Here's a copy of the January newsletter sent to members.

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Dear *|FNAME1|*,

New Year – New Date

As our very first item please note the new date of February 18th for Brian’s talk. It is already 75% booked and all who have requested a ticket have automatically been transferred to the new date so This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are now unable to attend. If you have yet to reserve a place, you can still do so. As before, doors open at 6:30.

Reserve your tickets

Terry Prue
Ramsgate Society Communications Lead

 

Letter from The Chair

On behalf of your committee, I hope you had a very enjoyable Christmas. May we also wish you all a belated very Happy New Year.

For many reasons, 2021 has been a difficult year for your Society, as it has been for many other civic societies. There have been repeated uncertainties about having face-to-face meetings and although Zoom events are useful, they are a poor substitute for meetings that encourage the personal informal conversations that can take place in public gatherings when we hold our members talks.

Nevertheless, Covid has not prevented the Ramsgate Society committee working extremely hard throughout the year. We have continued to meet on a monthly basis- mainly via zoom, and pursued various projects with vigour. The committee now undertakes many of its activities through ‘working groups’. These working groups, each led by one of the committee members, are already proving to be very effective as they allow us to pursue a broader range of objectives. The groups range from “Planning, Heritage and Regeneration”, “Events and Community Engagement”, “Finance”, “Membership and Communications” and “Partnership Development.” You don’t have to be a member of the Ramsgate Society Committee to help with one of our working groups so if you are interested in helping on one of these groups, please contact our Secretary Graham Woolnough This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

During the year we submitted our views on various statutory consultations including the Manston DCO and the TDC Local Plan Update and we will continue to engage with these issues which are so important to the quality of life for local residents and because they will shape the future of our town for better or worse for many years to come.

We continued to work on a number of projects during the year including the repair and redecoration of the Ramsgate Promenade Shelters, the coordination of Heritage Open Days for the whole of Thanet and the completion of a number of much needed litter picks including Pegwell Bay and Jacky Bakers Field. We also planted 50 trees in the Ramsgate Conservation Area to commemorate toe 50th Anniversary of the Ramsgate Conservation Area. In addition, we produced a Conservation Area Advice Leaflet which was distributed to 4000 houses in Ramsgate. We will continue to produce our twice-yearly magazine Ramsgate Matters, edited by the Society’s Heritage Champion Brian Daubney, which provides an update on a range of issues together with some fascinating articles about Ramsgate’s past, present and future.

Because of the Covid Lockdown we were unable to make our annual Civic Champions Awards in 2020 but we made up for this in 2021by making three awards, Cara Thorpe (Thanet Community Centre), Carl Whitehead (Salvation Army Foodbank) and Sharon Goodyer for her work with Our Kitchen in Margate and Ramsgate. The awards were presented by the Mayor of Ramsgate Cllr. Raushan Ara who spoke eloquently and movingly about the invaluable work that our Civic Champions do within our local community.

2021 is now behind us and we are looking ahead with optimism to 2022. In October the Thanet District Council (TDC) application to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund was successful and secured a grant of £19.84 million for a number of projects in Ramsgate. Amongst other things the application included the Ramsgate Society's proposals for the renovation of the Clock House as a new Ramsgate Heritage Centre and we are looking forward to working with TDC to deliver this part of the wider Ramsgate Investment Plan which we understand is to be launched in February 2022. I’m sure there will be many challenges ahead but there is enormous support and enthusiasm for this project from within the local community and we are looking forward to working with TDC and a number of other stakeholders to turn this vision into a reality over the next 3 years.

We are planning to restart our series of bi monthly members talks beginning on Friday 18th February at the Royal temple Yacht Club. These talks are always interesting and popular events and provide an opportunity to meet with other members of the Society. They are invariably fully subscribed so keep a look out for further details in our regular monthly Newsletter.

During 2022 we hope to develop some strategic partnerships with Ramsgate Town Council, Thanet District Council and a number of other community groups and organisations and I hope we will be able to say more about this over the next few months, so keep an eye out in your emails for our monthly Newsletter and check our new website which we are planning to launch in the Spring.

I would like to thank the committee for all its hard work and commitment over the year- all done entirely voluntary. May I also thank those members that renew their subscriptions promptly and kindly donate funds to the Society. Without your support many of our activities could not take place. Most importantly, may I thank you, our members, for sharing our commitment to make Ramsgate a better place to live and work.

With all best wishes for the year ahead.

