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.