Monday, 4 May 2009

Royal Sands Development Ramsgate Performance Bond

Since I found out about next Thursdays cabinet meeting to consider going ahead with the development without a performance bond I have been doing a bit of work to find out what this means.

I had a word with a mate in the building trade and he told me that a performance bond would normally be bought from an insurance company for a small fraction of its value.

Rather in the way that if you are a responsible car driver with a good track record you insure your car for a fraction of its value and the value of the damage you could potentially do with it.

He thought that SFP hadn’t been able to buy a bond, either because of the size of the project and their lack of track record or their non-compliance with the EA recommendations.

He said specialist insurance firms that issue these to developers and his firm has never had any difficulty getting a bond and that is pretty much mandatory for most fairly large contracts.

The idea of the performance bond is to protect everyone involved if the developer goes bust or does a runner or builds a building that is not fit for purpose.

As for depositing £1,000,000 it is a ludicrously small amount when one considers the council have already spent £882,753 on the cliff repairs.

As far as I can see it is exactly the same as someone wanting to borrow your car worth £5,600 and saying to you. “I can’t get insurance, but as you have just paid the £883 garage bill so I can use it, instead of insuring it I will lend you £1,000 which you can keep if I don’t bring your car back, oh and you may have to pay any further garage bills that come up.

I didn’t have to take a driving test and have a letter strongly advising me to from the department of transport, but because I got a licence before a test was mandatory they can’t make me, oh and I can’t prove I have ever driven anything before.

Of course if I crash it and people are killed or injured as I have told you all this you could have a few problems with the law, if I write off the car I may pay you something more for it, but you can’t check my assets or get at them under British law as they are all tied up in an offshore company, so I don’t have to pay tax on the money I intend to make out of using your car.”

I believe the Cabinets intention to keep what they intended to discuss a secret begs some interesting questions.

Click on the link to read the EA recommendations.

Incidentally the granite wall on the right in the picture above that is considerably higher than the base line of the new development has been demolished by wave action on numerous occasions. It’s quite spectacular when this happens lumps of granite weighing several tons are swept into the air as if they were pretty much non-existent.

Click on the picture to enlarge it.

This link takes you to a page with pictures of the damage to the harbour wall and of wave overtopping along Marina Esplanade where the development is to be built. You have to scroll down the page a fair bit for the pictures.

The pictures are not of a tidal surge storm as the van and motorcycle would have been swept away as happened to the 12 ton crane down there in 1953.

The video is an ordinary spring tide with a moderate northerly blowing it away, things get much worse with a south easterly or southerly especially when combined with a tidal surge, caused by a low pressure system over us making the sea rise.

As you can see it is only the sand that stops the pavilion and everything else down there from being washed away in normal conditions, unfortunately the sand sometimes gets washed away too.

I have also noticed that Isabelle has left a comment on Bertie’s blog to the effect that Bonanza Express won’t be coming to Ramsgate click on the link to read it I am pointing this out as unless you use short of regularly reading through his entire blog I don’t see any way you would pick this up.


  1. Sometimes, Michael, reading your posts is like waiting for a train crash in slow motion after noticing the warnings have been ignored ....

  2. Keep at it Michael, at least you are up to speed with what shady dealings are trying to be passed over the rest of us? Things might change if we have a change of cabinet? have you kept the rebels up to speed?

  3. Keep at them Michael. You are championing all of us who love this town.

    Maybe you are wrong, maybe you have entirely got the wrong end of the stick, maybe TDC is doing an excellent job, maybe TDC has an innocent explanation. If so, TDC should say so. If so TDC would definitely say so. Their silence damns them. If only we had a local paper that had the stomach to take up the fight.

  4. What shady deals Anonymous 17.30? I thought the meeting was NEXT Thursday. Or has Michael already decided the outcome of that as well.

    I notice Michael now thinks he has the contractors consulting him on the development.

    Warning readers, Michael only knows what people tell him which may not be the full picture. In his egocentric manner he then passes what he believes to be definitive judgment based on armchair research.

    It all sounds very believable at times, but then so does the Holy Bible to some people and so does Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods. If I remember correctly Enid Blyton's books were quite believable when I was younger!

  5. 18 23

    Your contribution is a hotch potch of ad hominem fallacy and "Whataboutery" which fails to inform the discussion at all.

    Surely Michael raises compelling question:

    (1) Whether the developer was unable to secure a bond insurance.

