Friday, 16 May 2008


If you cannot understand the problem because you can't see our water in the chalk aquifer under the ground, imagine a huge reservoir in this area. Would you be happy to see China Gateway built over it on stilts? Of course not! These are extracts from the developers OWN Environmental Assessment presented to TDC Planning as part of the application:

" The aquifer underlying the site is considered to be a major aquifer providing potable water to a large population " - CGP application to TDC.

"There is potential for significant pollution of the aquifer to occurr" - CGP application to TDC.

" Should chemicals leach into the groundwater underlying the site the impact would be LONGTERM and in some cases UN-RECOVERABLE" - CGP application to TDC

In other words if there is a spillage and contamination of the wrong kind, NO MORE DRINKING WATER FROM THIS AQUIFER FOR YOU AND ME

The map shows the water catchment area at Manston on which it is proposed to build the largest industrial estate in Thanet. You will see that the outline of the project encroaches on to the 'red zone' (Source Protection Zone 1). Why should this bother you?

1. Southern Water wants to impose compulsory water charges on us all by 2015 because water is in short supply in the South East.

2. TDC and KCC have 'teamed' up with developers CGP to build a huge industrial estate with Chinamex (from China) to provide a major distribution centre for imports from China. TDC and KCC have even formed a Limited Liability Partnership to 'run' Eurokent and China Gateway as 'interested parties' in this project. How can TDC thus be an independent and disinterested Planning Authority?

3. The map above shows the Source Protection Zones for the major water catchment area for Thanet. You will note how China Gateway with upto 50 warehouses; 400 HGV lorries; 4000 car spaces and upto 3000 people working sits right on top of our major aquifer, which is like an underground reservoir in the chalk below Thanet.

4. Commercial Group Properties wants to avoid installing mains sewerage and has come up with a much much cheaper Klargester cess-pit and septic tank proposal to prevent contamination of your drinking water in its application to TDC. The Environmental Agency has already said in a letter to TDC that it would oppose such a set-up and says a mains sewerge system is much safer and essential.

5. With Global warming a reality; water resources and agricultural land producing food are vital! This project puts at risk our water supply by reducing water seepage from rain into it as well as creating the potential to pollute it. Have you wondered why world food prices have gone up hugely this year? The United Kingdom needs to grow as much of its own foood as possible in the years to come.

Please read the China Gateway 'Reports 'postings' below and if YOU think China Gateway should be stopped, get onto your WARD COUNCILLOR and tell him/her; write or e-mail to TDC and object to the proposals . Details are below:

If you have anything you want to say about protecting Thanet's water supply, agricultural land, wildlife, Landscape Character Area or wish to register objections to CGP's Gateway Project you will need to act quickly. This is the detail from TDC:
Comments need to be submitted to the council by THE END OF JULY either to or in writing to Mr Doug Brown, Planning, Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, CT9 1XZ.
You should quote Application F/TH/08/0400



"The establishment of a Business Park of this scale has the potential to create a significant irreversible impact on the local environment" - Doug Brown(Major Development Planning Manager at TDC.


" A consortium of Chinese businesses is behind the proposed scheme" - CGP

So we lose agricultural land and run the very serious risk that Thanet's water supply is contaminated just because Mr Wills and CGP want to make a great deal of money by giving the Chinese an import distribution centre here.

The 'China Gateway' aka 'Manston Business Park' or 'Kent International Business Park' is about to change our views and the appearance of a large part of Thanet forever. The picture above was taken on Manston Road looking south-west. The folly 10 years ago of allowing Cummins to build and then expand will be nothing compared to what CGP has in mind. Look at Planning Application F/TH/08/0400 and then imagine 3 big warehouses in the picture above less than 200 m away.

This view is to the north-west from Manston Road and try and picture two huge warehouses to the right of Cummins' expansion that will fill almost all the horizon shown and 3 other warehouses between you and Cummins. Although you cannot see it there is a large water reservoir under the ground here and you are looking at the final Source Protection Zone around the Sparrow Castle Pumping Station. If this land had our reservoir sitting on top of it rather than below it, would we really let this project go ahead 'built on stilts' above the reservoir? Is there any difference because we can't see our water reservoir?

