Medway Council to purchase Pentagon Centre

Those intrepid investigators over at The Political Medway had the scoop last night that Medway Council are set to purchase the Pentagon Centre for up to £45 million.

The Council already own the freehold to the Pentagon Centre, that is they own the land the Pentagon Centre sits on, but it is leased to Chatham LLP, who own and manage the Pentagon Centre itself. A partnership between Bridges Ventures (a property fund manager) and Ellandi (who own a number of shopping centres in the UK), Chatham LLP also own the freehold to 205-209a and 181a-189 High Street, shops which stand at either side of the High Street entrance to the Pentagon. It is the head lease to the Pentagon and these adjoining properties Medway Council is proposing to acquire.

The devil in these kinds of acquisitions is, as they say, in the detail. And while the public have been made aware of the proposed purchase and the budget to be set aside via an agenda item for next week’s council meeting, as the capital purchase must be approved by full council, the public report barely covers four sides of A4.

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On an evening with Alfred Bosch

I’m writing this article from the warmth and comfort of the 23:25 high speed service from London St Pancras, on what is otherwise a bitterly cold and uninviting evening, after having consumed probably one more white wine than is ordinarily healthy on a school night.

But before I evaluate the events of the past few hours, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a Catalan politician, candidate for Mayor of Barcelona, and a relatively unknown English blogger with a handful of Twitter followers and an Instagram audience barely reaching into triple figures. Said blogger had a habit of posting an eclectic array of photographs to the photo sharing platform, from political demonstrations to mundane selfies to his latest culinary disasters.

And yet somehow, inexplicably, despite the 1,000 miles separating these two individuals (I may be rounding for simplicity) and despite their markedly different levels of importance, they ended up following each other on Instagram. No one knows for sure how long this unlikely match continued. Legend has it it was only for a few hours, while some will tell you it lasted for many months. All we know for sure is that it happened, and then it ended.

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Medway’s last UKIP councillor vows not to represent Peninsula residents

UKIP’s last remaining councillor in Medway has vowed not to turn up to any more council meetings, as he was stripped of his committee memberships by the Conservatives and Labour.

Cllr Roy Freshwater, who sat on the Business Support and Children & Young People overview and scrutiny committees, stormed out of this evening’s full council meeting in protest at the council giving the nod to a report recommending that he and the council’s three independent members lose their seats on the council’s committees. He has said he will not turn up to any more council meetings, denying his constituents in Peninsula ward a voice from one of their three councillors.

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Councillor Mick Pendergast resigns from UKIP, leaving party with one councillor in Medway

Peninsula Councillor Mick Pendergast has today resigned from UKIP, according to Medway Elects:

Although there has not yet been an official comment from Cllr Pendergast, it is understood he has already communicated his decision to council officials. His reasons for resigning from UKIP are not yet known.

Cllr Pendergast will see out the rest of his term as an independent councillor.

Analysis: Decline of Medway UKIP

Cllr Pendergast’s resignation is the latest in a series of blows for the local party, which just four years ago held the accolade of being home to one of only two members of parliament to be elected for UKIP.

What started as a fairytale coming top in a nationwide poll and beginning to take seats away from Labour and the Conservatives on Medway Council soon began to crumble and descend into farce, as their vote share disintegrated and attention turned to their increasingly unhealthy obsession with Islam and stories of former party officers suing them for unpaid expenses (including cream crackers).

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Moving forward with life

Yesterday, I went to the rally for Catalonia in London.

And I’m not entirely sure why.

I didn’t speak to anyone. I didn’t join in with the singing or the chanting. I only stood quietly in the background, taking several photos (and a couple of videos).

Of course, I enjoy taking photos on any occasion and political protests are very unique events to take photos of.

But now the topic of Catalonia is a difficult one for me.

I began following it closely after meeting my wife. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned once or twice before, she is Catalan, and she introduced me to the strength of the independence movement in Catalonia.

Three years ago, in 2015, we went to the protests in London and Barcelona for the National Day of Catalonia. They were very special days: she and I spent them with patriots from both here and there and I had found a new campaign for democracy to which I could offer my support.

But now, as I think has become apparent to most, my wife and I have separated.

The last two months have passed by very slowly. They’ve been difficult, they’ve been hard, and I’ve asked myself many times what I’ve done with my life – and where I want to go now that my marriage has collapsed.

I suppose that I attended the rally yesterday to prove that I will still defend democracy in Catalonia even though I have lost my biggest motivation for doing so.

Without a doubt, I will always support democracy and the right to decide for everybody, in any country in the world.

No, my motivation for going to London yesterday must be bigger than that.

While I will always support democracy and human rights, that alone is not enough to justify spending money I really don’t have to waste at the moment on going up to London for two hours.

I suppose – no, I’m sure – that I went to London yesterday to prove two things to myself.

Firstly, despite everything that has happened in the last few months, I still have the same passion for politics and the same desire to participate in relation to the causes which interest – and matter – to me the most.

And, secondly, that I am still alive (even though I still can’t help feeling a little dead inside) and so I have to find another way of moving forward with my life.

Yesterday, I abandoned my home and my town and allowed myself time to think while on the train and walking through the streets of London.

Now, I believe, I know where I am with my life. I have thought long and hard about the past (particularly the last four years) and I better understand now how I have become the man I am today.

What’s more, I understand where I want to go with my life.

I need to keep studying and working, without any bad influences, and, if I do so, I know that I will arrive at the place I want to be as soon as possible.

Yesterday, I attended the rally to give my support to the Catalans, to take (a lot of) photos and, above all, to rediscover myself.

Now, I have to move forwards – like everyone else – and find the future and the life that I want – and that I know I am destined to have.