Friday, 20 October 2017

Ramsgate Festival of Light Pictures, the local plan responses, a bit more of a Pleasurama update, some old Thanet pictures.

The pictures of Ramsgate illuminations should expand if you click on them, I have tried harder with the scanner today.


How do you feel about online forms? Be honest but not to the point of vulgarity.
Anyway with the draft local plan 1,500 people responded to the consultation mostly using the online form, which like all online forms is designed to bring out something in people that may not be their best, so here is the link to what they all had to say https://consult.thanet.gov.uk/consult.ti/TLPPOR/listRepresentations
I think the council would rather not have a plan and sort of bumble along fielding complaints about what they have failed to achieve in the past, but the government says that have to or the government will take over and write it for them. 
Since I last looked at it it has changed it’s name to Local Development Scheme I think, see https://www.thanet.gov.uk/your-services/planning-policy/local-development-scheme/what-is-the-local-development-scheme/
Back to asking the council about Pleasurama I write to them once a year and ask them what's going on, here is my email also published in Thursday's blog

Hi can the council give me an update on the situation relating to the old Pleasurama site in Ramsgate, particularly in terms of the current council strategy for improving the situation relating to the site’s negative impact on Ramsgate?

A general update would be helpful and answers to the specific questions below.

Does the council still have any control over the site, start dates, completion dates etc. or retain any interest in the site?

What is the position over ownership of the site now, and if the site owner’s or the owner’s agents are a known developer can the council give details of their other developments in progress or completed?

Does the council see the planning consent for the site as standing in perpetuity?

Would the council now consider implementing a flood risk assessment by HR Wallingford as recommended by the EA? See http://michaelsbookshop.com/ea/id2.htm

In the event of such a flood risk assessment requiring material change to the planning consent, does the council consider that this would impact on the site value?

Does the development agreement give the option for the council to buy back the site by a specific long stop date and if so what is that date and are the council considering this option?

Does the development agreement, at any point, give the council the option to buy back the site at the price the council sold it for, or would any council buyback be at current market value? 

Is the council in a position to obtain temporary use for the site, car parking and leisure event for this summer season?

Do the council have any short term plans to mitigate the negative influence of this site, adjacent to Ramsgate’s main leisure area, on the town’s tourist economy?   


Best regards Michael

And their rely also published Thursday

Dear Mr Child,

Thank you for your email of the 26 April 2017 regarding the Pleasurama site in Ramsgate. Due to an oversight, I understand that you have not been sent a reply, for which I apologise. I do understand that you have corresponded with the council about this site in the past and received a lot of the information on the site already?

I can confirm that the Council has disposed of the freehold of the site. Full details on the property can be found on the HM Land Registry web-site at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/land-registry there, you will be able to find the present owner’s name and address and from that research what other developments they might have either completed or have in progress.

Details of the planning history of the site can be found at https://www.thanet.gov.uk/your-services/planning/planning-history-search/planning-history-search/ If you search for Ramsgate and Pleasurama you will find documents including the latest planning permission.

There is no current requirement for a further flood risk assessment. Hypothetically, were such an assessment required which changed the planning consent then conceivably that might impact on site values, but you’ll need to appoint a valuer to advise you in detail.

There is an option for the Council to buy back the site, but that option is not yet exercisable, so no consideration has been given to exercising it at this time. The option would be based on the terms of the transfer which (subject to commercial confidentiality) are available from the HM Land Registry (see above).

I do not think that the undeveloped condition of the site would lend itself to the sort of temporary uses that you describe (even if the landowner were to consent to such a proposal).

The District Council do not have any short-term plans to improve the site (since we do not own it). However you could ask the County Council about what could be done with the temporary hoarding on the highway to make a more positive impression?


Best regards


**** ******


***** ****, Solicitor
Director of Corporate Governance and Monitoring Officer
Thanet District Council
Anyway I replied to this today

Hi *** This is my official request for further review, please send my customer feedback request for further review or if you wish to treat the request as an foi then please send my foi request for further review.
I am very concerned that the council appears to have no strategy for resolving this 20 year blight on Ramsgate, both with respect to the damage to the whole towns economy, including my own business, but also with respect to the revenue lost to the council by this site remaining in a state of blight for an unreasonable period.
I am further concerned that the council seems to have no plan to resolve the problem, that the council doesn’t know if the planning consent stands in perpetuity and appears to be happy to accept the blight indefinitely.
I am extremely concerned that the council doesn’t hold site ownership details for the current owners and has felt in necessary to direct me to the land registry to find them out.
I had hoped that the council would have some sort of ongoing dialogue with the owners and an enforcement strategy to deal with the blight.  
You say that “There is no current requirement for a further flood risk assessment” I take this to imply that there has been a site specific fra since the EA wrote to the council recommending one, please provide it or state what public domain restrictions it has. I should also like to draw to your attention to the safety and duty of care issues raised in the EA letter. 
I am also concerned that the council doesn’t appear to be aware of the ongoing liability to the council, of have made financial provision for reacquisition inasmuch as the council should know if the site can be bought back for the amount the council sold it for or if the council will have to pay full market value to get the site back.
Please appreciate that I am not asking for actual amounts, which I presume could have commercial confidentiality issues.
With respect to start, completion and long stop dates, the council have announced various dates over the past fifteen years and as far as I can see they have all now expired with the exception of the final completion date, so I am assuming that there must now be revised dates and that these should be in the public domain.
Can you please clarify this issue?
I have previously assisted with arrangements with the council to provide temporary use of the site for a funfair and this was successful for one of the 20 years of blight, so I don’t feel that it follows that this couldn’t be done again.  
With mitigation plans, I feel one option could be to use the occupied road space to reinstate the one-way road and by doing this much the previous tourist parking, but I think this could only be achieved with a proactive district council working with the county council.       

And this is a picture of Dinah Sheridan who did the turning on, of the illuminations that is, Festival of Britain 1951 I think. The following pictures are of people looking at the lights I think they were easier to photograph than the lights. 

Coming back to the Pleasurama issue, no announcement that work will start this year which is what KCC told Karen Constantine one of our KCC councillors.
I do now have a little further information from TDC

"If it helps, I can say that we have had recent contact with the agent representing the owner and will be arranging a meeting with them shortly, to better understand their plans and proposals for developing the site.

I can assure you that the my colleagues and I are as anxious as you are to get the stalled development re-started and completed."
I am still pressing for an internal review and wondering if there is any way to take this further, my own take being that TDC lack whatever it takes to sort the problem out.
To be honest I really haven't a clue what comes next, perhaps KCC, the LGO, DCLG, I sort of feel there must be someone to turn to when the council can't sort something out.

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