October 2023 Monthly Members Newsletter

Dear Terry,

Manston Latest

Following the recent refusal by Mr. Justice Dove not to grant leave to appeal against his earlier Judicial Review decision in connection with the Manston Airport DCO, solicitors Harrison Grant Ring have confirmed their intention to apply directly to the Court of Appeal for leave to appeal. The application to the Court of Appeal is likely to be submitted towards the end of October but the timing of proceedings after that will be in the hands of the Court.

It may seem odd to some observers that case judges decide initially whether or not leave to appeal should be granted against their own decisions – a bit like marking your own homework. However, the legal system has a built-in safeguard which allows an appellant to apply directly to the Court of Appeal to review the case. This is part of the normal legal process which one might reasonably expect either side to pursue.

John Walker

New Arrangement for Talks and Membership

Photo: Janet Prue

The talks programme continues to prove popular and well attended with another ‘full house’ now booked for Laura Probert’s talk on Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills at the San Clu on October 26th. We also end the year with something of a celebrity event – see below!

The talks, along with our magazine ‘Ramsgate Matters’ and support for activities like the Heritage Open Days are central to one of the aims of the Ramsgate Society to ‘Promote the history and heritage of the town; encouraging civic pride and active citizenship’.

You can see the full list of our objectives here

From November we will be charging a small fee of £2 for all talk bookings because we are no longer covering the costs involved. We hope this will not deter enthusiasm from members to attend. Non-members will still be asked to make an extra voluntary donation of £3 on the door.

We have also now introduced a new membership management system which will both make it easier for us to keep in touch and greatly simplify membership renewal. Once more, the fee for membership in 2024 will remain at £15 per person and £20 for two living at the same address.

All membership details here

Terry Prue

Our Society Talk on Wilkie Collins Returns in November

This talk was planned for last May but had to be cancelled. We are now delighted to welcome the rearranged visit by Paul Lewis. Paul is probably best known as presenter of Radio 4 ‘Moneybox’ but he has also been Secretary of the Wilkie Collins Society for more than 20 years and has family associations with Ramsgate.

He will be revealing new facts about Wilkie Collins’s close connection with Ramsgate, what he wrote or planned here, scenes in his novels, and where he stayed and even what he paid during two decades of trips to the seaside town. This will include why his affection moved from Broadstairs to Ramsgate and some new information about his family’s friendship with a local landlady!

Given that this event was fully booked in May we know demand will be high. The rearranged date is Tuesday November 28th at the Oak Hotel in Harbour Parade. As usual doors open at 6:30pm for a 7pm start. Booking is essential and will open at 9am on November 1st. There is a £2 booking fee and non-members are requested to pay an additional contribution on the door of £3.

Book from November 1st

Terry Prue

An Update on the Clock House

Photo: John Walker

The Ramsgate Society together with The Ramsgate Heritage Regeneration Trust continue to hold regular meetings and work closely with the TDC Project Team to bring this scheme to fruition.

Some £2.8million has been allocated from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for works to the fabric of the Clock House and to transform Pier Yard into a town square. An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund has also been made for a grant of some £3.8million to transform the inside of the building in order to create a modern heritage centre for Ramsgate. A decision on this application will be announced on 6th December.

Meanwhile a great deal of preparation work is going on including a condition survey of the external stonework to the building which is in very poor condition. This specialist survey was carried out on 6th October and the recommendations will be used to inform the restoration work.

On 9th October members of the Ramsgate Society and the Ramsgate Heritage Regeneration Trust, together with project architects Curl La Tourelle Head, visited the Ditchling Arts and Crafts Museum in East Sussex on a fact-finding mission. The museum is an excellent example of how a Listed Building can be successfully enlarged and extended using modern architectural forms. We were given a tour of the museum by their Director Steph Fuller and learnt a great deal about the running of a successful museum which we will be able to incorporate into our thinking.

We will provide a further update when we get the result of our current HLF Grant Application.

John Walker

A New Blue Plaque for Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills

Photos: Terry Prue

In the September newsletter we noted that 2023 marks the centenary of the appointment of Ramsgate’s first female mayor and greatest benefactor, Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills. Her achievements are central to the 23 for 23 celebrations, including the fully-booked talk by Laura Probert this Thursday (26th Oct) at the Sa Clu and a new blue plaque now at East Court on the East Cliff.

The plaque was unveiled by our Mayor of Ramsgate, Councillor Pat Moore, before a large crowd that included local ‘royalty’. A copy of the Mayor’s speech about Dame Janet can be downloaded here.

