Wednesday 29 July 2015

Covenant my ass

In recent weeks stories have appeared on social media about a possible Covenant for leisure on the former Pleasurama site. Now it would have been something to batter Thanet District Council with, especially during the last 3 years of protests trying to stop the Freehold being transferred to the developer.

Quote Derick Smith "In the (London) Gazette of November 29th 1861 there is a copy of the presented act by which the Kent Coast Railway and the London Chatham & Dover Railway would acquire lands by compulsory purchase and transfer in order to extend the railway from Faversham / Herne Bay to Ramsgate Harbour. It would appear that the Act gives provision for the land at Ramsgate Harbour to be transferred from the Board of Trade to the railway companies. There is no mention of any covenant." 
Basically what the above means is the beach under the cliff was owned by the Board of Trade and in 1861 the land was transferred to the railway, they dug a tunnel from there to the top of Hereson Road. A tunnel 1 mile long and the chalk spoil was deposited on the land to raise the level to provide a platform for the Sands station. This state of affairs lasted until its closure in 1926 and the newspaper article above shows this was purchased by the Ramsgate Corporation.

So there is no chance that any covenant was registered at Land Registry as the land wasn't donated but purchased. This state of affairs lasted until 1974 when Ramsgate Corporation was absorbed into Thanet District Council.

During Ramsgate Corporation's time the land was leased to various leisure companies until it finally resurfaced as Pleasurama in the 1960's

Now there is no sign in that history for any opportunity for the land to be safeguarded for the future as only for leisure use, so is there any scenario that meets that need?
There could be if Ramsgate Corporation had written that into the deeds when it was transferred to Thanet however there is no precedent but the records were stored in Ramsgate Library and destroyed in the August 2004 fire. So might someone have found it between 1974 and 2004. This is unlikely but possible so lets look at the facts.

December 2002 Thanet District Council agree to the development of the land.

November 2003 Planning permission for flats and a hotel applied for

January 28th 2004 Planning permission granted

After planning was granted a very vocal protest group got 5000 signatures together and took a trip to Westminster to meet the local MP Stephen Ladyman.

August 2004 Ramsgate Library is destroyed

The window of opportunity to examine the files is rather small however the most damning evidence there is no document is the fact that for 13 years there has been no use of "a piece of paper" to derail this development.

Michael Child had this to say and remember he has been at the forefront of the campaign for its entire 13 years.
"Barry basically these old covenants are a waste of time, and in the case of Pleasurama I doubt there would be one as the council bought the site from the railway company.

Ironically I would guess that the railway would have needed an act of parliament, which I doubt has been repealed, so if people want to waste their time that would be the one to peruse
Best regards Michael"

Says it all really

If I discover anything else I will post it here

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