Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Ramsgate Maritime Museum closure update

I noticed that the Maritime museum was no longer open for part of the week and so contacted Preston Steam Trust who are responsible for it.

They told me that the council had stopped responding to their requests to finalise their lease and so they couldn’t really do anything but close the museum until they heard from the council.

This is a great pity as the museum had plans for a series of events throughout the summer, and the people involved in these would need booking now and the organisation of these would need to take place in the winter.

They had also hoped to use the winter both to do essential repair work to the museum (last time I was there I nearly put my foot through the floor in the office) and to expand the area in the Clock House available to display exhibits.

Obviously they can’t do any of this without some sort of security of tenure.

I rather got the impression that they were becoming disheartened by the continual series of delays while the council stall the issue.

Another problem for the steam trust is that they can’t get any grant money without security of tenure for the Clock House.

My understanding of the situation and please correct this if I am wrong, is that the steam trust offered to either lease the Clock House from the council or to buy it outright from the council, with a clause in the sale documents that the building had to be used as a museum in perpetuity.

The council then offered them a 99 year lease to which the steam trust agreed.

The council then put the building on the asset disposal list, Ramsgate people and the local paper made a fuss, answered the consultation that they wanted the building kept as a museum and in the end the council took it of the asset disposal list.

Now we all thought that this was the end of the story and that we were going to get our museum, this no longer seems to be the case.

I asked the council what on earth is going on and here is the answer that I got.

“The position regarding the Clock-Tower Building, occupied by the Steam Trust is as follows. The subject was discussed by the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny (Asset Management Working Party) in view of the length of lease sought by the Trust.

The Working Party concluded that the long term future of the Clock-Tower Building should be considered within the context of the Port and Marina Masterplan. The point being that the structure is part of the Port Estate, and therefore its future should be considered in the context of how it contributes to Port and Marina business and operation.”

I take this to mean that as the council that now has plans afoot to get an outside commercial organisation in to run the port and harbour they would like to hang on to this iconic building, in case if they find a company to run the harbour, that company fancies this iconic building for their offices.

Oh and yes I nearly forgot here are today’s pictures http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts1210/id5.htm


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. 15.33 I have removed the officers name from your comment and replaced it with his job description, sorry about this but officers can’t defend themselves here and names seem to last indefinitely on the internet.

    15.33 said. So effectively it's **** (Director of Regeneration Services and harbour master) who has yet again stalled any progress. By the time he's flogged off the port and gets to build his pet tower block of 'luxury' flats down there, the Clock House will have gone the way of the Marina Restaurant.

  3. If the Clock-Tower building was taken off the asset disposal register in recognition of the residents wishes, TDC should protect it by giving it a lease that will preserve it as a museum, even if the harbour estate is taken over by the shark infested private sector.

    There are many negative situations in which the coucil is involved. Taken in isolation each one has a different story. When viewed collectively a pattern emerges, and the word "incompetent" comes to mind!

  4. Let us not forget we are dealing with people who think Thanet Gateway is agreat idea,that one of the suggestions recently touted was the place should be a fish market!The barbarians are truly inside the gates.When are the next local elections!?

  5. I understand that the trust had a letter from the council agreeing to a lease and agreeing to repair the building, the council then changed their minds and have been prevaricating ever since. A normal TDC situation, the last lease apparently ran out several years ago but no-one would make a decision so nothing was done.

  6. Michael, thank you for the update. Somehow I am not surprised and once again does nothing for Thanet District Council's reputation.

    I have just been reading Luara Sandy's destination history. Cannot think which way to take it when I read news like this. It is like most things historical from any Conservative, I always ask myself are they being genuine or are they making themselves look as if they are genuine.

  7. 18.22 I definitely sense a will to oppose the wishes of the electorate in some of the things they do and frankly find it hard to understand why they would wish to appear so unpopular.

    22.49 There was a rumour that someone who the council thought highly of wanted it for a fish market, however I believe they considered the building to be impractical when they looked into it and pulled out.

    23.18 I heard something along those lines too.

    Tony a pleasure, have you any idea where to go from here?

    Oh and with our local politicians we have had good and bad of both Labour and Conservative, so I don’t tar them all with the same brush, I have always found both Laura Sandys and Steve Ladyman responsive and helpful.

    From the local history perspective I consider the fact that when her ancestor was our MP he coined the phrase Bloody Mary and was imprisoned in The Tower of London to be most encouraging.

    I also considered her stance on the Iraqi war to be rather good and in retrospect better than my own, so you may say this voter is still floating.


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