Thanet Star

The Broadstairs Tree Massacre: Following the money (part 2)

The local authorities are planning a new building in a park in Broadstairs. Why are they doing this and who benefits?

See also: The Broadstairs Tree Massacre: Following the money (part 1)

In my first article I asked a lot of questions about the building of a new office slash community centre in Pierremont Park.

Cllr Chris Wells, the official spokesperson for the building work, finally got back to me with a two page statement in which the building was described as community hire space. This suggests that the purpose of the building is to earn money.

But for who?

I don't know yet but I have kept asking.

What I have found out is who is what the building is for (roughly), who is paying for it and what the total cost will be (an estimated £1.4 Million). This I also got from Chris Wells who took the time to talk to me on the phone.

Why the building is planned

Why is the building work being planned? Well, it seems it is because demand for building hire is high in Broadstairs.

The state of Park Hall, and the closing of the aging Retort House, would have left Broadstairs with less community hire space than required by the town’s vibrant, social community. says the official statement.

In other words Broadstairs Town Council want a building they can charge more for. At a time of cuts is this the right time to be investing in new office buildings?

An early piece of work reviewed the potential sites for the new centre, and after much
consultation and discussion, the site surrounding Park Hall was identified as the best solution.
said Cllr Wells' statment. The chief reasons being there was a building upon it;

that it was already perceived as at the centre of community life in Broadstairs; was close to main bus and public transport; and that it would enhance the safety and security of the park itself through additional use, particularly during the hours of darkness.

To raise the oviouse questions.

1. Who perceives Park Hall as at the centre of community life in Broadstairs?

2. Best solution for who?

3. Who held these discussions and when? Can we see the minutes please?

Who is paying for it?

The why is perhaps disterbing but the who is more so.

Chris Wells explained the breakdown of contributions to me. First he pointed out that the cost is

currently estimated to be £1.4 Million but prior quotes have been £1.8 Million and £2.6 Million.

Thanet District Council would be putting up £42,500 which Iris Johnston indicated to me was money that had been diverted from Margate Central.

Kent County Council will be stumping up £60,000.

Broadstairs Town Council will be providing £500,000.

This makes the current cash reserve £602,500 and the likely shortfall to be £800,000. Chris explained to me that section 106 monies would make up the difference.

Chris pointed out to me that this definitly was not a TDC thing but a Broadstairs thing and it did seem to be that way.

I asked a few questions about the remaining funds and Chris told me a section 106 agreement is between the planning authority (in this area TDC planning dept) and any developer with amn [sic] application which may add to the drain on, or in some way reduce, a community resource. Charges may inclide contributions for libraries, school places, and additional community facilities.

Reading between the lines it seems to me that TDC is actually picking up the entire shortfall to a total of at least £842,500.

So this very much does look like a Thanet District Council funded project.

Unless someone wants to correct me here?

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