There will be a lots of head scratching in Lewes this week after reading (Sussex Express, January 11) that Karis, the developer responsible for the car crash that was the 49 sites project, is suing our council for over £11 million in damages. Our money, public money.
You couldn’t make it up.
Notably, Jenny Rowlands, the chief executive at the time who cleared the way for Karis to carve up Lewes district, isn’t being sued.
Neither are former council leaders, James Page and Rob Blackman.
James and Rob were champions of the scheme.
Let’s not forget, there was no competitive tendering of the 49 sites project; normal public sector procurement rules seemed to be bypassed.
Some interesting background that some will hope has been forgotten, stems from our noisy neighbours down the road in Brighton.
Back in the day Jenny Rowlands was director of environment at Brighton & Hove City Council at the time of the infamous King Alfred development.
You may be able to guess the developer? Yes, it was Josh Arghiros, the boss of Karis.
Following King Alfred Rowlands made her way down the A27 from the city council to Lewes where she was appointed chief executive.
The 49 sites plan was conceived.
The good people of the county town and district campaigned effectively to have it stopped.
The then council leader Rob Blackman was booted out by his Conservative group and the project was cancelled.
Fast forward to January 2019.
Josh Arghiros is suing the council management team because he probably thinks that all councils settle out of court if you put them under enough pressure – it’s easy money, there are thousands of examples of it being done before.
Let’s hope LDC stick to their guns and send him packing for a second time.
As for Jenny Rowlands, last week she landed the plum job of chief executive at Camden Council on a salary of over £200k a year.
I just wonder if Josh Arghiros will be appearing on a building site in Camden in the coming months?
East End Lane