November monthly members newsletter

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Dear *|FNAME1|*,

Once again we are in lockdown and hope you are all keeping safe. Inevitably the Ramsgate Society tree planting event planned for November 28th has had to be postponed and we will update you on our plans as soon as we possibly can. While such face to face activities remain constrained there is still much that involves Ramsgate to share this month and do get in touch with me if you have any future item you would like to share in a newsletter.

Terry Prue
Ramsgate Society Communications Lead


Annual General Meeting of The Ramsgate Society 2020 

The Annual General Meeting of the Society would normally have taken place by now; and indeed, we had intended to hold the meeting on Thursday 21st May but in present circumstances, we are unable to meet and so we have decided to postpone it until further notice. 

Meanwhile, we have prepared the agenda and relevant papers and now make them available to all members on our website for inspection. 

Questions or comments on any of the papers may be addressed to the secretary and will be most welcome, pending the announcement of the actual date of meeting.

Graham Woolnough
Ramsgate Society Honorary Secretary


Seafront Shelters Vandalised

Photo: Graham Woolnough
In the last week in October the Sea Front Shelters on the Eastern Esplanade were subject to several attacks of mindless vandalism with 43 panes of glass smashed within a few days.

Our Ramsgate Community Police Officer, John Litchfield, was on the case immediately, but as the attacks took place under cover of darkness, there is insufficient CCTV evidence to identify the culprits. The police have to catch the perpetrators virtually “red handed” to get sufficient evidence to warrant a prosecution. However John Litchfield is very concerned about the extent of the criminal damage to the shelters and will be keeping a close eye on the situation.

Ramsgate Town Council (RTC) were quick off the mark when they heard of the incident and Maxine Morgan (Lead Technician) and RTC technician Shaun were soon on the scene clearing up and removing broken glass from the site in the interest of public safety. Quite a lot of people have observed recently that RTC have been very pro-active around the town in the last 12 months or so and their efforts on behalf of local residents are starting to be noticed and appreciated.  

Many people will know that the Ramsgate Society took over the shelters from TDC about 10 years ago. The shelters were in a very dilapidated condition and were not being maintained. The Society received grants totaling £540,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, RTC and the Sainsbury’s Charitable Trust and completely renovated 14 of the seafront shelters. We have spent thousands of pounds in recent years replacing broken glass and in redecorating the shelters from time to time. In this we have been greatly assisted by the local glass specialists Ramsgate Glass who have given us very generous discounts and over the last 12 months or so have been carrying the costs themselves as their contribution to the town. 

We are determined to maintain the quality of our public spaces in Ramsgate and are currently investigating the cost of replacing all the broken panes following this latest bout of vandalism. More on this in the December Newsletter.

John Walker

Why we are concerned about the Government’s Planning White Paper 

Will the Government’s White Paper, “Planning For The Future” do what it proposes — to radically reform the current English planning system by making it ‘significantly simpler, faster and more predictable’? No, we think it has a strong likelihood to backfire in many respects.

The paper, published on 6 August 2020, argues that the current system has become too complex, opaque, unpredictable, and slow, particularly in relation to the development of Local Plans. And this, it says, disincentives wider public participation in planning. The paper further states that there is little incentive for high quality design and the current system simply does not build enough homes. 

The ambition is for 300,000 homes to be built annually. The general focus of the paper is on big ideas, with the detail of the proposals coming later, but the clear thrust is for wholescale reform of the system rather piecemeal changes, which it acknowledges have led to the overly complex current system. The paper proposes ‘a new vision for England’s planning system’ and a new Planning Act and an amended National Planning Policy Framework is proposed to deliver it. 

But the Ramsgate Society Committee is extremely concerned at the way the White Paper’s proposals would work. The plans are vague and generalised, and it is difficult to envisage exactly how they may work in practice. We think that there is not enough detail to be able to make an accurate judgment on some of the proposals. 

We are one of many civic societies which have endorsed the response of Civic Voice (the national organisation for Civic Societies in England). It has consulted civic societies across the country and has submitted a detailed response to the White Paper. The Civic Voice submission comes out of a number of workshops it held involving local civic societies.

Read a summary of the Civic Voice response supported by the Ramsgate Society.

