Monday 23 December 2013

Ramsgate Tunnels

The Ramsgate tunnels have just posted their latest newsletter please view here, along with previous newsletters for download.

They hope to have the tunnels open in July 2014 and will be looking for volunteers help.

Their website is full of useful information and you can be a friend by clicking here and filling in a few details.

From their newsletter:

It’s  hard  to  believe  another  year  has gone by and we would like to thank you for your continued support and patience. The Tunnels project has continued in the background  and  there  have  been  some significant  developments  throughout  the year.
In  February  Thanet  District  Council awarded  the  project  a  grant  of  £20,000 to help kick-start the venture. This was a very welcome boost and the team set to work  on  devising  a  plan  to  make  best
use  of  the  money.

As  2014  approaches  RHRT  are  in  the final stages of negotiating with T.D.C. to take  control  of  the  tunnels.  January should see  the  signing  of  an  agreement that  will  safeguard  the  interests  of  all parties  and  work  is  expected  to  start towards the end of January. (Ramsgate (Heritage Regeneration) Trust)

Join us as a Friend and you will be kept up to date with what's happening,
When progressing plans and applying for funding there’s strength in numbers so please encourage as many as you can to join us.

Click here
Your details will not be shared with anyone and you can unsubscribe at any time

Thursday 19 December 2013

Motorhouse Part 2

 The vision

"For more than two years, a group of residents has been working on a plan to save the derelict West Cliff Hall (aka ‘the old motor museum’) and turn it into an exciting mixed use venue where people of all ages can enjoy themselves and where Thanet’s young people can be introduced to a business culture and get the hands-on experience they need to feel confident about starting their own businesses. We intend using low carbon techniques to renovate the building and foster interest in the burgeoning low carbon economy of East Kent."

Their spokesperson Janet said recently

"TDC has given The MotorHouse money towards the condition reports and we are securing the site from vandals with money from Ramsgate Town Council. The building needs propping before we can do the condition reports, so we are getting quotes at the moment."

As you can see there is a lot of work to do just to stabilise the building.
 All I can say is good luck,
More updates as soon as I get them

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Where, When, Why

Share the image. Advert for the meetings will be in Ramsgate Town publication in New Year. Get involved it's your future

Monday 9 December 2013

Steering Group meeting

At today's meeting of the steering committee it was decided to set up two groups, the first to plan the process to create 3 meetings to get all involved in deciding a vision for Ramsgate. The second group will look at the process to complete the background to the vision.

This second group will collect all the information, such as land use, population densities, etc that form the background of each separate Neighbourhood Plan thus saving time and allowing each group, that want to have a plan, the freedom to concentrate on the Vision itself.

Well in this case Ramsgate needs you.

Will you get involved in Ramsgate's future?

Sunday 8 December 2013

Ramsgate Vision

We are looking for a vision for Ramsgate for the next 20 years.

In the words of Martin Luthor King "I have a dream" we have a dream that Ramsgate people can have a say in how the Neighbourhood will look in 20 years time.

To that end I would like people to give some thought to now and in 20 years time for example are we a tree, currently like this:
but in 20 years like this:
or are we a hut:
and in 20 years time like this grown and mature:
Have you say and comment or add your ideas in the comment box below.

Saturday 7 December 2013

Neighbourhood Planning

Would you like a say in how this will look in 20 years time?

Ramsgate Town Council have started a consultative process that will give the people of Ramsgate a chance to have a direct input into how Ramsgate will look in the future.

A small group has met to provide an roadmap to ensure this process succeeds

Come and tell us how you think Ramsgate should be 20 years from now. the group statement of intent:

"We are a group of volunteers.  Like you, we live and/ or work in Ramsgate.  If we don't make a plan, then developers will be able to do anything they like in Ramsgate.  If you help us, together we can decide the kind of place we want to live and work.  Then the developers will have to follow our plan.

You’ll see below 3 timings and places.  Choose one that suits you best.  And then, just turn up!  There will be no long speeches.  Councillors and MPs won't be telling us what we should have.  It’ll just be you and us!

Bring your packed lunch.  You’ll get a cuppa – in fact, lots of cuppas.  In return, tell us what’s important to you about Ramsgate in 20 years time.  We will use your info to start the plan.  Maybe you will keep working with us until it’s done?  Then you and everyone else in Ramsgate will vote on whether the plan is a good one.

If you want to ask any questions about where you will be coming to, then please email or ring the place directly.  Details are below.  Bear in mind we’re all volunteers.  Even the meeting places are giving us space for free.  All have disabled access.  If you want to ask any other questions about the space, please contact them directly.  If you can't wait till the day and want to ask us something, we prefer email, or Facebook

You can help by passing this invitation to everyone you know who lives or works in Ramsgate – especially if they don't have internet access.  If they have internet access, do please forward this email, and like us on Facebook, or do anything else that will tell people how they can join in.

