Saturday, 2 March 2013

UKplanning – Pleasurama

Cllr Ian Driver’s recent post containing a “secret” document regarding allocation of the development site known as Pleasurama, Ramsgate, gives considerable credence to the notion that there is something untoward about this transaction. The report may or may not be genuine but it deals with a part of the timeline (2002-3) for this project which has interested me of late.  This was the period when the Audit Commissioner was preparing a report about Thanet District Council, following a complaint to his office by a member of the public, that scathing report was not published until October 2003.

During this period the Labour administration had been ousted by a Conservative victory in the 2003 elections, and reading the above “secret” report a planning application was eagerly awaited for the Pleasurama site. The earliest document I have seen for the SFP scheme on Pleasurama is one shown on Michaels Child’s blog here. This was prepared in 2002 by PRC Fewster Architects of Surbiton in Surrey and appears to be a preliminary scheme by SFP Ventures backed by Whitbread plc.

So, coming to the point of this post. I have examined the UKplanning documents for the Pleasurama development and what appears to be the same scheme at a more advanced stage, submitted on 4 Nov 2003 by the same architects, PRC Fewster of Surbiton, Surrey, states that the applicant for the site is Robert Leonard Group plc of Southend on Sea, Essex. They paid £22,000 for the privilege of submitting the application for approval.

Even more curious is that some 3 months later, the application was approved but the approval document carries the name of SFP Ventures Partners Ltd. The Robert Leonard Group would have had to advise Thanet District Council of a change of applicant and that correspondence should be on the planning file. It also means that The Robert Leonard Group must be aware of the identity of SFP Ventures Partners Ltd. This is particularly strange because the only UK based company which would have a "Ltd" suffix is SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd which was not formed until 2006.

P.S It has since occurred to me that a planning permission issued to the wrong applicant, who is in fact a fictitious company may be null and void