Friday, 29 November 2013

Ramsgate born artist Emily Tull, exhibition in the York Street Gallery Ramsgate and a ramble about Deal Flood Defences, Harbour Street in Ramsgate, polls and whatever comes to mind.

An interesting exhibition this one, portrait sketching with cotton is something I have never tried but will aim to have a go at.

Here is the bumph: “NOVEMBER 2013: my first ever solo exhibition in my home town. 'Past Present' will be on display at York St Gallery 27th Nov - 4th Dec. Gallery will be open daily and I will be there every day stitching away! be lovely if you came by and said hi.” And the link to her website which I had some technical difficulties with.

Pictures will expand if clicked on compulsively, I guess there is an interesting factor in sketching with cotton and that is that you can see a line before you make it, whereas with a brush, pen or pencil, you don't see the line until you have made it.

I went to the town of Deal yesterday, one I compare with Ramsgate, on the whole Deal seems to have fared better being governed from Dover, than Ramsgate has being governed from Margate.

It’s a sad historical fact that from medieval times Ramsgate was governed from Sandwich and suffered as a result until Victorian times when Ramsgate gained the right to govern itself and seemed to do very well until in the 1970s from which time it was governed from Margate. When a town is governed from its main rival town then it would appear that often that town suffers as one would expect.

As you see from the pictures Deal is getting another dose of publicly funded sea defences and Margate has, as most of you will know, just had theirs completed, yet here in Ramsgate we don’t seem to have been part of any of the major surveys, let alone had any of the sea defence work done. I think this is probably because of the council’s desire to balance some of their budget with proceeds from selling the Pleasurama site. I guess with a major foreshore site with a history of tidal storm flooding and no investigation into what sea defence work needs doing, along with The Royal Sands developer still failing to come up with the readies the council will soon be looking out for a developer who is a bit of a gambler. 

Ramsgate town centre today seemed to be about ten times busier than Deal town centre was yesterday, taking these photos involved holding the camera above my head and waiting for a gap between people. 

Market day today, with the rubbish and recycling changes having a considerable impact on pedestrian flow in the town centre, I wonder if this is some sort of deliberate ploy by TDC and whether any other towns in the UK have this sort of thing occur at midday on their busiest shopping day. I guess the photo taken today says it all really.

I will ramble on, but had better get the first lot with its associated photos published or I will get more than a little confused.  

Onto the various surveys, starting with “Is TDC fit for purpose?” which is all about the Thanet District Councillors shooting the messenger. I was talking to a long term labour voter yesterday who was trying to express his frustration with the current Labour cabinet. Apart from this being most reminiscent of long term Tory voters talking about the council’s Conservative cabinet, particularly around the time Steve Ladyman got elected, here is what he had to say to a member of the current Labour cabinet. “Don’t go out and ask a dozen people on the street if the think the council is fit for purpose or corrupt, just go out and ask what they think of the council and tell me how many of them tell you it’s unfit for purpose or corrupt”

There is an encouraging article by Bob Bayford leader of the opposition in today's Gazette, see 


  1. Get super MP Laura to sort out the Friday rubbish collection fiesco in Ramsgate before she goes.

  2. Actually Michael, I suspect the main reason that Ramsgate isn't given the same priority for flood defences is because most of it is built on top of the cliffs! A big difference to Deal and Margate Old Town. I could just as easily complain that Margate and Deal aren't given the same attention and protection to their cliffs.

    I do agree with you over having rubbish collection and the market on the same day though.

    1. No response on why Deal and Margate are in greater need of improved flood defences than Ramsgate Michael or anyone?

    2. creating a better place Environmet Agency
      Our ref: KT/2007/104024/0101
      Thanet District Council Your ref: TH/03/1200
      P0 Box 9 Date: 08 February 2008

      Thank you for forwarding plans for the proposed development at the former
      Pleasurama site in Ramsgate. I am sorry you have had to wait so long for a
      response but as we discussed in our recent meeting, I was under the impression that
      there were further amended plans to follow.
      According to our records the Environment Agency was initially consulted on this
      application in October 2003. At that time our indicative flood risk maps did not
      identify the area to be at risk from tidal flooding. The maps were based on a
      predicted ~1 in200Yea( tide and ground levels along this part of the coast were
      shown to be above the “at risk~ level. Therefore no specific flood risk comments
      were included in our response. In hindsight this is regrettable as the proximity of the
      site to the frontage does mean that the area is likely to be susceptible to wave
      overtopping and could be subject to flooding in extreme storm conditions.
      Since 2003 we have had both a policy change with the publication of Planning Policy
      Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk (PPS25) and, publication of our
      updated flood maps which now show part of the site to lie in Flood Zone 3a (High
      Probability). Although we might not object in principle to some form of development
      here, if we were to receive a similar application under the current guidelines, we
      would require a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) to identify the risk, look at flood
      resilient construction and address the issue of safe, dry access. Without this
      information it is difficult to determine whether the development can be considered
      “safe” (PPS25 09 The Exception Test).

