Thursday, 20 June 2013

Thanet District Council Cabinet Meeting and Ramsgate’s Royal Victoria Pavillion

The only information about tonight’s meeting seems to be some tweets from the council’s communications team.

Tweets

1.             Communications Team @ThanetCouncil42m
@andyhodder See bit.ly/196vL1g for more information.
2.             Communications Team @ThanetCouncil45m
@andyhodder We want to know if there is any commercial interest to take on the lease and operation of the Pavilion building.
3.             Communications Team @ThanetCouncil50m
Cabinet approves a Discretionary Housing Payment Policy to ensure financial support is targeted to those most in need.
4.             Communications Team @ThanetCouncil1h
Cabinet agree to commercially market the lease on the Grade II listed Royal Victorian Pavilion in Ramsgate to ensure its long term viability
5.             Communications Team @ThanetCouncil1h
Cabinet agrees to progress 4 council owned sites for sale. 21 day ward consultation to follow bit.ly/196vL1g
6.             Communications Team @ThanetCouncil1h
TDC Cabinet approve new Equality Policy.

One of the items was extending the lease to 100 years, I think the council speak translates into this is what they intend to do.   

The rumour is that Wetherspoons want to turn it into one of their pubs, the building is in a pretty dreadful state, the links below are to some pictures I too of the inside, sorry about the quality, it’s pretty dark in there as the windows were boarded up years ago.





As I guess you can see from the pictures the Pavillion is in a pretty dreadful state and needs considerable investment so it is likely that anyone making this investment would need security of tenure for long enough to raise the finance.

Another aspect is that the pavillion is subject to flooding by the sea during tidal surge storms, in 1953 it go a fair washing through by the sea, after the storm the local paper says that the sand has moved around it so that it appeared to be in the middle of the beach.  

On the bright side it is behind the largest accumulation of sand, which does help to dissipate the waves, on the not so bright side there is a lot less sand than there was in 1953 because the council used it for the Port Ramsgate infill.

Also on the bright side it is a steel framed building and as you can see from the pictures of the cellars the foundations go down to the chalk bedrock.

I do have reservations about the amount of bars the area can support, but frankly I can’t really think of another leisure use that would be likely to be viable. The building is listed, so it is likely to stay and the metal framework that holds the roof up doesn’t give an internal clear span big enough for a skating rink or swimming pool, uses that have been suggested.
  

56 comments:

  1. not for or against however I think some community use could be stipulated within any changes

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    1. The community can go to Wetherspoons!

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    2. Barry,

      What do you understand by the term 'community use'? This term always sounds good but I have never been sure what it actually means.

      Personally, I would not support any use that was a burden on public funds, or that was managed by TDC.

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    3. To me, anywhere the public can go (shop, bar, museum) is for "community use", as opposed to housing, warehouse, private members club, etc.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. Been giving community use some thought and think one of the problems getting holidaymakers to come to the seaside is the unpredictable weather in the UK so maybe a win win situation for weatherspoons could be creating a soft indoor play area with the pub so that parents could utilise this on wet days. If at the same time fare other than alcohol could be sold

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    6. I think you'll find that ALL Wetherspoons sell "fare other than alcohol". I've never had a beer in one (I'm teetotal), but I've had some quite nice meals + tea in several of them.

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    7. there are some chains that provide play areas for their clienteles children. As I do not frequent pubs do weatherspoons have such areas?

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    8. I can't say I've noticed, but then again I don't have children so haven't really looked.

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  2. Good news - look at Tunbridge Wells Opera House for sensitive reuse of an old listed building by Wetherspoons

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    1. Also "The Peter Cushing", an old cinema in Whitstable that became a Wetherspoons.

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  3. Beer, the cause and solution to all of life's problems.

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  4. Terry Painter selling point, "Nearby Witherspoons available for EDL rallies and luncheons."

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    1. Anonymous 9:16,

      I am not clear on the point you're making. Can you please expand your comment.

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    2. John I think this goes back to 2010 when J.D Wetherspoon announced that in the future they will close their pubs rather than ‘inadvertently becoming host’ to the English Defence League (EDL) after violent incidents in Stoke at a demonstration.

