Sunday 15 February 2015

Credit where credit is due

The Eastcliff renovations have moved on apace with planting already completed on Maderia Walk, The sloping bed next to the Granville theatre removed ready to be laid to turf and a huge difference at the Winterstoke end with much of the overgrown vegetation being removed ready for replanting.

In the last blog I wrote about the funding for this work and now want to inform the reader about how this and a further funding stream was found and the history behind why NOW.

Vattenfall (the windfarm people) gave a sum of £100K to TDC in 2009 which was to fund a project to "benefit the local community and environment". For whatever reason the members sat on the funds until now*1.

Now call me cynical if you like but until the Cabinet sat in September and made the decision to make use of the funding very little action had been taken on this pot of money, now suddenly the Cabinet decide to spend half the money renovating the Eastcliff and Winterstoke area just before an election in May.

The fact that the Friends of Ramsgate Seafront had been lobbying since the beginning of 2014 for work to be done at Winterstoke because TDC Parks & Gardens had done minimal work on the listed Pulhamite rocks and the listed Janet Stancomb-Wills memorial (summer palace) has been left to get ruined due to inaction over many years seems, until now, to have fallen on deaf ears. 

Dave Steele has worked tirelessly on the overgrown, neglected shrubbery in an effort to reduce the Antisocial behaviour, Kandy Jones and the author have had numerous meetings with the Powers that Be all to no avail until suddenly an election looms and I wanted to ensure that the credit for the massive works and its funding are given to the right people.

Parks & Gardens have worked hard with an ever decreasing budget and local volunteers have done much to improve the area and on Valentines day 2015 FORS got a massive boost for the project when the defunct Eastcliff Residents Association (ERA) was officially wound up and their massive vote of confidence in the work of FORS by granting us the sum of £5400 to be spent on the Eastcliff. This money will allow the planting of Phase 1 at Winterstoke (1500 plants) and the funding for phase 2 to follow in due course.

Thanks to Morgan Harris & Paul Verrall TDC, Paul Warrick (ERA)(for the trust in FORS and the funding) Dave Steele & Kandy FORS and Tim Young (Landscape Architect).
Finally the funders Vattenfall (£40K for a local project), ERA (£5400 for planting), Commissioners Fund (£1000 initial seed money) and £300 for plants for a sensory garden from one local counciloor in Montifiore Ward.


Thursday, 11th September, 2014 7.00 pm

Vattenfall provided a grant to TDC of £100,000 in 2009 with the objective of delivering a project benefitting the local community and environment. The planning application for the initial project brief was for the provision of a raised walkway through the saltmash at  Pegwell Bay and was withdraw in June 2012 following environmental concerns raised by key stakeholders. Cliffsend play area and Eastcliff Gardens were the two alternative project options that had been identified for funding under the grant.

Councillor Bruce and Councillor Bayford spoke under Council Procedure Rule 24.1.

Councillor Harrison proposed, Councillor Everitt seconded and Cabinet agreed the following:

1.  That £50k of the Vattenfall funding be allocated to the replacement of the play area in Cliffsend and that £40k be allocated to the Ramsgate Eastcliff and Westcliff Gardens project. The remaining £3k will be allocated to support the project management and delivery of the two projects.
1.0              Introduction and Background

1.1              In 2009 the energy company Vattenfall started the construction phase of the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm. As part of this they confirmed their intention to support a project which benefits the local community and environment. The company provided a grant of £100k to Thanet District Council for this purpose.

1.2              An outline project brief was proposed for a scheme on and around the former Hoverport at Pegwell Bay. TDC formed a project group consisting of elected members, key local stakeholders and other consultees such as Natural England and the Kent Wildlife Trust. Vattenfall were also represented on the group. The project team refined the proposal for a project to promote the sustainable enjoyment of the former Pegwell Hoverport and surrounding area with improved pedestrian links to the main part of the Pegwell Bay Nature Reserve.

1.3              The main focus of the project was a raised walkway through the saltmarsh at the rear of the bay which was to be constructed from recycled materials. The final project scope was agreed in February 2011 and was then designed in detail. Some questions over the nearby informal car park on Sandwich Road and the overall environmental impact delayed the scheme development as an Appropriate Assessment was undertaken to assess the impact on the environmentally designated site and inform a planning application. This application was submitted in June 2012 but was withdrawn shortly afterwards following new concerns raised by members of the project group.

1.4              The project was put on hold at this point due to limited resources and the need to focus upon other major construction projects late in 2012. The scheme design had reached an advanced stage with contractors shortlisted for tender invitation; a full site investigation had also been completed. As a result the cost of this development work reduced the value of the remaining grant to just under £93k.

1.5              It is proposed that alternative projects are now progressed and delivered using the remaining funding. The issues encountered with the raised walkway project proposal cannot be easily resolved without significant compromises which would affect the desired objectives. Therefore, two new projects are being proposed which fulfil the original criteria of providing a local community and environmental benefit. These projects are described below and recommended for approval by Cabinet to progress to detailed design and delivery as replacements for the original scheme.