Many thanks to Denise Blunn for arranging the blue plaque, for the hospitality at the event and for co-ordinating the 23 for 23 project with the Ramsgate History Working Group.

Terry Prue

The Merger of Ramsgate Levelling Up Scheme and Future High Street Fund

In 2021, Ramsgate was awarded £2.7m to support two projects to improve the centre of the town, and £19.8 million from the government Levelling Up Fund. In 2019, Margate was awarded up to £25m from the government Towns Fund for regeneration, transport and enterprise schemes.

These streams of funding were warmly welcomed and much needed but they have brought major challenges to TDC. Across the country, Local Authorities have had their annual funding from government progressively cut year after year, paring down their capacity and ability to deliver services. TDC has been impacted in this way such that, initially, there were great strains on the organisational skills and technical capacity to deal with demands placed on it by the influx of funds and the need to deliver to an imposed deadline. These pressures on limited capacity meant that there was an almost inevitable slow start and early lack of progress. Despite these initial delays, it is hoped that problems can be overcome as the project moves to the delivery stage.

In the time that has elapsed since the grants were awarded their value has been eroded by inflation, perhaps by as much as 20%, so that delivery of projects as originally envisaged has had to be reviewed.

These circumstances, not unique to Thanet, have brought about a recent ‘pragmatic’ change to the overall programme. TDC is one of 10 authorities which has been invited to take part in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) “Simplification Pathfinder Pilot”. The aim of the pilot is to give chosen local authorities greater ability to make decisions locally about moving funding between the projects in their portfolio, reduce ‘red tape’ and increase flexibility. It means that funding for Levelling Up projects, and the Future High Street Fund in Ramsgate, as well as the Margate Town Deal, will be managed as one £51m pot instead of three individual funds.

The new arrangements mean that TDC will be free to transfer funding below £5m between projects without reference back to the Government. It seems inevitable that, in order to stay within the overall fund allocation, priorities will have to be agreed and that compromises will be made along the way. There is a clear undertaking that there will be no transfer of funds, as awarded, between Margate and Ramsgate.


The Ramsgate funds total is £22.5m and you can see a list of projects included here.

Richard Oades

Autumn 2023 Ramsgate Matters

Planned publication is for early November with the theme of ‘lasting sagas through inverted lenses’.

Expect the following:

  • Heights beyond Minster Sandwich and the Harbour skyline still make history
  • A Founding Female recalled by Jennifer Smith, Bob Lee and Irene Seijo among others
  • Pegwell seals, kingfishers, herons, doves, waders, raptors and migrating wildlife once again face habitat loss as ‘energy conservation’ masks destruction.
  • Ancient Barns and the early palaces they replaced are miraculously still apparent and becoming modern centres of celebration.
  • Galetting a fragmented form of stone jewel is sometimes hardly seen in the wealth of black flint and knapped walls abounding around Ramsgate.
  • Inspired by Deb and Phil Shotton:  What should each of us do to save the world?

Brian Daubney

Climate Matters: Sorting Fact from Fiction

Photo: Ruth Cutler

Welcome to the second Climate Matters column.

In the last column I promised that this would examine what climate change means to us, our lives, and our future. However recent government policy changes intent on rolling back net zero policies deserve addressing. Statements in support of the policy by politicians, the media and on social media repeat many climate myths that have been promoted for years by the fossil fuel industry.

Adoption of green energy puts the fossil fuel industry in peril. Worldwide electric vehicle (EV) sales currently account for 25% of new car sales. In some countries as high as 45%.  This year alone, vehicle petrol and diesel consumption will fall by more than 30%. Next year it could be 50%.

The value of oil reserves will crash with the fall in demand, and the value of fossil fuel companies depend predominantly on the value of their reserves.

No wonder they have such a strong interest in maintaining the status quo by sowing seeds of doubt, pressing for delays, exaggerating the costs and minimising the benefits.

However, a short column cannot do justice to such a huge problem. Instead, each column will provide an introduction to a much larger subject, and a link will allow the reader to follow up in more detail.

Here’s the link to the common climate myths and the real facts behind them.

Common climate myths and the real facts

In the next column, some thoughts on how we, as individuals, can help impact climate change.

Phil Shotton,

Ramsgate Society Lead on Environment and Climate Change

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: news@ramsgate-society.org.uk

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Ramsgate Society

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Harbour Parade

Ramsgate, Kent CT11 8LP

United Kingdom

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