Friday, May 19, 2006

The Future of Ramsgate's Pleasurama

In this week’s ‘Ask Sandy’, Thanet council leader, Sandy Ezekiel, looks to the south of the island and answers a reader’s question on the future of the Pleasurama development in Ramsgate.

Q: “Sandy says the council is close to signing off on the Pleasurama development. How can the development go ahead with the cliff face in such a perilous state? Are the developers going to pay to put it right, or will the council taxpayer have to cough up? Could you ask him if the Council intends to honour his promise to consult about the Pleasurama roof treatment before signing?”

A: “Let’s start with the issue of the cliff face. It’s the Council’s responsibility to maintain the coastline. Here we’re lucky enough to enjoy 26 miles of beautiful coastline and stunning beaches, but with that comes responsibility and this is one of those cases. The problems here were identified as part of our programme coastal defence surveys and we will be carrying out work here in due course.

As far as consultation goes, we have been talking to the Eastcliff Residents Association about this development and some of their concerns, but what we need to be clear about is the difference between signing the agreement and resolving the outstanding planning issues. They’re two different things and the issue of the roof treatment is something that will be resolved as part of the planning process.

For those of you wondering why an agreement is yet to be signed on this site, it’s because work is still underway on a highways agreement. We want to get everything exactly right before we sign the final agreement and that includes and that includes making sure that the site has adequate highways provision.

Rest assured – when we’re ready to start work on site, you’ll be the first to know. This project is a vital one for Ramsgate. It will bring more people in to live in the town centre, meaning more spending money for local shops and we’re working hard to make sure that the scheme happens – and as soon as possible, but before we sign on the dotted, all the various elements must be right before and that’s why we’re taking our time. I firmly believe that this scheme will bring many benefits to Ramsgate and indeed the whole of Thanet and I look forward to the day that works starts on the site.”

Send in your suggestions for next week’s ‘Ask Sandy’ we have a number stored-up but welcome as many as we can get.

'Click' the photo to zoom it up to hi-resolution full screen size. (Airads photos)

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for asking the question. Bit concerned about what 'carrying out the work in due course' means, though. If it's anything like the '10-15 year plan' for Dreamland Sandy mentioned in your podcast the other week, he might as well not bother.

Speaking of Dreamland, just remind me, who owned the Pleasurama site when it was an amusement park? Didn't it mysteriously burn down? I think we should be told.

Anonymous said...

Can you ask Sandy if it is true that Margate Library will share the building with TDC's Housing Benefit Services after the coming refurbishment and as a result will lose a third of its floor space?

Cllr David Green said...

As Ward Councillor for the area, can I also thank you for asking the question. You managed to obtain the answer that has been denied to me for at least three months!
The point about the collapsing cliffface is that it has been in this state for over a year now. It denied residents the enjoyment of the Dunkirk Little Ships visit last year and spoilt the views of the Power Boats Grand Prix. Can you imagine this eyesore being allowed to continue this long in Margate or Broadstairs, let alone in Eastbourne, Folkstone or Hastings? The engineer's report, that I had to use the Freedom of information act to gain site of, called for URGENT action to stop further DETERIATION. I ask just what "urgent" means to Cllr Ezekiel?
Any attempt to dismiss the roof treatment as a mere planning detail shows a misunderstanding of the Council's and Cllr Ezekiel's Cabinet's decisions about the development. Those decisions made satisfactory resolution of the height and roof treatment conditions of signing a development agreement.
The final point about highways matters is interesting as I have been trying to establish a dialogue with KCC highways about this for months. They say they are not ready to talk yet! It is obvious to locals that site traffic cannot use Marina Incline. The state of the cliff would appear to rule out the original plan to crane materials to the site. That leaves the route along Harbour Parade. As far as I know, there has been no attempt to discuss this with residents or businesses likely to be effected.

Anonymous said...

I may be a little thick here as, I am a Northsider, but whoever owned the Pleasurama site has in the past had responsibility for the concreted chalk face as it is part of the site and has had supports attatched to it and dug into it. So how come the concrete facing now comes down to the taxpayer to foot the bill. This piece of cliff-face is certainly not like the miles of open cliff-face above promenades that ARE the responsibility of TDC. Does TDC own the Pleasurama site? If so the cliff-face is TDCs problem; if it does not own the site then why has TDC taken the decision to do it for the developers at our expense? This is yet a further example of TDC pandering to the developers and using taxpayers money to do it.