We’re looking forward to meeting you in February.

We are – Barry, Duncan, Emma, Kandy, Mariette, Peter, Sue"

The background to the process can be viewed here under locality planning and a quick guide can be downloaded from here

Come and join our Facebook page or send us an email if you have any questions.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

The Ramsgate Society

The Ramsgate Society have recently won a prestigious award for their work on restoring the Victorian Shelters on the Cliffs above the seafront.
Well done!! Laura Sandys said "So pleased to present The Ramsgate Society with their award for joint national Civic Society of the Year this morning"

The Society have their website here and have done sterling work in Ramsgate over many years.

What they say about Ramsgate's history:
Ramsgate's history on the Isle of Thanet goes back over many centuries. Early history saw the arrival of the Belgic peoples to this general area in the first 100 years BC during which period the Romans first arrived in 55 and 54BC. They later came to this area of East Kent to fully conquer Britain in the Claudian Invasion of 43AD setting up the huge gateway fortress and town of Richborough nearby - just 4½ miles (6km) in a straight line from present day Ramsgate.

Evidence of their presence has been found during excavation work around the town including in 1870 when Roman Burials were found in the area of the Granville Hotel on the East Cliff. Roman tiles and wooden piles sunk into the chalk beneath the site of the present slipway in the harbour have also been found, when the slipway was constructed suggesting the area was used as a small haven.

During the end of the Roman period the Vikings under the leadership of Hengist and Horsa with their mercenary force arrived at the invitation of the Romano / British leader Vortigern in AD 449. Vortigern gave them the Isle of Thanet - which was a true island at that time - as payment for their help. Landing at Ebbsfleet they were to stay long after the Romans had left, naming the country England.

It was during the Anglo Saxon period that St Augustin arrived from the church of Rome in 597 when he also landed at Ebbsfleet. A stone cross now marks the spot where this landing was said to have taken place. That location is now about half a mile (nearly a kilometre) inland as the mile wide Wantsum Channel - separating Thanet from mainland Kent - has long since silted up.

The towns earliest reference is as Hraefn's ate, meaning cliff gap, It later came to be known as Remmesgate, or sometimes as Ramisgate around the beginning of the 13th Century (1200 to 1230). Some 120 years later, perhaps 1360 or so, the area became known as Ramesgate. At this time this small area was little more than a fishing hamlet with some farms scattered about it as a part of one or more of the local 'Manors'. Then in 1483 Ramsgate was adopted as a limb of Sandwich and thus a part of the Cinque Ports confederation.

Of the local inhabitants William Camden wrote in the early 1600s...

Neither must I passe over heere in silence that which maketh for the singular praise of the inhabitants of Tenet, those especially which dwell by the roads or harboroughs of Margat, Ramsgat and Broadstear. For they are passing industrious, and as if they were amphibii, that is, both land-creatures and sea-creatures, get their living both by sea and land, as one would say, with both these elements: they be Fisher-men and Plough men, as well Husband-men as Mariners, and they that hold the plough-taile in earing [tilling] the ground, the same hold the helme in steering the ship.

Professor Sutton translation from the Latin original.

It was about the time of end of the Tudors and beginning of the Stuarts that 'Manors' lost control of their areas in favour of church parishes which became administrative units. Ramsgate thus came under the control of St Lawrence. Ramsgate began to grow after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 following the successful trade with Russia and the formation of the Bank of England and the East India Company, whose ships brought trade and prosperity to the local fishermen.
Early in the Georgian age - 1714 to 1740 - the Vestry and Overseers of St Lawrence still controlled day to day work in Ramsgate, including the building of a Poor House in Sussex Street. This opened in April 1726. By 1785 Ramsgate had established an efficient government sufficient for it to have an 'Act' to pave, light and cleanse the streets of Ramsgate and to build a market house and hold a public market. Records show that for the year of 1799 the cost of cleaning the streets amounted to 42/- ,42 shillings (2 guineas) or £2.10p.

Elegant Georgian houses with their beautifully proportioned sash windows were built throughout the 18th century, later evolving into the bow window fronted houses of the Regency Period, 1812 - 1820. Ramsgate also benefitted from the building of Nelson Crescent and Wellington Crescent with their fine Chinese Pagoda-style canopied balconies and 'delicate as gossamer' ironwork railings and supports, that further embellished these wonderful Regency properties throughout the period up to the Victorian era. The young Princess Victoria visited the town as a child in the 1830s

 The harbour was built as a result of the Great Storm of 1703 which saw the loss of much shipping, the worst disaster to befall the Royal Navy in peacetime, though work did not begin until 1749. It was in September 1821 that George IV departed from the harbour for Hanover. On his safe return to Ramsgate, he was pleased to bestow the title 'Royal' upon the harbour, the only one in the country to be so honoured. An obelisk in Pier Yard erected out of granite commemorates this event.

