There have been five representations calling on the council not to hold any of the meetings regarding Princes Parade,behind closed doors, but it is known that agenda item 4 & 5 as it stands will exclude the public.
There have been five objections to the meeting being held behind closed doors. One of the objectors is Richard Buxton Solicitors acting for and on behalf of the Save Princes Parade Group. They too believe that the meeting should not go ahead behind closed doors as the Princes Parade Business Plan relates to the proposed development of Princes Parade for which the Folkestone & Hythe District Council may grant itself planning permission pursuant to regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992.
In an email response sent by Head of Paid Service Dr. Susan Priest (pictured above left) to the objectors, it makes clear that she and the monitoring officer, Amandeep Khroud (pictured right) – who obtained independent legal advice on this issue – is of the opinion that the exception at paragraph 9 relates to information concerning the regulatory planning process prior to a planning decision being made, rather than to the business case behind each respective development.
So now it is for the Overview & Scrutiny Committee to decide if they exempt the public on the 12th Feb. Of course they must take into account the Public Interest in this matter.
The public interest can cover a wide range of values and principles relating to the public good, or what is in the best interests of society. So, for example, there is a public interest in transparency and accountability, to promote public understanding and to safeguard democratic processes. There is a public interest in good decision-making by public bodies, in upholding standards of integrity, in ensuring justice and fair treatment for all, in securing the best use of public resources and in ensuring fair commercial competition in a mixed economy. This is not a complete list; the public interest can take many forms. That said we do believe a few of those mentioned above ought to allow the meeting to go ahead in public.
The Council has been awarded £1,977,879 from The Accelerated Construction programme for phase 1 & 2 site remediation and construction of the leisure centre and supporting infrastructure. Phases 3 & 4 -the Commercial & Residential – will be the direct responsibility of Folkestone and Hythe District Council and be delivered by a third party developer. Who that 3rd party developer might be is currently unknown.
For the Council to deliver the project it is necessary for them to procure a main contractor to deliver phases 1 and 2. The options open to the Council include the use of a procurement framework or the more traditional competitively tendered OJEU route.
An earlier soft market testing exercise indicated that there are a number of contractors on the Southern Construction Framework that would be interested in tendering for the delivery of phases 1 and 2 of the project.
The Council and their financial advisers Arlingclose believe that the development of Princes Parade is deliverable without the need for long term borrowing.
However, short term borrowing will be required to meet cashflow timing issues and the interest cost will be capitalised and added to the overall scheme cost.
The council is most likely to have to take on the affordable housing and commercial development elements of the overall project.
The development of Princes Parade has been rumbling along since the early 1980’s. In the next week or so a big step will be taken by Overview & Scrutiny & Cabinet on the 13th. This means Princes Parade will then be allowed to progress to the planning committee. Exactly when that will happen is not known yet.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful