Sorry about the delay in getting back. My recent insights into how local democracy works leave me lost for words.
Was the system expensive?
Any thoughts on the building now, as far as I can see development must start within 3 months and yet no one seems to know how high it will be.
I really genuinely don't think any of the people who made the decision could tell one what could be seen by someone standing on the cliff edge in front of the bandstand and looking out to sea. Beach, sea, horizon or just sky?
I know it sounds a bit sexist but I would have expected some of the female councillors to comment on a retail complex the size of Tescos without any parking spaces. As I am sure you will appreciate my position as a married man, who has experienced shopping in a cafe culture forbids comment.
n a message dated 03/11/2004 14:17:15 GMT Standard Time, email@example.com writes:
the system works perfectly well but the tory cabinet is not sure that all tory councillors would vote with the tory group. using the electronic system would allow some 'dissidents' to vote with the labour group, as happened at full council on the pleasurama site. since then the tory cabinet decided that they could not trust the lectronic system and have reverted to show of hands, which allows them to check if all tory coucnillors vote 'properly'.
>Subject: Re: difficulties trying to contact you by email
>Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2004 05:20:57 EST
Frankly due to having 4 children, my twins are potty training at the moment, I don't get to the meetings. Trying to find out what went on at them is not easy. councillors do seem to have a bit of a problem with technology. Replying with a coherent and related email seems a bit beyond some of them so they usually don't reply at all.
I don't quite understand from your email if the cabinet thought that the system was faulty or that councillors were not able to use it. In either case is it still being used for council meeting votes.
In a message dated 01/11/2004 16:29:48 GMT Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
Yes, you might recall that there was a furore about the fact that cabinet decided to take decision against the expressed wish of the full council. The Tory administration decided that the vote at full council was not satisfactory, arguing that the electronic voting was not reliable (indeed some tory councillors used their conscience for once and voted with the labour group). So they voted in favour of the sale at cabinet instead! This is democracy at work!
I wrote back to you when you last contacted me in spring 2004, my position is the same as the Labour Group's and it has not changed: we are opposed to the current plans.
Cllr. Michelle Fenner
Dear Cllr. Fenner
I thought I had made it clear in my email that the cabinet have received a report saying that they can sell the land for the existing plans without reference to full council or further planning permission. It is essentially why I am now making a fuss.
Report below just in case you have a much trouble using the committee minuets library website as I do.
Your pervious reply below that.
Kind regards Michael Child
DISPOSAL OF EX-PLEASURAMA SITE
To: Cabinet - 13th May 2004
Main Portfolio Area: Corporate
By: Strategic Director (Finance)
Summary: This report summarises actions since the Council decision of 1st April 2004 in respect of the development of the former Pleasurama site. Further information has been received from the developer’s agent, which is reported here for Members’ consideration.
1.1 The Council meeting of 1st April 2004 received a report on the proposals to develop the former Pleasurama site, referred to throughout this report as Ramsgate Boulevard. The report covered:
marketing of the development site
protection of the Council’s interests.
1.2 The Council has been constrained by commercial confidentiality but has always sought to place as much information as possible in the public domain. Annex A to this report, which is restricted due to commercial confidentiality, is included to deal with the details of the financial offer.
1.3 The Council meeting on 1st April 2004 agreed the following recommendations as amended:
(1) Members note the planning application which was approved by Planning Committee on 28th January 2004.
(2) Members note the action taken to protect the Council’s interests.
(3) Members note the financial information, and the likely financial receipt to the Council from the sale of the land at Ramsgate Boulevard to SFP.
(4) Members endorse the continuing efforts of officers and Cabinet Members to bring a satisfactory development about, which meets the original concept accepted by Council on 5th December 2002, with a view to completing the necessary legal paperwork with SFP within a two month timeframe.
(5) Members instruct that officers report back to the Council meeting on 8th July 2004 on the progress on this project.
1.4 Recommendations 1, 2, and 3 were straightforward, and concerned only noting information presented to the Council. Recommendation 5 is procedural, and section 4 of this report comments in more detail on the process. Recommendation 4 has the most impact for the Council and is fully explored in sections 2 and 3 below.
2.0 What the Council wanted from the Development
2.1 The Council’s objectives in promoting the development were outlined in the Planning and Development brief and proposals received were evaluated against the objectives of the development as defined in the following criteria:
To secure a high quality development on this prominent waterfront site.
To fulfil identified gaps in the hotel sector within Ramsgate and Thanet.
To provide ancillary mixed uses (e.g. A1 retail or A3 café/restaurant uses D2 leisure) to enhance and complement the Royal Harbour, beach activity and existing facilities.
