Thursday, 3 November 2011

Ramsgate Harbour Slipways Plans Published on the Council’s Planning Website.

The planning reference is F/TH/11/0874 because of the strange approach to ICT adopted by the council’s planning website I can’t link to the plans as unlike normal websites the web address of the page the plans are on doesn’t stay the same. Best copy the reference and search it on their site at

Part of the plans appeared yesterday part today and I am not sure that the whole application has appeared there yet, particularly as the last time this was submitted it was as two applications one to demolish the existing buildings and some of the slipways, and one for the development.

It is my day off today and I am using my laptop to post this, the picture above is a screenshot from the planning and design statement.

Sorry I haven’t done a better job of the post the documents on the council’s planning website are difficult to use, they open very slowly and links have elusive titles like “drawing” or “other” instead of what they are actually called.

I will convert the pages into ordinary web pages tomorrow as I think this is too important an application for battling with unlabeled pdf files, grr, perhaps it’s just me and no one else has problems with this sort of thing. 

The first applications the one to demolish the slipways workshops winding houses etc L/TH/10/0736 and the previous development F/TH/10/0737 may be helpful in trying to assess this new one.

Before considering what effect this would have on the viability of the slipways and therefore the workings of the harbour, I will endeavour to work out if the proposed development is safe and viable in terms of flood and storm risk.

This is particularly important with this development as flood risk on the foreshore is usually determined by the sea defence in front of it, the main factors being the height of the sea defence relative to the highest possible tide and the distance the development is behind it.     


  1. Even for those who have no interest in the planning application, it includes a couple of fascinating documents.

    Trust for Thanet Archaeology, Archaeology Desk Based Assessment.
    Extracts from historic OS Maps, early plans of the harbour, history of area.

    Flood Risk Assessment.
    This also has plans of ground water and pluvial flooding risk for all of Ramsgate.

  2. R the usual suspects backing this lost cause!!!!

  3. ..... because the usual suspects who want NOTHING to EVER happen in Ramsgate have certainly hit the ground running haven't they?

  4. I am happy to be seen as someone in favour of replacing an eyesore which is commercially un-viable with something more visually pleasing. I posted a couple of things on the Ramsgate Society's Forum which I reproduce here:

    In reply to this:

    My thoughts are people need to work in the area if any attempt is to be made of successful regeneration, often job creation in Ramsgate due to new developments have been poorly represented in number & longevity. Ramsgate is a Royal harbour and has a marine heritage, this should not be sold off lightly, for yet another new development that could happen anywhere in any place.
    There should be some maritime activity in the area, exhibiting old & new skills, every attempt should be made to help the redundant slipway serve some maritime industrial purpose, bringing in a skilled workforce that may be able to generate some real wealth for the area and sustain the town's long reputation for having a maritime involvement. Wealth does not gravitate down to local people re- developers, who usually build as cheaply as they can destroy the character of towns and cut & run with all the profits, leaving second-rate low grade structures.

    Lose your historical assets and character, cut out productive commercial activity and see what little good this will do for the long-term economic future of the town, who wants to visit somewhere that is the same as everywhere else?

    I posted this:

    What a lovely idea....... have you considered the economics?

    1) Buy the Lease from the existing Leaseholder
    2) Redevelop the area to remove Asbestos and other hazards
    3) Find £500,000 to reinstate and repair slippage equipment
    4) Employ tutors and staff
    5) Wait with bated breath to see how many takers there are


    It is a fact that the Slipways (2,3 & 4) have been used for 30 days out of the last 450 at an average slippage charge of £100 per day. Revenue totalling less than £3500.

    Rent & Rates alone are £27,000 per annum so how on earth do you see this being viable without a huge commitment of Public Funds?

    The Ramsgate Society should properly engage with the Developers over the plans for the site. I regularly discuss the matter with them and they are happy to consider all suggestions. At the moment they are looking into the reinstatement of many features long ago lost such as the ornate railings around the entire pier yard.

    Over time things DO change, I am sure that in the war the fisherman were not too impressed at having three new slipways 'Jerry-built' next to the main one. At that time there was a clear NEED for them. Unfortunately nowadays there is barely enough work for slipway 1 alone.

  5. I then also posted this on the same Forum which I feel is relevant here:

    I think the arguments involving ALL future development in Ramsgate need to be based on merit (economic and architectural) and quality. Whilst I appreciate that certain issues do raise hackles with some people I believe the Ramsgate Society DOES have a mandate and has earned and commands the necessary respect to be fully involved in issues of heritage and conservation. Where I depart from some people's views is that I believe in an evolving townscape. I do not believe in conservation for conservation's sake.

