Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Ramsgate and Margate rival towns?



There as been quite a bit on the blogs recently about Margate getting much more in terms of investment and resources than Ramsgate. Like many of these things where local government is concerned, the perception of the situation by local people is every bit as important as what is actually happening.

From the historical point of view the rivalry between Margate and Ramsgate extends back hundreds of years and seems unlikely to go away, meaning that governing one town from the other may not be such a good idea.

Central to this debate for me are the prominent council owned sites in the town, Ramsgate’s museum, Albion House, The Pleasurama Site, The harbour Lights Café, Westcliff Hall and so on.

At best we seem to get terrible delays to anything significant happening with these sites, Pleasurama and the Maritime museum being obvious examples and at worse, the council just demolishes them like the Nero’s venue.

Parts of Ramsgate are becoming very run down, I wandered down King Street and took a few pictures on Saturday afternoon to show what I mean, see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/laptop811/id4.htm while at the same time the war weekend event was going on see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/laptop811/id5.htm there are considerable contrasts here in Thanet Sunday morning in Broadstairs, pictures http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/laptop811/id6.htm and on to Pegwell give a completely different view.

Then on to the Sunday events in Ramsgate http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/laptop811/id7.htm and http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/laptop811/id8.htm show there is a very real need for all weather public venues here.

Obviously in some of the cases where council owned sites remain empty for longer than seems reasonable, this isn’t a case of the council needing to find funding, quite the reverse in fact as if the sites were occupied the council would be receiving rent for them.

This brings us back to the to the problems both real and perceived, talking to different people in the town many are of the opinion that the council have something against Ramsgate and that this is a deliberate action to blight the town.

Further discussion reveals as ever a very vague idea of what the council actually is, most people don’t seem to differentiate between county, district and town council, although the name that they generally apply to the council is Thanet District Council.

Some people seem to see the problems as coming from officers, something along the lines of “we pay them loads of dosh and they sit on their bums, letting Ramsgate rot” others seem to have a more political slant on the problem “the Tory councillors in charge know they don’t have any votes in Ramsgate so they let it rot”.

Pointing out things like the Conservatives don’t have any seats in Margate, now perceived as where all the money is going, doesn’t really seem to help.

Often I now get the answer from TDC councillors that Ramsgate Town Council should sort out Ramsgate’s problems, at the moment though RTC is two officers, with neither the power or resources to do anything about much.

Where “Localism” will take us on this one, no one seems to be sure, I get the impression that the way TDC are approaching the idea means we could well end up with a unitary authority.

I would say in general terms, talking to Ramsgate people, there is very little in terms of resentment, when it comes to spending money trying to sort out Margate’s considerable problems.

There are though some things that take a bit of explaining like Pleasurama where the council own the site and have spent the last 10 years entertaining development delays, whereas Dreamland in the rival town, shut for a much shorter time and still providing reasonably priced parking, is to compulsorily purchase so that the council can turn the prime leisure site into a prime leisure facility.

Perhaps this is a matter of perception again, with the council seeing Ramsgate as a port and airport town and the people living in Ramsgate seeing Ramsgate as a leisure town.     

I will try and ramble on about this if I get some more time. 

17 comments:

  1. Michael. So far, so good. A well balanced argument so far.

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  2. Ogmios, at the moment I am playing around with the problem and lots of contradictory ideas from different sources, I will try to keep anything else I write balanced.

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  3. Michael. My previous was not meant to be sarcastic.

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  4. Well at least we have Westwood to bring us all together!

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  5. I seemed to have noticed millions of pounds of investment in a new road leading into Ramsgate, a relatively access tunnel to the Docks, Westwood X which is more Ramsgate than Margate?

    Quite sad if people are expecting 50p to Margate, 50p to Broadstairs, 50p to Ramsgate, etc, etc

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  6. Westwood Cross is technically Broadstairs

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  7. Returning to an old theme. Ramsgate is the only Royal harbour in Britain yet our maritime museum remains closed - maybe one of our Councillors can remind us why.
    The remaining A299 dualling was a vain attempt to keep Pfizers at Sandwich. Like the Ramsgate port access road, bureaucracy delayed it so long that it is too late.

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  8. Michael, I came to the conclusion that the 1974 LG re-organisation coupled with Thanet demographics makes TDC an unworkable proposition which should be replaced by an East Kent Authority based in Canterbury.

    This is reinforced by the relative quality of Herne Bay and Whitstable compared with Ramsgate and Margate

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  9. What you have to ask yourself is why is Simon Moores/TDC getting press galore in relation to some roadside advertising signs when there is seaweed/broken lifts/closed museums etc to deal with?

    Priorities?

    And I don't seem to remember these roadside advertising signs being a problem when they said "conservatives" last year......

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  10. Well at least the Police are on Ramsgate's case with the new disperal order now in force until November. The zone includes Harbour Street, Queen Street, King Street, Cliff Street, Leopold Street, York Street, Charlotte Court, Albion Place and Harbour Parade.
    But will the offenders take any notice when 24 hours later they can return?

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  11. 9:48 they have just shoved the druggie problem into the Boundary Road and St lukes area.

    Readit (aka G-D) yes the sooner the better - TDC has gone past its sell by date!!

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  12. At least the Pleasurama delay means that we have better art in Ramsgate

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  13. I received a good explanation of the slow progress on Royal Sands recently.

    If the contractor did not start he was in breach of contract.

    If he starts slowly and requests regular payments, when the cheques stop arriving the client is in default.

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  14. Ken. That implies that someone would be happy if Royal Sands were never finished. Certainly sounds dodgy at the very least.

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  15. Sorry about the lack of response to comments, my day off yesterday and I was busy with other things.

    Ogmios at 17.05 didn’t think you were.

    18.07 I don’t think people think that the money should be shared out evenly, nor do I think that the improvements to the road infrastructure are relevant here. This was meant to be a look at what is happening or isn’t in terms of bias towards the Thanet towns, in terms of local government. Most particularly in terms of council owned assets and sort of basic stuff like keeping the town centres clean and tidy.

    Indeed as I pointed out the council would actually better off if the assets in Ramsgate were being used for something and returning some income.

    Ogmios at 19.07 the maritime museum is a strange one, the council seem to have been about five years trying to produce a lease so that the charitable trust can both run the it in terms of getting grant funding and put the café back on the back, to help finance it.

    As previously the council were coughing up thousands of pounds a year to run the museum it seems very peculiar.

    Ken there is a very noticeable difference now between the Canterbury and TDC run costal towns, so perhaps you have point.

    9.39 I was certainly surprised at the media interest in a relatively minor matter, they now seem to be treating it as a way to get rid of untaxed vehicles, a sort of Cubit Plus.

    9.48 it is ongoing properly organised town centre policing that we need in all of the Thanet towns, something essential to providing an atmosphere both to trade in, live in and where tourists feel comfortable.

    10.49 I think much of this problem stems from social manipulation, my understanding is that problem people within Thanet are being removed from Newington, Mill mead and Cliftonville and rehoused in social housing in Ramsgate town centre.

    Readit, I think this may be partly the case but I believe the contractor has a £1.5m investment in the development.

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  16. The whole question of what is going on with the Maritime Museum, Motor Museum and the other question marks in and around the Royal Harbour would doubtless keep a proper journalist busy for months - pity we don't have any locally!

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  17. Another link for the sidebar

    http://www.petitionyourcouncil.com/

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