leisure facilities in Thanet
28/04/2004 13:17:31 GMT Daylight Time
I am sending this email to all Cabinet Members at TDC who have failed to reply to some or all of my previous emails.
I would like to make it clear that failure to reply, in a fairly comprehensible way, that relates to the points that I raise, will in this instance result in my lodging a formal complaint with the council and the LGO.
As a Cabinet Member you should have opinions on the matters that I have written to you about. And as Thanet peoples elected representatives it is important for us to know what those opinions are.
Many of the leisure facilities in Thanet, most recently Dreamland, have by a combination of asset stripping and general running down, been turned to into non leisure sites.
A mixture of unfortunate council decision making over many years, combined with leaseholders, who have had more interest in personal gain than properly perusing their business on the site, haven't helped.
Currently most of the sites that were our main leisure areas are still publicly owned, this means that you are in the envious position of being able to maintain the balance between residential, commercial and leisure facilities.
The Pleasurama site, though subject to controversy at the moment, is really just symptomatic of the whole problem.
I have had a number of replies from members of the council, relating to the current position regarding the new development on Ramsgate seafront.
They would be easily summarised as follows.
The building has been granted planning permission by Thanet District Council acting as a planning authority.
Thanet District Council acting as owner of the site has decided not to sell the land to the developer because they don't approve of the plan.
However Thanet District Council have decided to sell the site to the same developer for a similar plan but disagree as to whether or not they have granted planning permission for it.
I have published these letters on the Internet at www.thanetonline.com
It would seem that the short term situation is, that unless something is done now, we will have another summer with the unsightly mess remaining on the site.
I know in general that local government is not able, for various reasons, to do anything quickly. Ramsgate beach is now in the position of being rated as one of the best in England, with the visitor expectations that that would imply. Would it be possible to level the site and either turf or gravel it until work starts?
I would respectfully suggest that the current situation reflects badly both on the people of Thanet and TDC.
On the whole Thanet has enough bars restaurants and hotels but is badly lacking in the leisure facilities that people now expect in the beach area of resort towns. These are for example.
1 Swimming pool based water leisure complexes.
This is an example of what a rival leisure area has to offer,
"The facility offers an exciting water experience with an 80m flume, wave machine and water play equipment plus a baby pool with mini slide. The pool has a beached entry with the depth gradually increasing to 1.5m, making it a particularly good facility for families with young children."
2 Sea life centres,
This is an example of what a rival leisure area has to offer,
"Sea Life Centre takes visitors on a spectacular undersea voyage with over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life, creating a wonderland for visitors of all ages. The attraction boasts an enormous one million litre ocean tank housing giant green sea turtles, black tip reef sharks and tropical reef fish. All this in addition to dozens of other spectacular displays featuring otters, seahorses, crabs and lobsters, sharks and sting rays, guarantees a memorable experience for every visitor."
3 Theme parks,
This is an example of what a rival leisure area has to offer
"The Magical Kingdom is filled with wondrous
rides, spectacular shows & spellbinding
attractions. Come & explore our 5 thrilling lands and experience a whole day of fun for the
Historical attractions. Dover and Chatham have used their maritime and military history to advantage in these areas.
Most of the beach areas of towns in the south east are now intensively developed so that further leisure sites are becoming more difficult for the specialist and established leisure companies to find.
You may think that it would be hard to attract these sort of facilities to Thanet, you may find it hard to believe that Margate and Ramsgate are virtually unique in having their main seaside leisure sites derelict and still in public ownership.
You may feel incapable of acting to attract the right kind of companies to invest in these sites, in which case your best course of action is to protect their undeveloped publicly owned status, until more able councillors are elected.
Yours sincerely Michael Child.
The following are copies of my two previous emails in case you deleted them by accident.
I am sorry this is rather a long and complicated email written while juggling time between two two year old children and working.
I work in a shop in Ramsgate; recently a lot of the customers have been asking what is happening with Ramsgate sea front.
I decided last week to write to all of the councillors to find out the situation relating to the old Pleasurama site.
The first few emails produced some fairly contradictory replies.
So I have published them at http://www.thanetonline.com/pleasurama/ so that people can read them for themselves.
It seemed to me that a lot of local people, regardless of which part of Thanet they lived in used Ramsgate town and seafront and in view of the recent full council meeting effectively reversing the decision on the new seafront development were prepared to make their views known to their councillors.
It would also seem that the local leisure facilities will be an important factor in future local elections so it would be helpful to discover where councillors stood on this issue.
I decided that I would re-think the question and ask all of the councillors what their position is on leisure facilities in Ramsgate. This is partly because the Pleasurama site was the main family leisure facility on the seafront and partly because of Ramsgate beaches status as one of the best in the UK.
Since the original proposals submitted for redevelopment by SFP Ventures Partners Ltd which they presumably considered economic the property values of seafront apartments in Ramsgate have more than doubled in value. This would mean an increase in the profit made from the project of about £30,000,000 presumably sufficient to finance appropriate beach leisure facilities (swimming pool ice rink etc.)
You may be aware of various initiatives that relate to leisure facilities in Ramsgate in the past, these include:
The demolition of the marina swimming pool;
The demolition of the adjacent Victorian theatre;
The removal of the majority of the beach for port building materials;
The rejection of the sea life centre,
The closing of the royal Victoria pavilion sun deck,
The efforts to provide the world war 2 museum in the tunnel.
The concreting over of most of the parking on the sea front
The closing of the model village
The removal of the tourist information centre to where tourists are unlikely to find it
The removal of all the beach huts.
The result is that the main seafront area that was the main leisure area of the town has somehow become a leisure free zone and although a large amount of what were leisure areas have tuned into car parks the amount of available parking on the seafront has now decreased.
The remaining leisure facilities in the town and seafront area are mostly bars and restaurants some of the public buildings in the area are disused or partly disused, like the customs house and the pavilion.
The reduction of parking, both on street and available car parks at a level that would seem more appropriate to a busy resort town with a park and ride scheme have combined with the lack of leisure facilities to produce the worst rental return on High Street shops in southern England with many empty and derelict buildings.
There is a genuine feeling of lack of consultation over major projects in the town. This could be partly resolved by displaying plans and artists impressions in the shop window of the town partnership.
I look forward to your comments.
Kind regards Michael child.
Please reply by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I am trying to find out the situation with relation to the old Pleasurama site after the council decision not to sell the land to SFP for the development that would have extended above the cliff top.
Am I right in assuming that "a satisfactory development about, which meets the original concept accepted by Council on 5th December 2002" means that planning permission will have to be sought again.
Or has planning permission granted for the 5th December 2002 concept. If it has are the plans available for inspection.
Thank you in advance for your kind help in this matter.