Much publicity was generated about the Thanet District Council delegation, which visited China in 2008 with the supposed intention of securing Chinese investment in the China Gateway project. Three years on, with no commitment by the Chinese to support the venture and a fragile financial predicament of the development company , no sign of economic advantage from the East Kent Opportunities LLP backed venture has filtered through to Thanet.
In fact the planning permission for China Gateway Phase 1 still remains outstanding and not approved because of real concerns about discharge of effluent from the factories and warehouses into septic tanks above Thanet’s underground drinking water supply.
Grandiose schemes like these are “pies in the sky” and it is very unlikely they will come to fruition. The number and type of jobs created by this sort of venture are not accurately quantifiable and by no means secure. Take the example of M&S Westwood Cross for instance, on the face of it, a creator of many jobs, but when the number of jobs lost at M&S Margate is deducted, the picture looks far less rosy.
The only way to job security is economic prosperity for the whole island and whilst Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate continue to look run down and unattractive to both visitors and prospective new residents alike, the Thanet malaise will remain. Grants are available for regeneration on a large scale like Turner Contemporary or on a small scale for garden planting etc. We need a council sympathetic to the needs of the whole community and with the energy and determination to make it happen rather than sitting on their hands and saying “it can’t be done”