Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Manston airport site sold to new owners

The council has today (Tuesday 23 September) been informed that the Manston Airport site has been bought by regeneration specialists, Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave - part of the Discovery Park consortium responsible for developing the Pfizer site in Sandwich.
As part of the news, the council also understands that a new proposal for the site will be suggested – a mixed use scheme which the partnership envisages will create more than 4,000 jobs but would not retain the airport.
The council is already part-way through a process to review whether compulsory purchase of the site is a viable option following a petition presented to the council on 10 July.
The outcome of a soft-market testing exercise to identify suitable indemnity partners to cover all of the associated costs of a CPO will be taken to Cabinet on Thursday 16 October.
The council will then undertake a wider review of the options for the site and as part of this would seek further details from the new site owners to understand more about their proposal.
A report outlining all of the options for the future of the privately-owned site will then be brought to a Full Council meeting for all 56 Councillors to consider.
The council has been clear that a CPO will not go ahead unless there is evidence of the economic viability of the site operating as an airport and a suitable investor identified to cover all of the costs required.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Ramsgate embraces it’s heritage through Heritage Open Days

Ramsgate’s historic buildings are opening this weekend as part of Heritage Open Days (11-14 September). Our events celebrate and open eyes to the stories of architect AWN Pugin, banker and philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore and Thanet’s oldest church St Laurence.

AWN Pugin, designer of the interior of the Houses of Parliament and of St.Stephen’s Tower (Big Ben) is one of our most illustrious past residents. He lived in Ramsgate for the last 10 years of his life, at the period when he ‘reconfigured’ the concept of the perfect family house. He built his home The Grange and church St Augustine’s next door, which were for him the most important of all that he built in his short but dramatic and impactful life (1812-1852).

The Grange is open Friday 12 to Monday 15 September (10am – 4pm) and Tuesday 16 September (10am – 1pm)  http://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/our-landmarks/properties/grange-3253/      

St Augustine’s Church is open each day (11-14 September) from 10am – 4pm.
There’s also a ‘PUGIN WEEK’ with events including:
Concert with The Victoria Consort on Saturday 13 September (7.30pm)
Midday Sung Mass on Sunday 14 September, the 162nd anniversary of Pugin’s death at the age of only 40. He is buried in the church.
http://augustinefriends.co.uk/  OR  http://pugin.com/pugchur.htm                

Sir Moses Montefiore arrived in Ramsgate 1831 when he purchased a country estate with 24 acres on the East Cliff of town; the property had previously been a country house of Queen Caroline when she was still Princess of Wales. He lived in Ramsgate until his death in 1885.

Ramsgate Montefiore Synagogue & Mausoleum is open on Sunday 14 September (10am – 3pm)
Sir Moses’ resting place and his family’s private synagogue are open courtesy of the Montefiore Endowment as part of the European Days of Jewish Culture & Heritage.

St. Lawrence Church and its Tower is open on Saturday 13 September (10.00 am - 6.00pm). 
During the day there will be:
Tower Tours to view Ramsgate and beyond at 11.00 am, 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm.
Tour of the Grade 1 listed church (12 noon) and open choir practise (3.30 pm)

If you want a day or a weekend out, there’s lots to discover in the town, and special events which show the character of this friendly, busy seaside town. Over the same weekend, one of the most historic streets, which was the town’s shopping centre in the Victorian era, becomes a mass of stalls, entertainment and family fun with the Addington Street Fair on Sunday 14 September from 10am onwards.

For news of what’s on and how to find out more, visit www.ramsgatetown.org or www.visitthanet.co.uk and the town’s facebook page at Ramsgatetown.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Historic moment for Dreamland as refurbishment begins on Britain’s oldest surviving rollercoaster

Work to restore Britain’s oldest surviving rollercoaster to its former glory starts next week marking another significant milestone for Dreamland.
From Monday 15 September, the iconic Grade II* listed Scenic Railway is being lovingly restored by contractors Topbond Plc. Group on behalf of Thanet District Council. 
Workmen will undertake an intricate programme of work to restore the historic structure, ahead of the opening of a re-imagined Dreamland amusement park next year (2015).

Initial work recording the building and structure for historic purposes has already started, but from next week begins in earnest with the dismantling of the buildings and structure on a phased programme - commencing from the motor house moving north.

Restoration will include the replacement of the foundations on which the newly fabricated timber trusses will be erected. Secondary timber structures will then be fixed to the main structure. All the works will systematically follow the scenic in a clockwise direction.

Leader of Thanet District Council Cllr Iris Johnston said, ‘It is very exciting to see work start on Britain’s oldest surviving rollercoaster. The Scenic Railway is synonymous with Dreamland and the Council is very proud to be leading the way, breathing life into Dreamland once again.”

