Urban Gravesham Autumn 2013 Newsletter (posted 20/11/13)
Download Urban Gravesham's latest newsletter. The newsletter includes the latest position on the Heritage Quarter planning stalemate, the financial position of the developers Edinburgh House, and what the Council must do to expedite itself from the Heritage Quarter debacle.
KCC Planning Committee delay Transport Quarter decision (posted 20/11/13)
Kent County Council's Planning Committee have delayed the planning application decision scheduled for 5th November on phase 3 of the controversial Gravesend Transport Quarter planning application. The delay is so that the Councillors can inspect the area in detail- probably early in the New Year.
Phase 3 is the proposal to change traffic circulation arrangements round the Railway Station. This will result in the permanent closure of the Rathmore Road car park and the demolition of an historic building at the Darnley Street/ Rathmore Road junction. UG regards the proposals as damaging and unnecessary- (see below). The delay followed lobbying of the Councillors by Urban Gravesham. Click here to read Urban Gravesham's letter to KCC Councillors
The delay means that THERE IS STILL TIME TO OBJECT TO THE PLANNING APPLICATION.
email email@example.com quoting Gravesend Transport Quarter and planning ref KCC/GR/0148/2012. Include your name and address.
Demand that KCC throws out this application for the good of the town. Your e-mail does not have to be complicated- simply state what you think about the proposed permanent closure of the Rathmore Road car park, the loss of commuter and disabled parking, and rerouting of heavy service traffic through Railway Place and the Community Square etc.
Learn more about the Transport Quarter
Heritage Quarter developers- latest financial accounts (posted 01/11/13)
The most recent accounts (2012) of Edinburgh House (Holdings) Ltd which is the ultimate holding company of Queenridge Properties Ltd (the developer of Gravesend Heritage Quarter) and Edinburgh House Estates Ltd (the guarantor of the Heritage Quarter development) show that it has loans due for repayment in 2013 of £12 million and £602 million in 2014 with a cash balance of only £18 million. The total net assets of the company have reduced from £124 million in 2009 to £55 million in 2012.
The liabilities of Queenridge Properties Ltd and Edinburgh House Estates Ltd. exceed their assets and their accounts state that they are both dependant on the continued support of the Edinburgh House (Holdings) Ltd group of companies.
The most recent accounts (2012) of Edinburgh House Estates Ltd state that it provides a guarantee covering the obligations of fellow group companies Queenridge Properties Ltd and Castleford Investments Ltd. Edinburgh House Estates Ltd. has liabilities totalling £133,506. It has a cash balance of £0.
This summary is provided without comment by Urban Gravesham. The Council and the citizens of Gravesend are free to draw their own conclusions from this impartial information.
Gravesend Transport Quarter: Councils set to spend £8 million of government money to ruin the Community Square (posted 13/09/13).
Kent County Council will make a planning decision on the ill-fated Transport Quarter scheme next month. The awful multi storey car park proposal (on the site of the present station car park) has been dropped, but the weird traffic rearrangement proposal to redirect all through traffic to the south of station is still part of the of scheme.
If the proposal gains planning permission then the way will be open to spend £8 million to carry out this work.
But why do it? The present commuter parking at Rathmore Road would be lost altogether and disabled and short stay parking spaces would be lost at Railway Place. However, the main effect of the scheme is that service traffic to Tesco (including HGV's) ands all cars using the Thamesgate Centre car park will have to turn round and go across the new Community Square to get back to the main road system.
The truth is that this scheme is a crazy waste of money which will only serve to ensure that the newly done up Community Square is ridden with traffic and fumes. Tragically the scheme is supported by
Gravesham Borough Council, Kent County Council and seemingly by the Government's HCA agency (who would provide the funding).
