Friday, 18 June 2010

New development in Ramsgate harbour

I got a very brief glance of the new plans for the development where slipways 2 and
3 are today I managed to photograph them, sorry about the quality, click on the link to view them 2 copies of each sheet

On the positive side the developer is the same one who has made an excellent job of restoring The Custom House.

Personally I would have preferred something more sympathetic to the existing architecture there.

The plan is that slipway No.1 will continue to be used winding houses 2 and 3 will be demolished – the positive side to this is that they are made of damaged asbestos crumbling into the car park and the negative is that they are of historical significance related to WW2 – slipway 2 is pretty much unused and in poor condition, slipway 3 has had a lot spent on it and has been used recently to repair wind farm service vessels.

My understanding is that it is only slipway No.1that is commercially viable at the moment.


  1. There are a few details missing here Michael. Like, er, who, what, when, where, why!

  2. There's clearly not enough profit in doing something with the Pavilion instead of building this monstrosity. I think there's something a bit wrong with the artist's impression compared to the plans - looks like the poor old museum will be almost entirely engulfed and hardly visible from the end of Harbour Parade but maybe then it will gently slide into becoming a restaurant, bar or event apartments, after all, who on earth could possibly want to have a museum?!

  3. Getting into details, slipways 2 & 3 and the motor house may be specifically protected under a listing of defence installations hosted by the Imperial War Museum. They were built by Fairmile for maintaining the MLs, MGBs, and MTBs of Light Coastal Forces during WWII.

    It's the only tangible monument to the young men, of many nations, who were based in Ramsgate and brought the Nelson Touch to naval actions in the "narrow seas".

    The motor house has (when I last looked) the original windlasses, motors and control gear installed in the 1940s all in working order. I agree the asbestos? type cladding is not attractive, but, in heritage terms, demolishing the slipways would be the same as cutting up an airworthy Spitfire.

    Overall the development looks and sounds like a feeble version of the design produced for the failed EKMT/TDC joint project for the enhancement of the museum c. 1995.

    ECR's questions need answering - particularly why?

    Nobody could be too displeased with the 'restoration' of the Custom House, but it was really nothing more than a redecoration/refurb and some tasteless chandeliers! A different league to a major new build, on a difficult site with an 8LS post code!

    The wise man builds his house upon the 8LP.

  4. What the hell is a restaurant and bar doing in the middle of a working harbour? What is the benefit of this monstrosity to anyone who doesn’t want to eat or drink? Is this designed to enhance our Royal Harbour, or line the pockets of a developer? It destroys both views and heritage.

    On a more positive note the restaurant will come with fine views of the car park, and the raised terrace will have an excellent view of the eastern gully, complete with aromas at low tide.

    I wonder what percentage of residents and visitors will benefit. It's another greedy, short sighted, disastrous plan measured only in financial terms.

    Presumably the Clock House is a listed building, which surely must have some bearing on what is built around it. I trust the owners of the Clock House will protect our heritage in a diligent manner. Yeah, right!!

  5. Sorry for what is probably a rather long and definitely partisan comment!

    The Clock House is a Grade II* listed building, and the entire Royal Harbour is Grade II listed, including all Morton's Patent Slip (No.1) and the two Fairmile slips (Nos. 2 & 3)

    The significance of the little star (*) in the listing is often overlooked by potential developers and local authority planning and conservation officers.

    Although in theory even ordinary Grade II buildings need consent for any development or alteration, exterior or interior, because there are so many of them owners usually are safe to ignore the law as councils cannot police them all.

    However, Grade II* has significant extra importance and protection. The Clock House is a unique piece of architecture designed by the cream of Regency architects and engineers, passing through the hands of Wyatt and both John Rennies (father and son) during its construction.

    Even if the proposed conglomeration had any sustainable economic future, it should not be allowed to proceed, as designed, so close to this important archtectural gem.

    The earlier post about the wartime slipways must be taken into consideration too. I gave their map co-ordinates to IWM Duxford when I was working at the museum some years ago, so they probably appear on some special "Defence of the Realm" register somewhere.

    I agree it has shades of "The East Kent Heritage Project" proposed by EKMT with full TDC backing in 1997. However, that was for a clearly defined purpose and was the product of much research. It passed through the first stages of an HLF bid for £11 million, with full support from English Heritage. Sadly it was up against fierce competetition and in the end did not get the capital needed to go ahead.

