Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Royal Sands aka Pleasurama Development in Ramsgate update and another April East Kent Critic to read this time 1982.

Photos and comments about the painting of the Pleasurama cliff façade starting abound on FaceBook, so I snapped a couple of pictures of the work in progress with my mobile phone.

The latest information I have from TDC sent to me at the end of January this year is:-

“Ref No: 84703/3211812
Subject:        Pleasurama
Dear Mr Child,
Thank you for your communication received on 15th December 2015 where you requested information about the Royal Sands Development and Wellington Crescent Cliff Facade Wall.
For ease of reference I have summarised your questions with a response in each case below:

Can you kindly give me an update on the Pleasurama aka Royal Sands development on Ramsgate seafront?

An update has been provided on the Council’s website but for ease of reference I have provided the text below:
Work to the cliff façade on the Royal Sands site has taken place as planned, however unfortunately weather has delayed the final paint finish.
Due to the weather conditions expected this winter a decision has been made to delay this work until the early spring. This final painting is estimated to only take a few weeks after which the Development can commence.

If there is an officer coordinating the project can you please provide contact details? If not, please consider putting someone in charge of coordinating the whole project.

The project to deliver the new Royal Sands development is the responsibility of Cardy Construction.  Chris Rolle the Interim Head of Economic Development & Asset Management at Thanet District Council is the appropriate officer to contact for any questions relating to the site itself prior to sale.

Last week various rumours which were apparently supported by some TDC councillors, appeared on the internet, saying that the wrong paint had been used to coat the façade.  This was followed by the council issuing a statement, saying that the paint job wasn’t finished when the scaffolding was up, and a further coat of paint still needs to be applied.  Does this mean that the scaffolding will need to be re-erected? Or does this mean that the council intends some other method of applying the paint and if it does what method will be used?

The paint used does meet the required specification however the coating to some of the blockwork panels will need to be repeated due to poor weather conditions at the time of the initial application at the end of the contract period.  It is better to leave this until the warmer weather in the spring. Arrangements have been made for the contractor to return to complete the work.  The method of access is still to be confirmed but it is possible that this will be via a hydraulic platform which will avoid the need to re-erect scaffolding.

Since the initial planning application was approved in 2003, the Environment Agency have designated the site a “Flood Zone 3a (High Probability)”
Have the council either conducted a flood risk assessment or produced any report detailing why one isn’t necessary?

You have previously requested information on the subject of a flood risk assessment for the site.  This was responded to in an email from Doug Brown on 18th November 2009.
Does the whole liability of maintaining flood protection for the new development rest with the council or has any of it been mitigated either to the developer or the EA?

Flood defences are provided and maintained by Local Authorities under permissive powers, they are not duties.  However the existing sea wall at Ramsgate is likely to continue to be maintained by the Council in accordance with the ‘Hold the Line’ policy indicated in the Isle of Grain to South Foreland Shoreline Management Plan.

In 2005 the council commissioned Jacobs Baptie to examine the cliff façade, the conclusion of their report states that the structure has a short serviceable life. Since the report the council have had the façade pointed and recoated twice.
Do the council envisage this happening every five years for the life of the development and do the council envisage funding this?

The structure is the subject of regular inspection and the observations from these inspections inform the maintenance regime.  The 2005 inspection report predates the maintenance work undertaken in 2008 and 2015 which has improved the condition of the structure and extended its service life.  It is not possible to confirm the frequency of future maintenance work but the cliff facade will remain a TDC owned and maintained structure.

To facilitate the ongoing cliff maintenance do the council have any report stating the distance required between the development and the cliff façade, needed to maintain it economically?  With the structure having a short serviceable life, do the council have any plan for replacing the cliff façade with the new development in place?

The Council has not commissioned a report which identifies the most appropriate distance between the building and the façade to facilitate economic inspection and maintenance.  There are no plans to replace the façade with a new structure.

Do the council hold any engineers report stating that it is safe to build a residential development in front of the cliff façade?

The Council has not commissioned and does not hold a report on this specific subject.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original letter and should be addressed to: Information Request Assessor, Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent CT9 1XZ, or email to
Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely,
***** ****
Technical Services Manager”

As they seem to be doing what they said they would and at the time they said they would I don’t see that there is anything much I can ask them at the moment.

The latest I have from Cardy Construction was in mid December of last year:-

“Dear Michael 

Thanks for your email. 

You will need to speak direct with TDC on the specific details of the matter. As we have not been party to the works to the Cliff Face. 
We have been advised that completion of  the Cliff Face works by TDC have been delayed till the Spring. 
Until such time that the Cliff Face works are complete we will obviously not be in a position to commence the Development.

Kind Regards 
And Best Wishes to you and your family for Xmas”

Once again I don’t see any reason to ask for an update until the cliff paint job is finished.

My observations at the moment:-

Well I suppose the obvious one is pretty much any work on the cliff seems to need more space in front of the cliff than there will be if or when the new development is built.

For anyone new to the issue of the cliff façade and the cliff, you may wonder, what’s it all for?

The concrete cliff façade isn’t there to hold the cliff up, but is there to prevent weathering (the process of heat, water and cold damaging the surface of the cliff causing small lumps to fall off). The downside of this is that any major cliff fall caused normally by water further back, builds up until the pressure is sufficient to bring down part of the concrete façade and a considerable amount of cliff behind it.

In practice the cliff behind the Pleasurama site is an unsupported chalk cliff, weakened by tunnelling for HMS Fervent, navel guns mounted in it during both world wars and poor surface maintenance.

The last big fall there, bringing down cliff façade, steps and of tons of chalk was in 1957.

My own take is that the council should get a proper civil engineers report and survey done detailing where under the cliff it is safe to build residential accommodation, before any building work commences.

On to The East Kent Critic, as the weblogs for this blog say that more than 1,000 people read the one I put up yesterday here is another lot, as before compulsive clicking on the images of the pages should get them to a readable size.

 On to banging my own trumpet, here is the link to today’s new acquisitions in my bookshop I should add that as it’s Thursday tomorrow the bookshop will be closed.  

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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.