To act as a potent symbol of the wider regeneration of Ramsgate and the Isle of Thanet and as a catalyst for further regeneration and development.
To capitalise on the Council’s investment in Ramsgate Royal Harbour and the associated marina facilities.
To provide a development which respects and enhances the character of the Royal Harbour, nearby listed buildings and conservation area and which enhances the environmental quality of Ramsgate’s waterside in general.
To ensure an adequate financial return to the Council.
The extent to which the submitted schemes meet the objectives set out in the Ramsgate Renaissance Implementation Strategy.
The quality, nature and extent of the proposed uses and their complementarity to existing facilities in the locality.
The quality and design of the scheme.
The track record of the developers in bringing forward similar, high quality developments, preferably in conjunction with local authority partners and in waterside or other prominent locations.
The sources of funding for the proposals.
The quality and track record of the developers’ professional team.
Total qualitative score.
The level of financial offer.
2.2 The shortlisted company, SFP, had made a presentation to the working group on 1st November 2002, and a report was presented to Cabinet on 21st November 2002 which recommended that the Council accept the offer and proposals for the site made by SFP Venture Partners Ltd (SFP).
2.3 The matter was discussed at Council on 5th December 2002, when the Council also received a presentation from the Agent and Architects for SFP on the proposals for the development of the Ramsgate Boulevard site. It was agreed by Council that the SFP offer and proposals for the site be accepted subject to satisfactory resolution of the legal documentation. The proposal taken by Council on 5th December 2002 did differ from the submission to Cabinet. For example the development was now contained within one building rather than two.
2.4 The Council recommendation (4) refers to the original concept accepted by Council on 5th December 2002. The best description of this original concept is contained within the ‘key design features’ section of the SFP submission to Cabinet on 21st November 2002, which was supplemented by comments made at Council on 5th December 2002.
2.5 The fourteen key design features for the development are detailed in the table below, along with a comment as to whether the current design is consistent with or differs from this:
Original key design feature Comment
The height kept to a minimum to ensure views to and from Wellington Crescent and the gardens, and Kent Terrace are retained
The development does extend above the cliff line in parts.
The design and height will provide a positive impact on the conservation area and listed buildings. Three blocks extend towards the sea but are cut back at the upper levels to give articulation.
Opinions may differ about the impact. The design does give articulation
The use of rooftop gardens to ensure a continuation of the landscaped feel from atop the cliff face. The enclosed proposals indicate the strategic approach in the landscape scheme to relate to the structured nature of the existing gardens.
There are rooftop gardens to some of the design
The stepping back of the design to provide a visual stop and focal point at the end of Harbour Parade whilst still enabling views of the harbour to be retained when viewed from the esplanade.
The design will also provide an interesting and attractive view from the shoreline that will not interrupt essential views required for the operation of boats and shipping.
The improvements of the links back to the town centre, with enhancements of the esplanade and removal of an untidy site.
The creation of a vital and active street frontage through the introduction of a café/restaurant culture, spilling over on to the esplanade, to encourage people back to the beach at this point.
The retention of the old railway tunnels/arches.
The provision of a sheltered public space at the southern end of the hotel.
The provision of a public children’s play area within the scheme area is positioned centrally on the Esplanade at ground floor to derive the optimum supervision opportunities and to give the best proximity to the beach access point.
Amended - the play area is now positioned at the end of the building.
The provision of parking to the rear of the buildings away from public view.
It is recognised that the provision of public art should be made within the public area of the scheme and consideration will be given to the most appropriate form at the next stage of design. An appropriate allowance has been made in the budget costings for this.
Servicing to and parking for the elements of the development are facilitated in the most discreet manner by the provision of a service spine at the rear of the site and parking zones which are shielded from view at either ground or basement floors. Separation of service access for the Hotel and the residential is effected by respective access routes being created from the western and eastern ends of the site.
Original key design feature Comment
The full provisions of the Disabled Disability Act have been and will be taken into account in the scheme design to ensure that disabled users are afforded the same level of access and enjoyment of the development as the able bodied.
3.0 Discussions with the Developer
3.1 Following the Council decision on 1st April 2004 the developer, his agent and Council Officers met to discuss the implications of the Council decision. The Developer undertook to supply the Council with an update to cover how the current development meets the original concept, or where different, an explanation as to why the change is for the good or how the design could be revised to meet the original design concept.
3.2 It should be emphasised that the developers have planning permission for the development as it currently stands, regardless of the Council decision. Depending on the nature of any revisions to the current proposals, any changes may be dealt with within the requirements of the current planning permission, by a revision to the current application, or by a new planning application.