Anonymous said...

Pleasureramma is simply going through the same process as dreamland is. A perfect seaside attraction ruined in favour of building.
I am digusted by this. O.K their is nothing that can be done to prevent the pleasurerama fun park being destroyed because that is now in the past, but Dreamland isn't. These money minded theives are out to destroy and make large profits.Another perfect example is Rotunda in folkstone.Isn't it a coincidence that all 3 theme parks were once owned by the same man.

Anonymous said...

No it is no coincidence anon 7.26, but to take on someone like that you need to be from the same fraternity, or have an enormous amount of money to pay the best legal team in the land... and who round these parts has that.

Anonymous said...

No it is no coincidence anon 7.26, but to take on someone like that you need to be from the same fraternity, or have an enormous amount of money to pay the best legal team in the land... and who round these parts has that. at.

Dave Chamberlain said...

One way to possibly find out who owned the site since the late 1940s is to examine planning applications over the last few decades. Whoever owned it would most probably appear on the application(s)

Anonymous said...

Simon,

There appears to be some confusion regarding the ownership of this site. TDC have owned the freehold for many many years, and yes, it did used to be leased, and a very complicated arrangement that was, but TDC gained vacant possession some time ago now, so the disposal, and unfortunately the responsibiliy for the concreted cliff face, is entirely that of TDC. Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Thanks anon of 9.17pm. So it is down to TDC. What benefit have taxpayers got from the proposed and approved development?

Anonymous said...

Cllr Ezekial seems to be in cloud cuckoo land! How will an influx of pensioners and holiday home owners from London boost the local economy?? As a local resident I can see no benefits in the scheme for me my family or anyone else living locally! Now we expected to pay up to help the developers - how does TDC get away with it! PS who would like to bet that when the work does eventually start it will be in the middle of the summer season and spoil the enjoyment of the beach for the locals too!!!

Anonymous said...

6.54am, I appreciate your concern, but TDC can't please everyone. The land has a value and belongs to the people through the custodianship of TDC. It might be lovely to some to be able to turn the clock back, and re-produce what was on the site in the 1950's, however that is not realistic in this day and age. It is likely that TDC members, having gained advise, have decided on the current scheme as one which is probably achievable, and which mades some ecconomic sense. Provided they genuinely believe that to be the case, I don't think we have good grounds to criticise too much. Regarding the cliff face, yes of course you could make the developer pay for the repairs, but that would reduce the overal value of the land by the same amount. Nothing gained, except that TDC wouldn't then be responsible for ongoing maintenance in the future.

Anonymous said...

dear 2.39pm, thankyou for the info. Could I ask you how much TDC has been paid/is to be paid for selling the freehold of this prime site to the developers or has it been given away?

Anonymous said...

Sorry 3:03pm I don't have that information.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again. Do you know who would or is it commercially sensitive information and therefore asking my ward cllr would be a waste of time?

Anonymous said...

7:27am I would suspect that the information is exempt at the moment, but you could ask your ward cllr.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there some disagreement over who owns the cliff face itself? This argument is apparently going on over the amonite in the cliff at Kingsgate.

Anonymous said...

2.39pm - For your information I have no idea what the site was like in the 1950s - I wasn't even born them!- what I am concerned about is what the site will be like for future generations. It seems that for short term monetary gains - (how much seems shrouded in secrecy) the council is selling out a perfect site for leisure development - or the new proposed swimming pool for Ramsgate - I do hear that in the past there was one which was very popular with local residents?

Anonymous said...

7.10pm You are right. There was an open air unheated pool on the site, which was falling into the sea, and which no-one could justify the cost of repairing. I can assure you that no-one would use it nowadays, even if it did hold water.

As for bulding a new public pool on the site, I don't think the majority would thank you for two reasons. 1. the site could realise a reasonable sum of money to provide facilities anywhere in Ramsgate, as is the case now, and 2. Facilities for the locals, including a possible swimming pool, need to be located centrally to Ramsgate so that everyone can use them.

Anonymous said...

Have you been to Great Yarmouth - great pool built next to the beach and attracts loads of tourists. We obviously do not agree about this - but just wanted you to know that Ramsgate not just full of older people looking backwards(although it seems that way sometimes !)