First the Pleasurama update, which is about the large building next to the site, most recently called Ramsgate Boulevard and used as an amusement arcade owned by the late Jimmy Godden.
Over the last couple of years there have been various claims made by SFP and their associates that this building had been bought by SFP and would become the offices for the development and branch of the Terrance Painter Estate agents, here is the link to one of the news articles about this http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Businessman-Jimmy-Godden-sells-Ramsgate-seafront/story-14055028-detail/story.html#axzz2UDDlhUda
Some time ago I looked into the matter and what seems to have happened is that the director of SFP Sean Keegan used another of his companies to begin the process of buying the freehold for this building from Jimmy Godden.
The reached the point where it appeared on the land registry certificate [(30.11.2011) BENEFICIARY: All Type Properties Limited (Co. Regn. No.
07219682)]in the way one would associate with the property transaction being underway.
In the last couple of days posters have been put up on the inside of the building for a property management company owned by the Godden family, so it looks like they have put it back on the market.
While on the subject of the Pleasurama site, when I posted about this the other day http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/royal-sands-development-on-pleasurama.html to publicise the fact that the council are now moving towards repossessing the site there was some dialogue about the flood and storm risks there. John Hamilton in particular seems to confused about this one and I promised to put some detail in this post.
In engineering there are few safety definites, just a series of compromises, because the best way to avoid having buildings collapse is not to build any buildings and the best way to prevent motor vehicle accidents is not to build any motor vehicles.
With flood risk there is a series of compromises, where we talk about 1 in 50 year or 1 in 200 year events makes it very easy for people without any engineering or scientific background to get very confused.
This doesn’t mean that the property is going to flood every 50 or 200 years but is the way the risk is expressed so that insurance companies and banks financing developments on these sites can assess the risk.
With the Pleasurama site I would say the flood and storm situation was fairly marginal when the plans were first approved, the EA looked at the plans which were just over the designated ground floor commercial designated level, they assumed the staircase to the cliff was the pedestrian escape from the flats above and let them through.
Since then a mix of information has changed the situation, the EA redesignated part of the site a high flood risk, the architect produced new plans with the staircase moved and levels above the tide mark clearly indicated.
After this happened the EA wrote to the developer and the council recommending a flood risk assessment, here is a link to the letter http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/ea/id2.htm
Since the beginning of 2008 even more information has come to light, some relating to historic storm damage on the site and some relating to the sea defences and geological structure of the site.
It all adds up to the site needing a proper flood risk assessment before any further uses of the site are contemplated. The difficulty for me is that the John Hamiltons of this world seem to think saying that the flood risk needs properly and professionally assessing, is the same as me saying the site will be washed away.
We now come to the debt the ferry operator wound up owing the council when it went bust.
A lot of comment here on the various blogs, with some people making the fundamental mistake of thinking the £3.3m was money the council lent to the ferry operator to keep their business afloat.
What this was, was mooring fees that the ferry operator should have paid the council but couldn’t afford to.
In very simple terms this equates to shop rents in our towns and factor which equates to Westwood Cross and the internet market that has caused so many of our shops to close, with the ferries this is the channel tunnel.
Obviously the ferry berthing facilities have been significantly under used since The Sally Line pulled out.
So suppose the council owns five large shops in the middle of Margate, four are empty and the other is trading with difficulty and paying a rent of a £1,000 per week and the company running this shop go to the council and say we can’t afford to pay the rent, but we hope to get an investor who will finance our business so we can pay it off eventually.
I guess the question here is what should the council do and how long should they do it for?
Obviously at any time they can make the company bankrupt by demanding the money they are owed straight away, but this will only result in five empty shops instead of four and no money.
On to the UKIP result.
My guess here is that come the next TDC elections some of the existing Conservative and Labour councillors would like to get re-elected and that in the light of the recent county council elections there is a very good chance that most of them won’t be.
What happened at county level may very well be repeated a district level, either come the next elections or the elections after that and the main reason for this is that local people have lost touch with who their local representatives are and what it is they do.
I guess the thing that seems to have made the voting difference recently has been very simple messages that the voters can relate to, no night flights, a vote on whether we stay in Europe. What is very much apparent is that what the councillors get up to at a local level hasn’t made much difference to how people actually vote.
I think the last Thanet District Council meeting was a case in point, I couldn’t have attended if I wanted to and I guess a great many of the people who do actually vote – like me – have other commitments that prevent them from attending meetings.
I tried to follow the meeting online, although I knew the microphone system that has caused problems with the webcasting of meetings had been fixed, the meeting wasn’t live streamed. This is particularly irritating as I know this can be done via youtube for free and I also know that once the meeting has ceased to be relevant and in any real sense interesting to watch, it will be presented by the council hosted on a paid for server at considerable expense.
There is also a difference between the council producing a fair and accurate record of the council meeting and something that is dramatic and politically motivated, which is well understood. However doing what they actual do, which is to produce something that is basically unwatchable, where the image quality is so poor that no one can be identified, is also unacceptable.
Frankly if our local councillors want us to vote for them based on how they perform and not just to vote based on national issues they are going to have to make some sort of collective effort to present themselves as a viable council doing something that we the voting public can see is useful.