I have been busy this week on various projects, with Pleasurama the planning officer in charge of the application was kind enough to drop in on Thursday evening to give me a set of the new plans and discuss the progress of the development.
It is always a bit of a difficult one Pleasurama, that is one can't get away from the problem that the plans are just not very good and aspects of them are impossible to justify for the people who are supposed to do so.
The main problem being that the environment agency have said that there should be emergency escapes to the cliff top and that a flood risk assessment should be carried out before any construction starts, however because the problem was missed when they were originally consulted they can’t insist on this. What can anyone do? There appears to be no legislation or procedure in place to deal with a situation where plans are passed and then someone notices that there may be a dangerous problem with them.
For instance the narrow chasm between the back of the building and the cliff face there is just no way that anyone can say that it's sensible or good design. Obviously there are only two sensible options, one being to build against the cliff and extend the cliff top over the building the other to build much further away from the cliff.
Here I should explain that the officer concerned is both charming and very good at his job, which in this case ostensibly is to explain the plans to me, there is however a limit to how far anyone can explain something that just doesn't work properly or make sense.
Another example are the arches under the Marina Esplanade incline the council say there is a 40 tonne weight limit on them and they have a proper survey carried out probably at considerable public expense to justify this, so I say to one of the council officers OK go down there (and he does) and you will find the Victorian house bricks from which it is constructed crumble between your fingers. What can the officer concerned do? He has to abide by the rules this type of construction has to be surveyed and weight limits set in this case it is obvious that something is wrong, someone at some time made a mistake, however there seems to be no legislation or procedure in place to deal with situations like this.
I pointed out that before the huge roundabout for busses was built that wiped out nearly all of the main sands car park, that it could never be used. One of the strange aspects of this is that it will be people using the new development that will suffer most from the strain that this puts on the very limited parking available.
So then on to the developer’s agent also a charming man and by no means stupid and the problem here once again is that I am just talking common sense to him, to begin with he had assumed that I was just against the development, or for that matter any new development.
The problem for him once again is that my aim is what his should logically be i.e. a development that has minimum requirements which are that it safe, insurable, and saleable, but over a period of time he had come to the conclusion that I was somehow trying to obstruct the building of a good development rather than trying to see that we had a good safe development instead of a bad one.
But anyway at last some progress I managed finally to persuade the developers agent that to build without the flood risk assessment, strongly recommended by the environment agency would make the apartments very difficult to insure and therefore worth a lot less.
He has promised to try and get a flood risk assessment done and I think he probably will.
Once again emails to various councillors asking to get the Pleasurama site cleared and leisure use for the summer and once again a courteous reply from the leader and deputy that they will do their best.
With the deputy leader and leader I take the pragmatic view that it is best to do my best to get on with them and I can honestly say that I have found them to be courteous in my dealings with them, the thing I find most disturbing about the recent standards committee censure is not the behaviour of the councillors, not the peculiar and ineffectual excuses, not even the legally drafted letter that was a poor excuse for an apology but the fact that it cost us taxpayers £30,000. how this sort of waste can be excused in the present economic climate beggars belief.
Some concerns over Euroferries as the promised timetable that was supposed to appear on that website last week hasn't, I think it is important to be as optimistic as possible over this one as we have nothing to lose and everything to gain from a fast ferry service.
I think this year will be make or break for Ramsgate and we will have to accept some compromises that we wouldn't during normal times or the town will turn into something like Margate is now.
With the recession starting to bite it is becoming increasingly obvious that at some point we are going to reach a limit to the amount of public expenditure there can be. Luxuries like civil servants that don’t actually produce anything useful or locking people in prison who are not a danger to society at the cost of over £1,000 per week, when they could either pay a hefty fine or be made to work for nothing for the benefit of the community, these types of things are going to have to be looked at.
I have finally managed to get Pritchard’s History of Deal into print although I haven’t finished off its web pages yet you can click here for some sample pages and here to buy the book online.
I have also just finished the Ramsgate Private Residents and Business Directory for 1923 and am printing it out at the moment so it should be ready for sale on Tuesday or Wednesday all being well.
Oh and this Ramsgate Woolworth building yep that’s the rent with the interest rate at ½ % it suggests the building is worth £32,000,000
Commercial Type: Retail
Status: To Let
Size: 1,342.16 sq.m (14,447 sq.ft)
Description: The property is arranged on a ground and 1 upper floor to provide a large retail unit with ancillary storage accommodation above. The property has a ground floor c 691.86 sq.m (7,447 sq.ft) with an aluminium shop front and doors and a central automat...
£160,000 PER ANNUM