Stupid is as stupid does, so they say. History as you may or may not know has a way of coming back and biting one on the backside, to put it politely.
In 1997/1998 SDC (so before Mr Stewart) – and when Cllr Robert Bliss was District Secretary for Economic Development
SDC decided in their infinite wisdom to take Ashford Borough Council (ABC)to court to try to prevent ABC from allowing the Ashford outlet centre to be built.
See: Court Case Judgement
1 “This is an application by Shepway District Council seeking to quash a resolution by a neighbouring Local Planning Authority, Ashford Borough Council, made on 10th December 1997 to approve certain reserved matters and to discharge certain conditions, all in respect of an outline planning permission granted by Ashford Borough Council on 5th May 1994. Shepway District Council also seeks to quash the grant of approval for those reserved matters.”
The Judgement at Para 23 sets out the reasons for SDC’s objects
23 “In October 1997 the section 106 agreement was varied by agreement between Ashford and the developers of the site in a way which would allow the presently proposed form of a factory outlet centre. There then followed, on 30th October 1997, an application by the developers for the approval of reserved matters under Condition 01 of the 1994 outline permission. It was, in essence, for the factory outlet centre as already described. It was this which Ashford resolved to approve on 10th December 1997. It would in the non-food part produce somewhere between 80 and 120 units, selling in many cases clothing. Shepway is concerned about this because of the effect which they envisage this would have on a new town centre development being planned for Folkestone within their district a town which is about 20 minutes drive time from Ashford. “
Now given a choice ladies and gentleman where would you prefer to shop as the free market is all about choice, Ashford Outlet Centre or Folkestone Bouverie Place?
Now one can understand SDC’s thinking but as they lost the argument and the right to appeal how much did this cost SDC at the time when SDC were represented by MR W HICKS and MR EDWARDS (Barristers) (instructed by Sharpe Pritchard, London WC1V 6HG, London agents for: Solicitor for the Council of Shepway District Council
Was it a wise move by SDC at the time and Cllr Bliss as District Secretary for Economic Development to waste such money? We’ll leave you to decide that?