July members newsletter

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Dear *|FNAME1|*,
The big story for Ramsgate for this month, indeed for very many months, is the Secretary of State’s decision on the reopening of Manston Airport. The decision has major long term implications for the future of the town, and we devote much of this issue to a summary and brief comment on the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate and its subsequent rejection by the Secretary of State. Original documents can be accessed here:

Manston DCO Secretary of State’s Decision 9th July 2020

An emailed response was sent to Ramsgate Society members just two days after the Examining Authority Report and contrary Secretary of States decision were known.  A slightly more detailed version of this email follows:

As we anticipated the Planning Inspectors recommended that the Application be Refused.

Having listened to the evidence over a six months period the Examining Authority  concluded that the application failed to meet the required standards on the following key issues:

  1. Following Regulation 63(5) of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, the Examining Authority (ExA) concludes that it is required to recommend refusal to the Secretary of State as the competent authority for the decision as to whether to grant development consent.
  2. The ExA concludes that the Applicant has failed to demonstrate sufficient need for the Proposed Development , additional to (or different from) the need which is met by the provision of existing airports, and this weighs against making the proposed Order.
  3. The ExA concludes that there are impacts of the Proposed Development in terms of climate change which weigh against making the proposed Order.
  4. The ExA concludes that there are impacts of the Proposed Development in terms of heritage and archaeological assets which weigh against making the proposed Order.
  5. The ExA concludes that there are impacts of the Proposed Development in terms of noise impacts which weigh against making the proposed Order.
  6. The ExA concludes that there are impacts of the Proposed Development in terms of operational issues which weigh against making the proposed Order.
  7. The ExA concludes that there are impacts of the Proposed Development in terms of transport which weigh against making the proposed Order.
  8. The ExA concludes, therefore, that on balance the benefits of this proposal would not outweigh its impacts.

The Inspectors formal Recommendation to the Secretary of State was as follows:

“For all of the above reasons and in the light of its findings and conclusions on important and relevant matters set out in this report, the ExA, under the procedures set down in the PA2008, recommend that the Secretary of State should NOT grant development consent.”

In his decision letter granting the DCO the Secretary of State overturned the Examining Authority’s conclusions and recommendations and has relied on the socio economic benefits that the applicants claimed would accrue to Thanet if the project was a commercial success and this in turn depended on whether there was a need for the proposal. In doing so he departed from his own experts’ advice on this point which was as follows:

“Overall, the ExA considers that the socio-economic benefits of the Proposed Development have been overstated, and that the Proposed Development would have an adverse effect on tourism in Ramsgate. The education, training and skills commitments would benefit Thanet and East Kent. When taken together the ExA considers that the Proposed Development would still generate a socio-economic benefit to Thanet and East Kent, but such benefits are substantially lower than that forecast by the Applicant. Such benefits are also dependent on the need for the Proposed Development; without the need and the forecasts based on this need, socio-economic benefits (aside from the education, training and skills commitments) would reduce further”

It is on the question of ‘need’ that we strongly disagree with the decision of the Secretary of State. Our own research findings support the Inspectors’ view which we believe to be evidence based, fair and balanced. This is a key paragraph:

“19. Overall, the ExA considers that the levels of freight that the Development can be expected to handle are modest and could be catered for at existing airports (Heathrow, Stansted and EMA, and others if demand existed). The ExA considers that the Development appears to offer no obvious advantages to outweigh the strong competition that such airports offer. The ExA has therefore concluded that the Applicant has failed to demonstrate sufficient need for the Development, additional to (or different from) the need which is met by the provision of existing airports [ER 5.7.28]. “

The Ramsgate Society is very disappointed in the Secretary of State’s decision which flies in the face of his own experts’ advice and recommendations and we will over the next few weeks be considering, with others, what action might be taken to contest this decision.

While we all take time to digest the implications of the SOS decision your comments are welcomed – contact details below.


The Future of the Port and Harbour

Thanks to all who completed our online Ramsgate Port and Harbour Survey Questionnaire before the deadline date of 10th July. Results are being examined and we will provide a summary of views expressed in the August Newsletter.

Individuals and groups can still respond to the TDC consultation via their website which closes on 1st October.


Pleasurama Site

After being boarded up and vacant for many years work has started in earnest on the first phase of the development of the Pleasurama site. It is 16 years since planning permission was granted for a 60 bed hotel, 107 residential apartments, leisure facilities and retail. Plans for the Pleasurama development can be found here on the TDC Planning Portal.

Credit: Photo by Terry Prue

The Sundowner Story Enters a New Chapter

The Society learnt earlier this month that the Sundowner, based in Ramsgate’s Historic Royal Harbour, has been sold. The new owners will be taking the boat to a specialist repair yard in Chertsey for restoration after which they plan to return the boat to Ramsgate where it will continue to take part in commemorative events as it has done in previous years.

Sundowner is the motor yacht formerly owned by Charles Lightoller, the second officer of RMS Titanic and the most senior officer to survive her sinking in 1912.
She participated in the Dunkirk Evacuation as one of the “little ships” as well as a number of commemorations of the event, and was most recently part of the Ramsgate Maritime Museum.
Leaving Ramsgate at 10:00 on 1 June, the yacht crossed the Channel in company with five other ships. On their way, they rescued the crew of the motor cruiser Westerly, which had broken down and was on fire. On arrival at Dunkirk, Lightoller realized that the piers were too high, and so drew alongside the destroyer HMS Worcester and started to take on soldiers. Seventy-five men were crammed into the cabin, and another fifty-five on deck, a total of 130. Sundowner then returned to Ramsgate, avoiding fire from enemy aircraft through evasive manoeuvres on the way, though the greatest danger was being swamped by the wash from fast-moving destroyers. After disembarking the troops, she was preparing to return for France for another load, but by then only ships capable of doing 20 knots were allowed to continue.
Sundowner was released from service in 1945, and after a refit was returned to Lightoller in 1946, and once again used as a family boat.

I’m sure many of our members will be pleased to know that after the refit the Sundowner will be returning to Ramsgate where she is a much loved feature of our maritime history.
Photo Stavros1 / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) 

Events and Workshops and Ramsgate Society Talks and Events

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to prevent many planned activities. Our litter picks are on hold and the Heritage Open Day will not take place in 2020.

We plan to reinstate the Talk by Geraint Franklin on September 10th –time and place will be finally confirmed nearer the date.


Contact the Ramsgate Society 

If you have any queries about or for the Society please get in touch or please visit the Society’s website or please visit the Ramsgate Society Facebook page
Members with events, workshops or news that you would like the Society to consider featuring in its newsletter please contact: news@ramsgate-society.org.uk
Please do send your photos of Ramsgate to:  news@ramsgate-society.org.uk

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