Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New year predictions.

Looking at what I was saying on this blog at the end of last year I see that my predictions were wrong. I predicted that work on the repairs to the cliff façade behind Pleasurama would start on 7th January and take about a year to complete, well they haven’t even started the most difficult bit, anchoring the unpainted area of concrete to the cliff, so I am going to have to revise that one to March at the earliest.

I was also predicting cliff collapses most particularly to the Marina Esplanade incline road, after WW2 the borough engineer decided the only proper course of action for this incline was to make it one way only, allowing traffic to go up the hill only. The reason for this is that when a series of arches is built as in a viaduct the effect of an incline is to weaken the structure to a lateral force pushing down the incline. He considered that a train of busses or lorries going down the hill that had to brake suddenly in an emergency could cause the whole structure to collapse.

The council and their experts that have allowed the road to become two way as part of the access for the new Pleasurama development assure me that this is quite safe and that no weight limit is required, anyway it hasn’t collapsed yet so I was wrong.

Click on the link to look at the arches and tell me how many lorries and busses breaking hard down the incline from 30 mph, you think this can support.

I am hoping to persuade the council to try it with half a dozen HGVs before it is tried with half a dozen busses full of people.

I don’t appear to be much of a soothsayer so I won’t try and predict anything for this year coming.


  1. I assume Mr Brimmel the Borough Engineer ? He certainly knew his stuff with the WW2 tunnels and the Westcliff arches...

  2. 20.31 yep Dick Brimmell his son Bob gave me the original plans of the tunnels when I published the book about them, I don’t know the details of his work on the westcliff arches and would certainly be interested to know. I was told by one of the councils engineers that when the work was done to strengthen the westcliff arches about 15 years ago the contractor failed to put in the proper waterproof membrane, which is causing the brickwork to disintegrate, you couldn’t make it up could you.

  3. I'm sure the members of TDC will be the first to volunteer to try out your experiment. Don't all rush to get in the first lorry!!

  4. I would be extremely interested to read the borough engineers report on the 'Marina Esplanade incline' (Marina Road viaduct), and wonder if you could tell me where I might be able to get hold of a copy?
    As you know the viaduct was constructed in 1877 along with the Marina Restaurant and other victorian shops/dwelling houses built within the arches.
    I and other residents who own homes here, remain very anxious about the condition and use of the incline/roadway which runs above our heads. We were particularly concerned when TDC decreed that it should become a two-way highway, with no weight restrictions, in 1998. If you could tell me where I might obtain a copy of this report, or where I could read it, I would be extremely grateful.

    I would also be interested to know why the council decided that the the West Cliff needed strengthening, especially when this incline runs over (council owned?) workshops situated within its arches, whereas Marina Road which runs above a significant number of privately owned homes, apparently does not.

  5. 23.03 My information about the traffic restriction on the incline came from Don Long who was at some time a Ramsgate Town Councillor, Don was very much involved in the day to day running of the town and it was he who first told me that the Pleasurama site flooded.

    I would imagine that TDC must have some sort of folder on the arches so it’s possible you may be able to get access to it one way or another, I will also see what I can do. As far as the safety of the arches goes I had a considerable correspondence with the firm that surveyed the arches and said that they didn’t need a weight limit, frankly their replies to my questions were contradictory and didn’t make sense.

    You only have to look at the pictures to see that the arches are in poor condition and as they were never designed to take the forces that would occur if a line if heavy vehicles had to stop in an emergency.

    With the whole Pleasurama development there seems to be an agenda to go ahead with it regardless of the safety issues, very worrying.

    By the way do you have any pictures storms and high tides down there?

  6. Michael,
    Many thanks for your response = if you can obtain any of Don Longs info etc I'd be very grateful.
    I have an old postcard showing storm damage on the seafront here. Will look out for you.


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