Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Ramsgate Cliffhanger

I have finally received the latest report on the Pleasurama cliff, here is the link http://thanetonline.com/cliff/id14.htm the picture above is of firemen digging through the rubble, looking for anyone trapped underneath it last time Ramsgate’s Eastcliff collapsed.

If you are a Thanet council taxpayer this should be of particular interest to you, it’s about three years since the council spent about £1m on the cliff, lets hope it costs a bit less this time.  

This, or something like it is going to happen every three years for the life of The Royal Sands development, it really is the only way to ensure that a 70 foot high unsupported chalk cliff is safe for the hundreds of people living in the development about 12 feet in front of it.

In view of the somewhat confused comments appearing on this post I have added a plan of the cliff façade structure, the colours showing which bits are which.

Looking at the plan (click on it compulsively to expand it) the lift is on the left the light blue line is where the site fence is that The Great Wall of Ramsgate is hung on.

The yellow green and purple line at the top is the cliff façade or cliff wall, which forms the facing to the unsupported chalk cliff.

The yellow part is what the report calls the portal section.

This is the part with shallow foundations, where the contractor has removed the dirt in front of them, it has exposed the chalky soil the foundations sit on, the report calls this “chalk sub soil”. In simple terms the concrete foundations extending a couple of metres down to the solid chalk bedrock just don’t exist. The report also says that two of the panels in this section are dangerous and will have to be hacked out and replaced.

The dark green part is what the report calls the arched section.

This is the part of the façade that was built because of the series large cliff collapses in 1937 that undermined the concrete apron at the top that holds the railings up. This part of the façade is well constructed, the foundations go down 2.5 metres below the ground.

The dark purple part is what the report calls the rendered masonry wall. 

This is the remaining part of the Victorian part of the structure the rest of this part of the façade collapsed in the 1960s and is shown in the picture at the top of the post. 

The pillars at the ends of this part have foundations extending down below the site, the middle part’s foundations were exposed by the contractor and looked as though they were sitting on a pile of earth and rubble, they have now been covered up. This part hasn’t had the upper promenade drainage improvements mentioned in the report.  


  1. I have lived in Thanet for nearly 50 years and have never seen any such drama......every 3 years,are you sure, when you make comments like this you lose all credibility. NONSENSE

  2. Did they miss the cracks in the tarmac on the top of the cliff? These are the ones I believe you photographed a while ago. The cracks seemed to be caused by the drains being blocked.

    Under the exposed arches of Marina Road, homeless people have periodically lit fires that have severely damaged and scorched the 150 year old brickwork. As an access road, Marina Road is coming to the end of its life.

  3. twenty two years in ramsgate no cliff falls you shoud try picking ramsgate up micheal not pulling it down

  4. Anons 11.43PM and 7.72AM. Michael is referring to the need for a cliff inspection every three years as stated in the report, not a cliff fall in Ramsgate every three years. KEEP UP!

  5. Yes Readit. They fail to appreciate the gravity of the situation.

    The inspection may have to be made annually henceforth as chalk stability is affected by drainage characteristics which will necessarily change due to the development.

    The cost of inspections should, of course, be borne by the ratepayers and not by the development residents ?

  6. I believe you already long since did load calculations for Marina Road ?

    so you already covered the arch angle Michael ?

  7. Due to the evident confusion in some of the comments here I have added a plan of the façade and an explanation of which part is which.

    The arched part mentioned in the report is the part of the façade behind the building site that has a concrete arched shape and doesn’t refer to the arched Marina Road viaduct, which is a completely different structure.

    I think the key problem here is either you accept that the million pound repair that was finished about three and half years ago prepared the façade for having residential development that is likely to last of the next 80 years or so in front of it. Or the million pound repair was just the first in a series of three yearly surveys and consequential repairs to a fairly worn out concrete façade. If you believe the former then all is well, if you believe the latter then every three years for the next eighty years, local council taxpayers will have to foot a bill, sometimes this will be a relatively small bill, like this time a few hundred thousand pounds, sometimes the bill will be a relatively large one.

  8. The arch angel pun retains its ground though.

    My non-punning point is that stability of chalk depends on drainage characteristics beneath. The development close to the face and the questionable depths of foundations must alter the drainage characteristic. Hence annual inspection may become more appropriate. The ratepayer would be funding annual inspections and remediation work.


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