3.3 On 6th May 2004 the developer’s agent has put in writing that, in their client’s opinion “all but one of the fourteen Key Design Features as outlined in the written proposal document presented to the full Council on 5th December 2002 have been met”.
3.4 In addition, the developer’s agent has put in writing that, if their client’s were required to make any new significant change to the scheme’s designs or structure it would have the following implications:
i) the financial offer would need to be renegotiated
ii) a new planning application would need to be submitted
iii) the development start date would be delayed by two to three years
iv) any changes to the hotel would result in a lower quality less marketable facility.
3.5 Notwithstanding this, SFP may be prepared to offer to reduce the height of the Hotel lift-tower and the external staircase shelter, together with the provision of an artificial grass roof. The developer’s agents report that “our clients would wish to seek Cabinet agreement to these alterations, in principle, subject to no objections being raised by the planning committee. This process to take place following Cabinet’s in principle agreement, prior to planning consideration.”
3.6 The developer’s agent has also confirmed matters in respect of the financial contribution to the Council, and this is discussed in the exempt Annex A to this report.
4.0 Process issues
4.1 The agreed Council recommendation (5) from the meeting on 1st April 2004 was that “Members instruct that officers report back to the Council meeting on 8th July 2004 on the progress on this project”.
4.2 It is important to note that the Council meeting on 1st April 2004 did not take the matter as a planning issue, but rather in its role as the landowner. The planning permission that the development has is not affected in any way by the Council decision of 1st April 2004. Clearly, however, the planning permission cannot be implemented without the landowner’s agreement.
4.3 The requirement to report back to Council on 8th July 2004 on the progress of the project does not transfer responsibility for decision making in respect of the disposal of the site. Council on 5th December 2002 determined that delegated authority to resolve any amendments to the proposals during negotiation of legal documentation be given to the Director of Support Services, in conjunction with the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member with portfolio for Regeneration and Economic Development. This was amended by the decision of Cabinet on 23rd June 2003 that “Authority to complete the legal documentation for the project is delegated to the Chief Executive in conjunction with the leader of the Council and the portfolio holder for Regeneration.”
5.0 Corporate Implications
5.1.1 There are no direct financial implications arising from this report.
5.1.2 The exempt annex represents the current assessment of the financial contribution to the Council, if the sale and development of the site go ahead as envisaged under the current planning permission.
5.2.1 There are no direct legal implications arising from this report.
5.3.1 The Ramsgate Boulevard site is of major importance to the Council and securing appropriate development there is in support of one of the Council’s corporate aims, “improving the look, cleanliness, vitality and safety of the Thanet street scene particularly in town centres and coastal areas.” The Council has had a long standing commitment to seek a high quality, mixed use development on this site to contribute to the regeneration of Ramsgate, capitalise on the marina and Royal Harbour assets and fill identified gaps in the hotel sector.
6.1 That Cabinet confirm whether they wish to give their in principle agreement to the alterations proposed by the developer, as shown in paragraph 3.5.
7.0 Decision Making Process
7.1 There will be a further report to Cabinet in due course which will be a key decision. This is included in the Forward Plan. However this report does not involve making a key decision at this stage.
7.2 The recommendation is within the Council’s Budget and Policy Framework and the decision may be taken by Cabinet.
7.3 The decision may be subject to the call in process.
Contact Officer: Jennifer Seeley - Strategic Director (Finance) - Ext: 7003
Background Papers: (note some elements may be exempt)
District Audit report “The Pleasurama Site Project” October 2003.
Ramsgate Renaissance Implementation Strategy
Planning Committee papers 7th and 28th January 2004
Cabinet papers 21st November 2002
Council papers 5th December 2002
Re: (no subject)
19/04/2004 15:45:11 GMT Daylight Time
Dear Cllr Fenner
Thank you for your reply, it was my intention to email all the councillors to try and determine the situation regarding the old Pleasurama site in Ramsgate.
The idea was that I would the have a clear-cut answer for the 20 or so people a day who ask me what is going on.
Due to the differences between the replies I have published them at http://www.thanetonline.com/Pleasurama/
I have had considerable difficulty with the councillors email addresses listed on the TDC website, so I am a bit behind with my replies.
Kind regards Michael Child
In a message dated 15/04/2004 11:44:09 GMT Daylight Time, email@example.com writes:
Subj: Re: (no subject)
Date: 15/04/2004 11:44:09 GMT Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet
My understanding is that planning permission will have to be sought for any new plans, any progress about this issue will have to come to full council
>Subject: Re: (no subject)
>Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 06:40:30 EDT
>Dear Cllr Fenner
>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.