Regardless of one’s personal position on Princes Parade, one thing should be perfectly clear and that’s the cost of the legal fees spent by Folkestone & Hythe District Council defending the Princes Parade case.
The SPPG have applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal Justice Dove’s judgement. No decision on this has been handed down yet.
It costs money to defend a legal case; and according to the Council’s own published payment to suppliers data for 2019/20, the costs for their solicitors – Attwells – to defend the case was £63,725 (net, so minus of VAT).
While the 2019/20 accounts were open for inspection by the public the council state:
Expenses incurred on the legal case for Princes Parade between April 1st 2019 to March 31st 2020 amounted to £55,931.67.
The above sum is net of VAT as well.
This then creates a difference of £7,793.33 in expenditure in defending the legal case over Princes Parade, which once again demonstrates there are issues within the accounts department and the ability to add up. We’ll leave you to decide whether it’s a co*k up, conspiracy or incompetence.
Now there is also another issue regarding Princes Parade, which is little known, and hardly spoken of at all by those directly, or indirectly, involved in the legal dispute.
Princes Parade is due to generate £151,200 of community infrastructure levy to go towards the Health Care centre known as Oaklands in Hythe.
A Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) can be charged on developments in a local authority’s area with the money raised being used to pay for the provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure that is needed to support development.
As of August 1st the GP Surgery had 11,405 patients of which 3,763 (33%) patients were above retirement age. They also have just over 7,000 patients (63%) with one or more known underlying health conditions. The number of registered patients on or above retirement age is set to grow over the next few years.
If the SPPG are successful in getting permission to appeal Justice Dove’s decision of the 22nd June 2020, then the £151,200 to be paid to Oaklands Surgery will be further delayed.
Then, if the SPPG were to win their appeal, then Oaklands would receive nothing towards any improvements necessary within the surgery.
However, if the SPPG fail to get permission, then at some point in the future, Oaklands Surgery, Hythe, will receive the £151,200 in CIL payments from the Council.
We know that the Shepway Green Party led by Cllr Lesley Whybrow is against developing Princes Parade, as are the Folkestone & Hythe Labour Party along with the Folkestone & Hythe Liberal Democrats.
They, like you know their is a GP crisis in our district. They, like you, know waiting times to get an appointment to see your GP is increasing. And they, like you know GP practices could do with a lot of improvement.
The people most affected by the legal battle over Princes Parade are the patients of Oakland Health Care centre. Have any of the local political parties sought their views on this matter? We think not.
The same goes for the Council and the SPPG.
Once again the voices of the patients/residents are lost in the Kung Fu of local politics. That needs to change.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is Essential in Any Democracy