Read Urban Gravesham's letter of Objection to the Transport Quarter proposals
And in the Blue corner (posted 17/07/13)
Since the Gravesham Regulatory Board resolution to grant planning permission for the Gravesend Heritage Quarter scheme, planning permission has been granted by Dartford Council to expand Bluewater by 20%. Both Gravesham Borough Council and Heritage Quarter developers, Edinburgh House, had objected to the Bluewater scheme on the grounds that the retail viability of the Gravesend Heritage Quarter scheme would be affected.
UG agrees. It is now very questionable whether the retail part of the HQ scheme will be built at all. UG thinks that Gravesham Regulatory Board Councillors should look at the whole matter of the Heritage Quarter scheme again.
To read Edinburgh House's letter of objection click here
Read Gravesham Council's letter of objection and report
But was Council's Heritage Quarter Regulatory Board Decision legal, decent, and truthful? (posted 12/06/13- updated 17/07/13)
Not entirely. Urban Gravesham commissioned leading planning barrister, James Findlay QC, to conduct an independent review of the Regulatory Board meeting that resolved to grant permission to the hated Heritage Quarter scheme. His advice was very clear:
' The members of the Board were misled (by the Council's legal officer) as to the availability of possible reasonable grounds upon which to refuse permission...unless the Board reconsiders the matter ... it is reasonably arguable that its decision is unlawful.'
The advice means that if the decision is not reconsidered by the Council's Board, it will then be open to legal challenge in the High Court.
Solicitors acting for Urban Gravesham wrote to the Council at the end of May to seek confirmation that the meeting would be held again. Urban Gravesham have yet to receive a sensible answer (17/07/13).
To read the QC's advice, click here
To read the letter sent from Urban Gravesham's solicitors to Gravesham Council, click here
Gravesham Borough Council Regulatory Board resolves to give Heritage Quarter Scheme planning permission (posted 01/05/13)
At a meeting last night (30/04/13) GBC's Regulatory Board resolved to grant planning permission to the Edinburgh House Heritage Quarter proposals. It was, however, a controversial decision- three Councillors voted for it, three against, and three abstained, thus leaving the casting vote to the Chair, Councillor Jane Cribbon- hardly a ringing endorsement.
This permission is subject to to agreeing financial contributions for health, highways and other matters. These have not been agreed and until they are, the scheme does not officially have planning permission
The meeting was a farce- hundreds of people, the vast majority against the scheme, turned up to observe (as is their right) democracy in action. They were denied access to the Council Chamber where the meeting was taking place, and were instead decanted to the Woodville Halls to watch the meeting via a televised link . The meeting was delayed when the link went down and eventually ended at 10:45pm- by which time many concerned citizens, who stand to have their flats thrown into darkness by the scheme, had had enough of this particular brand of local democracy, and had gone home.
Watch this space- Urban Gravesham will continue its fight on behalf of the riverside residents whose lives will be blighted by the scheme and on behalf of 1000's of Gravesham residents. There were many aspects of the meeting which were odd and unsatisfactory which we will investigate fully and there are various ways in which our fight against this development can be continued.
Please support us by joining us or by making a financial contribution to our funds- only together can we defeat this scheme.
To read more
Urban Gravesham - the Civic Society for Gravesend and Northfleet
We are an ordinary group of citizens who care about the character and environment of the urban areas of Gravesham.
We aim to support positive changes to the town centre but we will, where necessary, campaign against changes that we think would damage the character of area.
We have been involved in major campaigns to save the Heritage Quarter (round St Georges Church and the Market Square) and the Transport Quarter (round the Railway Station) from mass development.
or phone 01474 741408
Membership is £5 per year.
Download the membership form and return it with your membership fee to the address shown.
Continue supporting us!
To be a strong group which everyone listens to we need as many members as possible. We also need funds to continue our campaigns to preserve Gravesend from overdevelopment. If you think we are doing a good job then send a cheque to 'Urban Gravesham' at the address on the form above
Download January 2013 Heritage Quarter Bulletin
Download January 2013 Newsletter
Download Autumn 2013 Newsletter
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