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    3. Thank you Michael. I'm begining to understand. But surely Anon is not accusing Mr Painter of being connected to the EDL?

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    4. Anonymous 9:16 am,

      Is it your intention to lead people to think that Mr Painter is connected to the EDL?

      Are you connected to any political organisation or protest group?

      Delete
    5. John I think you barking up the wrong tree here, it relates to one of those very peculiar incidents in modern English history, I have copied this from the web.

      Article published: Wednesday, February 17th 2010
      J.D. Wetherspoon has announced that in the future they will close their pubs rather than ‘inadvertently becoming host’ to the English Defence League (EDL). This comes after violent incidents in Stoke at a demonstration organised by the extreme-right street group.
      In the course of a protest march on the 23 January, EDL supporters embarked on a spree of destruction with local shops and those working in them targeted in violent attacks. Police cars were over turned and a local mosque was daubed with offensive graffiti.
      Three people were charged with racially or religiously aggravated disorder offences in the aftermath of the rally. It is believed that many of those present in the ranks of the EDL were in fact rival gangs of football hooligans.
      Anti-racism organisation Unite Against Facism (UAF) say that the decision follows a campaign to ensure what ‘looked like a scene from a beer hall at the time of Hitler’ will never be allowed to happen again in Britain. Prior to the EDL protest march, Stoke police had asked a Wetherspoon pub to allow the group to meet there. The management assented, but the head of the chain subsequently sent an email to the UAF underlining that this should not be seen as endorsing a political standpoint and that in the wake of complaints they are to reverse their position to such police requests.
      The decision by the chain means that from now on the EDL, which has gained notoriety for the drunkeness and violence of its supporters at rallies, will have to find somewhere else to congregate before such anti-Islam and racist demonstrations.

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  5. The cabinet decided last night to push ahead with the plan to extend the lease to over 100 years and to help Rank market and dispose of it. I will be posting on this later today. I don't think enough thought and planning has gone into this.

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    1. Ian I guess the key problem once again is council secrecy, if we knew what was going on we would know whether or not to support it.

      On the one hand a longer lease, with the council getting a reasonable rental return to enable Wetherspoons to convert it into a pub, may be reasonable. While on the other hand extending the lease to Rank at the existing peppercorn rent so they can make a lot of money out of trashing the building and keeping it empty, then selling the lease when the economy recovers, may be not.

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    2. Michael,

      I heard this morning on R4 'Today' programme that the Government will introduce legislation to prevent developers land banking. If the developer fails to build then the council can charge a fee for the land or force him to sell the land back to them. This might very well give SFP cause for concern.

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    3. John if that be true then they need to make it retrospective!!!
      It would be good for the debate if the current lease could be produced as many are fully repairing and if that is true of this one then Rank should repair the inside as well as the façade.

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    4. Barry & Michael,

      Sorry, I've misled you. I misheard the radio this morning (well it was early)it is not government policy but rather an ED Miliband promise, should Labour win the next election.

      Here is the link http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2345691/Developers-refuse-build-homes-land-taken-away-Miliband-warns.htm

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    5. What is TDC doing assisting Rank in marketing and the disposal of the Pavilion?

      Is TDC being paid for Rank for this service? Indeed what programme of marketing and disposal support are they offering?

      Is it a box of Swan Vestas and propellant? It would be a good sales point..the hottest venue on Ramsgate Seafront...Ramsgate Hotspot!

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    6. What EXCELLENT news! Finally some proper businessmen can make use of a building that TDC owns. Shame they didn't sell the Freehold.

      It seems there is a certain amount of ignorance as to ground rents on long term leasehold sales, and the definition of a full repairing lease. The fabric of the building is what is refered to in the term full repairing lease. The decorative order and temporary structures that form the inside of a commercial building are rarely if ever included. Such a term would make the building unsaleable.

      The ground rent on such a lease is rarely more than a trivial figure, if it wasnlt then investing a large sum in a building for possibly decades would simply make no commercial sense.

      This really is commercial property 101!

