Friday, 11 September 2009

Pleasurama, Royal Sands Ramsgate, Thanet’s largest residential development part 1 1997 to 2003.

Pleasurama, Royal Sands Ramsgate, Thanet’s largest residential development part 1 1997 to 2003.

Since the council press release announcing that work was about to start this month, I have been trying on and off to find out what’s going on.

This is a slow process with answers being cryptic, if you can get any at all, so as we are now on the fourth contractor, something like the seventh set of plans and the sixth definite start date, I thought I would put up a series of posts explaining what has happened with this site over the last eleven years since it burnt down.

I first became interested in this site about 12 years ago when the amusement arcade there closed, at the time we were told that it was going to reopen as a factory outlet.

The council altered the road layout ostensibly to fit in with this, in practical terms what they did was to remove nearly all of the main seafront car parking, how this factory outlet was to survive without any customer parking was never explained.

The more cynical among us decided that it was an attempt by our district council, based in our main rival leisure town, to bring our economy to its knees to their economic benefit. Rumour was that our EEC development grant had been used for this.

About 11 years ago the building burnt down as the result of an arson attack, a disaster for Ramsgate, there then ensued a long period of time when the council that owned the site tried to get back the leasehold interest from the tenant.

Somewhere around 2001 I think this was achieved although what happened to the insurance money claimed for the destroyed council owned building remains a mystery to me.

Early in 2002, I think it was, Whitbread the brewer came along with a proposal for a development on the site, it looked like a fairly good development and was in scale with other developments in the area. If I had to be critical of it, I would say that it wasn’t sympathetic to the surrounding architecture.

Some details from the documentation submitted to the council.

Developer Whitbread and SFP Venture Partners Ltd.

Architect PRC.

Building contractor Featherstone Construction Ltd.

The development was for two buildings, building 1 between the lift and the roundabout and building 2 between the roundabout and Augusta stairs.

Building 1 comprised 80 private flats, hotel Whitbread Brewers Fayre and commercial units. building 2 comprised 20 private flats.

Click on the link to view the documentation as far as I understand it this was the documentation that most of the TDC councillors representing Ramsgate had seen and thought they were agreeing to when the plans for a much larger and taller building somehow got slipped in during the change of administration from Labour to Conservative.

I am doing my best here to present an accurate account of the saga of this development so far and would appreciate any corrections or additions as they come along.


  1. So Michael any sign of it starting or in fact of the pledged monies being in place?

  2. Don, my understanding is that the next stage will be for the developer to submit the Building Regulation Application (much more detailed drawings) and that it will only be at this stage that it will be possible for TDCs building control department to accurately determine the height relative to the cliff top.

    I have had assurances from TDC that local councillors are keen that there will be close consultation between the developer and local residents.

    My main concern is that the developer will properly address the safety issues raised by the environment agency before any development commences.

    I have had assurances from TDC that the financial situation is under control and since any information about this is privileged I can only take their word for it.


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