September 2022 Monthly Members Newsletter

Dear <<First Name>>,

An extended issue this month to cover increased activity with our talks and the need to update you on Levelling Up and the Clock House, an upcoming new wave of shelter refurbishment, the latest on the Manston Airport proposals and a new edition of Ramsgate Matters. Please read on….

Ramsgate Society at the Ramsgate Festival of Sound

Photos: Nick Rankin and Jemima Hand / Heritage Lab

Many thanks to the speakers who gave such inspiring talks for our contribution to the 2022 Ramsgate Festival of Sound.

Maggie Gee gave insights to the facts behind her latest novel, “The Red Children”, including the fascinating history of our neandertal ancestors and their links to Kent. A special thanks, too, for the last minute intervention of Sapphire from Book Bodega who provided books to sell and will keep them in stock if you failed to get a copy on the day.

Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Ramsgate Arts Barge CIC, described both progress to date and future plans for this project and, in the process, dispelling many mythes about its financing, its current mooring and why it will be a good neighbour to those living nearby because it will be aimed at a family/child centred audience. Click this link for a bit more information/background about the Ramsgate Arts Barge project and details of their Autumn 2022 fundraiser:

Click for more information about the Ramsgate Arts Barge project and details of their Autumn 2022 fundraiser

Rob Kenyon, CEO and Founder of The Heritage Lab CIC included in his talk that the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has awarded Heritage Lab CIC a Crowdfunding Challenge Grant for their Pugin Studios project to repair and convert the ground and lower floors of the Granville Hotel. This means the AHF will help Heritage Lab to set up a Crowdfunder and match funds raised through the campaign. The campaign is launching later this year.

Support the project or keep in touch by joining their community

Terry Prue

Our Next Talk: Ivan del Renzio presents ‘An Architect’s Vision for Ramsgate’

Friday October 21st at the Royal Temple Yacht Club

The practice will present some ideas and provocations to further the discussion on how Ramsgate could be made even better with small, medium and larger ideas across Ramsgate with a brief history of the areas. The ideas have been developed through dialogue with residents, students and practitioners.

The talk is free for Ramsgate Society members. Non-members are welcome but are asked to consider a voluntary donation of £3. Doors open at 6:30pm and places must be booked in advance.

Click here to reserve your place

The Clock House and Pier Yard Update September 2022

Photo: Terry Prue

Sorry we have not been able to provide regular updates on this project but TDC, who are the Accountable Body for the Levelling Up Fund, have experienced delays due to recent well publicised, and some not so well publicised staff losses.

The Grant of £1.5m for The Clock House from the Levelling Up Fund has been confirmed and will be spent on repairs to the existing Grade 2* Listed Building.

TDC are out to tender for an external consultant to Project Manage both the Ramsgate and Margate Levelling Up Grant Schemes on their behalf. Once this appointment has been made, we can start to engage with the new project manager about delivery of the Clock House and Pier Yard projects. We currently expect the project manager and his team to be appointed by the end of October. Once in place the Project Manager will be seeking to appoint further consultants to take our scheme forward e.g. Architect, Engineer, Quantity Surveyors, M&E Consultants, Contract Administrator etc. etc.

I understand from TDC that negotiations for the termination/surrender of the lease with the Steam Museum trust are ongoing but they are unwilling to say any more than that until there is an agreement between the parties.

Our Expression of Interest Application (EOI) to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a further £2.6m was submitted about a month ago and initial responses have been very positive, though competition for HLF funds is very strong at the moment. If successful the grant will be used to transform the Clock House into a modern heritage centre for the town of Ramsgate

I had a Zoom today with Judith Carruthers (HLF) on 14th September to discuss the result of our first round application. Judith was able to confirm that we got through the first round and can now proceed to the Development Phase. She made it clear that it was a very close run thing. There were 22 applications considered by the HLF team in this round which had to be got down to 5 and we just scraped through. They had lots of unanswered questions about the Application but it was eventually allowed to proceed on what they described as “strategic grounds” which means that though some points needed further clarification, they accepted that Thanet was a priority area and should be supported as much as possible.