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    7. Sorry John but I must correct your interpretation of a full repairing lease. It is what is says plus there were stringent conditions. This is why 5 years ago, TDC served a 146 Notice with 160 plus delapidations listed. Some exterior works were completed but the interior is totally trashed and fire damaged, which is why there is no value in the current lease. TDC should never have let this situation occur and should rectify now it by foreclosure. This building is a valuable asset and no commercial landlord would be even contemplating extending the lease with so many current breaches.

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    8. John. May I make a personal enquiry. We are all wondering who you really are. You are either a Councillor or closely associated with Councillor, probably conservative because you show signs of an intelligent albeit misguided strategy. Despite it's history and the huge number of obvious failings of the Council, you refuse to acknowledge there are any problems and appear very supportive. Are you or is your Councillor friend trying desperately to keep the lid on something. By the personal attacks you repeatedly make one could be forgiven for thinking so.

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    9. Must admit - I would love to know as well John. I have some people who understand the dark arts of servers looking into this issue right now. Wouldnt it be crazy if it turns out that you are something to do with the council!!! Imagine the headlines on that one!!! Could ruin someones carear!!!

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    10. Paul James! You never did aknowledge my comment that the car park has been closed for 5 (maybe 6) years rather than 10. Any thoughts? Presumably you're a newcomer?

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    11. Sorry Peter, I can't find the post you refer to. The post above is concerning the Royal Pavilion. If the car park at Arlington has been closed for 6 years instead of ten, then I apologise for that error. The fact remains that the car park should be open, the shops occupied and the whole site maintained to a good standard, not the eyesore it is today. You are fully aware that shop tenants have been forced out by Freshwater in order to increase the dereliction of the site, which is a developer ploy to get an advantageous planning permission. Only very recently have the Council been taking an interest in the site an have started to question the considerable number of breached,

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    12. The vast majority of the shop tenants closed up many years ago (even while Dreamland was still open), and were certainly not forced out - I should know, I worked in one of them! They closed because they weren't getting the custom.

      You didn't answer my question: are you a newcomer? Because if you're not, then I'm sure you'll be able to tell me which 6 shops in the whole of Arlington Arcade were open during the early 00's (if you need enlightening then just ask!).

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    13. Sorry James, but you are clearly incorrect, aswell as the number of "delapidations" having been somewhat magically reduced by 3 from the number you previously claim, Seems your posts are as lacking in fact as your namesake/father's.

      Once the lease is extended, it will find a buyer that will bring it back to use. No building that needs a large amount of money spent to re purpose it will find a buyer with only a 30 year lease. The shops at Arlington never made money, nobody went there, it was an uninviting shit hole, and always has been. Have you ever actually been there? This is very very simple commercial property business practice James. Seems that your posts on the car park, aswell as the pavillion are sadly untroubled by and facts, or real world business accumin.

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    14. John or Martin and various anons, or whoever you are, why are you so defensive and angry? Why are you so desperately supportive of such a corrupt and incompetent Local Authority? Why do you keep denying the obvious. To be absolutely precise as you clearly prefer, on 10th April 2008 TDC served a section 146 Notice under the Law of Property Act on Rank Group Gaming Ltd, with a list of 163 delapidations running to 26 pages. Perhaps you would like to explain why each and every one of those delapidations were not addressed at the time. If you still doubt my word and care to disclose your email address, I will forward a copy of the notice and the 26 page list of delapidations which are far too long to display on this blog. You may then consider retracting your allegation of my posts lacking in fact. A response with a civil tongue would also be appreciated.

      Arlington is a similar situation, The shops that Freshwater allowed to operate did make money but were forced out to support the long term plan for a very lucrative redevelopment. TDC's lawyer say permission mustn't be 'unreasonably withheld' but that does not apply to the car park which is covenanted to be permanently open to the public. If the development goes ahead, and I would prefer that it doesn't, the Council or rather you and I should benefit from a considerable injection of cash that could bolster the Council's reserves after having to rob monies from housing benefit and other funds into order to prop up a ferry company that was trading insolently, together with running a ferry port with no income to boot.

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    15. Paul James, you claim that those shops made money, yet you can't even tell us what those shops were! Come on, either confess that you don't know what you're talking about, how describe those handful of shops that were still there a decade or so ago.

