Monday 22 June 2020

At last a development is started

With the news that building work has finally restarted  with Blueberry homes (Martin Rigden) on the site and looking like, at last, something is happening. Realising that progress will continue it is hoped that the development will actually make a difference to the seafront which has been blighted since the original fire in 1998.
I suspect that most people will just be glad the eyesore will soon be gone.
Picture dated 15/6/2020

Now it looks like this build will finally get done I thought people might like to read a little of the initial history of how this design was chosen.

In the beginning the Labour administration in June 2002 published a document called "The Ramsgate Renaissance Development Opportunity" which set out the key criteria for the site. (needless to say the final plans followed little of the original concept). By December 2002 the Council had settled on one particular design which was laid out to a full Council meeting and chosen. The main selling point was the participation of Whitbread in the development.
This was proven to be a lie soon after but the Council did nothing about it.

 In May 2003 the Council changed hands in the local elections with Sandy Ezekiel (Tory) winning an outright victory however nothing seemed to have occurred to advance the plans until an application was received in November 2003 (which bore no resemblance to the plan above) however a development of this size should be fully debated and likely to take several months. Imagine the surprise from the residents when planning was granted on the 28th January 2004.

What follows (as an appendix) is the transcript of a debate between the Council and a few residents who were understandably upset by the final plans in April 2004 after planning was granted.
The main issues still (after 16 years) are as follows:-

1. The height of the development. 
This will cut the view from the Eastcliff for both promenade and residents living in Wellington Crescent.

2. The cliff access.
There will be only 4m from the cliff wall and the access to the under building for car parking. Most people believe the cliff face is reinforcement for the cliff however it is mostly decorative and subject to water ingress. It is also the sole responsibility of TDC and previous repair work has been in excess of £1M.

3. The lack of affordable housing on the site.
The original offer set out a payment in lieu of affordable housing (posted here) however this is from 2002 some 18 years ago.

You will note the offer to council was never produced by the original developer SFP Venture Partners (based in Tortola BVI) but by Terry Painter a local estate agent yet the Council accepted it at face value.

Appendix 1

Sunday 2 February 2020

Change of ownership2

A new decade has arrived and with it the news that the Pleasurama site has a new (old) owner. The owner of the freehold is Ltd Company Ramsgate Development Co Ltd which up to November 2019 was owned by Colin Hill who used his puppet retired accountant as owner of the 100 shares, however as of the 3rd November 2019 these shares were transferred to Martin Carlo Rigden making him not only the lead director but sole owner of the Ltd Company.
At the same time the charge imposed by the Mintal Group (actually Colin Hill again) was satisfied in full. This implies that £3,434,346 was paid to Colin Hill by the new owner to give Martin Rigden clear title to the freehold

However what also seems to have happened is the money spent on the site is now in excess of £11M which seems to be an extraordinary sum considering what has really been spent on it over the years.

Accounts 2019

In 2013 I wrote a blogpost (read it here) which laid out the known expenditure :-

3X 199 years
Dr Sue McGonigal
Refundable to SFP
Dr Sue McGonigal
Cliff repairs
TDC & Painter
Roadworks and Storm drain
KCC Highways
Painter to BBC

Planning application
FRC Frewster


Since then (bar maintenance) the only known maintenance on the site is the cost of the site obelisks which according to Cardy weren't paid for from Colin Hill's funds (this amount was in the region of £750K according to the sub-contractor who did the actual work.

Then in 2016 Ramsgate Development Co Ltd bought the freehold for £3M however they didn't actually pay this amount as the deposit of £1M was deducted, the interest on said deposit was deducted as was the cost of the 3x199 year leases @ £550K meaning just under £2M was paid over.

That makes a figure of around £5M and not the £11M that appears in the current accounts.