The timing of the next round (Development Phase) is on a quarterly basis so either November ’22, February ’23, May ’23 or September ’23. Considering that TDC have not yet appointed a Project Manager I think the earliest we could possibly submit a stage 2 application would be February 2023 but more likely to be May 2023. The interviews for the Project Manager are scheduled to take place in October 2022.

TDC are really struggling with resources at the moment and have been for some time, but I think this is likely to improve over the next few weeks and once the Project Manager is in place we can start moving forward.

The Museum has been kept open from Wed – Sunday each week since Easter by volunteers from The Ramsgate Society, but closed on Sunday 18th September for the Winter. We’re not sure at this stage whether it will reopen again next Easter. This will depend on progress and timing with the renovation works to the existing building but this will become clear over the next 6 months.

John Walker

East Cliff Shelters Update September 2022

Photo of earlier volunteers working on the West Cliff: John Walker

Back in 2011/12 the Ramsgate Society restored the 14 Listed seafront shelters with a grant of £450,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. At that time the Society was granted a 12-year lease on the shelters by Thanet District Council, who own the asset, with an obligation to maintain the shelters in good condition.

That lease expires in May 2023 and discussions about the future maintenance of the shelters have begun. One option being considered is that ownership of the asset is transferred from TDC to Ramsgate Town Council and that the Society continue to play a major part in partnership with RTC in maintaining the shelters going forward.

During the Summer Davena Green, Vice President of the Society has been working with a small team of volunteers to redecorate the four shelters in The Paragon and Nelson Crescent and these are now looking very good.

We are also planning to redecorate the five shelters on the East Cliff which suffered badly from vandalism during the Covid Pandemic and are currently in a sorry state. Before they can be redecorated there is a great deal of preparatory work to be done. Some of the timbers are rotten and need replacing and there is a lot of rust in the metal frames that needs removing and treating before painting can begin. The Society is employing a specialist to replace any rotten timber and remove the rust on the window frames in preparation for decoration.

We are planning to start this preparation work early in October and once completed we will be looking for some volunteers to help with the painting.

If you would be interesting in volunteering to help with this please contact our secretary.

Interested volunteers to be invited to an informal meeting for a briefing before we start the work and we will then liaise with Ramsgate Glass regarding the reglazing of the shelters on completion of redecoration.

Once the East Cliff Shelters have been repaired and repainted we will be turning our attention, in the Spring of next year, to the larger shelters on the Westcliff which are also in need of attention.

John Walker

The latest on the bid to reopen Manston Airport as an air cargo hub

A Development Consent Order (DCO) for an air freight hub on the Manston airport site has been redetermined. Approval was granted on August 18 and issued by Transport Minister, Karl McCartney MP on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport (SoS), -Grant Shapps at the time.

Some background may be helpful here. The DCO application was originally accepted for examination in August 2018 and the Examination in Public was completed on 9 July 2019. The Examination in Public, carried out by the Government’s own Planning Inspectorate was conducted on the basis of written and oral submissions to the examining panel and by eight issue-specific hearings, two compulsory acquisition hearings and four open floor hearings held in Margate and Sandwich.

The examining panel recommendation was for refusal. This body of evidence was rejected by the Secretary of State in granting the DCO in July 2020. His decision was, however, quashed by the Court in February 2021 following a Judicial Review challenge by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes, arguing that the SoS failed to present any justification for the approval decision. The SoS was then legally required to ‘redetermine’ the decision.

There then followed a re-examination of the Planning Inspectorate evidence. This was supplemented by a new independent assessor’s report by Ove Arup & Partners, commissioned by the Secretary of State. It was delivered in October 2021, and concluded that there is no justifiable need for a freight hub at the Manston airport site.

When the Courts quashed the first Development Consent Order, they described the Secretary of State’s decision as “unintelligible.” Inexplicably the Secretary of State has again rejected the advice of his own advisors and has granted the Development Consent Order a second time. Lawyers are currently preparing a Statement of Facts and Grounds as the first step in seeking to secure a second Judicial Review of the Secretary of State’s second decision. If you want to know more about the crowdfunding campaign to finance another Judicial Review you will find it here.

Richard Oades

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