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    16. And I know for a fact that at least two of six those shops were running at a loss for a long time (remember, I worked in one of them!).

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    17. Peter,

      I have watched Arlington deteriorate and the few number of shops eventually close. I am reliably informed that the deceision to leave was not by choice. You are right that the economy of Margate is extremely poor, but this is due to there being far too many disadvantaged residents who have no money to spend. No district can support such an imbalance, but both Margate and Cliftonville have become so socially imbalanced that both are designated deprived wards as we are all well aware. This situation has become much worse recently and did not apply when the Arlington shops could have been viable if the Lessee wanted them. That is all water under the bridge and we now have Turner which has been an overwhelming success, Dreamland hopefully opening in 2015 (not 2014 now that the Council have cocked up yet again), and plans to turn the sea front into an extension of the old town with reduced or no traffic. We desperately need that car park opened. Incidentally, I do not require you to enlighten me thank you. I remember the shops at Arlington and indeed a member of my family rented one way back in the 70's.

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    18. Well MY information is obviously more reliable than yours, as I knew ALL of those shop owners personally during the last few years. The only ones forced out were those handful of shops that still remained after 2007, when Dreamland finally closed.

      No matter how successful the TC is, it won't make people use Arlington Arcade; even when Dreamland was open and coaches used the car park people STILL largely avoided the place! So get real.

      YOU are obviously one of those vast majority of people who didn't go near the place for years, otherwise you've be able to tell us what those last few remaining stores were since 2002. Wouldn't you?

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    19. Peter, It would appear that you find it very difficult to be civil. Why is that? Have I upset you somehow? Can I invite you to try and imagine dreamland open, the car park open, Arlington House maintained and looking much like it did when it was constructed. The shop complex managed by someone who would agree reasonable rents and perhaps a Tesco Metro taking as many of the current units as they would need. That would result in more footfall, somewhere to park whilst shopping, (unlike Westbrook and Hereson Rd), and car parking for the Turner and Dreamland. What more could you ask. That could also mean that the plan to run a by pass road along the back of Dreamland could still go ahead and the seafront could be closed to traffic at least during he summer, allowing cafes and restaurants to open on the front and use the outside space next to the beach for tables and chairs. Exactly as they do on the continent.

      Your views please

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    20. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    21. You took so much interest in the area beforehand that you can't even name the shops that were there and didn't even know when the car park closed down. You also chose to listen to your "reliable" source over someone who worked there and personally knows the owners of every store that was there.

      They can't run a bypass road around the back of Dreamland because houses have since been built at the Margate end. The only way to do it now is to (a) Demolish Arlington House, & (b) widen the existing road behind the seafront buildings, taking part of Dreamland.

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    22. Whenever I go past those recently built flats that block that back entrance to Dreamland in Eaton Road(just prior to the junction with Queens Avenue and Tivoli Road travelling away from the seafront), and which could have accommodated a bypass, I think, what a shame!

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    23. For once we agree on something... it's also a shame about those new houses opposite Arlington House, as that would've been useful for widening the road there.

      It now seems that it's impossible to build a bypass without going to the extremes of my suggestions earlier (the only other way is to send traffic past Hartsdown Park and via Victoria traffic lights, which would cause massive chaos with or without Tesco!).

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    24. Clearly James the reality of the situations are illuding you. Please feel free to email me whatever you have to johnhamilton33@hotmail.co.uk and I will then be more than happy to explain to you how commercial letting works, like your name sake, you make a lot of assumption and claims that are simply factually inaccurate, let alone being with the benefit of a shred of evidence.

      You write nearly a whole post based on a road which can simply not be built without leveling some houses somewhere. Whose house is going to be flattened? As for the carpark, there is not a snow ball's chance in hell of success for TDC in enforcing it's opening in court. Any action would be laughed out of court, costing TDC even MORE legal fee in pointless fairy story legal adventures. The world of commercial long term letting is clearly a total mystery to you, as is running a large venture such as a port.

      Tell James, what would YOU have done at the port, and how would you have saved the £3.4million that TDC would have inevitably lost.....

