Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Royal Sands Development on the Pleasurama Site in Ramsgate in today’s BBC lunchtime news.

Having just caught the summery of the BBC Southeast Today lunchtime news at the end of my lunchtime I noticed that the lead item will be The Royal Sands development in Ramsgate.

I will add to this post and hope to see the news item, I pressed record but who knows?

As some of you probably know there was another secret council meeting about the development yesterday, this is what it says on the Council’s website:

·                 View item 11. as HTML 18 KB
Royal Sands - Development Agreement
·                 View the reasons why item 12. is restricted
Royal Sands - Development Agreement
·                 View the reasons why item 13. is restricted
This item should be considered in conjunction with agenda item 12.

The report for item 12 in the main agenda provides additional information to queries raised outside the Panel meeting whilst the report for item 13 provides specific responses to the queries raised by Members of the Panel at the previous meeting held on 16 August 2012.

Despite The Audit Commission saying back in 2005:

R15 The Council should consider as far as
possible the information needs of the

The Members Services Manager provides advice on decisions to ‘exempt’, although we have not been able to test the effectiveness of this approach. There have now been a number of part-public reports on Ramsgate Boulevard where only the financial aspects are exempt.
Regular press statements and briefings will cover key corporate projects, and corporate publications are in place.
Press and PR council officers attend the main committees and prepare press releases. Scrutiny members have carried out outreach work with local groups, which has been well received. 

I have now just seen the item and as Cllr Ian Driver the head of the scrutiny panel was interviewed, it is pretty clear that the developer hasn’t so far been able to show that he can come up with the money to see the development through. 

I will of course ask the council cabinet what is going on, I spoke to one of the cabinet members the other day who said that he thought everything was progressing, however it is evident that everything isn’t.

My understanding is that SFP the developer has offered the council £3.6m for the freehold and I guess the council would like to get its hands on this lump of money.

But this does raise two important questions:

One being, how much is this large plot in Ramsgate’s main leisure site actually worth?

The other being, would the council be willing to risk another ten years of desolation and all the economic damage to the town associated with it to get their hands on the money?

Update first apologies for this going up badly and then the whole post vanishing for a bit.

I emailed Alan Poole who is the cabinet member in charge of overseeing The Royal Sands, below my email to him:

Hi Alan, I light of today’s BBC news item could you give me some sort of update for publication on the blog about The Royal Sands Development?
I have  already started the post, see and think some sort of council input would be helpful.    
Best regards Michael

and his reply to me 

Hi Michael,

Tuesday’s Scrutiny Meeting was feeding back to members answers to previously asked questions regarding the development…………as far as I could see there was probably no real need for it to be on ‘pink’. The Scrutiny Committee, had they so wished, could have taken it off ‘pink’.

Ian Driver has once again gone off half cocked, a fairly common event…………….he seems to be confusing his Chair of Scrutiny position with his ‘Independent member’ position………..

The current position, as comprehensively explained to Ian before his press interviews, is that we are currently finalising the new Agreement. There are only a couple of outstanding points that need clarification………… know what lawyers are!

Once the Agreement has been finalised we will need to see evidence that adequate finance is in place to complete the development, a hotel operator has been signed up and due diligence has been carried out. We will also get a valuation for the site.

When we are happy that all the checks have been carried out the Agreement will be signed and hopefully the building work can restart with completion within 24 months.

I will ensure that once we have signed the Agreement all the relevant papers, that are not commercially sensitive, will be released.



I also emailed Simon Moores his opposite number in the sahdow cabinet, here is what he has to say.


There's very little I can say because of the commercial confidentiality issue.

It's been held-up twice because of my concerns over due diligence and Ian is  soap boxing off those concerns. Remember that the Conservative Group walked out of Cabinet on the last occasion because Clive and company wouldn't allow us to debate the matter, even with he public excluded.

What does that tell you!



  1. I saw the piece on today's lunchtime news. I am delighted that the BBC has latched onto this story at last. I hope they do not let go.

  2. Michael,

    If you have not already done so, you may wish to send copies of your correspondence with TDC to the BBC.

    1. John I would doubt the BBC has fixed it for Ramsgate, they deal in the sound bite and have covered Pleasurama several times before, however I think any real journalistic digging is very unlikely. The key question, which is how can the council be sanctioning building on a high risk flood zone without a flood risk assessment is unlikely to be either asked or answered. Of course if the development does ever get built and collapses in a tidal surge storm then they will do some digging

    2. Michael,

      I did not wish to imply that the BBC had fixed it for Ramsgate. I was simply hoping they would apply the spur.