Eddie Kemsley, Project Director at Dreamland, said “This is an important milestone in Dreamland’s history and is symbolic of the enormous achievement of the Dreamland Trust’s ‘Save Dreamland’ campaign. Work on the Scenic Railway is one of many crucial steps in our work towards opening a re-imagined Dreamland”.

During the re-building works, The Dreamland Trust will continue to host an exhibition on Dreamland’s history and future. The Dreamland Expo: a past, present and future, describes the revivial of Dreamland – one of the UK’s best loved amusement parks and has to date welcomed more than 25,000 visitors. The Dreamland Expo is free and open weekends from 10am to 5pm. For more information, please visitwww.dreamlandmargate.com or call 01843 295 887.

Throughout the autumn and winter months, the Arcade will be available for pre-booked school visits, community activities, student projects, research, presentations and tours – for more information please email arcade@dreamlandmargate.co.uk.

Ahead of the anticipated 2015 opening, award-winning designer, Wayne Hemingway MBE, is working to create a unique vintage-style amusement park; with attractions from thrill rides to classic sideshows alongside cafes, restaurants and retail spaces. Once open, the park will play host to large-scale events, national festivals and visiting attractions to celebrate the history of popular British culture, music, film and design. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

In response to TDC press release today Friends of Ramsgate Seafront have responded

Following the release of the Cabinet papers today Friends of Ramsgate Seafront would like to make it clear that the proposed deal with the current builders Cardy allowing them to rewrite the Development Agreement with TDC is inappropriate and is the wrong use for the site.

Allowing for the caveat that Planning has been granted in 2004 and “work” had started it is unbelievable that TDC would still be considering allowing housing on this site despite their own call for leisure related activities in their own plan (Ramsgate Renaissance documents) in 1998.

Notwithstanding this we believe that 3 things are made clear in the new Development Agreement that will have to be signed by TDC and Cardy before building can start.
  1. The Freehold of the site must remain with Thanet District Council and not be sold to Cardy or any other party
  2. That the cliff face maintenance be part of the leaseholders responsibility as it used to be up until the current leases were assigned
  3. That proper “due diligence” be done on the new developer to ensure that Shaun Patrick Keegan and his associates cannot benefit in any way from any profits ensuing when the development is sold
FORS want to make it clear that we in no way condone the Council’s actions however we understand the position past actions by previous administrations have placed the Council in a very difficult situation.

New Pleasurama proposal put to Cabinet

A proposal that would see delivery of the Royal Sands development on the former Pleasurama site on Ramsgate seafront wholly taken over by East Kent based Cardy Construction Limited will be considered by Thanet District Council’s cabinet at its meeting next Thursday (September 11).

The council served a breach notice on current developers SFP Ventures (UK) Limited earlier this year as the necessary first step towards terminating the existing agreement, which envisages construction of a hotel, residential and commercial units.
The breach notice triggered a mediation process, as part of which SFP’s owners have now indicated their willingness in principle to enter into an agreement for Cardy’s to acquire the company and with it the existing contract with the council.

If cabinet agrees next Thursday, officers will seek to negotiate a new agreement with Cardy’s that will allow the development to proceed on new terms that will provide for the council to recover the site if the scheme is not delivered to an agreed timetable.

The scheme would be built in accordance with the existing planning consent and the new deal would also entail the council receiving payments due under the current agreement, which dates back to 2006 with variations passed by full council in 2009.

It is anticipated that the new agreement would be brought back before cabinet for approval in October, allowing an early resumption of work on site.

The scheme is a key regeneration project for Ramsgate and is expected to employ up to 200 people while under development. Once completed it will provide further jobs in the hotel trade, commercial units and in the servicing of the residential common parts.

The current owners of SFP have said that they have been unable to secure the necessary funds to complete the scheme under the existing development agreement, but as an established building company Cardy’s are in a stronger financial position to take matters forward. The council would nevertheless require evidence of funding before entering into any deal.

Cabinet member for financial services and estates Cllr Rick Everitt said: “The offer appears to provide a way to resolve the current impasse, against the alternative of a lengthy and messy legal dispute that could leave the site in its current state for a number more years.
“We are, of course, aware that some residents believe the council should simply seize the site because of the lack of progress. However, there is no lawful basis for the council to do so now and we have been advised that the only feasible route to regaining it eventually is likely to be lengthy, risky and expensive for residents, at the end of which it is probable another scheme of similar nature would be brought forward.
"In my view, Ramsgate cannot wait any longer. Therefore we must consider carefully this opportunity to resolve the situation, including the expert legal advice we are receiving. In any event, there is nothing the council can do to intervene if SFP is able to comply with its existing obligations and under this proposal SFP will become part of Cardy’s.”