Friday, 10 June 2016

Royal Sands Ramsgate aka Pleasurama Ramsgate, Cardy Construction the paint the weeds the mess, an update? I really don’t know.

Over the years that the Pleasurama debacle has rumbled on and the most high profile leisure site in Ramsgate has been a disused mess of rubble with occasional dubious looking construction activity I periodically email the main protagonists for an update.

I start with the primary developer as contacting the council can be a tedious business, and the last few times the primary developer has been Cardy Construction, up to know they have responded promptly, sometimes saying that the council were not allowing them to say anything, but at least they have responded.

This time has been a different matter.

A week ago today I sent their MD the following email:-

-----Original Message-----
From: michaelchild <>
To: mstannard  **********@****
Sent: Fri, 3 Jun 2016 13:19

Hi Michael I have just been doing my trawl of the local Facebook groups and there are a lot of posts about Pleasurama aka Royal Sands and also some pretty negative ones about Cardy Construction because of your company’s involvement.

I think most of this is because of lack of information, the last I have is the email below from Mike Humber TDC.

I will put in another request for information from TDC, but this usually takes about eight weeks before I get a reply, and so I wondered if you had any update that I could publish now.

I don’t think masses of negative and uniformed speculation on social media benefits anyone and negative information about your company, which is after all one of the better and more responsible local developers can’t be helpful to you.  

“Ref No: 84703/3211812
Subject:        Pleasurama
Dear Mr Child,
Thank you for your communication received on 15th December 2015 where you requested information about the Royal Sands Development and Wellington Crescent Cliff Facade Wall.
For ease of reference I have summarised your questions with a response in each case below:

Can you kindly give me an update on the Pleasurama aka Royal Sands development on Ramsgate seafront?

An update has been provided on the Council’s website but for ease of reference I have provided the text below:
Work to the cliff façade on the Royal Sands site has taken place as planned, however unfortunately weather has delayed the final paint finish.
Due to the weather conditions expected this winter a decision has been made to delay this work until the early spring. This final painting is estimated to only take a few weeks after which the Development can commence.

If there is an officer coordinating the project can you please provide contact details? If not, please consider putting someone in charge of coordinating the whole project.

The project to deliver the new Royal Sands development is the responsibility of Cardy Construction.  Chris Rolle the Interim Head of Economic Development & Asset Management at Thanet District Council is the appropriate officer to contact for any questions relating to the site itself prior to sale.

Last week various rumours which were apparently supported by some TDC councillors, appeared on the internet, saying that the wrong paint had been used to coat the façade.  This was followed by the council issuing a statement, saying that the paint job wasn’t finished when the scaffolding was up, and a further coat of paint still needs to be applied.  Does this mean that the scaffolding will need to be re-erected? Or does this mean that the council intends some other method of applying the paint and if it does what method will be used?

The paint used does meet the required specification however the coating to some of the blockwork panels will need to be repeated due to poor weather conditions at the time of the initial application at the end of the contract period.  It is better to leave this until the warmer weather in the spring. Arrangements have been made for the contractor to return to complete the work.  The method of access is still to be confirmed but it is possible that this will be via a hydraulic platform which will avoid the need to re-erect scaffolding.

Since the initial planning application was approved in 2003, the Environment Agency have designated the site a “Flood Zone 3a (High Probability)”
Have the council either conducted a flood risk assessment or produced any report detailing why one isn’t necessary?

You have previously requested information on the subject of a flood risk assessment for the site.  This was responded to in an email from Doug Brown on 18th November 2009.
Does the whole liability of maintaining flood protection for the new development rest with the council or has any of it been mitigated either to the developer or the EA?

Flood defences are provided and maintained by Local Authorities under permissive powers, they are not duties.  However the existing sea wall at Ramsgate is likely to continue to be maintained by the Council in accordance with the ‘Hold the Line’ policy indicated in the Isle of Grain to South Foreland Shoreline Management Plan.

In 2005 the council commissioned Jacobs Baptie to examine the cliff façade, the conclusion of their report states that the structure has a short serviceable life. Since the report the council have had the façade pointed and recoated twice.
Do the council envisage this happening every five years for the life of the development and do the council envisage funding this?

The structure is the subject of regular inspection and the observations from these inspections inform the maintenance regime.  The 2005 inspection report predates the maintenance work undertaken in 2008 and 2015 which has improved the condition of the structure and extended its service life.  It is not possible to confirm the frequency of future maintenance work but the cliff facade will remain a TDC owned and maintained structure.

To facilitate the ongoing cliff maintenance do the council have any report stating the distance required between the development and the cliff façade, needed to maintain it economically?  With the structure having a short serviceable life, do the council have any plan for replacing the cliff façade with the new development in place?

The Council has not commissioned a report which identifies the most appropriate distance between the building and the façade to facilitate economic inspection and maintenance.  There are no plans to replace the façade with a new structure.

Do the council hold any engineers report stating that it is safe to build a residential development in front of the cliff façade?

The Council has not commissioned and does not hold a report on this specific subject.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to: Information Request Assessor, Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent CT9 1XZ, or email to
Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely,
***** ****
Technical Services Manager”

The picture is to cheer you up Best Michael

This didn’t produce any response. So on Wednesday I sent:-

-----Original Message-----
From: michaelchild <>
To: mstannard ******@****
Sent: Wed, 8 Jun 2016 14:21
Subject: Royal Sands aka Pleasurama

Hello Michael I emailed you the other day and I notice that I didn’t get a response, as you are normally very good on prompt replies I wondered if either my email to you or your reply to me had got lost in hyperspace. Could you kindly confirm that you got it and indicate when I can expect a reply from you?

When out to lunch at the moment I am painting the harbour arches, photo attached for your amusement. 
Best Michael

No reply to this one either. So yesterday I sent emails to all of the email addresses on the contacts page of their website asking them to confirm that they had received the message and passed it on to their MD.
From: michaelchild
To: accounts
CC: joinery ; tenders ; hr

; suppliers
Sent: Thu, 9 Jun 2016 18:03
Subject: Fwd: Royal Sands aka Pleasurama

Hi I emailed Michael a couple of times and haven't had a response, I assume he has either changed his email address or you are having server problems can you pleas confirm you have received this and pass it on to him saying I will confirm that I have received it by return. 
Best Michael

For all but one of the email addresses on their website I got the following response:-

From: postmaster
To: michaelchild
Sent: Thu, 9 Jun 2016 18:05
Subject: Undeliverable: Fwd: Royal Sands aka Pleasurama

Delivery has failed to these recipients or groups:
The e-mail address you entered couldn't be found. Check the address and try resending the message. If the problem continues, please contact your helpdesk.

So today, just after lunchtime, I phoned Cardy Construction.

M “Can I speak to the MD?”

C “No he’s in a meeting.”

M “This is a fairly important matter as your email sever appears to have gone wrong, can you check the inboxes of the email addresses to see if my email arrived anywhere?”

C “No I don’t have access to any of these email accounts.”

M “Can I speak to anyone in your company with some higher level of authority?

C “No they are all busy but will get back to you.”

M “Ok if someone gets back to me today, otherwise the whole sorry story goes on my blog.”

My take on this is that something has gone wrong with the plans the council and Cardy Construction have for the development and no one wants to talk about it, of course I may be wrong and obviously readers can draw their own conclusions.

Grass is already growing out of the cracks in the cliff wall and the latest paint job was only a few weeks ago, so that could have something to do with it.

I will endeavour to try the councillors next, but am not expecting anything decisive or useful.

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