Monday, 3 August 2009

Thanet District Council spent nearly £1,000,000 on a repair that hasn’t worked

One of the big problems with the Pleasurama development is the close proximity of the rear of the building to the cliff.

The concrete cliff façade was originally a fairly poor job that suffered from years of lack of proper maintenance click on the link to read part of the engineers report on it.

Click on this link for more detail.

Since I first obtained the report I have had an ongoing dialogue with the engineer who prepared it.

Today I sent him the following email.

“Hi **** I had look at the repair work to the cliff façade behind the Pleasurama site last week I thought I would get your opinion before making a fuss to TDC and the developer.

The cliff top drainage doesn’t appear to be being kept clear.

There is vegetation growing out of many of the drainage holes.

There is considerable degradation of some areas of block infill many of the joints are exposed again many with vegetation growing from them.

Finally and probably most importantly several cracks in the main arches and portals have appeared several now have vegetation growing from them.

I don’t know how much of this you know I have attached a few pictures to give you a general idea and can go down there with a powerful telephoto lens should you need more detail.

I have certain reservations that it will be possible to keep the cliff façade maintained for the expected life of the building working from the narrow space available and would like your opinion on this one.

I also think the contractor may have produced a substandard job and this may need looking into before work commences on the new development.

I have a meeting with some of the planning officers involved this week so any input would be useful.

Best regards Michael”

He is usually a chap to send justifications for any expensive civil engineering work conducted for TDC that he has any involvement in so I find his rather curt reply below of considerable concern.

“Thank you Michael I believe that Thanet are aware of this.



Click on the link for the photos I sent him

Compare the condition of the cliff façade with that of the 100 year old lift beside it in the picture above.


  1. I might be wrong on this Michael, but wind blown seeds can only germinate and gain water and nutrients to grow in facades when there are gaps and 'oles'in the finish (poor workmanship?). Victorian 'brickies' in your contrasting pic did such a good job that there is no visible weed growing and yet within one year, a £1,000,000 repair at cost to the tax-payer, is weed infested with goodness knows what damage being done by roots that we cannot see. Further cracks, more water ingress and frost damage is likely to have parts of this frontage failing and dropping off within a short time. Oh, dear!

  2. Frankly Bertie I think it quite likely that the cliff could collapse taking the new development with it, there have been several cliff collapses in Ramsgate where the cliff façade has failed. In one case the hundreds of tons of chalk and rubble landed on a structure made of steel girders that were bent as though they were made of rubber, I have added a picture to the post.

  3. Don't worry Michael. The auditors are going to give TDC a clean bill of health. This means that no public money has been wasted. The auditors are paid a lot of money and so, they must be good at their job. You aren't paid a penny and so you must just be a whingeing troublemaker. Of course, if the cliff DID collapse their would be a an inquiry so that lessons could be learned. That is the modern way.

    P.S. (Hint) It's all to do with the mortar. If it's too soft, water soaks in and weeds will grow. Saves a lot of money on cement though.


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