Monday, 1 September 2014

Ramsgate Pleasurama Statement from Ian Driver

I understand  that building company Cardy has offered to purchase Pleasurama Developers, SFP Ventures Ltd,  takeover the development agreement with Thanet Council and complete the planned building works. I have serious concerns about this.

First the Pleasurama  development is located in an area designated as a high  risk flood zone. The Environment Agency has already expressed  concerns to Thanet Council about constructing  residential buildings on this site without  a proper flood risk  assessment. As an elected councillor my first priority must be public safety, especially bearing in mind the impact of climate change and rising sea levels on this particular site. If building work is to resume on the site then there must be a  flood risk assessment and the design of any buildings to be built must comply with any flood assessment recommendations. Anything  less is not acceptable. I also suspect that anything which is built on the site which falls outside of this safety framework will probably be uninsurable and red-lined by lenders.
Second many people have already expressed concerns about the stability of the cliff face which will be in close proximity to the buildings. Once again this presents a serious safety risk to the occupiers of any residential and business buildings on the site. Furthermore, who will pay for the day-to-day maintenance  of the cliff face? This should not be Thanet District Council as any profits made by TDC  for allowing the development to proceed will quickly be used up by year-on-year cliff face maintenance. Indeed it is entirely possible that the Council, over time, may  spend a lot more money than it makes from the developers looking after the cliff face. In my opinion it should be the developers who assume responsibility for the maintenance of the cliff face.

Third, it has been the clear  intention of the current developers SFP Ventures to secure the freehold of the Pleasurama site. This site is an integral part of Ramsgate’s historic seafront. Under no circumstances should the  freehold be handed  over to any other organisation it should remain with Thanet Council.
Fourth, although Cardy may well purchase SFP Ventures what guarantees are there that some of people associated with the SFP, who have treated Ramsgate with utter contempt over the past 12 years, will not be working with and influencing  Cardy as funders, sales agents , or advisers. I think it is extremely unlikely that these people will simply  walk away from the project. They will want a slice of the  action.

Fifth, what due diligence will be undertaken into  Cardy to ascertain if they have  access to the finance and have the experience  to complete the development? I trust that such due diligence  will be of a much higher and more robust standard to that which was carried out by a senior council officer in 2009.  
Last but not least, I am not convinced that a hotel and apartments are what the people  of Ramsgate would like to see  developed on this large and important site. I believe that most people would like to see a more leisure focused development such as a seafront park, a public stage, cafes, bars, restaurants, play areas, a skate park and state of the art IT gaming arcades etc which will attract locals and visitors in their thousands to the seafront. This would generate more income for local economy and create more jobs than a small hotel and apartments.

I hope  the Council will not take the easy option.  



  1. No SFP and no Cardy who were previously involved with Bayford and Painter etc.

  2. Ian
    1) The flood risk would only affect the shops and car park and if the sea was that high then all the other bars and cafes around the corner would be flooded already
    2) The cliff face have you any reports from a qualified structural engineer saying that the cliff face is unsafe? If so then it should be closed to the public and the road above should be closed also. As it stands the cliff face is the responsibility of the council making it the responsibility of the developer would ensure no one taking on the site at all leaving us with a large open space to find the public money that we don't have to redevelop it. Lots of people have many ideas, I'm sure that every body would like to see something fanatic there but how realistic is it?
    3) Everybody thinks that the freehold is something important but when a building is on the land thats it the owner of the building will be able to renew the lease at any time without to much expense or bother
    4) Cardy has been a reputable Kent based building firm for many years and I am told that SFP have not paid them for any work they have done for them. It is unlikely that they will still be partners but you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Even if they are does it matter if Ramsgate gets rid of this blight on its seafront.
    What's the alternative? Many more years of nothing happening. Ramsgate has 2 miles of seafront without private money it will stay as you see it now forever but with a little encouragement from TDC and the public this town could be wonderful.

  3. So TDC and Pinsetts have secretly been negotiating for months with delays and leaving the site derelict? Clive has resigned and we could do with the same from Everitt

  4. Ezekiel and then Baford came before the Labour party, not saying the Labour party is not as bad, but they have all had a go over the past years, who can we honestly say has acted with the best interest for Thanet? None of them, all as bad as each other.

  5. The Site has never stacked, it never will its a great way to draw down fees to make money and nothing more and \i can prove it but if I do an awful lot of people including SFP, Cardy and all their hangers on Terrence Painter and all in the council who supported it will look like total complete and utter idiots so Purple OM ask me to prove it and I will but the people you support will be really peeved when I do it in public.... I have access to emails and documentation so if you want me to prove it just ask...