    TDC threw all its weight behind it - rather too much too late - using regeneration as its justification. HLF politely told TDC that they were in the business of preserving heritage, not directly recuing failing economies! In truth the scheme became too grandiose for its own good, though it had many sound elements.

    Perhaps someone could explain the rationale of the current proposal?

  6. It would be interesting to note the ages of the people who seem hell bent on NOTHING NEW EVER BEING DONE in Ramsgate... I need to look more closely at the plans and re-post later but I do know that the slipway business is not viable over the three slipways and it is also an eyesore. If slips 2 & 3 are listed and SO IMPORTANT ALL OF A SUDDEN why haven't the powers that be spruced them up and turned them into a living, breathing museum for the thousands of visitors that flock to the Maritime Museum every year????? Exactly!! What we need is a permanent Dunkirk museum with a large space and interactive exhibits... This will only happen with Private enterprise as our Council is skint!!

  7. Richard I believe one of the local papers covered this about a month ago although I don’t seem to be able to find the article now.

    Mischievous my understanding is that as a result of negotiations between the council and the Rank Organisation, the Rank organisation have agreed to repair the structure of the pavilion and redecorate the outside.

    What worries me about this and other structures on the foreshore in Ramsgate is the lack of a flood risk assessment and suitable sea defences, spending money on the building if it is uncertain if the sea will demolish it during the next big tidal surge storm seems plain stupid to me.

    21.47 thanks for the information, very useful when trying to put together a picture of the pros and cons of this development.

    22.29 I am trying to approach this one with an open mind and look for positive aspects as well as negative, the problem for the marina is that aspects of keeping it working just are not viable due to competition from European marinas with better facilities.

    Michael I know you are busy at the moment but it would be useful to me if you could email me, so that I have a contact address for you and can send you information that may not be ready for publication.

    Thanks for taking the time to post a detailed explanation, particularly as you must be so busy at the moment.

    10.10 I think the council have missed the importance of the maritime and military heritage of Ramsgate, both from the point of view tourism and potential grant funding.

  8. A ugly building that is not in harmony with its surrounds, and that will stick out like a sore thumb [or carbuncle].

  9. I posted anonymously at 10:10. The key problem as I see it is not with the proposed development (the detail will be ironed out one way or another) but rather with the way that Ramsgate gets left out of the equation so often by TDC in favour of Margate & Broadstairs. I personally think that the proposed building could work as an eye-catching wedge between the Pavilion and the Maritime Museum but the core issue should be comparing the potential of Ramsgate Harbour with other maritime areas such as Brighton Marina or Ocean Village in Southampton. Ramsgate is a more attractive place than both of these and we now have a high speed railway line into London and a very good road network. We have to start providing some things and places to MAKE people want to come here.... I agree that there can only be so many bars and restaurants but if we want other facilities they really need to be funded by private enterprise rather than by grants or the local authority. As a concept I think we need to embrace development as a principle but we should be ensuring that lasting value is gained. Is it inconceivable that TDC could gift a site to a developer in return for them building and maintaining a new, improved museum for instance? Perhaps some of the Ground Floor of the Royal Sands could be turned into a visitor attraction? Ramsgate just needs more people visiting and relocating to live here so that extra money passes through the tills of local businesses. If new developments assist in this then I for one am in favour! (Subject to Planning of course).....

  10. John as I said I am remaining neutral on this one at the moment so as I can gauge public opinion for the most part.

    Ramsgate Fan, first the advice I always give people, get yourself a blogger identity, as if you get involved in some heated debate it stops people posing as you and has no effect at all on protecting your anonymity.

    With the maritime museum The Preston Steam Trust have the resources to run the maritime museum and as far as I can see the only thing that is stopping this, including their program of events that would be highly beneficial to Ramsgate is that the council won’t grant them security of tenure.

    With the whole problem of how you get anything to attract tourists in the café culture / harbour area the problem is the rents, I have given this a lot of thought, back in the days when say the Brighton Lanes started up it was possible for lots of interesting businesses to open among the cafés.

    I am very much aware that it would benefit this part of the town if I could move the bookshop into it, the same applies to other things like the secondhand record and CD shop in Chatham Street or the pinball museum in Addington Street.