    3. We are aware that there have been amendments to the original application but
      believe the Agency was not asked to comment following the initial consultation in
      2003. It is difficult to say whether our response would have changed at the times of
      these amendments. We are certainly disappointed that access from the
      development to the top of the cliff, which we believe to have been in the original
      layout, has since been removed. In the event of the esplanade being impassable,
      access from the cliff-top would ensure a safe dry route to and from the residential
      units. As the proposal stands, a serious flood could potentially leave resident'
      stranded in their homes without a safe means of escape, for the duration of the
      As a guide, we would currently recommend all residential accommodation ~n the
      Ramsgate area to be set at a minimum of 5.6m above Ordnance Datum Newlyn
      (ODN). This is following the predicted sea level rise allowances in PPS25 until the
      year 2110. Unfortunately the plans do not show floor levels relative to ODN.
      However the site survey (Drawing No. PL 10-101) indicate average ground levels to
      be approximately 5,8m (although not shown I am assuming these levels to be ODN).
      With the ground floor proposal for commercial use only, it can be concluded that the
      residential accommodation, all on the first floor and above, will be set well above the
      recommended 5.6m ODN. It should however be made clear that this is a static tide
      level which makes no allowances for wave action, This static level would be deemed
      safe some distance from the frontage where wave heights would be expected to
      dissipate. Areas immediately behind defences lie in the High Risk Rapid Inundation
      Zone (RIZ) and are particularly vulnerable due to the risk of the defences being over-
      topped or breached, resulting in fast-flowing and potentially deep water with little or
      no warning. Again,

    4. if this were a new application we would expect an FRA to identify
      the RIZ and predict potential wave heights. For example the FRA undertaken by HR
      Wallingford for The Turner Centre application identified wave heights to be
      significantly different from the predicted “200year”static tide level for Margate.
      Whether this development is sufficiently set back to be outside the RIZ is difficult to
      say without further investigation in the form of a detailed FRA. Although the
      residential accommodation may well be set high enough above the static extreme
      tide level, we don't have sufficient information to confirm whether or not the site is
      vulnerable to waves of a much greater height and if so, if this could undermine the
      structural integrity of the proposed buildings. A site specific FRA would assess the
      potential for wave damage and recommend suitable mitigation measures.
      It is appreciated that this proposal was submitted over 4 years ago, prior to the
      publication PPS2S and before our maps highlighted the area to be at risk, Certainly
      in terms of flood risk policy, things have some-what moved on. In light of those
      changes and without further information I regret it is impossible for the Agency to
      confirm whether or not the proposal as it stands is wholly consistent with current
      policy. And whilst we accept that this development already has planning permission,
      we would highly recommend that a full FRA is undertaken which could inform
      appropriate resilience and resistance measures. The assessment could also inform
      the production of a suitable flood warning and evacuation plan, for both the
      residential and commercial parts of the development. We would obviously
      recommend that all future residents and commercial units are registered with our
      free Flood Warning Service,
      I hope this letter has been able to clarify the Agency's position however should you
      wish to discuss the matter further please don't hesitate to contact me again.
      Environment Agency
      Orchard House, Endeavour Park, London Road, Addington, West Mailing, Ken, MEI9 5SH.

    5. I think Peter the EA already said it, the result has been ten years of Ramsgate's main leisure site derelict

    6. Yes we know that Michael, but that's hardly all of Ramsgate at risk. If the sea defences broke in Deal then the whole town would be devastated, BIG difference.

    7. Seeing Michael and Peter are up on this Sunday morning, thought it a good opportunity to run a new story past you both.

      Yesterday I was having a meal at the George & Dragon and the conversation with a few folk there centred around Laura Sandys standing down and rumours of Labour's reaction to it. One thing I have noticed since moving out of Thanet District is our Canterbury neighbours mix of fascination, disbelief and horror at Thanet politics.

      To get to the point, the suggestion was that with Labour now facing a much improved prospect of taking Thanet South, that Will Scobie would be moved aside for a tougher campaigner. The return of Steve Ladyman was also rumoured as a possibility. Returning home, I got on the PC quite late and found the same rumour on Thanet Life and in the comments on Eastcliff's site, but no denial, other than a lone anonymous, from Labour officially.

      Whether or not this rumour is true, it has certainly spread far, and one would have expected the Thanet Labour leadership to make a pretty swift response, if only out of respect to their selected candidate. Yet again we see leadership in Thanet sadly lacking.

    8. Michael,

      Thank you for posting the EA statements. They are intersting and explain much about the stumbling Pleasurama development.

    9. Peter there are some in Ramsgate who would say the devastation caused by the Pleasurama fiasco is enough. But the key point here is about being trapped between the sea and the cliff, I would doubt I need to draw you a diagram.