Around the turn of the century - and particularly 1792 to 1815, the Napoleonic War years - Ramsgate became a busy garrison town, with tens of thousands of troops embarking and disembarking through the harbour to take part in the many battles. This necessitated the town becoming fortified,though little trace remains today, with rifle shooting on the sands and Drill Parades in Spencer Square. Ramsgate Harbour was the only harbour available for such traffic as Dover and Folkestone harbours were not to be built until many years later.

The town continued to grow during the Victorian period, and Ramsgate is particularly well endowed with some fine buildings from this time, though many properties, particularly further out from the town centre, have suffered the ravages of so called 'modernisation'. Examples include heavy chunky plastic windowframes and doors, pebble dashing and artificial stone cladding, which prevent the walls breathing thus encouraging internal damp.

Ramsgate has had its share of both World Wars In WWI it had the dubious honour of suffering the first air raids, from Zeppelins, when much damage was suffered. It would also have acted as an 'out port' to the new 'secret port' of nearby Richborough, constructed from scratch to serve as a supply base for the army at the front in France.

In WWII Ramsgate acted as a main port for the rescue of troops from Dunkirk. As the conflict continued the harbour played a significant naval role in the protection of Channel shipping and rescue. Today the harbour is given over to small fishing vessels and yachting marinas in both the inner and outer harbours whilst a new port, constructed outside and to the west of the old Royal harbour, handles ferries operating daily sailings to Ostend in Belgium. (ed. slightly outdated)

 Ramsgate as a seaside town, like many around the country, no longer entertains the hordes of visitors who once came for a week or two beside the seaside. Instead, whilst Ramsgate still welcomes visitors, most come to enjoy the area as part of a wider touring holiday - or maybe for a long weekend. Many of these are genuinely surprised to discover what a wonderful town Ramsgate is with its architecture and history. The town is becoming recognised for its abundance of good Regency, Georgian and Victorian properties set around a variety of their own squares.

Monday 2 December 2013

Friends of Ellington Park

Last week after a massive campaign the Friends of Ellington Park (link) won £50K from the People's Millions. This will be for the creation of a wildlife garden.

What they say about themselves:
"Welcome to Ellington Park!

The Friends of Ellington Park are a small committee who look after the park and run events ... if you would like to contribute, please contact us and we'll be happy to welcome you!

Our Chair is Beverley Perkins, the Vice-Chair is Dianne Reilly and Pat Scutt is our Secretary ... other members of the committee are Trevor Shonk and Terry Austin

History of the park:

"The little hamlet of Ellington is centuries old. The Ellington estate and the names of those who have lived there, from Nicholas de Elinton in the 1270s through to the Sprakelings, Garretts, Trowards and finally the Wilkies, have all gone down in local history ~ and brasses and memorial windows to members of these families can be found in St Laurence Church.

The history of the Ellington estate itself, with the notable exception of the dreadful murder of Katherine Sprakeling by her husband Adam in 1652, seems to have been reasonably uneventful until 1866 when Edward Hales Wilkie acquired Ellington House and twelve acres of land from the Trustees of the Garrett family, the rest of the estate being sold off for building. It is at this point that the pleasant Victorian Houses of the area between Ellington Park and Ramsgate start to appear.

In 1891 the last of the Wilkie family to inhabit Ellington House died and in 1892 the estate was sold to Ramsgate Corporation for use as a Public Park. The handing over of the keys to the Corporation was the cause of a celebratory Official Day in what was to become Ellington Park. The area was now a private estate no longer but was to become a place of public recreation for the people of Ramsgate.

In 1893, when the landscaping improvements of the grounds of Ellington Park had been completed on behalf of the Corporation, a further official opening took place. Sadly, Ellington House was demolished when the Park was created, and the fine Doulton fountain which once stood in the Park has gone, as has the pleasant lake and rustic bridge, but much remains to be cherished, conserved, restored and added to ~ the raised terrace and charming bandstand, the model railway track, the bowling green and just the beauty of the greensward and the trees ~all these are features which give enormous pleasure.

Over the years since 1892, countless events have taken place in the Park, the spectacular Pageant in 1934, beauty contests, concerts on the bandstand, Shakespeare performances, flower shows, Empire Day celebrations, fairs, bowls matches and much more. Despite two World Wars and some ups and downs, the Park has continued to hold its own and now, after 120 years after its acquisition, it is in safe and responsible hands since the Friends of Ellington Park was formed in 2010 to watch over it.

With thanks to Catriona Blaker

We wish them all the best for the future and I have fond memories of playing in the park when grandad said go out and play.

Saturday 30 November 2013

Project Motorhouse

Or as I remember it the motor museum. This closed in 2005 however after nearly 3 years since getting the go ahead from Thanet Council, who own the building, Project Motorhouse gets the final sign off.