This view was from Alland Grange Road looking west. Filling the horizon to the right of Cummins' shed will be two enormous 50' high wharehouses but don't worry as you won't be able to see them because between the road and Cummins will be 4 other big sheds with a big car-park just the other side of the broken fence.
As I watched and listened to half a dozen brave sky-larks, wings flapping like mad as they climbed and sang at the same time, some words from CGP's application to TDC came to mind:

" it will be a considerable industrila complex" ... it will result in the loss of additional agricultural land and natural countryside"

You bet, I thought.

"The indicative master plan and overall site requirement for CGP and THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT extends beyond the employment land designation into adjoining countryside land."
You will hear over the next few weeks that 'this land (Phase 1) was designated as employment land by KCC and TDC in the Thanet Plan. Just because we have a mark on a map don't let them kid you that the Phase 1 land is all 'brown field'. When TDC put its marker pens to maps they also included agricultural land in this 'zone' and failed to take into account that a water aquifer sits below it. What they will not tell you is that when some of the Phase 1 land was built on, this country of ours had a bit of an emergency on its hands called The SECOND WORLD WAR. We do not have an emergency today and Eurokent has been designated for employment, SO WHY ARE WE CONTINUING TO BUILD INDUSTRIAL ESTATES ON OUR AQUIFER AND AGRICULTURAL LAND? This is madness and greed.
Look for a new home sky-larks, The Chinese Government apparently not satisfied with developing and polluting China, now wants your bit of Thanet and so does CGP, TDC and KCC because our two councils have developed a business of their own called EAST KENT OPPORTUNITIES LLP, that owns land here and at Eurokent.
Look at this:

Job Title Executive Director of East Kent Opportunities LLP
Location Maidstone and Thanet
Grade c. £70K
Responsible to: Management Committee (The Collaboration Team)

Job Context

East Kent Opportunities (EKO) LLP is a joint venture vehicle established by Kent County Council and Thanet District Council with a specific focus on the development of a number of sites in the Thanet area namely, Manston Business Park and Eurokent.

The post holder will be expected to grow and manage a Limited Liability Partnership through the development of the sites at Manston Business Park and Eurokent. The aim will be to maximise the number of high quality jobs created in the area and MAKE A RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR THE LLPS INVESTORS!




I have to thank a contact for sending me some annotated CGP plans submitted to TDC as pasrt of the application F/TH/08/0400 to save you wading through hundreds of pages of stuff. (You can see clerer detail by clicking on each picture)

The drawing above shows the main area of TDC earmarked 'employment opportunity' land in The Thanet Plan that is Phase 1. The shaded area is believed to be outside the land earmarked and is hardly an 'encroachment; more like a doubling as it surrounds houses in Alland Grange Rd, The Riding Stables and backs up to the MOD Quarters and ex-quarters at Manston!

This is what CGP intend to put into the site in 3 phases from 2008 to 2012. I draw your attention to the number of buildings/wharehouse sheds etc etc(50+, count them if you wish). You may wish to look at the north west corner by The Cummins Site. Those two warehouses are 50' high and will reflect the sun brighly in their white livery and will hardly blend into the landscape; they are seriously huge as the drawings below show.

You might just start to feel sorry for the residents of Acol, Alland Grange Rd and Manston when you realise they will be in or beside the biggest industrial complex in Thanet shortly. You might also like to bear in mind a few points from CGP:

"24 hour operation" " light spillage" (light pollution) " vibration and noise"
" 1,839 parking spaces in Phase 1" " 3,737 parking spaces for all Phases"
"extends beyond the employment land designation into adjoining land DESIGNATED AS A LANDSCAPE CHARACTER AREA" (my capitals)

It was interesting to read that a full FLOOD RISK ASSESSMENT(FRA) has been carried out despite no rivers or sea anywhere near but the run-off from the site (to avoid flooding neighbours in Acol) will be into drainage trenches and underground storage tanks.

It was nice to read that CGP intends to "Provide a sustainable approach to the movement of employees and freight." How, you might well ask? Here's how according to the 'Newspeak' from CGP: " A sustainable approach to travel will be encouraged with a well connected network of cycle and pedestrian routes across the site and beyond as an alternative to car travel."

Do they mean cycle and walk along the narrow country roads on the Birchington/Acol side of the site? There is one bridle path and footpath into this site from Westgate! What an amazing work-force they will have if they are prepared to risk life and limb on bike or foot on the roads surrounding this site. It's in the middle of country-side (nowhere in Thanet terms) with no decent bus-service so those 3,737 car parking spaces will have 3,737 cars driving into and out of them, wont they!

