Saturday, 12 February 2011

Ramsgate, Rank the council and how the Royal Victoria Pavillion got trashed

Assuming that you are a normal law abiding citizen then you know that if you fall fowl – sorry must have been thinking of chickens – foul of the council, don’t pay your council tax, abide by the conditions of your lease (if you rent a council owned property – even a beach hut) then the council will take you to court and you will have to pay up.
When it comes to large companies that fall foul of the council then things are a bit different – I am not saying that this always the council’s fault, just what happens – the trouble is that as time goes on a council can get a bit of a name as a soft touch.
Sometime back in 1969 the council leased the Pav to Fortes, at this time the Pav was the main music venue in the town, from memory the Golden Goose Showbar – correct me if I’m wrong I was 16 at the time and had other things on my mind – live music most evenings.
Over time with company takeovers, mergers and so on this lease became the responsibility of the Rank Organisation and Rank and the companies they took over, trashed the Pav.

If they obtained planning permission for the things they did to the building then I can’t find any record of it, if they took any notice of the listed building consent then I can’t find any record of that either.
I suppose much of the fault here lies with the council who just didn’t keep an eye on this important building that had been entrusted to them. As you know eventually the Rank Organisation decided that they didn’t need the building anymore and walked away from it leaving it derelict.

Eventually in April 2008 the council wrote them a letter with a list of things that Rank needed to do to be compliant with the lease, here it is other letters followed, much the same and the Rank Organisation painted the outside of the building.
I think that the council saw this as some sort of victory (perhaps it was) and issued a press release, here it is saying that work had been completed down the Pav.

I didn’t like the look of the work on the outside, in many places they have just painted over where the building has been boarded up and frankly didn’t believe the press release.
Fortunately there was still some work going on down there so I thought I had better go and have a look, at what the building was really like inside, this I did, see

The dreadful condition of the inside of the pavillion or pavilion – don’t know which is right – The Pav, was beyond anything I could describe so I took some pictures, see
after this nothing seemed to be happening with the building at all, so yesterday I asked the council what is going on with it .

This is what I asked:

“Do the council have any intention of getting Rank repair the inside of the building that is now derelict?

Is there anything on the cards apart from it standing for many more years as an empty and derelict white elephant?

Of course if you have anything else to say that I may not have thought about, say it and I will change the post accordingly.”

And this is their reply:

"The council is legally limited by what it can do in statute and in case law.

"As this was an interim schedule of dilapidations, the internal works that can be required by the landlord are very limited. Works within those parameters have now been concluded.

"Rank has a lease and they have now fulfilled their obligations within that lease."

The problem for us here in Ramsgate, is one of where do we go from here? a wealthy and major company has trashed one of main heritage and tourist assets.

The council while happy to engage in expensive legal wrangles with residents, won’t take on the Rank Organisation, probably wisely I should add.


  1. Whichever way you look at it, something is wrong at TDC either with negotiating the terms of the lease or enforcing it. This may have been a problem left over by a previous administration. However, what happens next will reflect the expertise of the current administration who hopefully have learned from past experience.

    Of course, there is another option of not doing anything. That seems to be the safest and most convenient route adopted by TDC.

    It reminds me of the car stickers we used to have around town relating to pot holes: "DON'T BLAME THANET COUNCIL, THEY HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING".

    Now there's an idea, do you know anyone who can print car stickers?

  2. As usual the statement from TDC is BS. Rank have a full repairing lease, I have a copy of it. "To repair and keep the exterior and interior of the demised premises and every part thereof... in good and substantial repair and condition throughout the term". TDC just lie to you and want you to go away, and most people do. It will suffer the same fate as other listed builings under TDC ownership it will either be burnt down or they will give themselves planning permission to demolished it, as it will cost too much to repair.

  3. This needs to be brought out into the open. As you say a national (multi-national?) company shouldn't be allowed to get away with this sort of thing. Anyone got any useful national Sunday paper contacts?

  4. Richard,

    You mention that you have a copy of the lease. (Presumably the original 'head lease' that was granted to Fortes in May 1969.)

    I was wondering if the lease was granted for a 'premium', and if so for how much ?

  5. I was just wondering whether Richard would be willing to copy the lease and get the local papers to report on its contents?

  6. I thought I provided Michael with a copy of it. I can send it again.

    The schedule of dilapidations that I finally obtained with the help of the ICO after 8 months, has pages of internal works required to be done under the terms of the lease. The TDC letter to me and ICO says works on the dilaps schedule are nearing completion. Another load of lies & BS.

  7. The lease is dated 1st May 1969 and is between The Mayor Aldermen and Burgessess of the Borough of Ramsgate and Fortes (Holdings) Ltd. The lease is what one would call belt and braces and specifies dates and timescales for redecorations etc and spells out in detail the responsbilities. It is a very enforceable lease. No wriggle room.

