work like that, I for instance collect architectural topography books and although some of the books in this field are very expensive the key to any collection of this sort are the Pevsners (Penguin Building of England series to the uninitiated) many a fine first edition in this series are going to be under a tenner. So if one followed where you are coming from one would have a collection missing some very important English counties just because they weren’t expensive enough. I have to admit the notion of having a collection of stolen library books has caused me some amusement. Perhaps I should have phrased it differently: An uncancelled library book is worth less than nothing to the honest book collector as if they inadvertently acquire one they will have to pay the cost of returning it to the library it belongs to.

Anonymous said...

Statement on SUMA 6 November 2014

Some of you may have noticed that Manston Airport has not made the agenda of the next meeting as we were expecting. Sent to us by one of our supporters, is the reason from TDC leader Cllr Iris Johnston. Oscar.

"I know a lot of people will be very disappointed that Manston back to back investor follow up is not in the agenda. A decision had to be made yesterday.

Following meetings between RiverOak and our 151 officer Mr Cook last Thursday I understand further information has been submitted which must be thoroughly sifted through.

This must be done properly hence the acting Chief Executives decision to remove Manston from the 13th November agenda.

This is essential so that we can ensure every effort is given to RiverOak to answer the questions we originally put to them last summer .

We will probably need an extraordinary Cabinet once all the new information is examined and the 151 officer makes his report."

Anonymous said...

It's very hard to disagree with Chris wells assessment of the situation. The Labour Group is clearly stringing this out to a ridiculous extent. In my opinion the problem is that they are caught in a trap of their own making. Having initiated the CPO process, they now know that it cannot succeed. However, the leader has got so used to the limelight that she is unwilling to let the final curtain descend. My sources suggest that the other Labour councillors are extremely irritated. I imagine it is extremely irritating to be repeatedly outmanoeuvred by your own leader. I wonder how long before there's a vote of no confidence; Iris and Ed Milliband.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons that other councillors are irritated is because, rather than speak to them, she would prefer to inform people via these Facebook Groups run by campaigners, who do not benefit from democratic election or from confidence, and I completely understand why they are irritated.