      Allan I guess the key point there is that this election is about – from Labour’s point of view – is about beating UKIP and a strong Tory candidate, didn’t Will do this in the county elections?

      I would think it highly unlikely that one having found a candidate who has beaten UKIP in the largest ever swing towards UKIP that Labour would change that candidate.

    10. Yes yes yes, we know that Michael. My point is that Margate and Deal sea defences are much higher priority. If there's a high tide and strong winds, it's very unlikely that your bookshop would be affected, but it would be a different story if your shop was based in Deal or Margate old town.

      Allan, I don't believe anonymous rumours posted on blogs. Nor should you.

    11. It reads as though we are doing the environment Agency s work for them while paying them.

    12. ...and, did you ask these people who were under the influence of alcohol where they "heard" that rumour? Seems that no-one else can name a source (apart from anonymous comments).

    13. My dear, Peter, do you normally cross examine people you are having dinner with, some of them were not drinking because of driving home and you are missing the point. A rumour, which may well be nothing more, is spreading fast. Where is the official Labour denial? How long does it take to put something on their blog site?

      Frankly, I do not care either way, but it is again reflective of the shambles that passes for political leadership in Thanet.

    14. Well yes, if someone told me they'd "heard a rumour" my first reaction would be "where from?"...

    15. And since when was mallinsons view on thanet politics of any great relevance

    16. Peter, let me spell it out for you. Eight people, all living in the Sturry, Fordwich area, gather for dinner and one of them says he has heard this story about Labour's candidate in South Thanet. One of the others says he heard the same thing from a customer in his car show room in Canterbury. The conversation then goes into one about the shambles of Thanet politics. Apart from the good lady and I, none of the others have lived in Thanet.

      The source of the rumour is fairly irrelevant, what is important is dealing with it promptly if it is untrue. Hence, I say again, where is the official Labour denial?

    17. Mallinson has a pub lunch and random rumours have to be denied because he says so?

    18. There's obviously a lot of gullible people about.

    19. Rumours spread, Peter, and whether one believes them or not they can be damaging. I agree with Allan that the party should deal with this immediately. You hit the nail on the head with your comment about gullible people, there are a lot which is why rumours can hurt.

    20. Seems like I need to go outside of Thanet to visit a few pubs and car showrooms to know what's really going on in Thanet politics. Living in Margate and talking to cllrs is obviously the wrong thing to do.

    21. Doubt Conservative ones would know and Labour ones would hardly be telling before an official announcement. Gut feeling is that this is a malicious rumour probably started by a Labour PPC waiting for a constituency who is jealous Thanet has been given to someone so young.

    22. "We would obviously recommend that all future residents and commercial units are registered with our free Flood Warning Service," i tried to get the warning service, for my shop but they said we wasnt on the at risk list. so i tried for the harbour. nope, we are now an interested party, what ever that means!
      the boatmen and yachtys will certainly be wanting the alert, the mooring girders only go so far then the walkway slips off! these boats are worth alot! dont think the insurance, if they have any, would cover that! ;-)

  3. disorganised chaos or the Law of unintended consequences

  4. Bob Bayford is right. Purblind tribalism is rife here. I discovered this for myself when I was conducting a survey in Ramsgate for GFK NOP in the 90's. Setting this aside, Thanet will never prosper until a time comes when young people no longer need to leave the area to find a career. It's been this way since the late 60's. Thanet has some good schools that turn out well educated and talented people, but where can they find a career in Thanet?

    When I moved back here with my family in 1970 I searched the area for jobs over many months. There was nothing on offer which would pay me well enough to support a wife, two toddlers and a mortgage. Among the many jobs I applied for was one as a Bouncer at Neros. Not well paid I reasoned but could be interesting, exciting even. The two burly and polite interviewers explained that I would not be suitable, in their opinion. On reflection I'm sure they were right. I had to look further afield. Then all of a sudden I was offered two jobs in the same week. One was on the bacon slicing machine in Ramsgate Woolworth and the other was to join HM Diplomatic Service. I chose the latter. Thanet school leavers face similar choices.

    I commuted to Westminster for two years and during our first posting overseas bought a house close to London. Never to return to Thanet until 2006 where I found Ramsgate much the same as when left, except a bit more run down.

    It is true that there is a vociferous minority in Thanet who are against big business. But they are just a minority and can be and should be ignored by business seeking to invest in our area. Investors should not have to fight TDC.

    A footnote about tribalism: if you are against what I have said ask yourself is because I am wrong; or is it for nothing more than I said that Bob Bayford is right?

    1. From my visits to Margate Council meetings and watching them in action I think, and various councillors agree, there is a lack of an effective opposition in the chamber.
      I feel that they are now waking up from their slumbers (shock) and hopefully more can be done. In Ramsgate in particular there is no Conservative presence either at TDC or RTC level.

  5. Correction to above: It was not the 90's but some time in 2003.


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