A THANET WATCH REPORT. Thanet Green Councillor Ian Driver calls for action over the failure of ferry company Transeuropa after it went bust owing more than £3 million to Thanet District Council. Driver blames the Chief Executive and the leaders of the previous administration, and the current one, who all went on letting the debt accumulate without the public knowing for three years.



  1. I am no fan of TDC, particularly under the present leadership, but I fail to see what choice they had other than trying to keep TEF afloat and so protect local jobs in the process. Likewise, had the previous administration pulled the plug when TEF first got into difficulties, the company would have folded then, TDC would still have never got the berthing fees and those port jobs, that’s peoples wages, would hve ceased much earlier.

    What we are talking about here is money TDC never had and would never have got whichever way they played it. On the other hand, I am sure out former red but now green expert will have some totally impractical solution to the problem as always.

    1. Quite simply, William, the taxpayer is not a charity. The ferry service could not pay its bills. It should have been allowed to shut when could no longer afford to run its operation. A very good restaurant closed in ramsgate recently. Perhaps the council should have waived any rates, the premises owner should have refused to take rent and the suppliers should have given over their produce for nothing. Nope, it shut. Sad, but inevitable, unless you main “supplier” happens to be TDC who do not operate in the real world.

      Jobs would have been lost earlier, but I don’t want my taxes to go on salaries where job seekers allowance will do.

      What I cannot get my head around is a Tory council let this happen. The nasty party kept a private enterprise going with public generosity. Why?

      1. If you want to be perfectly even handed on this issue, both parties kept the TEF operation going and in just about equal amounts of waived berthing fees. It was attempt to keep a service running supported on both sides of the channel by respective authorities.

        You clearly see it as unjustified whereas I think it was worth a try. What remains clear is that either way TDC would never have seen the money so what’s the odds at the end of the day. Just another bandwagon for Cllr Driver to jump on.

        By the way, has the Red Hall door been painted green yet?

  2. Both parties are equally at fault. Labour had an open goal and missed.

    I’ve never visited the red hall, so I could not tell you.

    The odds are, which you fail to grasp, TDC, sorry, we continued to keep staff at the port, operational costs going for nigh on 3 years that were unnecessary. The odds are that TDC budgeted and reported this money as received. TDC is dipping into reserves that we will top up and services that we will not get because of their ineptitude.

    If I do not spend money I have not got, there is no problem. If I spend money I have not got, it is a problem. TDC spent money it did not have, but told everyone they had. That’s the issue, and its pretty damn simple to grasp.

    1. Hi William. You think it was a good idea to try to keep the ferry service going. I think it was a lousy idea. How should this be resolved? Is your opinion more valid than mine? Do you pay more taxes than I do, entitling you to a greater say in affairs? I trust that you will agree with me when I say that all residents should have an equal voice and a minority should not be allowed to dump an unsatisfactory solution on the rest of us. What’s wrong here is not that they did it, but that they did it without debating it in full council. The decision to do this was taken by a tiny cabal of councillors and unelected officers, recklessly gambling with huge sums of public money.

      The interesting question is why? Why would this little gang take such a big risk to keep it secret? There was clearly always going to be a massive outcry if the bill wasn’t paid and anyone with half a brain could see that this risk was significant. All they had to do was run it past the councillors. Were they worried that councillors might turn it down? But isn’t this what councillors are for; to make decisions on our behalf.

      By bypassing Full Council this little gang have acted anti-democratically and, as shown on the news tonight, they could have cost the taxpayer massive sums of money for illegally subsidising the ferry company. Do you really want to pay this bill? I don’t want to pay it, and I think the people who took this secret decision should face having their assets seized if it is shown that they acted illegally.

  3. Wiliam – you’re a Broadstairs Town Councillor so it’s easy for you to check the colour of the Red Hall Door! Do come and see our new play, starting Thursday 13th, 7.30, “Goin To San Diego”, about the beat generation, with Steven Todd as Jack Kerouac. Then you can advise me personally on what we should paint our doors next.
    Thanet Watch

    1. Christine, your door so your choice. Was only a little dig at the door reflecting your usual political allegiance.

      Benny, no my opinion is not more valid than yours, but we are equally entitled to hold our own views on the subject. As I said earlier, I am no fan of TDC, particularly under the present leadership, but I can see some merit in what was done if not in the underhand way it was agreed. The more open governance style proclaimed by Hart when he took over is long overdue in materialising.

      Also mystified why a TDC Councillor should feel that he is serving the people he represents by reporting the council to the EU commisioners in the hopes of instigating the fine you suggest. Not only do I not wish to contribute to that, but would be even more peeved that it should be as a result of the actions of our resident bandwagon jumper.

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