  8. This is a Grade II listed building. Listed after Rank took on the tenancy. The "protector" of listed buildings ? You guessed it, the District Council. I cannot find anyone you can complain to when they do not enforce the conditions. I would think all that could be done is complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, if the Coalition haven't scrapped it yet. Like they are going to with the Standards Board for England. Administrative fault - looks like the most likely. I cannot do it as I do not live in TDC area. I am persona no grata as far as TDC are concerned as I upset them pursuing another case and they will not talk to me now.

  9. Richard,

    It was listed 5 years later in September 1974. From the wording of the listing it looks like it may have been altered prior to being listed.

    Is there any information in the lease about whether the lease was sold to Forte, or whether the lease was just granted for the [£10K, £12.5K, £15K] rent?

  10. Richard, join the club. Anyone that disagrees with the TDC oligarchy soon finds themselves png. I'm sure that they only tolerate Michael because he also publishes their press releases.

  11. The lease was granted by the owners who are now TDC to Fortes (Holdings) Ltd. Their successors in title are the Rank Group.This is a 75 year lease from 1st May 1969 subject to 25 yearly uplifts. The first 25 years was £10,000 pa, from 1994 £12,500 and on 1st May 2019 it goes to £15,000 pa with no further reviews. Rank tried to sell the lease in February 2008 (at about the same time the dilaps notices were served) for £650,000.

  12. Going through my old papers on this I have come across what purports to be a Kent County Council Press release dated 5th February 2006. This says that they will be writing to all TDC Councillors urging that this matter is placed before the Scrutiny Committee and also to the Audit Commission. It goes on to say that TDC have a duty of care, as landlords, to ensure the building is properly maintained.

  13. Listing Text:

    TR 3864 NE
    (south side)
    13.9.74 Royal Victoria
    GV II
    Concert hall and Assembly Rooms, now Casino. 1903 by S.D. Adshead,
    built by F.G. Minter of Putney. Rendered with glazed and leaded roof,
    ostensibly in the style of a Robert Adam orangery. Horizontally
    rusticated ground floor, with polygonal pavillions to left and to right
    with fluted Doric columned arcading (originally open, now infilled),
    and projecting entrances to left (originally with a Dome) and to right,
    now with glazed barrel roof. Continuous cast iron balustrade to 1st
    floor; recessed central roof, curved with a top cornice, as if a giant
    conservatory. Rear (seaward) elevation with covered arcade on iron
    posts. Irregularly placed sashes and casements over whole elevation,
    with C20 glazed doors to left in double Ionic columned porch, the fascia
    still topped by large male and female figures which originally supported
    a dome, but now lean precariously into space. Glazed doors to right
    hand entry. Interior: altered and modernised. The commission was
    given by Ramsgate Corporation to Adshead on the strength of his
    entry for the Ramsgate Library Competition of 1902. The interior was
    originally based on the Little Theatre at Versailles; the whole was
    aimed as an exercise in the Adam style. Designed in 1 week, to be built
    in 6 weeks in time for the 1903 season, Adshead considered he "completed
    this building with some success" despite delays (Thanet District Council
    preserve F.G. Minter's claims for non-payment of monies due by Ramsgate
    Corporation during construction). (See Architectural History, 24, 81,

    Listing NGR: TR3861364770

  14. I have it on good authority that TDC were offered the Pav back for FREE and refused.

  15. Just for information: the Royal Victoria Pavilion consists of the following land titles:

    1) The freehold reversion, held by TDC as part of their freehold title to Ramsgate Harbour, and various bits of foreshore.

    2) The 1969 head lease, held by Pleasurama Properties Limited, and which ends 30 April 2044.

    3) A 1981 sub lease granted by Pleasurama Properties Limited to Pleasurama Casinos Limited, and which ends 29 April 2044.

  16. Pleasuramma equals pyromaniac

  17. Pleasuramma equals pyromaniac

  18. 0101 has a point! Remembering Rotunda, Scenic Railway and Harbour Station maybe TDC had better post a fire warden or two.

  19. Have to agree with the above posters about arson, most probably be burnt down by the end of the year.

    Nobody was ever arrested after Ramsgate Library was set ablaze.

    Ramsgate has an arsonist on the loose and I have the dubious honour of seeing him briefly from behind.

    The hooded Chav started a fire at some lockup garrages near my mothers home. He likes to start a fire and then watch it go up. I was interviewed by the police twice but only managed to see the rear of him. He did a speed walk down Ellington Road.

    I regret that I never chased after him, the police advised me not to as he probably carried a knife.

    The fire failed to take hold, as I swiftly dialled 999.

    Ben Kelly, Osaka, Japan.

  20. Thats regeneration dept in tdc for you you


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