Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Harbour Chocolate Lounge and a Sunday Ramble

What a difference a day makes, I think I had forgotten Ramsgate’s potential for mild sunny winter days with all the rain this year, it was so pleasant to be able to be outside in the sunshine.

The intended Waitrose shopping mission disintegrated into getting a French stick and some cheese and having a picnic lunch on the westcliff.

We went on to have drinks at The Harbour Chocolate Lounge which were very good, I did a quick pen sketch which was surprisingly difficult because of the light difference looking in front of me to looking down on to the paper.

Some strange activity on the Pleasurama site part of which is batons on the great wall which look as though they will make it difficult to add more pictures.

I am not sure what the developer is doing on the site but some of the weeds have been cleared adjacent to the cliff façade exposing the subsoil under the foundations. I have reservations about the cliff façade for a number of reasons and would have liked to have seen the repair work that should have been carried our as result of the survey two years ago, done before other activity adjacent to the base of the façade.

My long term concern for the façade is one of public expense mainly because the gap between the development for which planning consent still stands and the cliff façade doesn’t seem wide enough to allow for economic maintenance. As the cost of maintaining the structure falls on TDC and therefore our council tax, I think we will be in for some very big bills during the life of the development if it is ever built to the approved plans.      


  1. Harvey says the only work currently sanctioned is the strengthening of the boundary fence however it looks like they are creating a road against the cliff for access via the slope road instead of using Harbour parade

  2. Barry my take on this one is that while SFP hold the leases there wouldn’t be anything the council could do to restrict them from doing work there towards the completion of the development.

    I think the big issue with Pleasurama is that the planning consent still stands and aspects of it could be very expensive for local people for many years to come.

    As far as I can tell all of the liability for maintaining the cliff and the sea defence falls to the council for the hundred yearish life of the development. Now in normal circumstances with an experienced developer and a cautious council this wouldn’t be much of an issue but with Pleasurama where the council’s desire to get this development built exceeded normal common sense, councillors and officers have been forced into defensive positions that it is difficult for them to get out of.

    As far as I can see the council has guaranteed both the cliff and the sea defence in perpetuity and the developer and the developers contractor were intending to build based on these guarantees. The other side of this coin is that the environment agency’s costal engineer has strongly recommended a flood risk assessment and the senior geotechnical engineer who wrote the 2005 report for the council’s external civil engineering consultants describes the cliff façade as having a short serviceable life.

    So far the sea defence hasn’t given any problem although with it facing southeast it is a very good thing that the recent storms were blowing from the south west, the cliff façade on the other hand has had one major repair since the council spent £900.000 on it and there has been a further survey two years ago with a considerable schedule of work that hasn’t even been started yet.

    If one applies some imagination to the difficulties of dealing with repairs to a 70ft high concrete structure parts of which are four feet thick that is 12ft away from 70ft high building it may be possible to see where I am coming from.

    1. Unfortunately TDC seem to be in a habit of making expensive mistakes from leasing multi story car parks, leasing prime seafront property or telling ferry companies that they can have a payment holiday. all ineptitude on a very expensive scale with the local tax payer picking up the bill

  3. With the current floods in mind I would imagine that the punters would be wary of buying a flat so near the beach.

    1. John the crux of the issue at every level has been finance, I don’t see how the developer would get finance for a new build on an ea designated high risk flood zone on the foreshore without a flood risk assessment and if they ever did and the development was built, I can’t see how any potential purchaser could get a mortgage.

      From both the developer’s and the council’s point of view the problem here is that the site was designated high risk after the planning application was approved, so although the flood risk assessment isn’t mandatory there just are no new builds on flood zones without one.

    2. If no one could get a mortgage it seems highly unlikely the developer would build only to be left with a white elephant. Seems to me we are dragging over old coals, flood risks, avalanche etc, all well covered before when it is just a case of waiting for the time to run out and TDC can recover the leases.

    3. William with lawyers involved the time running out would try the patience of a Saint.

    4. Is there an alternative, Barry?

  4. Michael,

    You are not alone!

  5. I like your pictures of your food on trips out, I no longer like eating out because of my disability wheelchair etc and it is nice to see others enjoying stuff. I readt the article on the Daily Mail site and find it odd that chefs are asking people not to photograph the food are they ashamed of the prices they charge?


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