What I couldn't find anywhere in CGPs application was exactly how many 40 ton HGV lorries are expected to be trundling into and out of this site throughout the day and night for 24/7? They have earmarked 400 HGV PARKING BAYS though, so that might give a clue.
Will such traffic and all construction traffic for FOUR YEARS be banned from all other approaches other than from the south ? (off the Thanet Way at Mount Pleasant Roundabout). I somehow doubt it.


"The aquifer underlying the site is considered to be a major aquifer providing potable water to a LARGE POPULATION (US) - CGPs Application to TDC.

"There is potential for significant pollution of the aquifer to occur" - CGPs Application to TDC.

" should chemicals leach into the groundwater underlying the site the impact would be LONGTERM and in some cases UN-RECOVERABLE"- CGPs Application to TDC
'Thanet Treehuggers' kindly sent this picture across of Southern Water's pumping station at Sparrow Castle on The Manston Road.

The proposed development is not only huge, with countless HGV movements and almost 4000 cars parked on site and industrial processes going on but most importantly for all of us in Thanet, it sits on a WATER CATCHMENT AREA FOR OUR DRINKING WATER! This area has 'Source Protection Zones' to ensure that what drips down through the soil and chalk into the natural underground reservoir is pumped out at Sparrow Castle in a drinkable condition. The proposed site affects Source Protection Zones 1, 2 and 3 for Sparrow Castle and a bore hole in The Alland Grange area.

I am not qualified to comment on how the project will affect the amount of water collecting in our aquifers but building on water catchment areas, inevitably reduces the water that reaches the aquifer. In dry years it is not inconceivable that water reserves will run out.

If that wasn't bad enough, the threat to our water supply is greatest during construction which will take 4 whole years and read what CGPs Hydrologist has to say:" should chemicals leach into the groundwater underlying the site the impact would be LONGTERM and in some cases UN-RECOVERABLE" (my capitals). In other words if there is a spillage and contamination of the wrong kind, NO MORE DRINKING WATER FROM THIS AQUIFER FOR YOU AND ME!

The picture shows a sky-lark of which there are many on and around this proposed development. CGP's Ecologists have been, are and will be snooping around the site and its surounds to look for bats, badgers and newts because we can upset human residents in the area with dust, noise and light pollution but we can't upset these species! So far, GCPs Ecologists have come to the view that ecologically speaking, the site is pretty poor and there is nothing to worry about in building on it. They would wouldn't they? In may not be up to much but at least its 'ours' at the moment and in Thanet.What I find utterly nonsensical is how they think that building the development will improve, yes, IMPROVE the wildlife in the area.

Let me give you some quotes from CGPs application for you to savour:" there will be landscape and biodiversity enhancement around the boundary edge"
"The strategy for the design scheme provides SIGNIFICANT enhancements to the ecology and biodiversity of the site" (my capitals).

This one has to be the best about the grass areas (lawns) around the site:" Dry grassland areas will be sown with a diverse mixture of native grasses and wild flowers ....which qualifies as areas of CHALK GRASSLAND " (my capitals). So the lawns (sorry, grass areas) around the site and boundary are compared to that rare and threatened habitat, 'Chalk Grassland'.

So go and tell the sky-larks that CGP's plans will not ruin thir habitat but quite the reverse; the whole project will provide all wild-life with a better habitat than they have now!
Will they believe it? Do you?


CGP Directors Ken Wills and Chris Seymour-Prosser at The Development of Small & Medium Enterprises (Bejing) Forum. "WIN, WIN!" was the theme but who for you might ask? CGP is selling the idea to TDC that China Gateway is all about job creation . Before we get euphoric about 3000+ jobs at China Gateway we need to ask ourselves if we have the reservoir of talent and skilled workers in Thanet bearing in mind that those Antolin people had a problem getting skilled staff. We also have Thanet Earth about to come on stream with up to 500 jobs available. If we look at the unemployed pool in Thanet(2,000 odd) it would appear to have low-skilled workers and shirkers in it. So most of the workers and construction workers will come from out-side Thanet.

If you are interested in looking up CGP , Ken Wills and Chris Seymour-Prosser 'Google' Search for them and you can read to your heart's content. You might also notice as you search that Ken Wills also made a political donation to South Kent MP Dr Steve Ladyman last year. Here are some snippets I have dug out for interest.

