A Love Fest in a “War Zone” and a £9k Donation.

“It’s a ‘war zone’ after more than a decade of decay and neglect.’ said Cllr Robert Hubble on behalf of Elmstead & Stelling Minning Parish Council. Having survived the aerial bombings, the snipers, the street to street fighting and securing a  UN agreed safe passage Cllr Hubble managed to escape the ‘war zone’ and get to the Civic Centre Planning & Licensing Committee last night (Tuesday 27th Sept 2016).

Image result for stonegate farm stelling minnis

Cllr Hubble was describing the 3.32 hectare site which was once Stonegate Farm a former egg packing facility on the B2068  and  which stands in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The planning application summary of  Y15/1292/SH is the Demolition of buildings and structures, remediation of land and the erection of 30 houses and two B1 office units of 465m2 floor area, plus the closure of existing access to Stone Street and creation of new access to Thorn Lane.

The Developers are QUINN PATEL & HAYES DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED which is recently formed company (3/06/15) and has no accounts registered at Companies House.  Now something interesting about this company is that the largest shareholder (50%) is a Mr Mark William Quinn, who also owns 50% of Quinn Wilson Estates Limited who donated £9000 cash to the Folkestone & Hythe Conservative Association on the 20/05/2015. So was this development at Stonegate Farm going to get through?

MQ 2

Quinn Estates consulted heavily with the local residents who identified 3 key issues that were affecting them.

  • A solution to the flooding issues on Thorn Lane that make this road impassable in Winter

  • A solution to the safety concerns at the Stone Street/Curtis Lane/Thorn Lane junction

  • The provision of 9 starter homes for local people to be included.

Quinn Estates state that it will bring in:

  • Annual business rates of circa £22,700 per annum to Shepway District Council

  • Annual council tax of circa £56,000 per annum

  • Up to £260,000 in New Homes Bonus over a 6 year period

  • NEW JOBS CREATED DURING CONSTRUCTION phase = 60 Direct construction jobs Plus 40 indirect jobs and according to GVA create an Economic output (GVA) per annum over the construction phase = £6.9m

The Quinn Wilson development brochure can been seen here

The anticipated costs of the starter homes according to Mr Quinn in a telephone interview will be:

  • Starter Homes: £150,000 – £200,000.

  • Other homes – £250,000 – £700,000.

However, the true cost of a non-starter homes will begin at £450,000 and exceed £1 million, we believe as costs will have risen by the time work on the development will have begun.

The Financial Viability Assessment was carried out by Strutt & Parker

While Cllrs were deliberating the proposed development the Opposition (UKIP) lead by Cllr Lenny Laws were not aware of the £9K contribution. But they did raise the point regarding the s106 payments and this will come back before the Planning & Licensing Committee to ensure the developer sticks to what was agreed.

Ben Gering, Shepway Council

The Planning officer Ms Wendy Simpson, has said that this development is “Not in the Public Interest” and SDC have classified it as as unsuitable land to develop previously.  Ben Geering, SDC Head of Planning (left) stated there was “Potential for appeal” and that there was a “strong case for winning at appeal for the council”. Yet Councillors approved the site, yes with caveats, but it still gained approval.

After the meeting Mr Geering was asked if the £9K donation by Quinn Wilson Estates Ltd played any part in the decision. His response was ‘you know I can’t comment on that‘.

Mr Quinn commented that he was “delighted with the Cllrs decision.” We asked him about the £9K donation and a reply came there none. Perhaps one day Mr Geering will end up working for Mr Quinn. Stranger things have happened.

Last night, the Planning & Licensing Committee came as close to a Love Fest as you could get, the Opposition (UKIP) working hand in hand with the Conservatives, while both Mr Hubble and Mr Quinn sat watching with large smiles on their faces during the proceedings.

We are not saying the development should not go ahead, it is sympathetic to the area. However, that said, our concerns are that if £9K  donation to the Folkestone & Hythe Conservative Association can get you the nod for a planning application how many other developers might fancy their chances.

Would a £9,000 pound donation influence you? There is an understanding (rarely made explicit) that donations buy political access and favourable consideration. Why else would Mr Quinn’s company, which is bound by law to pursue profits, make such a generous donation?

We’ll leave you to contemplate that.

The Shepwayvox Team

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About shepwayvox (1801 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

6 Comments on A Love Fest in a “War Zone” and a £9k Donation.

  1. Ker – Ching !

  2. Most other European Countries operate with at least a nod to graft, why should we be any different? Oops, seems we voted for Brexit, so everything will now be above board. Swans will swim on the Thames, the sun will always shine. Someone with a shovel may perhaps dig up Victoria. Personally I think not!

  3. Why do you attempt to pillory those who take (legal) advantage of the benefits open to them through the current system? Surely it is the system that is at fault and the system that should be modified.

    When I come to re-tax my car, if there was a box stating ‘I do not wish to pay’, you would surely think me mad not to tick this box. Where is the difference?

    • I agree with you – the system is at fault – surely a question in the Planning Application document could be

      “Have you donated any funds in the last fifty years to the Nasty/Labour/Lib Dem party – if so how much?”

      However I’m sure that if it had been Labour had had the £9000 “donation” then the Nasty Party and our “local press” would be up on their hind legs complaining.

  4. Local Press, probably not. They tend to shy away from contentious issues and would prefer the ‘Cat up a tree’ approach.

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