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

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