Their website here shows an exciting project with costs likely to exceed £5M but when successful with be a valuable local resource. Their story:

"Project MotorHouse is located in Ramsgate’s Central Harbour Ward which is one of the most deprived areas in the South East and has particularly high levels of youth unemployment.
For more than two years, a group of residents has been working on a plan to save the derelict West Cliff Hall (aka ‘the old motor museum’) and turn it into an exciting mixed use venue where people of all ages can enjoy themselves and where Thanet’s young people can be introduced to a business culture and get the hands-on experience they need to feel confident about starting their own businesses. We intend using low carbon techniques to renovate the building and foster interest in the burgeoning low carbon economy of East Kent.
Project MotorHouse has a board made up of local residents together with prominent figures from the City. We began as the Low Carbon Community Ramsgate; the name Project MotorHouse came from focus groups we conducted with local youths.
Local organisations such as Ramsgate Town Council, Ramsgate Arts and the Kent Film Foundation have identified a lack of modern, well equipped venues as a problem. Our plan is to turn the hall into a mixed-use venue incorporating an indoor/outdoor theatre, cinema, gallery, shop, offices, function room and restaurant. Young people who work at The MotorHouse will be involved in the running of the venue and there will be a staff development programme designed to help them gain the personal and professional skills needed to start their own businesses in the area.
Until the condition reports on the structure are done, we cannot know how much the works to the hall will cost but our best estimate at this time is £5 million.
It opened in July, 1914, as a concert hall called the West Cliff Hall and Gardens but its most recent incarnation was as a motor museum. That closed in 2005 and the building is now derelict. It should be a major asset in an area of high deprivation, instead it is currently just another liability.
The building is approximately 36 metres by 23 and of steel framed construction with concrete infill. The planned redevelopment will produce an interior of approximately 1200 square metres, including a small mezzanine. The south facing terrace lends itself to solar power panels and Project MotorHouse intends putting in a lift down to the port level to solve some of the parking, loading and general access problems.

The problems of the building are significant but so is the potential, The resultant project should give a much needed boost to the West End of Ramsgate and hopefully when fully restored the stimulus get get other projects off the ground.

 Just received by email from Jan Fielding.

Friday afternoon 29th November, Project MotorHouse signs the Option and Transfer Deed with Thanet District Council. It has taken three years to hammer out an agreement which protects the interests of the community and any potential liability to the council. 

The charity has two years during which it has to raise the estimated £1million to stabilise the frame of the building which supports the first 40 metres of the West Cliff Promenade. If it succeeds, the freehold passes to Project MotorHouse.

"We are just getting the Option in time. The frame is badly corroded and the concrete infill is spalled so some of the soffit needs propping. We've raised enough money to do these temporary works," said Janet Fielding, the project CEO.

Friday 29 November 2013

Public Perception

The public perception of the governance in this part of Thanet is that Margate gets the bulk of new monies since Thanet District Council came into being. This may or may not be true but, and it is a big but, what is true is Public money spent on the island in the last 10 years has gone on Margate on schemes such as Dreamland and the Turner Centre. These schemes if successful will rejuvenate Margate however what do we, in Ramsgate, have to show for the last 10 years?

Recently on Thanetonline Michael said " 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."


Destroyed by neglect, burnt down one night in 1998, it has remained an eyesore and building site for 11 years.


Shut in 2008 when RANK moved to Westwood Cross it has been left in a dilapidated state, target for vandals and spray painters.

Royal Port

Needing continual dredging it is becoming an expensive place to moor a boat


Underused since Trans Europa   Ferries went bust there is no sign of anything happening as TDC believe they can attract a new ferry. What is need is a plan B!!


Good access road to nowhere.

I could go on here but what is needed is a joined up plan to revitalise the whole seafront bringing back daytrippers and the holidaymakers.

Ramsgate Seafront

Ramsgate was and still is a wonderful place to live blighted by a bomb site, once Pleasurama, now a building site which has changed little in the last 15 years.

From the Marina swimming pool, now a car park, through Pleasurama, above, past the Royal Pavilion, closed since 2008, to The Royal Port the whole area looks like it got abandoned back in the 1990's.

And the good folks have had enough.

Some trace the demise back when Ramsgate became just part of Thanet district Council and this has been heightened by the perception that TDC is incompetent, that may well be true however what is more certain the people of Ramsgate feel that money has been spent in Margate to the detriment of this part of the island.

Things are changing slowly (IMHO too slowly) however Ramsgate Town Council needs to do more.

Some of the changes are, work is starting on Albion House once the Mayor's Parlour and soon to be a boutique hotel. Project Motorhouse will be refurbishing the old Westcliff motor museum, Finally we are getting both a Neighbourhood plan and a new Ramsgate Town Team.