For those of you who are not aware, Affinity Water will not be a statutory or non-statutory consultee with regards to Otterpool Park. In a short but concise email response to our public face, Affinity Water’s Head of Legal Services, Julie Smith has kindly sent the following response in which she has said:
Affinity Water is not a statutory consultee in relation to applications for planning permission to construct housing developments or other development. The statutory consultees for planning are specified by reference to Article 18 and Schedule 4 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure)(England) Order 2015. This provides that water undertakers are statutory consultees only in respect of development involving boring for or getting of oil and natural gas from shale.
Affinity Water is not listed by Defra as a non-statutory consultee (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/consultation-and-pre-decision-matters#table-3-Non-statutory-consultees) in its guidance. We do, however, have arrangements in place with planning authorities in our supply area whereby they send us relevant applications, which will include housing developments. We also work alongside the Environment Agency, which is a statutory consultee.
The Shepwayvox Team has become aware that the Collaboration Board made up of Shepway District Council, Cozumel Estates Ltd (BVI) and possibly Homes England, who according to Cllr David Monk leader of SDC at Full Council on the 28th Feb 2018 (agenda item 82) announced, “Homes England have acquired land in the Otterpool Park search area“, will attempt to bypass Affinity Water and bring another water company on-board. It is known the Collaboration Board has:
agreed to issue a letter of intent to Ofwat expressing an interest in Albion Water exploring the provision of service to the Otterpool Park site, subject to there being no commitment or cost implications
It is known that Rebecca Kearney of Arcadis (pictured ) is responsible for preparing the draft. So who are Albion Water Ltd?
Albion Water Ltd have two shareholders. They are Wessex Water Limited who acquired 51% of Albion Water Ltd on the 22 Sept 2016 for £200,000 and Waterlevel Limited according to companies house.
So the major shareholder in Wessex Water Ltd is Ytl Utilities (Uk) Limited and according to the Group of companies’ accounts made up to 30 June 2017 and posted on Companies House on 30th Nov 2017, it is controlled by a holding company based in the Cayman Islands a well known offshore tax haven
So Wessex Water runs through a well known offshore tax haven, the Cayman Islands and then onto Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The address of the Holding company is Walkers Spv Limited, Walker House, P.O. Box 908gt, Mary Street, George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, which appears in the Panama Papers not once, but twice
(The most important feature of a tax haven – and it is a defining one – is that local politics is captured by financial services interests (or sometimes criminals, and sometimes both), and meaningful opposition to the offshore business model has been eliminated. Nicholas Shaxson)
Moving on, the minority shareholder Waterlevel Limited are owned in the UK, but according to companies house will receive their first Gazette notice for compulsory strike-off on the 13th March 2018, so not looking good for Albion Water Limited. We wonder if Ofwat know about this?
It is known that Andy Jarrett – Head of Stategic Development and Julia Wallace – Project Manager – masterplanning and design at SDC (both pictured below) have met with residents of Barrow Hill – Sellindge to discuss proposals for Otterpool Park. They have also met with landowners to discuss proposals for Otterpool Park.
The Collaboration Board have agreed that SDC will take the lead on all future negotiations with landowners. Do remember SDC have now given themselves Compulsory Purchase powers regarding land and property in the Otterpool Park boundary.
The development of the Otterpool Park Business Case is the key next step. Monthly meetings are scheduled between SDC and Kent County Council (KCC) to progress the Business Case development. And KCC’s representative at the Collaboration board was Mary Gillett, KCC’s Major Capital Programme Manager.
Also sometime this month, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government will announce if KCC ‘s and SDC bid of £281 million for Forward Funding has been short-listed for the next stage – the co-development phase from March 2018. However, as is made clear in the Housing Infrastructure Funding (HIF) prospectus moving onto the co-development stage does not constitute an offer of HIF Funding. Details of the co-development phase will be provided with notification of short-listing. So SDC might be short-listed but that doesn’t in itself mean they will get any money or the amount they asked for.
So there you have it. Another offshore on board potentially and like we have said before, perhaps it is time we rename Otterpool Park to Offshore Park. What do you think?
The Shepwayvox Team
There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in this blog post have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly, unless found so by a court of law.