Friday, 9 October 2015

Is Margate Harbour Arm coming apart? Why is the council press office telling a different story to Thanet Council Leader Chris Wells?

This is a bit of a strange one that begs the question, what's really going on? By this I mean has Chris Wells made up one story and the council officers made up another while in reality it was. What? A council balls up? Suggestions on a plate please.

Chris says The Waverley Paddle Steamer has dodgy insurance.

"Chris Wells said...
Perhaps I can help. It would appear that in previous years this vessel has been accepted in to Margate harbour without the necessary insurance or statutory requirements being fulfilled.

We have now made it clear to the operator the documentation and level of notice we require for them to berth in the harbour, none of this information has been provided, we have also offered them the use of Ramsgate Port at a reduced rate, but due to the nature of the vessel and the fact that it has two fixed paddles they would need a tug to manoeuvre, a cost they are not willing to incur.

The council officers say that Margate Harbour Arm has got into such a bad state since The Waverley Paddle Steamer visited Margate last year that it would be dangerous to do so this year. 

" Hi Michael,

Please find our statement on this below:

The Harbour Arm at Margate is not in regular commercial use and unfortunately Waverley Excursion Ltd. did not allow sufficient time to notify us so that we could arrange the necessary works and processes to ensure a safe operation.

Waverley Excursions Ltd. was offered the use of Ramsgate Harbour, which could safely accommodate such a vessel; however the operator elected to coach their customers to join the vessel elsewhere.

The council is fully aware of the benefit that such vessels can bring to our district when the operation is appropriately managed to allow a safe entry and exit from the harbour. We are working with Waverley Excursions Ltd. to ensure that a safe process can be agreed to facilitate future use of the Margate Harbour Arm.

Many thanks,

**** *****

PR and Publicity Officer

Thanet District Council

PO Box 9 ¦ Cecil Street ¦ Margate ¦ Kent ¦ CT9 1XZ

Direct line: 01843 5770**

E-mail: *******

Visit our website –

Follow us on Twitter – @ThanetCouncil 

Find us on Facebook – Thanet District Council" 

To be honest this is very like my experiences yesterday tying to buy a campervan, eg. the one on ebay is described as in good condition and nothing in the listing mentions the body of the thing being anything else. Having arranged insurance and turned up at the appointed time with the money the body is so rusty you can put your fingers through it, and yes it did have an MOT.    

 I have just checked the two fixed paddles business, as I am sure this couldn’t have been right and assumed all paddle steamers can reverse either set of paddles independently. I was also pretty sure that when we used to sail on her from Ramsgate no tug was used. She can indeed turn on her own axis and the paddles can be reversed independently.


  1. To me cllr Well's version did not add up an its was another case of him thinking he could hoodwinkle the public. No doubt the council officer will be told to say he got his facts wrong.

  2. Not sure really Dave, while I don’t want to shoot the messenger and have been giving the new UKIP group a lenient time here while they bed in, the message has to relate what actually happened.

  3. Maybe the Walerley will get in the way of all the other ferry movements at Ramsgate! With the port loosing £900k a year its looking like the infrequent car ferry arrivals will only make a small dent in this loss but maybe it will encourage other operators to use the port.
    The car ferry business is looking for drivers to unload the cars - £7 per hour, minimum of 4 hours paid and you have to be available on an adhoc basis. It might suit some that can drop everything at the drop of an anchor but not exactly going to take anybody off of JSA.


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