February 2024 Monthly Members Newsletter

Dear XXX,

Welcome to the February Newsletter – a little earlier this month as there is always a lot to share: Updates on Manston and the Clock House, a date to book for our Chine to Chine litter-pick and some homely advice in the regular Climate Matters column.

What you will not find are full details of our March talk but I can confirm the date of March 21st and that we will be welcoming Suzy Humphries and others from Looping the Loop to talk about their work and why they believe that theatre can help build a stronger community in Ramsgate and across Thanet. More will be revealed after the (sold out) talk by Diane Harvey White this coming Thursday.

Terry Prue

Ramsgate Society Communication Lead



Manston Airport Development Consent Order Leave to Appeal

Photo from the CrowdJustice Page

The Ramsgate Society strongly welcomes the decision on 7th February by the Right Honourable Lord Justice Warby, sitting in the Court of Appeal Civil Division, to grant leave to Appeal against the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport to allow the Manston Airport DCO. This decision overturned the previous decision of L.J. Dove who had initially refused leave to Appeal.

In his Decision Notice Lord Justice Warby granted permission to appeal on the “need” grounds i.e. whether there was an overriding need for a cargo freight hub at Manston such that it qualified as a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’ to be dealt with via the process known as a Development Consent Order (DCO)

In his Reasons, L.J. Warby said: The judge’s (L.J.Dove) approach to the significance of the IBA (International Bureau of Aviation) report, the need for consultation upon it, and the proper interpretation of the ministerial briefing all seem to me to merit appellate scrutiny.

Ramsgate Society Members will no doubt recall that following a Public Inquiry before four very senior Planning Inspectors, the Governments own Planning Inspectorate, recommended that the application be refused. One of the eight grounds of refusal was that the Applicant had failed to demonstrate sufficient need for the proposal.  The then Secretary of State Grant Schapps overrode his Inspectors recommendation and granted a Development Consent Order.  This was quashed on Judicial Review on the ground that it was irrational and the matter was referred back to the Secretary of State for redetermination.

The Secretary of State instructed the international planning consultants Arup to undertake an independent review of the case and advise him in connection with the redetermination process. The substantial review of the issues by Arup came to the same conclusion as the four Inspectors at the Public Inquiry and recommended that the application be refused.

Yet again the Secretary of State overrode his own expert’s advice and granted permission. This second DCO was the subject of the application for Leave to Appeal heard first by L.J. Dove and then by L.J. Warby who has now allowed the matter to proceed to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal have just announced that the Judicial Review will be held on Wednesday 24th April with one day set aside for the hearing.

That leaves just under 10 weeks to raise the amount needed to pay the lawyers and to cover Jenny Dawes potential liability for costs of £10,000. The legal costs for the Judicial Review are estimated to be around £22,000 making a total of £32,000 in all.

There is currently around £11,000 in the solicitors’ client account for the Manston case leaving a ‘shortfall’ of just over £20k to be raised. Based on previous fundraising this is achievable but it needs your support. Even the smallest donations count so please do let your friends and neighbours know- and share the link to the CrowdJustice page  https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/support-judicial-review-of-sec/

It’s possible that the Manston case may not be resolved before the general election this year, so it may well fall to a new incoming Government to finally determine the matter.

John Walker



THE CLOCK HOUSE – Small Steps are Good Steps

Photo: Tony Ovenden


The first part of 2024 has been a period of rethinking after missing out with the Heritage Lottery Fund and therefore looking forwards around how best to reshape the Clock House project. As the great Douglas Adams said, it’s important not to panic! The result? Good optimism, peppered with some very practical considerations, and the confidence not to rush. We want to get this right, and planning the best way to achieve success is to go slowly.

And the first small step is a significant one – light! As many people may have noticed walking around the harbour recently, lights are on again in the Clock House and occasionally the historic building stands out dramatically against a wintry afternoon sky.

We’re a long way to go, of course, but the reason for the lights is important and pleasing. Now the building and collection are back in the safe hands of the TDC, initial remedial works have begun and we have taken our first, very small, steps towards reopening. Electrical services are being improved, replaced, made safe – essential for any future working to be allowed in the Clock House. In addition, the beginnings of a new temperature control system is being added – low tech for now, but a very important step to begin the careful process of safeguarding the collection.