      SG, couldn't agree more! I was stunned when they built those houses, I have to wonder where the nimbys were when that particular decission was made..

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    25. Still no proof recieved from James via Email, not sure why i'm surprised...

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  6. Rank were paying nothing for their lease. Will the new lease have different terms?

    If we are not going to make any money out of it, perhaps it could be, ahem, removed?

    Does anyone know anybody local who can make a building disappear? Anyone know any mediums who can help us?

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    1. That's a burning question!

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  7. Has anyone calculated, the TDC idea of money they never had, how much council tax has been lost by the delay in the Pleasurama Build ?

    £3.4 million they never had from the Ferry company. £? million from the absence of rateable dwellings and businesses Ramsgate seafront.

    Looking at things from an imagined Shaun Keegan point of view. Was he told that TDC had received environmental concerns report asking them to investigate allegedly sub standard pipe and vessel welds on the Pfizer development. The economic implication being that maybe Pfizer did not intend a long operation of the plant ? An inkling that the area's major quality employer may not be long term.

    Was he told that TDC was keeping secret the aquifer contamination caused by Sericol and Thor ?

    Was he told that the area's water abstraction was turned off in the long term and Thanet water piped in from elsewhere ?

    Considerable problems for a chap wishing to sell quality homes.

    Was he told that the Marina Pool had structural faults due to a load bearing problem with a foreshore build ?

    Maybe Shaun is a bit unhappy with TDC as well as the locals ?

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    1. Anon, 10:00, just where do you get your information. Pfizer had no long term plans, you joker. Have you figured out how many years they were there or how much they invested in the site? Like everything with you it is simply twisted to fit your jaundiced view of Thanet. Indeed, one might well think that you are some agent provocateur from a competing district whose sole purpose in life is to spread the muck on the isle at every opportunity.

      No doubt we will not see you at the airshow later, but you will rubbish it nonetheless.

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  8. Pfizer didn't invest in Sandwich site for the benefit of local people. They invested because it made a lot of money for them and they wanted to make more money. When the money began to dry up they pulled out. Those who worked there will testify that this process didn't happen overnight. I remember hearing managers talking about the "patent cliff and consequent loss of revenues in 2001.

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  9. Point proved then, Anon 8:47, for you said they did not invest in the site, not for whom. Actually they did invest for the community as well, supported local schools and youth organisations, helped fund new school science facilities and made their premises available for study group and conferences.

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  10. 8:54 I'm not the person who said that Pfizer didn't invest in the site and, as far as I can see, I don't think anybody else said they didn't invest in the site either. As for investing in the community, this is a business decision, nothing else. All large companies do it to get good publicity for themselves. One reason for doing this is to buy public goodwill in advance, to counter the negate publicity they get when things go wrong e.g. when they do something unethical. Another reason is to ensure public support for plans which require planning permissions or other permissions. Pfizer is a large international company with deep pockets and so I'm not going to engage with you on a public bulletin board about the negative aspects of Pfizer. Suffice it to say, as with any large company, there are negatives and they should not be ignored.

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  11. Anon 7:01, if you refer back to Anon on 22 June @ 10:00 am, it is claimed that Pfizer had no long term plans for the site and even used sub standard materials. It was to that post I was responding.

    Agree with you about large corporations, they act in their own best interests, but, when lucky enough to have one locally they can provide much to an area. Nobody is expecting love and kisses though, just commercial best interests.

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    Replies
    1. Thank goodness Infratil has the community fund to help cancer victims

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    2. Anon 9:26 But what evidence do you have that Pfizer did have long term plans? Are you just blindly supporting the company with no direct evidence? You can't imagine that the decision to close the site was taken overnight and, if you watched the parliamentary sub-committee which investigated this subject, you would have seen that the answer on when the decision was taken is as clear as mud.

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    3. Anonymous 10:08,

      Are you able to tell me how long Pfizer occupied the site and why you consider it to be short term?

      When was the decision taken to close the site?

      Delete
  12. Manston Aquifer Man @ 9:56,

    This was one of your more stupid comments. You simply do not understand. You couldn't tell which way a lift was going if you had two guesses.

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