November monthly members newsletter


Dear *|FNAME1|*,

A Momentous Month for Ramsgate

The last few weeks have seen an extraordinary flurry of potentially good news about investment in our town. Most important in terms of secured funding have been the grants of £19.84m from the Levelling Up Fund and of £2.7m from the Future High Street Fund. These, plus the latest news on Manston, will feature below.

Other developments that may interest you are as follows:

  • The High St Heritage Action Zone has secured funding of £600,000 towards shop front and commercial frontage repairs, improved marketing and community engagement.

  • St Augustine’s in Ramsgate has secured a £250,000 grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund to help towards repairs to areas of the roof. More information plus an appeal for donations here.

  • The same fund had earlier awarded just under £25,000 to TDC to fund specialist works to the Pulhamite rocks at Madeira Walk and Albion Gardens.

  • Thanet District Council is seeking new owners for the now-closed Granville Theatre. As it is an ‘Asset of Community Value’ they are asking for eligible community groups to express their interest in bidding for the freehold and the right to continue to operate the building. Deadline for submissions is December 1st. More details here.

  • Planning permission has been granted to RTC for Radford House (the Old Fire Station) to be converted to a community hub and to the intended Arts Barge to have a permanent mooring in the Inner Harbour.

Terry Prue
Ramsgate Society Communications Lead


Levelling Up and the Clock House

Within the successful Levelling Up bid were two main strands of investment:

  • ‘Green Port Ramsgate’ to include a new breakwater, a refurb to the ro-ro berth and a new green educational and training campus.

  • Development of ‘Harbour Assets’ to include refurb of the Smack Boys’ Home to a boutique hotel, creating a quayside fishing facility and refurb of the Clock House with improvements to the Pier Yard car park.

TDC included the Ramsgate Society proposals for the renovation of the Clock House and Pier Yard as part of their grant application. However, we are currently awaiting confirmation from them on what proportion of the Fund budget has been allocated to this project, what works are included and whether it covers the cost of setting up the new Maritime Museum.

Hopefully we can reveal more in the next newsletter


The Future High Street Fund

The major part (£1.6m) of the £2.7m grant from the Future High Street Fund has been pencilled-in for highway improvements based on KCC proposals. The objective of these is to create better connectivity between the Royal Harbour and the Town Centre. In other words, to lessen the apparent barrier of a busy road that may be deterring pedestrians along the harbour front from venturing inland up towards the High Street.

For those who could not attend the consultation you can see the plans and explanations online at the link above. While there is merit in the principle of lessening the dominance of vehicles in an area that attracts many tourists, there is probably scope to improve on the proposals. We encourage you to explore the plans online and to complete the short questionnaire which includes space to leave your own comments. N.B. this must be done by the closing date of November 26th.


The Latest on the Future of the Manston Airport Site

The key question relating to whether Manston has a future as an air freight cargo hub is that of commercial ‘need’ and this issue was highlighted by the Planning Inspectorate when it gave its verdict in 2019. It concluded that ‘the levels of freight that the Proposed Development could expect to handle are modest and could be catered for at existing airports’ and that ‘Manston appears to offer no obvious advantages to outweigh the strong competition that such airports offer’.

This was in line with the submission to the hearing by the Ramsgate Society in which we demonstrated that, however much some would wish to see this historic airport in action again, the lack of a viable business case meant that it could not succeed and therefore would not provide needed employment for the region.

The Secretary of State for Transport (SoS)rejected the Inspectors’ findings and granted a Development Consent Order (DCO)which was then challenged by a Judicial Review funded by a ‘Crowd Justice’ campaign that continues to monitor developments and provide legal support. Click here for the latest information on that campaign.

In December 2020 the High Court quashed the Secretary of State’s decision to grant the DCO on the grounds that his reasons for doing so could not be determined from the evidence considered by the Examining Authority at the Public Enquiry. As a result, the SoS is required to ‘redetermine’, and give justifiable reason for, his decision.

In June the Secretary of State appointed another independent aviation assessor to advise him on any changes in the intervening two years relating to the ‘need’ for the development. The new report from Ove Arup & Partners was issued in draft form on October 21st and concluded that: “there have been no significant changes since the 2019 report that would lead to different conclusions being reached with respect to the need for the Manston development.”

Following this the SoS wrote to interested parties, including The Ramsgate Society, inviting comments on the Arup report by November 19th, but now extended by him to December 3rd. A copy of the letter, with an explanation for the extension, can be found here.


Heritage Open Days 2022 – An Opportunity to Volunteer

In 2017 The Ramsgate Society took on the coordination of Heritage Open Days (HODS) in Thanet in partnership with Thanet District Council.

Heritage Open Days is a nationwide heritage event organised by The National Trust. It is usually a week-long event during which the public are able to visit interesting heritage properties that are often not open at other times of the year, or take part in other heritage events free of charge. In 2022 HODS will run from 9th to 18th September.

Thanet HODS has grown in size since we took on the role of coordinating the event back in 2017. There was a blip in 2020 because of the Pandemic but it bounced back in 2021 and was very successful.

Click here for the Thanet HODS 2021 brochure from which you will see that the district is divided into four areas- Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate and Wider Thanet. We are now looking for four volunteers, one for each area, to liaise with the venues so that we have the correct dates and opening times in our HODS brochure.

Our Committee Member Sue Gyde leads for the Ramsgate Society on this project with support from committee member Meher Basit. Sue will liaise with the volunteers and compile the information they receive from the participants for inclusion in the brochure.

We are planning to hold a launch event for HODS 2022 on or around 15th April next and if you are interested in getting involved it would be good to have you on board before then.

If you are interested in finding out more please contact Sue Gyde by email or on 07769 605134.

John Walker


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