John Walker

Ramsgate Society and the Ramsgate Heritage and Design Forum

Support for the heritage and rich urban fabric of Ramsgate has been a key objective of the Ramsgate Society since its formation over 50 years ago. Back in 2007 TDC helped set up three Conservation Area Advisory Groups (CAAGs) across the District, including one for Ramsgate. These were small, self-governing groups aiming to help provide valuable local input into conservation areas in terms of new development and enhancement.
In 2017, prompted by the award by Historic England of Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) status to the town, the two organisations agreed to pool resources to create a new body to be known as The Ramsgate Heritage and Design Forum (RHDF).
The aim of the Forum is:
To promote high standards of architecture and urban design in the built environment of Ramsgate and to support the conservation and improvement of the town’s rich heritage, both within and without its conservation areas.
Membership of the Forum was initially drawn from The Ramsgate Society’s Executive Committee and the Ramsgate Conservation Area Advisory Group (CAAG). The RHDF continues to operate today. There are currently eleven members. All are residents of Ramsgate with various backgrounds including architecture, town planning, surveying , design, development, heritage and history.
Areas of Activity
The Forum engages in two main areas of activity:
Promotion of improved design and heritage conservation
It supports initiatives aimed at raising awareness of the importance of heritage and good design in regeneration, not just in conservation areas but throughout the town.  It works with and supports both Town and District Councillors and local planners in their efforts to raise the quality of design in both restoration projects and new developments.  Additionally, the forum seeks ways in which it can support and enhance the work of the HAZ team.
Response to planning policies and applications
The forum acts as a well-informed resource on planning matters and seeks to engage and comment on:
  • Policy Documents: 
  • Development Briefs: 
  • Planning Inquiries:
  • Conservation Areas: 
  • Heritage at Risk: 
  • Planning Applications: 
We review planning and listed building applications which have a bearing on the Conservation Areas and buildings of architectural merit within the town. Scrutiny of planning and listed building applications is very much the core and main activity of the Forum. It gets together at the beginning of each calendar month (latterly on Zoom) to review selected relevant applications. The comments are compiled and sent to TDC Planning (as the local planning authority), and circulated to interested RTC members. Our written submissions are logged against the relevant application on the TDC website alongside all other submissions. They are available for anyone to view online.
We have it on good authority that our opinions are appreciated and they are influential in planning decisions. Furthermore, we are a recognised, informed and additional resource dedicated to achieving, in our own way, a better built environment in Ramsgate.
Richard Oades
Ramsgate Society Deputy Chair and Chair, RHDF

Manston Airport Update November 2020

On 12th October the High Court granted permission for the Judicial Review to proceed.

The Honorable Mrs Justice Lang DBE gave both the Applicant and the Defendant directions for the submission of further information and directed them to provide an estimate of the amount of time they would need to comply with these directions by 26th October 2020.

That date having now passed the Court has issued a Substantive Hearing Date. The hearing will take place over 1.5 days on 16th and 17th February 2021.

It is difficult to know when we might expect a decision from the Court but it might be reasonable at this stage to be thinking in terms of April or May 2021.

We will keep members informed as the matter progresses.

John Walker


New Ramsgate Society Treasurer Required

The Society will be looking to recruit a new Treasurer to the Executive Committee from the end of December 2020.

Our current treasurer Beverley Perkins has done an absolutely superb job for the last 3 years, but as Chair of The Friends of Ellington Park, her commitment to the £2 million park restoration project is going to escalate over the next two years as the restoration work proceeds apace and the Friends prepare to take on the commitment of running the new café and visitor centre which will be the beating heart of the completed project.

Fortunately, Bev will be staying on the Ramsgate Society Committee to help support our efforts to improve communications with our growing membership, and will be very happy to help the new Treasurer ease into the position.

Ideally, we are looking for someone with basic accounting skills who can prepare simple monthly reports for our committee meetings and a simple set of year end accounts for submission to the AGM and to the Charity Commission. The format for these has already been set up by Beverley so it will be a case of taking it forward.

If you are interested if this important role, as part of a pro-active civic society please contact our Honorary Secretary Graham Woolnough


A Happy Ending!

With so much activity being cancelled it is heartening to report that Looping the Loop is planning to stage a Covid-safe two-day street pantomime in Ramsgate town centre for family groups on 19/20 December 2020. 
Live actors and spectacular puppets will be placed in and around various empty shops along the High Street to tell the story of Jack & The Beanstalk with a big difference – you and your family will play the role of Jack!

They say that tickets should go on sale from the end of November via their website: 

Contact the Ramsgate Society 

If you have any queries about or for the Society please get in touch.
Members with events, workshops or news that you would like the Society to consider featuring in its newsletter please contact:

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