    A criticism (which I personally think unfair) that I have heard is that the Ramsgate Society wants to 'Freeze' the town for posterity. This simply cannot be allowed to happen.

    Whilst TDC has concentrated almost 100% on targeting available Public Funds on Margate, Ramsgate has to evolve organically with input solely from private investors. We wait with bated breath for the much vaunted (and highly secret) Harbour Master Plan but until we know what it actually involves and what effect it will have we must rely on the fact that Ramsgate is, luckily, a preferred investment destination for many due to it's natural beauty and evolving transport infrastructure.

    I for one believe in Ramsgate and I further believe that it is up to individuals and groups loyal to Ramsgate's future economic prosperity to push its' development forward. I therefore think we need to grasp the nettle and show outside (and local) investors that we are 'open for business'. Part of this initiative needs to be doing away with the perception that everything OLD is GOOD and anything NEW is BAD!! Craig's post mentioned the Customs House and the former Restaurant Site on Marina Esplanade. Both buildings that had been left to go to rack and ruin for many years. New money has found them new uses. Can anyone honestly say they are not an improvement? As long as everyone's opinions are heard and schemes are viable and in keeping we need to be open to change.

    I have two kids on the cusp of their teenage years. I want them to grow up in a place where there ARE jobs and there IS confidence. The Ramsgate Society should support these endeavours, and in common with advice I give to other people who say things like "I don't want to see that"... I say, "what DO you want to see happening in Ramsgate then? What ideas have you, we, anyone got which we could all potentially get behind and with a collective will, bring to fruition?" A prime example of this is Janet Fielding's plan for the old Motor Museum. I haven't a clue whether it will succeed or not but I admire her for taking the bull by the horns and working to make SOMETHING HAPPEN!

    Finally I would like to say how wonderful it is to see the shelter repairs underway and I would also like to congratulate the members of the Ramsate Society who work hard to keep areas like Madeira Walk so nice. We need to get more of our community, especially the youngsters, involved in taking pride in the Town's appearance.

  6. @ anon 11:59
    Nope. Found out that my house is not on the pluvial flood route, and interesting history about Ramsgate with references to the source.

    These 2 documents had to be paid for by the developer and by means of the planning application I get a chance to read them for free. I only flagged them to put a title to a document number and to save having to download the complete dossier.

    That said I rather like the development proposal, but in no way benefit financially.

    anon 08H57

  7. I note from talking to the architect that this application will not involve any demolition of the slipways but will 'overfly' them. Possibilities of some Glass Floor areas to view the old winches and workings. The overflying will also reduce the flood risk. Talking of Flood Risk, I must look at that document.... :)

  8. A very interesting topic and some valued points and arguments on this page so far. I myself I have lived in Ramsgate all my life and adore the town and its Heritage.

    I have to agree however that a town/ city grows organically and it should therefore not be allowed to just be frozen. I can fully understand the logic of designing a building to have an old facade appearance to it, whilst in the context of a conservation area and esp an area that has a stake in history.

    I think that we would be very unwise and untrue to ourselves not accept a building from Modernity i.e using modern materiality and forms or appearances. I admit that the last scheme's entire composition was too much. It's mass did not "fit in" with this site.

    You think back to the thirties when the classic cinema, marina pool, Ramsgate aerodrome building (all in the streamline moderne style) people most probably thought that they were out of character) even today our proposed Royal Sands Development".

    As an Architectural Designer I therefore have to put the confidence into the public and say, it is worthwhile having these styles of buildings in our heritage. If we design old, it is a fony. It is mimicking the old and not a true being of today.

    In Berlin, 12 out of 1500 building built before 1840 have been demolished. Consequently this was due to the divisions in the city and of course in WW2. But up until now the historic sites have been built with a new layer of adaptations (new architecture), but now they want to put them back (freezing time) and allow for no new image or city development and put the building back as they were..this to me does not seek to improve the city and it is not a sustainable way of thinking. By all means renovate existing old buildings- this is good. I also think designing NEW SHOULD enforce and somehow respect the old, but NOT look old!

    This is where new modes of thinking come in. I mean if we just froze this, we would have mud houses everywhere still- never moving on from the ice age.

    I'm not sure if in all honesty this scheme is even necessary at all. There are plenty of other "Terrain Vague" (empty spaces) that are redundant in the town. There have been some schemes that Architects have come up with that have been flawed. The developers schemes have come up with schemes that are Awful.

