Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tip's A Snip At £2.4m

Regular contributor Samantha writes:

For some time I have been trying to draw the council's attention to the dreadful eyesore round the back of Granville Court. This site, which abuts a conservation area, was granted planning permission by TDC in 2004 for a block of flats, since when it has been allowed to become a festering hole by its owners, Oakleigh Developments Ltd. of Rochester. The boundary fence blew down more than a year ago and has never been properly repaired. The site is full of health and safety hazards, including deep excavations, and attracts fly tippers.

Attempts to contact Oakleigh Developments have all resulted in dead ends, and I notice that they are overdue at Companies House with this year's annual return and annual report. Now the site is up for auction on 31 March by Ward and Partners with a guideline price of £2.3-£2.4m. Of course, this price reflects the fact that planning permission has already been granted, and still has a year to run.

What annoys me is that all my attempts to alert Thanet Council and my local Councillor, David Green, to the state of this site, which blights what is otherwise a pleasant built landscape, have been ignored. They have never even bothered to respond to my emails. With gas cannisters and other hazardous waste on the site, and with the school holidays approaching, it will not be long before a curious teenager suffers serious injury if you ask me, as the site is wide open.

What does the council's Planning Department do when it gives these developers planning permission? Walk away and never darken their doors again? It seems so, and it's a disgrace. If you ask me, they are asleep at the wheel. I have enclosed some photos for your excellent blog.

Update: According to the Ward and Partners website (click here), the sale has since been withdrawn.


Little Weed said...

I have to take a photo of a Thanet eyesore for a competition later this year - this looks like a good contender

Ken Gregory said...

Richard, I will raise this with our planning enforcement officer tomorrow morning

Eastcliff Richard said...

Many thanks Mr Gregory. I'll pass on the good news to Samantha.

And yes, LW, it does seem to be a prime candidate for the 'Thanet is Beautiful' competition this year!

Anonymous said...

If you wandered onto the site and, ermmm, twisted your ankle or some such due to holes and bumps in the ground you might then care to seek appropriate compensation from the owners. If you own land you should get public liability insurance.....get my drift?

Cllr David Green said...

I have not received any communication from Samantha on this matter.
I did receive an anonymous comment on my blogsite, which I replied to last week with the reply I already had from the councils enforcement officer

Good Afternoon David.

I have already served a notice under Section 215 of the Planning Act to clear the land.The owners have not complied with the notice.I was on the site this morning.I now have to decide whether to prosecute or take
direct action and clear the site . Any prosecution will take some time
to go to court and wont get the land cleared in itself so , I am
leaning towards taking direct action and charging them for it. I am also considering having the " hoarding " completely removed from the site.

I will keep you informed of developements.Steve.

Steve Albon
Principal Enforcement Officer
Thanet District Council
Tel; 01843 577136

Anonymous said...

I live near this site and feel its awful state is encouraging the drug dealing and vandalism around here. My car was vandalised yet again over the weekend the fifth time in two years.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Sorry DG but I don't think 'Samantha' is her real name. I do know she has tried to alert you to this situation in the past with no response.

Anyway, it looks like TDC have the matter in hand now in much the same way they did with the Marina Restaurant, so she can, er, rest easy.

sue said...

Same goes for the former St Georges Hotel (Butlins) on Eastern Esplanade Cliftonville.

Dick R said...

Sue. I thought that was a bomb site left over from the war.

Anonymous said...

The land behind Granville Court is a bomb site left over from the war Dick.

Just think, the Germans got rebuilt in a matter of years, us poor Brits are still waiting well over half a century later, and we won the blasted war.

Cllr David Green said...

I wont have unsubstantiated comments like that Richard.
Some months ago I was contacted about the site, and I managed to get it boarded.
This time around I was contacted anonymously through my blogsite and I commented with what I was already doing to sort the situation.
The site is an old bombsite and an eyesore. It needs dealing with, but it is private ownership, and so the Council has limited powers.
These have been strengthened recently by Government, hence the greater willingness to take action.

Rick said...

Cllr Green

Well done.

If only you had been so thorough when it was the matter of a quarry face undercut without planning consent, on a range planning consented at .22 by TDC where calibres of .357 and 9mm were in regular use.

Where the neighbouring landowner agreed with TDC and the range freeholder that the undercut cliff had been cut twelve feet into his land. Where the neighbour notified wayleave to carry out safety work with his JCB. Where in spite of the notification as he carried out work firers at the range turned up and fired anyway. Including evidence that one off duty armed support officer of Kent Police boasted to a colleague (how are you then in Minster mate ?) of how he "Bounced bullets off the JCB bucket".

The enforcement action after you sat oin the Standards Cttee and decided nil action was a golden handshake for the Planning Officer who heard unlawful machine gun fire issue from the range but did nothing about it ?

The laugh in this was that when MOD were called in by the neighbour and withdrew the range licence. Kent Police (anxious to keep open their paramilitary live fire playground ?) proposed to TDC that the site of the range could stay but the range direction could change with a constructed ramped backstop. Whereupon the selectively deaf planning officer shouted "Hold on hold on that would mean the range would be pointing towards my house !!"

TDC ... even when it is serious you have to laugh

Eastcliff Richard said...

This is a half-arsed blog Cllr Green, not a local newspaper. If my readers send in emails I feel free to publish them, providing they are not wildly defamatory, without going to the trouble of subjecting them to the third degree. That's what a blog is, and you're more than welcome to have a comeback in the comments section, which you have.

Besides, I find it quite extraordinary that you haven't walked around your patch and seen this eyesore for yourself. You're usually so diligent at crushing these things in the bud!

Cllr David Green said...

Point taken Richard.
I'm told the legal niceties have been sorted. It is private land which complicates matters! TDC intend to clear the site after Easter. It will have to be reboarded after that.
In a similar vein, I am also chasing:
1. A thorough investigation of the events leading up to to the collapse of the Marina Restaurant.
2. Restoration of the Royal Victoria Pavilion.
3. Completion of the Iron Duke, Bellevue Road, restoration
4. 1 Augusta Road
5. Roy and Dawns old shop in Bellevue Road.
Should your readers wish to write to Richard Samuel at TDC in support, and copy me in, it could only help.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Go Go Green Machine! I knew our local car-crushing, caff-crushing councillor DG would be hot on the trail of these dastardly developers!

As for the Chief Exec, though, I heard he was on sick leave for six weeks.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they could put some of that lovely new allotment style fencing around it.