A Report by Company Eye in Feb 2007 had this to say about CGP:" a general holding company for property interests""CGP - The Company is a newly incorporated company which was established by certain of the directors for THE SOLE PURPOSE OF ACQUIRING THE SITES...." (my capitals)

The sites Company Eye was talking about were: Forthingloe near Dover: Manston site and Western Heights, Dover."

The success of the Company is to a large extent dependent upon it successfully obtaining planning permission enabling it to develop its property sites."

"THE MANSTON SITE""The Company is in negotiations with a large Chinese company with a view to forming a joint venture to develop the Manston Site as A MAJOR DISTRIBUTION CENTRE for both the UK and Europe for CHINESE MANUFACTURING COMPANIES taking advantage of the proximity to Dover Harbour. The Directors believe that such a project could give significant ADDED VALUE (my capitals) to the Manston Site and are discussing with local politicians ways to progress this project. The Directors believe that the prospects of employment in the area arising from such a venture WOULD FACILITATE THE GRANT OF CONSENT FOR CHANGE OF USER(my capitals) and, in the process, deliver the possibility of adding value for Shareholders."

Have I read this properly? The Manston site is a logistics centre to receive hundreds of lorries bringing Chinese manufactured products in and then shift them out again? That explains those two big X warehouses on the plans perhaps?
The picture below shows Chris Seymour-Prosser in Bejing at the 'conference' in March 2007.

Here is what Company Eye say about Mr Seymour-Prosser' s past in February 2007:
" Chris Seymour-Prosser specialized in obtaining ‘brown field’ off-market sites that enabled the company (Dizengoff) to PURSUE MAJOR PLANNING CONSENTS for various high-density schemes thus achieving SUBSTANTIAL PROFITS and ensuring that the company’s initial investment was returned in a SHORT PERIOD. Chris’s most recent mixed-use developments for the company had a gross development value in excess of £200m. In February 2006 Chris ended his relationship with Dizengoff to concentrate on building a new property development company with his fellow director Ken Wills and to this end they have transferred their interests in certain development properties to the Company creating the Company’s current development portfolio." (my capitals).

Here's an extract from a CGP interim Chairman's Report sent to me with the comment that losses for CGP were in excess of £800,000 for the period:
" Manstona) On 15th March 2007 the Company purchased further land comprising of 73 acres of agricultural land.b) On 22nd June 2007 the Company signed an agreement to lease with the Beijing Association of SME. The agreement to lease is for between 900,000 sq ft and 1,100,000 sq ft of business accommodation at Manston International Business Park. The lease is for a period of 10 years from handover to the Tenant on the completion of the building contract which is expected to be within 18 months.Chinamex Middle East Investment & Trade Promotion Centre ("Chinamex") is standing as the "surety" to the agreement. Chinamex is an official arm of the People's Republic of China."

If you have bothered to get this far, you might be interested in a MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING . Here it is:
" Memorandum of Understanding in relation to CGP's China Gateway site, Manston, KentCommercial Group Properties PLC, the AIM-listed property company, announces that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with Zhejiang Province, acting through Chairman Bao of the Taizhou Foreign Merchant Information Federation with a view in due course to leasing 2,500,000 sq. ft. at CGP's China Gateway site at Manston, Kent. Under the MOU, CGP will arrange for outline planning permission for the building of the additional 2,500,000 sq. ft. of business accommodation on what is currently agricultural land at the site. Following the receipt of outline planning consent, Zhejiang Province Enterprises will sign an agreement to lease covering 2,500,000 sq. ft., such lease to run for 10 years from the date of first occupation. This follows the Company's announcement on 17 May 2007 that it had agreed to lease between 900,000 sq. ft. and 1,100,000 sq. ft. to the Beijing Association of SME at the same site.EndsFor further information, please contact:Commercial Group Properties PLC +44 (0) 1843 860866Ken WillsBeaumont Cornish Limited +44 (0) 20 7628 3396Roland CornishHolborn Public Relations Limited +44 (0) 20 7929 5599David Bick/Mark Longson

I hope this has given you an idea of CGP and how it makes money.
Just an odd thought here, but I have been back to the application to TDC for Phase 1 (F/TH/08/0400) and the owners of land for Phase 1 are listed as KCC, Theatrical Pyrotechnics and Struan Robertson of Alland Grange. Not a sign of CGP.