    The problem is that there comes a saturation point with eateries and people need indoor attractions, but in terms of profit and therefore overheads very little that is interesting has the profit margin that there is on a cup of coffee.

  11. Another Ramsgate FanJune 19, 2010 7:37 pm

    Anonymous 10.10 and follow up Ramsgate Fan … I also posted anonymously at 22.29 and surprisingly I agree with your follow up post in all except I don’t share your confidence in the council’s ability to work in partnership with or even negotiate with private enterprise. Just for the record I do have a bus pass, but I welcome development and new initiatives in Ramsgate.

    Ramsgate Harbour in general is perhaps Ramsgate’s greatest asset, and it’s a fact of life that the area needs to be developed to provide funds to maintain it. But the idea of wedging a restaurant and bar between two listed structures horrifies me. It’s worth pointing out that we already have a restaurant within the harbour confines which has some of the best maritime views available. Guess what, it’s owned by the council and it’s empty and decaying!! I know it’s a long way out for a restaurant to succeed, but the point is what’s happening to it? Perhaps the council are planning using it as a museum! With our current brand of local government we haven’t a hope in hell’s chance of finding out.

    My opinion is that Ramsgate urgently needs to decide on what it wants to be, and then take some radical steps to achieve its goal rather than tinker around the edges. The café culture that has grown up in Harbour Parade appears to be a great success. As an example, why not build on this success and make Harbour Parade a pedestrian area during the summer months, thus freeing up the car park for development away from the Clock House.

    Come on Ramsgate Town Council, get your backside into gear and take on the crowd of Margate supporters over at Cecil Square. Push forward some sustainable ideas, you may not get anywhere but at least you can tell us why, and if necessary name and shame! And while you’re representing us over at Margate, could you find out what’s happening with the Royal Sands development, Royal Victoria Pavilion, West Cliff Concert Hall, Clock House, Pier Head Restaurant, Albion House, and of course our latest asset the King George IV Heritage Pontoon which remains empty. I believe they’re all administered from within the comfort of the Cecil Square Command Centre.

  12. Michael, thanks for the advice on getting a permanent ID. I'll get on to that... not that I usually have time to properly engage in the Blogosphere!!

    My key point is that Ramsgate is a wonderful place and almost everyone that comes down here cannot believe that they have never heard of it before or been here before.... The only thing we lack is an attraction to actually BRING people here. In order to do that we will need to develop something and the Councils (Town, District and County) have neither the money nor the inclination. Regardless of whether one likes or dislikes the plans for what is proposed on the slipways SURELY TDC could see the merit in offering the same developer another site to be developed for profit so that this site (or vice versa) could be used to house something like a Dunkirk Museum at a rent that makes it viable so that we at least GET SOMETHING DONE!!!

    Your comment regarding your shop (which I have visited) and the Second Hand record shop was a valid one and I for one would love to see some kind of development where small, specialist shops could survive and provide important 'browsing' opportunities. Your mention of the Brighton Lanes is a good analogy. What we CANNOT have though is a wraggle taggle setup like what has emerged in the Old Haberdashery which (with apologies to all concerned) just doesn't cut the mustard. There's some serious business to be done in promoting Ramsgate and getting more people with disposable income to visit or live here...... I have a cunning plan!!!

  13. I understand the slipways are under a lease for the next 12 years or so, i expect that some has had the decency to include the lease holder in the discussions or is this another of these wonderful plans like a cruise terminal in the middle of pegwell bay or an aquarium at the port when there is no sense of reality or finance behind the project.

  14. what will happen when the remaining slipway has sandblasting and welding etc. works being carried out to a ship

  15. Peter in answer to your question....gritty glazing and some interesting colouration to the adjacent walls. Seriously thoughI did wonder myself if the proponents of this scheme were aware of what actually went on in a shiprepair yard. Bring on the deck chipper....

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  18. King George IV Heritage Pontoon - what shame such a good idea falls apart!

    Whilst heritage boats such as Emmanuel and the ex-lifeboat William and Kate Johnston move out of the Ramsgate Royal Harbour because of berthing charges, modern plastic fanatic yachts are allowed to use these ones reserved pontoons for heritage vessels.

    What on earth is going on with TDC


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