Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Pleasurama Ramsgate Royal Sands Pancake Day update.

A month ago today I made an official request to the council to try and find out what is going on with this development, as the council are supposed to answer these requests within 20 working days, this equates to one month.

Here is what I asked in red.

1 Please send me any addition information about this development that I haven’t requested below, because I am unaware of its existence.

It would appear that some work has occurred on the site during the last month, but obviously this work doesn’t relate to the development agreement schedules and conditions of the various leases contained in it.

2 Does this mean that the leases are now invalid and the development agreement is to be determined?

3 Or does it mean that there has been an updated agreement with new schedules?

If the development is going ahead, either to a new schedule or is being allowed under some other flexible arrangement:

4 Can you please supply me with a revised building schedule?

5 Can you please tell me which of the approved plans the development is to be built to and if these plans are published on the council’s planning website?

6 Can you please send me details of the public information sessions that were promised once work started on the site?

7 Can you please send me any updated information on the cliff safety issue? Details and dates of the promised cliff top weight limit, correspondence between the council, the HSE, the developer, cliff survey and maintenance schedule, any cliff survey reports, any agreements for cliff maintenance between the council and the developer.

8 Can you please send me details of any flood, storm or emergency escapes incorporated in the development as a result of the EA recommendations 8th Feb 2008.

9 If the artists impressions, details of roof material and other building materials for the building to be built, are different to those described on the councils planning website, due to the various different plans and in consequence plans being used that no longer relate to the ancillary details, can you please send me the details of these changes?

10 If the plans that are to be used no longer relate to all of the planning and design statement, can you please send me revisions to the planning and design statement?

Here is the council’s reply in blue.

Thank you for your communication received on 24/02/2011 09:00:09 where you requested information about the Pleasurama or Royal Sands deevelopment.

In response to your questions I can comment as follows:There has been some early slippage in terms of works undertaken to comply with the terms of the development agreement. The construction works are however now starting to claw back time lost earlier in the construction programme and progress is now being made on site. There is no amended agreement with the developers and no action is presently anticipated in relation to determine the development agreement, neither has there been a request for a revised build schedule. I will request a revised programme from the developer who has indicated that he will be aiming to adhere to the programme.

I will also request that the developer establishes a public information programme.No recent amendments have been proposed to the design of the building and no alterations have been made in response to the Environment Agencies correspondence with the developer in 2008. Any amendments would need to be considered through the planning process.

In 2008 and 2009 we received plans to comply with conditions of the planning permission that were approved in January 2009. These proposals did not result in material alterations to the approved building and I recall providing you with those drawings following receipt. I can confirm that no subsequent amendments have been proposed to the building since that time.

In terms of the planning and design statement I consider the scheme still complies with the principles of the original submission.I can confirm that the HSE have considered the cliff survey. In an email to the Council they have confirmed they do not intend to pursue this matter. They have requested that the Council draws up a programme and regime for the future maintenance of the cliff face. This matter is in hand.

The idea here is that the council leases the land to the developer under the condition that he builds the development according to a time schedule laid down by the council.

Back in October 2006 the council and the developer signed this agreement that had been drawn up by the council’s solicitors, here it is http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/pda/id5.htm

This agreement says when each part of the development should have started and when it should have finished.

Obviously this all has to be agreed with the council and is discussed at cabinet and then full council if the cabinet approve the development.

Anyway the developer didn’t fulfil the obligations of the development agreement, didn’t start and finish the various bits of the agreement when they should have done and didn’t come up with the money to protect the council if anything went wrong, the performance bond.

So the council officers put the issue before the cabinet again in 2009, with a recommendation from the head of finance that they should terminate the agreement.

Anyway the cabinet decided that the development should go ahead with a reduced financial guarantee and the council’s solicitors drew up a deed of variation from the terms of the original agreement with a new set of schedules, here it is http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/pda/id17.htm

This says on page 10 that the foundations should have been finished by August last year and that the first bit, the hotel (section A) should have its structural frame going up now.

This means that they should be putting up the framework at the end of the site where the Pavilion and the lift are. When I put in this request nothing had happened in terms of any foundations or construction on the site and between putting in the request and getting the answer today 6 foundations and six building support pillars have been put at the other end of the site.

There have been several newspaper articles about the site

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kentonline/newsarchive.aspx?articleid=32914

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kentonline/newsarchive.aspx?articleid=34536
are a couple of examples, over the years they have been signs that there is about to be more council activity and more delays. So last weeks Gazette article saying that the foundations had actually been laid when they obviously haven’t has put me on my guard.

9 comments:

  1. As I understand it there is a reputable contractor on site.

    The HSE have put TDC on the spot to produce a cliff maintenance plan.

    So maybe TDC position is the most sensible in the circumstances ?

    There is plenty you have admirably put on the record. If something goes wrong in future, especially if it involves loss of life, TDC will have some explaining to do directly to an HM Coroner.

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  2. I am a very experienced builder and it is perfectly obvious that you would build (As Cardy's are)from the Broadstairs end of the site - with the Hotel being the closing Phase of the job. Otherwise if the Hotel was built first it would restrict access to the whole site.

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  3. It is very reassuring that the HSE have given their approval and go head for the project. They would not have given the project the nod without a thorough and robust review of matters. The Developer should also be applauded for having the courage and faith to push ahead with the scheme in these current market conditions. It provides great confidence in Ramsgate as a destination. Bravo!