Once the building has it’s metaphorical ‘MOT certificate`— expected in the very near future — we can gain safe and legal access to the galleries once again. The first piece of the puzzle is then to carry out a complete audit and condition check of the collection objects. And puzzle is the right word! Over the years, information has become sketchy at best — objects have been moved, storerooms changed around, displays revised, etc. etc. — without proper records being kept.

By completing the audit, and establishing a digital record of the whole collection, for the first time we will have a very precise understanding of what we have, including new descriptions and photographs. We have ambitions to achieve Museum Accreditation down the line and it’s essential that we behave like a museum from the outset. So, this work will be carried out as per museum process – and that takes time.

Once the audit is completed, stage two of the collection safeguarding can happen –packing and prepping all objects, ready to be moved out of the Clock House ahead of the renovation work beginning later in the year.

So, although there’s still a mountain to climb, progress so far in 2024 is good. We are taking small, good steps!

Rob Warren

Museum & Gallery Consultant and Ramsgate Society Committee Member


Our Chine to Chine Litter Pick Returns: March 24th

Photo of volunteers from a previous year by John Walker


The Ramsgate Society Chine to Chine Litter Pick is an annual event for members, friends and families who would like to help keep our town tidy. Litter is a national scourge but with the cutbacks in Council budgets local authorities are finding it more and more difficult to keep on top of the problem, so it’s up to us to do our bit to show we care about the public spaces which we all share.

This event is part of the Great Ramsgate Spring Clean and is our annual volunteer clean-up, which is part of Keep Britain Tidy’s Big Spring Clean. The Town Council and Town Team have supported this event for some years now as a way to engage residents, build civic pride and help get Ramsgate spruced up for the visitor season.

We will assemble outside the Clock House on Sunday March 24th at 11am and finish at 1pm. All equipment will be provided.

It’s usually a very sociable occasion – suitable for all the family- the kids really enjoy doing their bit, so bring them along as they need to be accompanied by an adult.

John Walker

Ramsgate Society Chairman



Climate Matters

Photo: Ruth Cutler


This month’s column is a practical look at how following our ancestors’ advice can reduce the energy we use to heat buildings, in both home and business settings.

Heating buildings accounts for nearly a quarter of UK CO2 emissions, largely from heating private homes using gas boilers. Good insulation and more efficient heating is desperately needed but investment has been low and the majority of our housing stock falls well below good standards of insulation, draught-proofing and efficient heating. Not only does this waste energy on a huge scale, but comfortable living is hard to maintain, particularly for the elderly and poor. Even those of moderate income can struggle to keep warm. particularly in buildings where retrofit and remediation is so difficult and expensive, such as listed buildings.

Large offices have similar problems due to the cost of heating large spaces, particularly where there is repeated entrance and exit flushing cold air into the space and warm air out.

Fortunately, our ancestors had an answer to this problem, and we can take advantage of modern materials to do the same – “Heat the Person, Not the Space”. Rather than expend large amounts of energy heating the air in buildings, a much smaller amount of energy directed at the individuals can achieve the same feeling of comfort.

We can all save energy by not heating unused areas of the house, but even in the occupied areas, we can still save energy and therefore money in simple cost-effective ways.

1 – Dress appropriately. The addition of a sweater, socks and slippers insulate the body and maintain its heat at lower room temperatures. Traditionally a hot-water bottle would be used under the feet or in the lap. Modern equivalents, and particularly the rise in electrically heated wraps and warming bags, provide even more warmth and comfort at minimal cost.

2 – Reduce or eliminate draughts. You don’t need to replace doors and windows, just use draught-excluder tape, door (and window) ‘snakes’, and curtains across draughty front doors.  Secondary glazing can also be helpful and temporary (as in ‘removeable’) affordable solutions are available.

3 – Consider adding radiant heaters. Modern heating is mostly by convection. Radiators warm the air, which circulates by convection and transfers heat by conduction. Radiant heaters warm like the sun, by direct infra-red radiation to the body without wasting heat on the air. The old electric fire, with glowing red elements, is an example of a radiant heat source. Modern equivalents are much more efficient and are often flat panels, with no red glow at all. Since they don’t heat the air, but heat objects (including people) directly, they use much less energy than a conventional heater. Modern panels can be an adjunct to, or a replacement for, whole-house heating systems.

Reducing energy demand doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable living, and it not only helps our climate emissions but saves a lot of money, not to be sniffed at given the cost-of-living crisis and exorbitant energy prices.

Phil Shotton,

Ramsgate Society Lead on Environment and Climate Change



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