John Walker
Chairman

 

Thanet District Council Local Plan Update

Introduction and background – The Elephant in the Room

The Ramsgate Society has responded to the invitation to comment on Thanet District Council’s proposals for a “partial” update of the Local Plan adopted in 2020, specifically those relating to the discussion paper “Development Strategy”. The Society recognises that a great deal of time, effort and indeed expense has gone into the production of this and other related papers concerning Sites, Housing Needs, Retail and Leisure, Employment, Sustainability Appraisal and Habitat Regulations Assessment. The Plan period has been extended from 2031 to 2040.

These documents make scant reference to the enormous ‘elephant in the room’ that goes by the name of ‘Manston’. The future of the Manston airport is THE issue that has bedevilled serious discussion of the future of Thanet, and of Ramsgate in particular, for close on a decade. Uncertainty lingers on, while the decision about the outcome of the Development Consent Order (DCO) is pending from the Secretary of State for a second time. The Local Plan includes the designation of the site “for aviation use”, and there are no indications that the proposed Update will review this.

The Ramsgate Society has strongly opposed the proposal for a freight hub airport, and gave evidence to that effect at the Examining Authority’s public hearing. Alongside the Planning Inspectorate, we assert that there is no credible evidence to support the need for a new freight cargo airport, and we are convinced that its development would be seriously detrimental to the well-being of Ramsgate, including the health of the population, the heritage of its built environment, and its economic future as a tourism destination. We have recently reiterated our view in response to another round of consultation following the requirement placed on the Secretary of State to reconsider the DCO, and we were delighted that the distinguished international consultants Arup, appointed to advise the Secretary of State, saw no reason to change the view of the Planning Inspectorate and many other experts that there was no case for approving the RSP development.

There is no deadline by which the Secretary of State is required to make his decision, but that must surely be within the next few months. The credible evidence from many quarters, plus Arup’s unambiguous dismissal of RSP’s position, mean the likelihood is now that he will refuse the DCO. Our concern is that there appears to be no contingency provision (or in recent political parlance, a “Plan B”) contained in the Update papers to deal with that situation. In terms of producing an updated sound and sustainable Local Plan a great deal hangs on whether or not the Manston site continues to be designated “for aviation use”, particularly the critically important issue of the future of housing provision. Central government dictates the house building targets. The 700 acre, Manston brownfield site, once redesignated, could provide for up to 4000 homes. That would reduce the current unwelcome pressure to develop greenfield sites on the fringes of our villages and urban areas, as well as progress towards our sustainability objectives.

Michael Ashley & Richard Oades
Executive Committee Members

 

Ramsgate Conservation Area Appraisal Report by Historic England

In 2017 Historic England (HE) signalled its recognition of the national importance of Ramsgate heritage as well as its vulnerability by designating the town a Heritage Action Zone (HAZ). That 5-year programme comes to an end in Spring 2022. As part of the programme HE chose Ramsgate’s central Conservation Area as the subject of a Conservation Area Appraisal (CAA). The subsequent 483-page Conservation Area Appraisal Report (currently in draft) was subject to public consultation that closed in December. The report comprises three main parts:

  1. Character appraisal

  2. Conservation Area Management Plan

  3. Guidance for carbon reduction and climate change adaptation.

The draft document is still available to view on the TDC website.

This important document marks a milestone in understanding the nature, scale and value of individual heritage assets and their collective significance from a local, regional and national perspective.

The Ramsgate Heritage & Design Forum, an expert panel closely affiliated to the Society, responded to the consultation. While praising the quality of the work to date, it stressed that to make a difference on the ground, to implement even part of the Management Plan, additional professional and financial resources would be needed and that these would have to come from outside the already fully stretched capacity within TDC. Once a copy of their response is available, we will provide the link.

Richard Oades
Vice Chair

 

Update on Conservation Area Tree Planting Scheme

Photos: Maxine Morgan

This time last year the Society embarked on a project to plant 50 trees in the Ramsgate Conservation Area to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the designation of the Conservation Area by TDC in 1970.

Of the 50 trees initially planted last year, 9 have had to be replaced due to a combination of vandalism and natural causes but the remaining trees are flourishing. At additional cost we have managed to source replacements for those trees that failed and thanks to Peter Halsted and his team at Thanet Urban Forest the replacement trees were planted last week. Thanks also to Maxine Morgan and her team of volunteers at Courtstairs Park who have helped with the replanting.

We may have to do some additional fundraising to cover the extra costs of replacing these nine trees, but more about that in our February Newsletter.

John Walker

 

Contact the Ramsgate Society

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