I don’t think I have ever got away with a s much time off over the Christmas break as I managed this time, today is the last of the Bank Holidays that enabled me to close for eight days out of ten.
It was very much a family Christmas here and as most of our friends and relations who visited have children we had several Christmas dinners, one way and another today was the first chance I got to walk off a bit of this indulgence.
Here are the pictures http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/laptop111/ and I will try to make a few comments about them if I get time.
Starting with the picture I have used at the top of the post, the huge shop opposite mine failed to reach its reserve in the auction of £170,000 at the moment it is arranged as retail on the ground and first floors, at a guess about 8,000 square feet of fairly tidy and straightforward retail space that would easily convert to three reasonably large ground floor shops, there is also planning permission to convert the upper floors into nine apartments.
What has happened here is that no one much wants to live or trade in this part of Ramsgate now and even if they wanted to trade here I don’t think that there is much that would be economical. This is retail space at about £20 per square foot that would produce a good return on the investment letting it out at £2 per square foot per year.
Is this bad news? Well I think that the answer is not necessarily mainly because most of the empty shop property to let in Ramsgate town centre at the moment is available at rentals in the region of £10 to £50 per square foot per year.
What has happened is that while shop takings have diminished over the last thirty years and I would say £2 per square foot per year would have been about right for a rental for this shop thirty years ago, when it was in a busy shopping street, since thenshop rents have multiplied by something like a factor of ten.
Another thing that seems to have diminished by a very large amount is China Gateway shares 30,000 of these traded on the stock exchange at the end of last month at 8p each as it isn’t that long ago that they were over £2.50 each, this raises questions.
On to the rest of the pictures, I will try to come back to that one later.
Pleasurama, still to me a very problematic development, so what is going on there? I think it is fair to say that in any normal town information about a development of this size and significance would be easily available.
All of the information I was able to find about activities on site during the last couple of months suggested that by now considerable work should have been done on pile boring the foundations for the new development.
One would have expected the site to have a whole village of Porto cabins to support the considerable workforce for constructing the development, evidently this isn’t what is happening there, perhaps what is happening there is some other tactic, maybe delaying, perhaps political, perhaps to do with the stability of the cliff, perhaps to do with the contractors commitments elsewhere, perhaps due to the absence of a flood risk assessment, who knows?
Further along the esplanade the Marina Restaurant development is going on a pace, this development does have the benefit of a flood risk assessment, so it stands on a plinth about a metre high to stop the sea flushing out the ground floor when we have a storm combined with a high tide.
My reservations here though are about the way the additional part of the development is joined to the cliff façade, I had expected some sort of civil engineering solution here. What they have done is to screw metal tie strips to the concrete cliff façade and used mortar joints between the cliff façade and the new blockwork keyed to the metal tie strips.
I don’t really think they have given much thought at all to joining a building to an old concrete cliff façade, it would certainly be interesting to know if a civil engineer was consulted at all.
Perhaps this is just me and that building against an unsupported chalk cliff doesn’t need an engineering solution.
On with the pictures, there is a lot less sand on Ramsgate Sands this winter than usual. I suppose that a mixture of wind and tide has caused this and I know that before the various groins and the sand holding effects of the wartime defences, high tides here pretty much covered all of the sand. This may cause some problems for the structures on the foreshore as the higher the level of the sand the greater the wave dissipation and hence the less damage done by the sea.
On to the Royal Victoria Pavilion, or Pavillion, the outside has been painted, the scaffolding and builders fencing has gone and from the distance it look ok.
The trouble is that when one gets closer it is obvious that that this newly painted building is boarded up with chipboard, nicely painted but just a boarded up building, it would seem that a derry has been decorated.
If you haven’t had a look at the inside of the building recently, here are some pictures that I took of it the other day
Once again the question, what is going on here? And I suppose in a normal town with some sort of local democracy, we would know the answer, as it is one can only guess.
The Garden Café and Shop in Ramsgate’s King Street has closed, this was part of a mental health charity, see their website http://www.mind.org.uk/help/mind_in_your_area/58 and another one here http://www.thanetmind.org/ I don’t know if this is due to some government cut, or just something that happened.
There isn’t any signage on the building saying what has happened, no alternatives for the people who used it.
I may be cynical here, two expensive websites, ample facilities to donate to help people with a mental health problem, but not even a bit of paper on the shop window giving some alternative contact for someone with a mental health problem.