    I have heard of youngsters in the town that would like ice-rinks and roller skating- now I think it would be more worth while making temporary events- see how they germinate and if successful make them permanent. This is how design works in a city or town (Highline in NY, former Berlin wall are now parks and the best one- Tempelhof Airport in Berlin- Closed and is now a public park holding events, Art, music, culture , cycling etc etc.

  9. Good to see the full facts have not been represented on either side!!! The Ramsgate society has had its day.

  10. What are the full facts then?

  11. Far from it, Anon 9.05 the Ramsgate Society has never been stronger.

    The Society is fully engaged in a constructive criticism of the scheme with the designers, some of the points mentioned in above comments are very relevant and need addressing if the scheme is to proceed and succeed.

  12. The long anonymous post carries weight and some good examples but in Ramsgate we really don't have a 'Templehof' or 'Reichstag' to draw comparison with.

    I agree that facilities for young people to play would be a great addition to the town but without the largesse of central government they simply wouldn't be viable. The Council (in common with any normal Landlord) needs to generate the best possible return for its' assets and therefore cannot afford to be generous with its' own holdings in the current climate.

    I look fondly at old films and pictures of the Marina Pool but as a structure, soon ebefore its' demise it was obvious that it was beyond its' useful life and needed wholesale redevelopment if it were to remain a public bathing facility.

    Everyone is fully entitled to their opinion but my problem is when people constantly protest AGAINST things without bringing a positive alternative forward. There is a great deal of talent and inteligence among the 'protestor' element in Thanet. If only we could harness it as a positive rather than negative energy...

  13. So the leasholder of theslips 2.3.4 states that the slips were only used for 34 days ,he doesnt say he wouldnot let vessels use the slips & they had to go to ipswich & Gt.Yarmouth. These slips are an important facility for the harbour especialy now with the wind farm supply/crew boats.who were tempted here because of the slips.

  14. Ramsgate Fan, aka GoD read the last post?

  15. How can they even think about getting rid of the slipways when London array has come to Ramsgate putting its faith in our harbour having slipways here for them to use what is the point of more restaurants when the ones we have are struggling and even Mr Thorley has sold some of his pubs/restaurants because they are not doing very well so that must tell us all something and why do we need more offices when they can't fill the offices they have near Westwood Cross.I ask the question is the developer going to keep this building and run the offices and restaurants himself or is he going to sell just making a big profit for himself and leaving us with a white elephant while he is laughing all the way to the bank.Come on TDC lets keep the slipways for our boats that have come to Ramsgate because we have the ideal facility.

  16. Ha ha!! I have been called lots of things but never GoD! I know the GoD of which you speak and no I am not him....

    Delicious irony in someone hiding behind anonymous posts querying peoples' identities....

    As for the comment on the slipway usage why don't you go and knock on the office door and ask the guy who runs the slipways about the business and then post your reportage here?

    A recurring theme here and in connection with many schemes put forward in Thanet is that none of the protests contains a financially viable or visually attractive alternative.

    In this particular case if we don't want what is proposed we need a better idea as to how to improve the look of the area whilst securing TDC's rental income but also in such a way which a) earns enough money to pay for the development works and b) provides a realistic, sustainable use which is not reliant on public subsidy.

    Is this not fair comment?

  17. In reply to Anonymous 8th November 14:11

    Do you seriously think London Array only came to Ramsgate because of the slipways? If that was so don't you think they would have made sure that TDC ensured constant access and also insisted upon infrastructure improvements?What they need is a BIGGER boat hoist. Interesting to see whether one forms part of the 'Masterplan'?

    Ramsgate's talented and varied Restaurateurs are gaining an excellent reputation among 'foodies'. Many new visitors to the Travelodge are thoroughly enjoying the variety and quality on offer. We may have an opportunity to create a mini Padstow (without all of the eggs being in one ownership basket) which will certainly bring people in to the town.

    Offices. A vexed one that; but offices located in nice places will always let. If you work in an office at the Westwood / Rose Farm site you need to jump in your car to go to the shops at lunch time. I know where I would rather be.

    As for any developer selling up when they finish a development.. isn't that the point? If it's such a bad idea no one will buy it! It's my guess that it will be retained to provide long term income.

    All I know is that no one else is sticking their necks out to fund any decent public architecture locally and the whole slipway site is an eyesore as it is. I also take into consideration the track record of this developer in actually delivering a building and am also heartened by the fact that he and all of his family live locally and employ local tradesmen on their projects.

    I would love it if we could have a new building that looked nice, all paid for by a massive Marine Engineering company which then refurbished all of the slipways and started a local apprenticeship scheme whilst offering well-paid, skilled jobs in the local economy.

