Saturday, 13 March 2010

Margate wins four million pounds plus, Ramsgate leaves with nothing.

Sound familiar, this time it’s about flood risk protection, this is a fairly complex issue and part of it relates to a freedom of information act request that I have in the pipeline, part of it is to do with the history of local flooding, something that means that even if you don’t believe in global warming or rising sea levels, you still need to sit up and think about this one.

Both Ramsgate and Margate have a very long history of flooding and storm damage caused by a combination of an exceptionally high tide and storm, fortunately for Ramsgate there is very little on the western undercliff to get damaged and Ramsgate Harbour protects the main developed part of the town that is low lying.

All this really leaves is Ramsgate’s eastern undercliff, the important part being from the Royal Victoria Pavilion to the car park that used to be the Marina Swimming Pool.

This area has a long history of flooding and storm damage – it’s designated “High Risk” by the Environment Agency - and if the sea level does rise the problems there can only get worse when we have a high tide combined with a storm.

During my discussions with various council officers about this area, the Royal Sands or Pleasurama development in particular, I was told by them that the council was due to carry out a “Strategic Flood Risk Assessment” SFRA on the various vulnerable parts of the Isle of Thanet.
The council have just announced that they have spent £98,000 on doing one for Margate, see but nothing seems to have been done for the high risk area of Ramsgate.

My freedom of information act requests about these matters still rumble on with very little in the way of information from the council, click on the link for the email I sent them yesterday I have uses the officers Christian names instead of nicknames based on their weekly salary this time as the nicknames seemed to irritate our chief executive and it’s information I want from him, not to get his back up.

The problem for Ramsgate in all of this is that the area of the town that most needs regeneration is the eastern undercliff and without properly dealing with the flood risk any regeneration there could well be money wasted.

The pictures are of storm damage to Ramsgate’s eastern harbour wall.


  1. I would suggest that because the new turner centre is going to be thanets new jewel in the crown? and not Ramsgate marina which has been raped of its assets to prop up other developements for many years the only real asset we have If only it was managed by competent mariners.The money is spent on sea defencies in front of the turner centre otherwise it will be one of the first casualties to surcome frome rising water levels anybody with the minimum knowledge of rising tides in future years would have not considered building in such a close proximaty to the sea

  2. The functioning of TDC is very obvious, the council complains about a £6m "black hole" in accounts and the need for asset disposal sales whilst quietly diverting funds into quangos for Margate Renewal Partnership,EKO and Cliftonville West.
    The "black hole" is Margate and it will continue to swallow all available funding well beyond the stated completion of 2015.
    If Ramsgate is to progress it must look to private enterprise for its finance and rescue.Community self-help by all interested parties in Ramsgate is the only way forward.

  3. "They were told at their meeting last night (Thursday 11 March) that the council has used a £98,000 grant to look at the scale of the problem and what can be done to solve it."

    The above quote from the Thanet Press Release sums it up completely, it should read "the scale of Margate's problem but not Thanet's"

  4. margate gets the funds as even trace would not risk her jizzed on bed and dirty drawers in a seafront gallery built by kcc.

    Expect the sea wall to go up a few metres right in front of turner and nowhere else.

  5. Michael, when I last changed 'Strife's' layout I put up a pic of a mild NE storm blowing tons of water over the top of the harbour arm ( what is now Fiona S's converted lock-ups) and onto promenade where TC is now located.
    I find it fascinating thatTDC Planning and Royal Sands seem to ignore the latest revised EA assesment of rapid flood risk to that site in Ramsgate whilst spending what seems an inordinate amount of money on a report that the EA might have done for free, in regard to Margate?

    What TDC is ignoring,conveniently, is your report last year regarding sea protection from Birchington (Plum Pudding Island?) to Reculver being run down and that the inevitable consequences of this will be making Thanet an Island again. So that's OK as long as TC and Margate Old Town doesn't get flooded? A strange Council we have that ignores the main and far more serious risks to its area?

  6. Bertie, The risk to the old town is far more serious than most people think. Probably because the old town is built over a natural creek that once ran as far as Dane Valley into the sea. This often results in cellars in the old town often having a few inches of water in them during heavy rains and spring tides , with water coming up through the ground. If there is a severe storm over a spring tide during a heavy rainfall period and the sea defences are breached. There will be flooding as the water will have nowhere to run. Since 1953 the sea defence system has worked but the risks are always there.
    The same applies to the Tivoli area which often floods as the natural progression of the Brookes is to run through to dreamland and into the sea. There is a pipeline system that drains the Brookes, the outlet pipe for the Brookes being the widest wall of the silted boating pool by the clocktower.
    The sea wall of Marine Terrace is the original sea defence and the main sands is the buffer. If you was to stand by the slope leading down into Dreamland by the Punch and Judy it will highlight how low lying the land is. Fortunately the pipeline system drains into the sea. But there still is a potential risk to the low lying land should the defences ever be breached.
    This is not a Margate versus Ramsgate issue as in Michael's heading. It is a real serious flooding issue.
    Finally in the storm of 1808 the sea reached as far as Tivoli.