    (2) If they were unable to secure a bond then why ?

    (3) Is a one million deposit an adequate substitute for a bond valued nearly six times that ?

    (4) Are requisite measures in place for TDC to fulfill the obligations of money laundering law ?

    (5) If the development goes ahead what risks to public funds would arise when it goes awry ?

  6. Michael, I have put up Isabelle's item on a new post, thanks.

    It has just crossed my mind that next Thursday's Cabinet Meeting could be quiet interesting and that Pleasurama discussion could go on hold. If the Conservative Councillors decide they want a change of Leadership on Wednesday, the Cabinet on Thursday might be in disarray for other reasons?

  7. Richard Card: You mention very important points. My point is that the Council will consider them along with many others before making a decision, with or without Michael's input.

    I'm also very sceptical about Michael's reasons for doing what he does. It appears he has little if any financial input to his cause, but by his own admission this blog (which incidently is free) increases activity in his shop. He rides on the back of other people's research and makes a financial gain.

    Michael is not stupid, and he's not an expert in local government.

  8. Anon 7.33, the taxpayers of Ramsgate have a right to know what is going on about this development. The council meetings should not be secret affairs. How much of this is reported in the local newspapers? The bond position is of major importance to taxpayers, the costs to taxpayers of a failure will be both financial and could be a blight forever on the Royal Sands.

    So the surge tide youtube video is a computer animation?

    Every body that reads this blog knows how Michael derives his income. Do all councillors declare their interests?.

    ps I live in West Kent and can choose to stop visiting Ramsgate unlike residents, but then so can all the other visitors if the council get it wrong.

  9. A few points here.

    I got the information that the developer wasn’t going to put up the bond and that was what the meeting was about in writing from Steve Ladyman my MP, so if I have got the wrong end of the stick so has he.

    I then phoned up the developer’s agent Terrance Painter, both to get an update on the situation with the pavilion and see if he had any further information about the Pleasurama development.

    It was Terrance not me that suggested he and the contractor meet with me, although I did suggest to him that as the problems so far have been with the plans that it would be a good to get a different architect to look at them too.

    I also said that I didn’t think much would be gained from meeting as with the development it is mostly about coming up with ideas as to how the problems of this very demanding site can be solved and then finding out if ones ideas would work in practice, this takes time.

    7.33 I think the point here is that the council will not be considering this issue, which is to be decided at a closed cabinet meeting.

    I am not particularly interested in the workings of local government, however I am very concerned to make sure that this development complies with the safety standards recommended by the environment agency.

    Oddly enough some people would consider promoting books and local history to be a good thing, in fact when the Turner Contemporary is complete it will have a bookshop subsidised by you the taxpayer.

    8.22 My point here is that the video isn’t a tidal surge or a storm but just a moderate north easterly wind and an ordinary spring tide, something that we get several times every year and when the wind is southerly or easterly, something that doesn’t happen very often the sea defences by the site for the new development are overtopped.

    A tidal surge storm, something we get about every 50 years is something altogether different it’s severity is often measured by the number of people killed, in the 1953 one the north Wantsum sea defences were breached, the sea came more than a mile inland sweeping away several miles of our railway, a similar occurrence today would take several miles of the Thanet Way with it too, of course it wasn’t there in 1953.

    When I asked the planning officer how the people could escape the building when this happens again he said the people could be lifted off the roof by the fire brigade, I believe he took onboard that they could be otherwise engaged.

    The 1978 storm that did so much damage to Ramsgate harbour wall was a north easterly so Ramsgate being on the south coast got off relatively lightly Margate completely lost its pier.

    In designing buildings to go on our coast line one ignores local history at ones peril.

  10. There too many 'anonymous' on this blog. An original nome de plume would be helpful to other readers.

    To the anonymous that doth rant against Michael,
    If Michael is wrong then why does TDC not speak out against him? He asks questions. That's all he does. I can see nothing wrong in that. Why do you 'anonymous' object so vehemently to his questions? Do you know something that we don't? Do you hold a brief for TDC or other vested interests? If I malign you then you will speak out against me and TDC can do the same to Michael.

    Why do you object to Michael earning his by living running a shop? Richard Branson speaks out on matters other than commerce. Presumably you also resent him for the same reason that you resent Michael.

  11. I predict that the Cabinet will take the site back from the so called developers and start again from scratch.
    Whoever is Leader.


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