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  4. Great scheme, superb design, lovely views,high profile neighbours,lovely Town, forward thinking Town Council,good bookshops in the area. Happy days......

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  5. tdc turning over and having its tummy tickled again, the whole thing is rather a farce. I very much doubt the HSE has given its approval, its not what they are there for, but you can rest assured they will come down like a ton of bricks when something untoward happens.

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  6. If the contractor is so reputable how come they haven't got any security on site? On Sunday I saw kids climbing over the fencing, playing on the new foundations and climbing on the machinery that was parked up there. As far as I can see they haven't even got a CCTV camera set up so that they can watch what's going on from a control room.

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  7. I will do my best to respond to the diverse comment here, please look at my previous posts on this subject for more detail, see http://thanetonline.blogspot.com/search/label/Pleasurama%20development

    Retired my objective over the safety issues here is to encourage a safe development, not to seek recrimination afterwards if there is an accident.

    22.02 I agree with you completely and have been trying to find out why the whole building schedule looks to be back to front for some time.

    The PSV access is from the Broadstairs end and I would assume that staring from this end and completing the building in sections, would help considerably towards financing the project.

    22.09 the HSE involvement stems from a complaint by me, here is the series of events:

    I noticed a blocked drain on the cliff top with the surface around it damaged, the cliff face below this had got wet and part of it was loose.

    At there were men working below this masonry I reported it to the HSE, nothing happened for a couple of weeks so I phoned the HSE up and they told me that they had contacted TDC who had told them that there was nothing wrong with the cliff there.

    Three days later a large piece of masonry fell off, from far enough up to right through a hard hat, fortunately no one was standing under it at the time.

    You could say my communications with the HSE since have been tempered with this information, but like all government departments they don’t seem to have a facility for the event where they make a mistake.

    Consequentially the drain is still blocked, more masonry has come lose and men are still working beneath it. Don’t take my word for this, go and have a look.

    Bit tied up but will respond to the other comments as I get time

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  8. The Londoner, the problem here is not so much about the greatness of the scheme, but which scheme.

    This started about 10 years ago with a scheme backed by Whitbread, everyone looked at it and yes it appeared to be a great scheme, the then Labour council looked at it carefully and approved it.

    Then we came to the local elections and during the confused bit when the new administration new plans came along, although the written bit, the bit people who aren’t trained as architects could understand, the planning and design statement, was almost the same, the architectural drawings were very different.

    The main problem with these new drawings was that they were for a building that was much taller than the cliff. By the time anyone had noticed this it was past the time limit for objecting to the plans. I think quite simply that someone had made a mistake when measuring the height of the cliff. In large companies and in local government it is very difficult to admit a mistake, so the plans were passed.

    So you then had a situation where the developer had permission to build a building that he couldn’t possibly build, it just didn’t fit in the space between the high tide mark and the cliff behind it.

    Since then the remit for the architect has been to try and make the building fit without making anything that would count as material change and invalidate the planning approval.

    During that time the area has been re designated high risk in terms of flood and storm risk and problems have come to light regarding the cliff, so if he was to start again and submit plans for a building suitable it would have to take into account a number of factors.

    Cliff maintenance, flood and storm safety precautions and so on, but no not the great scheme that the architect designed with a gull winged roof that looked a bit like an ocean liner, described in the planning and design statement on the councils planning website, that isn’t what is going to be built.

    The have had to cut the gull wings off because they stood above the height of the cliff, road access has been changed because the cliff wall doesn’t go down far enough to reach ground level, now it looks cramped and dangerous.

    Well the list goes on, but one of the questions that I asked the council for is a realistic description of the building we are going to get, including artists impressions and a description of the material that they have had to change. With this than at least we have something to discuss, as it is we only have the architects drawings that have been modified I think seven times now.

    23.37 the problem here is that the building when built will have about 1,000 people in it, so the I told you so route just isn’t on.

    23.42 the contractor Cardy construction have a good track record, use local labour and I suspect if you contact them will tighten site security.

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  9. Michael. As you know for many years I have been after Kent Police for failing to act on our security warnings given before the 22.9.89 bombing of Deal Royal Marines Barracks.

    I pride myself as playing my part in the creation of the IPCC and the creation of Article 2 Inquests.

    Almost seamlessly people now follow the July terrorist bombings and the fact that the Inquest has called MI5 and Emergency Services to establish whether there was a failure to protect life.

    In Ulster Gerry Adams is trying to promote the holding of a retrospective Article 2 Inquest to look at the Ballymurphy massacre of 1971. A little known pre-cursor event to the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre.

    And my position is if Ballymurphy can have an Article 2 Inquest then so should the 11 Royal Marines killed in the 1989 IRA bombing of Deal Barracks.

    Of course warnings are given to prevent tragedies. Liek warnings given before the Deal bombing which police did not act on and like warnings being ignored by Kent Police in 96 which Jonathan Aitken took direct to MI5. Correct warnings and pre-emptive arrests of the IRA infrastructure attack team occurred and they received 35 years per man with us suffering no loss of life.

    You should recognise that authority may fail to act upon your best articulated and technically flawless arguments.

    And you should recognise that if something then goes wrong you should have been holding the threat of questions at an Article 2Inquest over their heads like the sword of Damocles. Hope for the best that authority acts well but also prepare to hammer their bollocks on an anvil if there is tragedy as a result of them getting it wrong.

    In the meantime TDC now seem to have a reputable builder on site and to be making the most sensible decisions in the circumstances largely of their own creation.

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