    If you put all the protest energy into tracking a company down and making it happen I will happily support your endeavours. Find an alternative (apart from leaving everything 'as-is'), source the funding, identify the end user, make the business case and Bob's your uncle. How hard can it be?

  18. Ramsgate Fan, I think the key question here is. Will the council owned harbour, a major generator of council income, generate significantly less overall income without the council owned slipways being operational?

    In terms of the £2,600,000 the harbour brings in, in fees the rental receipts relating to the slipways are not very significant.

  19. Interesting point Michael. The Harbour Masterplan, when revealed, will doubtless shed some light on how they see their income streams developing. Have you any up-to-date information on the subject? It all seems to be such a big secret.

    I only hope that any infrastructure projects / opportunities are offered to LOCAL developers / businesses so that the jobs and the trickle-down benefits stay in this area.

  20. 19:20 So £700,000 from one year goes down to £70,000?

  21. One must take into account the lease holder of slipways 2 & 3 only aquired the lease so he/she could develop the site not so they could operate a slipway. You would not therefore expect them to have had a very good income over the last couple of years.

  22. Q. When is a cradle not a cradle? A. When it has no cat in it!!!

  23. Rampage development Fan

    And we really care about your views!!!

  24. Sorry, I could have sworn this was a Blog not a school playground.... Fancy a game of conkers?

    I have expressed OPINIONS. If you have a better idea that doesn't leave things to rot and which is sustainable, get on with it..... OFFER something so we can give it the same debate.

    Whilst I am Pro-Development in this case (Dictionary definition: The act or process of developing; growth; progress) I am more pro-Ramsgate. It's the absence of any OTHER ideas which annoys me more than anything else..

    How many of those who are 'Anti' (and I mean anti-everything, not just this development) actually need the town to prosper in order to secure their incomes? Would it be unfair to suspect that in the main they derive their incomes from guaranteed monthly stipends of some sort?

    Just a theory.....

  25. Oh BTW, Anonymous 10th November 21:58

    Has anyone identified a Marine Engineering company who wants to take over the slipways and run them either in perpetuity or for the duration of the London Array Project?

    If there was such an animal out there I am sure they would have made themselves known by now.

    If there is such a company, with deep enough pockets to be able to make a viable stab at such an operation I can't see anyone standing in their way, especially if their plans included tidying the place up.

    Go for it......

  26. Ramsgate Fan, I have now had a thorough look at the planning documents and will write an updated post on the subject in the next few days.

    Please email me or leave a comment if you have any information that you think may need including in the post.

    As far as I have been able to find out so far the planning application is a comedy of errors, and it would be useful to talk to someone broadly supportive of the application before I write the post.

  27. Sorry Michael, although I am broadly supportive of the Plans I do not have any 'inside information' or anything to do with the actual application so I cannot help you from a technical standpoint.

    I do know the architects actively sought out a meeting with people from The Ramsgate Society and that both they and the developers are readily accessible and more than happy to discuss the subject with anyone who has a genuine interest.

    I believe the architect is Malcolm Rowlett and he is based in Broadstairs. If you cannot find a contact number I will look one out for you if necessary.

  28. Sorry Michael, although I am broadly supportive of the Plans I do not have any 'inside information' or anything to do with the actual application so I cannot help you from a technical standpoint.

    I do know the architects actively sought out a meeting with people from The Ramsgate Society and that both they and the developers are readily accessible and more than happy to discuss the subject with anyone who has a genuine interest.

    I believe the architect is Malcolm Rowlett and he is based in Broadstairs. If you cannot find a contact number I will look one out for you if necessary.

  29. Ramsgate Fan, don’t have much inside information, I don’t Malcolm Rowlett although I do know the chap who made the drawings, but haven’t discussed them with him.

    I have discussed them with the council planning officer in charge of the application since I last commented and have also discussed them with the developer and the MD of the firm that did the flood risk assessment.

    I have now put up the new post I promised, as always I would appreciate your input as always.


Comments, since I started writing this blog in 2007 the way the internet works has changed a lot, comments and dialogue here were once viable in an open and anonymous sense. Now if you comment here I will only allow the comment if it seems to make sense and be related to what the post is about. I link the majority of my posts to the main local Facebook groups and to my Facebook account, “Michael Child” I guess the main Ramsgate Facebook group is We Love Ramsgate. For the most part the comments and dialogue related to the posts here goes on there. As for the rest of it, well this blog handles images better than Facebook, which is why I don’t post directly to my Facebook account, although if I take a lot of photos I am so lazy that I paste them directly from my camera card to my bookshop website and put a link on this blog.