Updated: 26/10/20 @12:40
It’s official. Folkestone & Hythe District Council now own Folkestone racecourse, according to the land registry. The deal has taken close to six months to complete.
The transfer of the assets began on the 6th Feb and was completed on the 27th Feb 2020. However, it has taken close to six months to show as owned by the Council on the land registry.
As the title deed makes clear they paid £25 million, then add in fees and that is no doubt closer to the £25.2 million, the Shepwayvox Team announced back in Feburary 2020.
This means Cozumel Estates Limited -owned by the Reuben Brothers, via The British Virgin Islands have made a 525% increase on the land they purchased for £4 million in 2016. As we said previously they never buy a pig in a poke.
There is NO record of payment for £25 million showing in the Council’s payment to suppliers data or the Public Work Loans Board payment data. They may have issued a credit note to the Reuben Brothers, used the Council reserves, or borrowed the money privately from other lenders.
The two council officers who are charged with seeing the Otterpool Park development through planning permission and the commencement of building of up to 10,000 homes, over a 20 year period, are Andy Jarrett (pictured below left) and John Bunnett (right).
Both of these Council officers have a strange history.
In 2007 Mr Jarrett was made redundant by the Council following a Council restructure.
Early in 2006 Mr Jarrett was accused of misleading the Cabinet about the purchase of a boiler, that accusation was investigated and concluded that there was no case to answer. The allegation had no bearing on Mr Jarrett’s redundancy in 2007. He rejoined the Council in 2016.
His boss, John Bunnett, bought a car for an employee and sanctioned £1.1 million of fictitious overtime while he was deputy Chief Exec at Thanet District Council and is described by some developers in Kent as “slippery“.
So just the type of people you want in charge of a £100 million pound plus project.
Moving on, the Council announced earlier this week the the five new non-executive directors who will sit on the Otterpool Park Limited Liability Company.
Cllr Jennifer (nine homes) Hollingsbee (Con)
Cllr Rebecca Tamsin Shoob (Shepway Green Party)
Looking at the last three, there are some remarkable coincidences.
Dinah Roake (pictured) has according to her linkedin page, worked for the Homes and Communities Agency in the Advisory Team for Large Applications (ATLAS), as a Spatial Planning Manager, since Oct 2011. She would no doubt know Julia Wallace, who is the Otterpool Park Garden Town Project Manager at Folkestone & Hythe District Council (since May 2016), as Julia worked at ATLAS as a planning manager between 2006 – Dec 2014.
Then there is SallyAnne Logan (pictured) who has worked at Ashford Borough Council (ABC) since 2001. She has been the Chilmington Project Manager at ABC since 2016. The Chilmington Green project is where Ashford Borough Council plan to build up to 5,750 homes. She would certainly know John Bunnett, who was her boss between 2009 and 2015 when he was Chief Exec of ABC.
Then there is Luke Quilter (pictured) CEO of Sleeping Giant Media, who is a local boy, having attended Harvey Grammar School. Sleeping Giant Media’s office’s are on the top two floors of the Civic Centre. Sleeping Giant Media have undertaken work for Folkestone & Hythe District Council and as such he would know John Bunnett and Dr Susan Priest, Chief Exec of the Council.
So our Council is now the proud owner of Folkestone Racecourse plus all the properties the Reuben Brothers company, Cozumel Estates purchased. They also now control the whole seven hundred and seventy hectare Otterpool Park Site(1,903 acres). So, Cllr Monk (Con) can now not only fish the lake at the racecourse, but he can walk from Junction 11 to Harringe Lane in Sellindge, knowing his tory led Council, either owns the land or has options on it.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful
This post has been edited to correct a factual inaccuracy about the circumstances in which Mr Jarrett left the council in 2007.
We apologise to Mr Jarrett for any distress and harm caused for the earlier inaccurate summary of his leaving the council.