  3. Let's hope they finally call it a day (and perhaps rebuild Dreamland on it instead of in Margate!).

    1. Peter one aspect here is that the council say the planning permission stands in perpetuity, so presumably even if the developer changes the thing could still get built.

  4. Another disaster looming. As for a male member of the Cabinet saying he thought things were progressing, I think we all know who that is and that it hardly surprising. Nodding donkeys come to mind.

    From all the work and research that you have carried out Michael, it is not rocket science to work out that the continuing maintenance and insurance alone on the cliff face is going to wipe out the £3.9m almost immediately. That is provided the cliff face doesn't collapse and take the development with it. If that were to happen god forbid, the Council could not possibly claim they did not know of the risk which would void any insurance. Unless they address the cliff face issues once and for all, the site is seriously blighted.

    1. I don’t think they really can economically address the cliff issue, like all of the unsupported chalk cliffs in Thanet that are subject to occasional collapses the economic solution is not to build accommodation under them.

      The alternative solution used in Ramsgate’s, Marina Esplanade, and behind the harbour is to build a cliff support structure.

  5. just as a complete aside to the debate the photo you used of the sands from east cliffe ramsgate is the exact same one i uploaded to my facebook acount today how strnge is that also as i am new tio thihs blogging i can only fgo as anonymous
    Brian Handley

    1. Bound to happen Brian as it think I have published about 50,000 pictures of Ramsgate on to the internet in the last few years and this is quite a common postcard which I have several copies of and have published here before. So either you have the same postcard or you got it from the web where the chances are it was me who put it there. if you do a Google image search for Pleasurama Ramsgate you will see what I mean.

    2. Certainly bizarre, I have several computer files of old postcards which I have scanned over the years and just looked through for one of Pleasurama of which there are surprisingly few.

      If you have published any more old pictures of Ramsgate on the internet please send us all the web address so we can enjoy them.

  6. Literality the actual physical post card is sitting on my desk it was sent to me and as a child who holidayed in Ramsgate every year, brought back many memories. I just happened to scan it upload it then as is my daily routine flick on to your blog which I do follow, as although I don’t physically live in Ramsgate at the moment I own a house in Ramsgate in Kent Terrace and am always interested in the local life as my family live in the area it was just such a coincidence I thought id say

  7. Where did SFP get 3.6 million pounds from? Why are they based in the British Virgin Islands?

  8. Via our dodgy banking system that's how?

    1. anon 9:52 AM

      This is interesting. What is it about our banking system that you consider to be dodgy, especially in relationship to the development of the Pleasurama site?

  9. According to cllr Poole "There are only a couple of outstanding points that need clarification………… know what lawyers are!".
    Are these the same lawyers used in the live exports court case?

  10. John holyer, expert on everything it seems

    1. anon 7:19,

      I do not understand your remark. I asked you a reasonable question; how do you claim that our banking system is 'dodgy'. I fail to see how asking a question is taken as being a somebody who knows everything. If I am an expert on everything, as you flatteringly suggest that I am, then why would I bother to ask questions?

    2. i would say a banking system that dumps us in the doo-doo with risky and irresponsible financial gamblings, then scoops up whopping millions of tax payers money to bail themselves out, then announce whopping bonuses paid to those who got themselves and us in the mud in the first place regardless of any moral conscience is a bit dodgy donchya think?

    3. Yes, I suppose you would say that, Yogi. No mention of course of failure by government to properly regulate, or irresponsible spending coupled with deferring debt for future generations with PFI or an open door immigration policy attracting more benefit scroungers than workers. Or a party in government who denied the people a say on the Lisbon treaty, but now turns full circle and wants to demand cuts on the EU budget, something they signed us more up to when in office. Where is the moral conscience of the Labour party, Yogi?

    4. I have nothing to do with the Labour party. I don't vote for them and am not excusing them.
      The question was in relation to the banks. Seen HSBC profits this week?
      Immigration and benefit scroungers are as a drop in the ocean of greed running riot in this country. Wake up.

  11. I would like to correct Alan. I spoke to the media in my capacity as an Independent Councillor, not as Chairman of Overview Scrutiny Panel. I have also spoken to other media organsiations and the Audit Commission about Royal Sands all in my capacity as an Independent Councillor. It is my opinion, based on 10 years of precious little development, that the Royal Sands project is facing extremely serious difficulties. As an elected Ramsgate Councillor I am duty bound to publically express my concerns.

  12. Alan. The Scrutiny Committee voted to have secret documents about Royal Sands published on the Council's website.


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.