Written by John Walker
Our first task has been to review what the society needs to do, to better enable it to carry out the role defined in its constitution:
“To encourage high standards of architecture and town planning in Ramsgate.
To stimulate public interest in and care for the beauty, history and character of the town and its surroundings.
To encourage the preservation, development and improvement of features of general public amenity or historic interest.
To pursue these ends by means of meetings, exhibitions, lectures, publications, other forms of instruction and publicity,
and promotion of schemes of a charitable nature”
My first task as Chairman will be to thank the outgoing Chairman Jocelyn McCarthy for his outstanding contribution to the work of the society over the last ten years. Jocelyn has done a superb job during his term of office to promote a sense of civic pride in the town and it is for those of us who follow him to build on the work he has already done.
With this in mind there are things we need to do so that we have the internal resources to function well as the civic society for Ramsgate. It is going to be important to reinforce the executive committee of the society with members who are committed to delivering the aims of the society and also to review the committee structure so that we are able to deliver the things the society stands for. I am pleased to report that following the AGM we now have five new committee members who bring with them the skills and enthusiasm that we need and I am confident that the new committee will work well as a team. We intend to raise the profile of the society in the town and to encourage better cooperation between the various organisations who share our concerns and values.
Our immediate concern has been the promenade shelters. We have now got the CCTV system up and running to protect the shelters from the mindless vandalism and damage that we have seen over the last twelve months. Any further attacks will be captured on CCTV and the police will be able to use this as evidence in any subsequent prosecutions.
We hope this will have the deterrent effect that is intended. I would like to thank all those who have helped us with this including Rebekah Smith and the Ramsgate Town Team who have helped with the necessary finance and to Paul Smith of PTS CCTV who has installed the system for us and set up the necessary monitoring controls. Our thanks too go to Ramsgate Glass who have replaced the damaged glazing at a price which barely reflects the cost of the materials. Under our lease from TDC the society has an obligation to maintain the shelters for the next 9 years so we will be actively seeking ways of raising funds to fulfil this obligation. Committee member Gerry O’Donnell is leading on this so if you would like to help please contact Gerry.
As members will already know the society had to vacate the shop in Harbour Street when developers wished to carry out extensive improvements and alterations to the building. A new lease was offered to the society to reoccupy the property when works were completed but the terms were beyond the society’s finances and with regret the committee decided it would be unsustainable to continue. When offered the opportunity to occupy part of the Ramsgate Maritime Museum on a temporary basis, the committee agreed we should relocate the shop there until September of this year. We will monitor how this arrangement performs and consider our options later in the year.
Other projects we are currently investigating for the society are:
- Taking on the promotion of Heritage Open Days in Thanet in 2016.
- Working closely with TDC and The Friends of Ellington Park in the £1m bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the restoration of this popular park in the heart of Ramsgate.
- Working with TDC on a review of the register of Locally Listed Buildings in the Town.
- Nominating further sites and buildings in Ramsgate as Assets of Community Value (ACV)
- Supporting TDC with a £2m bid to HLF to improve and restore some of the Listed structures around the Royal Harbour.
- Assisting the Ramsgate Maritime Museum in progressing their plans for improvements to the Clock House and the museum collection.
- Working closely with TDC, Ramsgate Town Council and other community groups to promote a sense of civic pride in the town of Ramsgate.
- Representing the society on the Ramsgate Neighbourhood Plan Group.
- Engage the ordinary members in the work of the society and encouraging their support for what the society is doing.
- Organising a litter campaign to take place in June 2016 and beginning in October 2015