Friday, 1 February 2013
East Kent Expansion Fund, Royal Sands Ramsgate letter.
Dear Sir/ Madam
SFP Ventures UK Ltd and Cardy Construction Ltd application to East Kent Expansion Fund to support Royal Sands Development
I understand that SFP Ventures UK Ltd and Cardy Construction Ltd have applied to the East Kent Expansion Fund to support their work on the Royal Sands Development in Ramsgate.
I am a Ramsgate Councillor and Chairman of Thanet District Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Panel and I would like to object in the strongest terms to public money being used to support this project.
SFP Ventures UK Ltd have been the developer of the Royal Sands project at Ramsgate for over 10 years. In that time the company has made very little progress in delivering the flats and luxury hotel which they promised. Instead a prime piece of Ramsgate seafront has been blighted by a major eyesore for a decade.
I have spent considerable time researching SFP Ventures UK Ltd claim that they have substantial previous experience of managing similar multi-£million projects in the UK and overseas. I have been unable to find any evidence to substantiate this claim.
In my opinion SFP Ventures have never developed similar projects before and it would be a very high risk to loan public money to an organisation with no proven track record in its claimed area of expertise.
Most importantly, I am very concerned about the potential risk to the health and safety of the people who will live and work at the Royal Sands development should the project, in its current form, ever be completed.
In 2008 the Government’s Environment Agency wrote to Thanet District Council warning that the development was located in a high risk flood zone and that the safety of the development occupants could be put at risk because, for technical reasons, the development had not been subject to flood risk assessment.
I attach a copy of Environment Agency’s letter for your information.
I believe that it would be wholly inappropriate to invest considerable amounts of public money into a project which could potentially put people’s lives at risk.
Finally, I am concerned that the condition of the cliff face, which will be only 4 metres from the completed development, is such that it will require considerable investment to ensure that there are no collapses which might endanger the safety of residents or users of the development. The cost of maintaining the cliff face to avoid this possibility will be borne by the council tax payers of Thanet and could amount to several £millions over the life of the of the development.
I believe that it would be wholly inappropriate to invest considerable amounts of public money into a project which is likely to become a major drain upon the council tax payers of Thanet.
Because the Royal Sands development is generating considerable public interest in Ramsgate I feel obliged to make this letter public.
I sincerely hope that in arriving at your decision about whether to fund this project, you will take into account my comments.
Councillor Ian Driver
Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel