May 2024 Monthly Members Newsletter

Dear XXX,

Welcome to the May Ramsgate Society Newsletter.

Rather a lot to cover this month, from an Important Manston update, to two talks in June, a good-news story within Climate matters and an invitation to support one man’s campaign for stronger action to combat local graffiti.

Terry Prue

Ramsgate Society Communication Lead

Report from the Court of Appeal on the Manston DCO

Photo: John Walker

On Wednesday 24th April, on behalf of the Ramsgate Society, I attended the Hearing at Court 73 in the Court of Appeal into the Appeal against the decision by LJ Dove not to quash the DCO granted by the Secretary of State. The principal issue was whether the Secretary of State lawfully handled evidence on need when he dismissed the views of his Examining Authority (for a second time) and the Independent Aviation Assessor, and made a development consent order (DCO) for the reopening of Manston Airport for freight.

The Appellant (Jenny Dawes) pursued her judicial review with permission from LJ Warby on five sub-grounds:

  1. Ground (a) Unfairly taking into account the Azimuth Report for the Interested Party which failed to produce its underlying evidence and many of its sources;
  2. Grounds (b) (c) and (d) Failing to consult on the International Bureau of Aviation (IBA) report, submitted by RSP during the redetermination process, in breach of the Rules and the requirements of fairness;
  3. Ground (e) the Minister was unlawfully advised by his officials that he could not take into account the future capacity of other airports.

The three Judges interrogated Leading Counsel on both sides during the course of the Day. Judgement was reserved and a decision will be handed down as soon as possible – probably within the next 1 to 3 months.

If as a result of this Appeal the DCO is quashed again, the matter will be referred back to the Secretary of State for further Redetermination and this process may well take between 6 and 12 months by which time there may have been a General Election with the possibility of a new party in Government and a new Secretary of State with a more evidence-based approach to decision making.

John Walker

Ramsgate Society Chair

June 20th Talk by Paul Bishop on the Feasibility Study to bring back Tall Ships to Ramsgate

Image of tall ships in Ramsgate circa 1910 courtesy of Stephen Byrne

Almost a year ago in July 2023 we hosted a talk by Paul Bishop and Stephen Byrne on the possibility of bringing Tall Ships events back to Ramsgate and thereby using Ramsgate’s maritime heritage to boost the visitor economy.

Earlier this year the Ramsgate Society and the Ramsgate Regeneration Alliance jointly commissioned a report on the Feasibility of bringing a Tall Ships Regatta to Ramsgate Harbour in May 2026. We received a grant from Ramsgate Town Council, and sponsorship from local resident Graham Burrell and specialist developers Arcvelop Ltd. (Arcvelop will shortly be starting a new development in Albion Place, which has received good design reviews from the Ramsgate Heritage and Design Form – you can read more about them here.

The feasibility Study has been carried out by Paul Bishop of Tall Ships Global and he will be presenting the results of the study at a Ramsgate Society Talk on Thursday 20th June at 7pm at the San Clu Hotel.

Paul has had a life-long career in sail training and Tall Ships Races. Early on, he was the skipper of the sail training ketch Scott Bader Commonwealth in the 1980s, when he was a frequent visitor to Ramsgate harbour and the Royal Temple Yacht Club!

He went on to have a number of management and leadership roles with sail training organisations and was the Race Director for Sail Training International for 14 years before setting up Tall Ships Global Consultancy Limited in 2020. He has been responsible for over 70 Tall Ships Race host ports all over the world as a Race Director and now uses his extensive experience and specialist knowledge with ports planning to put on Tall Ships events. He is delighted to be involved with the proposed Royal Ramsgate Tall Ships Festival 2026. He was honoured to be awarded an MBE in the 2023 Kings New Year’s Honours list for services to young people through Sail Training.

This opportunity to meet Paul again and to be informed about the next stage takes place on June 20th at the San Clu. As usual doors open at 6:30pm and the talk of about 45 minutes will start at 7pm and be followed by about 15 minutes of Q & A. Places must be booked in advance at £2 (+ 88p for Eventbrite costs). Non-members of the Ramsgate Society will be requested to add a voluntary donation of £3 on the door.

John Walker & Terry Prue

Ramsgate New Water Stations

Photo by Phil Shotton of site for new bottle filling station to be added

Some good news among all the climate gloom as the Ramsgate Society, in partnership with Ramsgate Town Council, has been successful in a grant application to the Marine Conservation Charity Sea-Changers to fund a water station to be installed at the entrance to Ramsgate Main Sands (by the existing shower at the back of the Royal Victoria Pavilion).

The water station provides clean, fresh water for people to refill their water bottles, rather than throwing empty bottles away, encouraging reuse and avoiding plastic waste. The funding from Sea-Changers covers the purchase of the water station. Thanet District Council will perform installation and maintenance together with RTC.

It is hoped the water station will be installed and operational in time for the upcoming Active Ramsgate Week.

TDC has also secured funding from Southern Water to install additional water stations, providing a total of two each in Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate including those obtained through grant funding. Many thanks to Lisa Collingwood, Beach and Coast Manager at TDC, for support and assistance.

The Great Big Green Week

This June sees the annual Great Big Green Week (June 8th – 16th), a nationwide week of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature.

The Ramsgate Society is pleased to be hosting a presentation of the Green Plaque Scheme, which seeks to encourage more sustainable living by providing an environmental assessment of your home and how you live in it.

The scheme will advise on how best to improve your environmental footprint and improve the comfort of your home, all while saving you money.

There is no charge – just come along to the presentation on Thursday 13th June 7.00-9.00pm (doors open 6.30pm), in the upstairs function room at the Queens Head, 78 Harbour Parade, Ramsgate, CT11 8LP.

Southern Water Investment Plans

The Ramsgate Society welcomes Southern Water’s recent announcement of investment 2020-2025 of £427 million in Kent to “improve our performance”. That is less than £100 million per year and this has to be balanced against their appalling under-performance and under-investment over the previous years since privatisation.

In 2023 we saw a 115% rise in the number of hours Southern Water discharged raw sewage into our waterways, Between them, Wessex, Thames and Southern Water clocked up 3,500 hours of spills in 2022 during periods without recent rainfall (and thus falling outside of the ‘exceptional circumstances’ loophole).

The Environment Agency named Southern Water as one of the worst environmental performers in 2022.

Southern Water and Thames Water have been named the “standout poor performers” in handling complaints from customers over the past year by the Consumer Council for Water (CCW).

We will see whether the promised improvements in performance materialise, with cessation of illegal sewage discharges and improvement in the health of our lakes, rivers and seas.

I remain pessimistic. Remember, this is the water company that in 2019 paid £126m in penalties and payments to customers following serious failures in the operation of its sewage treatment sites and for deliberately misreporting its performance (Ofwat report) and was fined £90 million in July 2021 for illegal sewage releases.

So the planned investment to improve services is only twice the amount paid out in penalties and is a drop in the ocean (no pun intended) in comparison to the environmental and actual costs incurred by sewage pollution.

It is also only just over 10% of their total revenue.  Hardly impressive. (815.7 million in 2023)

Minster Marshes National Grid Proposal

The public consultation on this development is now closed and we await the National Grid’s response. The next stage will be a DCO assessment, at which interested parties (that’s anyone who wishes to provide input to the assessment) will be able to state their case.

The Society’s position remains that, while the country needs to upgrade its electricity distribution infrastructure, the Minster Marshes is not the right location for any expansion due to its unique environmental and historical significance.

As always seems the way, plans are driven by a “least cost” mentality, without factoring in the costs of environmental degradation and loss. Within our current economic system, companies are permitted to extract resources, and despoil the environment, without having to pay the costs of the environmental damage caused, which are instead borne by the public. This imbalance must change, going forward, to ensure equitable development of our natural spaces.

Phil Shotton, Ramsgate Society Lead on Environment and Climate Change

Will you do something about graffiti?

Collage of photos from Lionel Jermy

Many of our Members will be aware of the alarming increase in graffiti in Ramsgate over the last year or so. Not just in Ramsgate – huge parts of Thanet now seem to be subject to this form of anti-social behaviour and most people feel powerless to do anything about it.

This post is to draw attention to the campaigning work by a local Ramsgate resident, Lionel Jermy, who has been on the case for the past year or so and done sterling work investigating graffiti in Thanet.

As a result of his investigations Lionel has been able to supply a detailed Intelligence Report to Inspector Ian Swallow at Kent Police based in Margate.  In his letter to Ian Swallow Lionel gives the Police a detailed overview of the activities of the taggers and is a call to action. Please click on this link to see the Intelligence Report.

The work that Lionel has done could be much more effective if it becomes part of a collective effort to register concern about this form of anti-social behaviour and public nuisance. If you are prepared to help please consider writing to Inspector Ian Swallow at Kent Police, our two MP’s Craig MacKinlay  and Roger Gale, and the newly re-elected Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott. For Matthew Scott just click on this link to the OPCC Contact Form

John Walker

And finally….

Please send your stories and anecdotes to me at

If they include memories about the Ramsgate Society, so much the better!

Terry Prue

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