In the sunniest January since 1959, Folkestone & Hythe District agreed Sunningdale House Developments Ltd (Sunningdale House) had won the contract to deliver the proposed development at Princes Parade in early Jan 2022, as is set out at 2.6.2 of Report Number:C/21/75.
However that said, we need to go back to Dec 2021. On an unknown date in Dec 2021, David Pownceby, the person of significant control of Sunningdale House, flew with Guy Holloway and other Sunningdale colleagues to Dubai to go to the races. Shortly after their return, Holloway won the contract to design the development at Princes Parade.
Left David Pownceby – Right Guy Holloway (Dubai Dec 2021)
Of course, it’s not unlawful for an architect such as Guy Holloway to tout for business from clients, nor is it unlawful for clients to take him to the races in Dubai. But given Sunningdale House were only a going concern due to Sir David Kirch’s money in the company, one has to ask whose money was being used to a) pay for the trip to Dubai, b) to pay Guy Holloway for his work.
Then on the 25 June 2022, Sunningdale House informed the world they had “acquired” the land at Princess Parade to build out 150 homes, a boutique hotel and some other stuff. The company’s Land & Planning Director at Sunningdale House, said:
“We’re incredibly excited to be given the opportunity to develop a stretch of coastline that will become focal to the town’s character and prosperity.“
On the 15 July 2022, a Reserved Matters planning application was submitted by Sunningdale House Develpments (PP Hythe) Ltd a company owned by Sunningdale House whose person of significant control is David Pownceby.
Moving on, at the Overview & Scrutiny Committee held on the14 Feb 2023, the then Leader of the Council, David Monk, made it clear the Council:
“have had an offer from someone to buy the whole kit and caboodle, and deliver it, including the Leisure Centre”
for Princes Parade.
We know the developer was Sunningdale House Developments Ltd who made the offer for the “whole kit and caboodle”
On May 24 2023, at the first meeting of the new Council after the elections, Cllr Jim Martin made it clear Princes Parade was saved.
At the next full Council meeting on Wednesday 21st June 2023, the Deputy Leader for Folkestone & Hythe District Council Cllr Tim Prater (Lib Dem) Cabinet Member for Finance & Governance told the world the new administration is different.
But how different is the new administration from the old one? We ask this question because at the Cabinet meeting on 12 July 2023, Report Number C/23/16 at 4.6 states:
The developer [Sunningdale House] will need to be formally advised that the Council is reviewing its intentions for the site. The developer has a current live reserved matters application with the Local Planning Authority which has incurred significant cost to them.
So what we’d like to know is how much compensation, if any, are the Council going to offer to Sunningdale House as they have “incurred significant cost” to develop their plans for the site.
Given that Sunningdale House are on the verge of going into administration, should the Council hold out as long as they can to avoid paying any potential compensation?
Let’s not forget this new administration led by Cllr Jim Martin (Green) has inherited a deficit of £16.5m over the next four years. It also needs to find another £16m to pay back the Public Works Loan Board over the next four years as well.
Given this new council administration is “different“, in the words of Cllr Prater, are we going to be told how much compensation Sunningdale will be offered (if any)? Or will this new administration hide behind commercial confidentiality and behave just like the old administration under the leadership of Cllr David Monk?
As always, we’ll leave you to ponder that.
The Shepway Vox Team
Not owned by Hedgefunds or Barons