After Saturday’s post about the fire in the Pav and the fantastic weekend weather I have just got to the comments some of which are about the Thanet District Council owned properties in Ramsgate.
It is my intention to try and get some sort of update about what is happening with them from the council, but before doing this I want to make certain that my enquiry includes all of the important ones.
Any help with this one from blog readers would be appreciated, obviously I think I know about the Ramsgate ones, but am not really sure if this problem just a Ramsgate one, or if there are major council owned properties in the rest of Thanet, where things are not really going to plan.
So please if anyone knows of any others let me know, either in the comments or by email, link on the sidebar.
Starting with the largest, the Pleasurama site, this still seems to be very much behind schedule and although there is some provision for this in the various agreements with the council, the council don’t seem to have pursued the matter at all.
I am not saying that this development has gone totally wrong, just that the council and via the council us the taxpayers should be aware of the real situation.
The development’s website says that the first apartments should be ready for occupation in about two years see http://www.royalsandsramsgate.co.uk/faq.asp the agreement with the council says the work they are doing at the moment, laying foundations or ground work should have been completed by the end of August 2010 and that the structural frame for section A should have started going up in March 2011 and should be completed by February 2012, with the whole of the development finished by February 2014, see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/pda/id17.htm
There is within the agreement room for the developer to go back to the council and seek a delay of up to three years, but this doesn’t seem to have happened.
Next on the list is Westcliff Hall, last used as the motor museum, my understanding is that this is in a poor structural condition and that the council made some effort to get rid of it and the associated liability. The latest I have heard it that a voluntary group hopes to take it over.
This is what it says on the council’s website “Ongoing discussions are taking place about granting an option to a local group who are interested in developing the building. It is important that the interested community group should understand the costs of alterations and maintenance of the building.”
And more recently. “WESTCLIFF HALL, RAMSGATE
This is subject to a further Cabinet report at the 22nd September meeting to seek
approval to grant an option to the Local Carbon Community Ramsgate (now Project
Next Albion House, I think that the town council wanted to take over this one but couldn’t come to an agreement with TDC, at the moment TDC seem to be just letting it fall apart.
Next The Maritime Museum, I think negotiations about this are ongoing with Preston Steam Trust, the charity that want to run it as a museum. I believe that these negotiations have been going on for about five years now, with the council periodically moving the goal posts.
Next the heritage pontoons, with the question why isn’t there a reasonable display of heritage vessels there? Up until recently the council were even deriving income from the display of vessels there.
Next the café on the end of the East Pier.
Next the old tourist information offices.
On to the council owned assets that have tenants.
The harbour slipways, after plans to build a bar complex on most of them were turned down, activity as a working slipways there seems to be gradually diminishing. This raises the questions. Can the harbour be viable without working slipways? Are the slipways in the wrong place? The council condemned the cradle on one of the slipways some time ago, two of the others are used some of the time but very little in terms activity seems to have occurred there in the last few months.
I suspect that much of the problem here relates to the viability of boat repair business and the proximity to European competition.
The Royal Victoria Pavilion, obviously we don’t want the council to become embroiled in some expensive legal action with The Rank Organisation who are the tenants. It’s very easy to criticise with hindsight, but it does seem to be about time that some action is taken over this building. As far as I have been able to discover Saturday’s fire didn’t cause any structural damage. Obviously the building’s security isn’t up to much, which surprises me for a building that housed a casino, I would have expected it to have at least an operational alarm system.
I suppose the fundamental problem here is that because so many on the main council owned properties in Ramsgate are not being used in a way that makes sense, either in commercial or social terms, people become less inclined to believe that the council is managing them properly.
Added to this are the time scales and the unfortunate ends to other major council owned facilities in the town like the building that housed Neros or the swimming pool and associated buildings.