  7. Michael, your title to this posting really is OTT and I am throwing down my marker on this subject regarding Margate sea defences and storms. As would like to mentioned that I have 40 years knowledge on the subject and studied the history since 1808 also as for Thanet District Council this is one area where they have been absolutately faultless.

  8. In one of Richard's re- organisations he decimated TDC's engineering knowledge and left one very willing engineer to try and cover everything, after strggling for 2 years they gave him an assistant, unfortunately they cannot cover everything; hopefully Ramsgate is on the list but as always well down the pecking order.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Sorry for deleting the previous post got distracted.
    I said:
    The comittee papers for the TDC Cabinet meeting decision are available to download from the web site. I have a copy and I will be studying it well over the next few days with advice from those like Tony Beachcomber. You should reserve judgement until then. I will give a copy to Tony if he wants them.

  11. A few quick thoughts here as we are having a fairly hectic weekend.

    16.32 My understanding is that The Turner Contemporary has already had a flood risk assessment and is designed to withstand pretty much everything the sea throws at it, so it doesn’t come into the equation.

    Readit the problem here is that the sea defenses have to be publicly funded and my understanding is that this funding doesn’t have to come from local government funding.

    Bertie I believe the North Wantsum sea defenses to be the most important, followed by Margate and the South Wantsum, these seem to of about equal importance, the Ramsgate Eastern Undercliff ones are not so critical at the moment but this changes once one considers developing the area, particularly if that development is high density residential.

    Tony I think you have missed my point here which is not that Margate’s sea defenses are not very important or that the council have acted incorrectly in the way that they are dealing with them.

    My point is that Ramsgate’s sea defenses need addressing too particularly in view of the Pleasurama development, where a worst case scenario would be over 1,000 people being trapped in a development, that is inadequately protected from the sea during a high tide and storm.

    OWM no problem delete away until you get want you want to say down, how you want to say it.

    I have had a fairly good look at the documents and they seem to be going to do the right thing as far as Margate is concerned.

  12. Michael, I support wholeheartedly the need for revisiting the Pleasurama development, which appears to fail on so many levels. We need to all work together on all of the issues that impact on Thanet, we must not get sidelined into doing what distracts, Remember 'divide and rule'

  13. OWM I think you have hit the nail on the head there, as far as I can tell from talking to shop customers virtually everyone regardless of which part of Thanet they come from want the whole area improved.

    Real of perceived there is very much a sense that Margate is getting much more funding and attention than the rest of Thanet, resentment about this seems to all be directed towards local government and absolutely none towards the people of Margate.

  14. History tells me that this is temporary, Margate would not be in the mess it is in if it had got all the support, but at the moment TDC are getting lots of national attention re 'Margate' and have to be 'seen to be doing things'. And, if you are a little more cynical, with money being tight it is only Margate's 'deprivation indices' that are bringing funding to Thanet at all, so there you have it, 'damed if they do and damed if they don't. They need the deprivation to win funding, as it pays to keep it deprived'. It will not last for ever as questions will be asked if things do not improve and there is the rub.......

  15. Rearview mirrorMarch 15, 2010 1:58 pm

    Just out of curiosty Micheal when was the last time there was a flood on the ground of the pleasurama development, also how far up the cliff did it rise?

    I am aware of problems of flooded cellars along the parade caused by excessive rainfall, but was not aware of any problems futher along opposite the beach even during large spring tides.

  16. Rm the last damaging flood there that I know of would have been about 30 years ago anyway when the operators of the Pleasurama arcade gave up with using the front – lower bit - for electrical machines and filled it up with pool tables.

    The last big one was in 1953 when the sea swept a 12 ton crane, that had been working on the beach over the sea defences there and into the site. I wouldn’t have thought the sea ever reached the cliff face there as the old Pleasurama building was the old railway station building and rather than remove the platforms they just filled in the gap where the rails went, so the back part of the building was about 1 metre higher than the front, i.e. about the height that I would expect that a flood risk assessment that the EA strongly recommend would advise for the floor level of the building.

  17. In it all charm!


Please note comments that may be libellous, comments that may be construed as offensive, anonymous derogatory comments about real people, comments baiting internet trolls, comments saying that an anonymous comment was made by a named real person, boring comments and spam comments, comments in CAPs will be deleted. Playground stuff like calling real people by their time stamp or surname alone, referring to groups as gangs, old duffers and so on will result in deletion. Comment that may be construed as offensive to minority groups is not allowed here either, so think before you write it, remember that the internet is a public place, that it is very difficult to be truly anonymous and that everyone who uses it leaves a trail of some sort. Also note the facility to leave anonymous comment will be turned of during periods when I am unable to monitor comment, this will not affect people commenting who are signed on to their blogger accounts. When things are particularly difficult on the commercial spam front I may turn comment moderation on for periods.

If you feel that someone has left a comment that is offensive and directed at you personally please email me (link on the sidebar) asking to have it removed, you will need to tell which post and the date and timestamp of the offending comment. Please do not reply to the offending comment as I will assume you continuing the dialogue as meaning that you want the comments left there.