Saturday, 12 March 2016

After the Fire

After the disastrous fire in May 1998 the Grade 2 listed Station was deemed too dangerous to remain and was completely demolished.

 The pile of rubble at the far end is the Station and would you note the building site area.

So what happens is James (Jimmy) Godden applies for planning permission to build "Yuppie Flats" again and again is refused permission.

To quote from the planning report F/TH/99/0837 November 1999 PP was granted for "a Shopping Mall with 21 units of varying sizes, a food court and restaurant, together with a multiplex cinema, nightclub and leisure facilities of either a family entertainment centre, Amazonia or bowling facility." This on a site 180m (590 feet) and between 30m (98 feet) to 48M (157 feet) approximately the area between the fence above.
This was to be amended as for detailed plans were being submitted at this juncture however planning was granted and everyone hoped "Jimmy" would get on with renovating this eyesore.
With reference to Council meeting papers it seems that despite various meeting with the develope "Jimmy" Godden  and a "Longstop" date of 31st December 2000 the developer had failed to comply with the agreement. In March/April 2001 the Councils patience had evaporated and Officers were instructed to take back the land by the uses of a CPO. To ensure "Jimmy" Godden was onside an agreement was made as follows:
"TDC will not persue it's rights under the current documentation for the recovery of any insurance money for the fire which destroyed the original building, in return for his agreement to the removal of any obligation by the council to pay to you compensation under the Landlord/Tenant Act if development doesn't proceed"
Now pardon me the Council colludes in letting Godden keep the insurance that should have reinstated the building or build new facilities because Godden failed to build the said facilities. What a crock of S**T.
So what happens is they take back the land and Godden walks away with a sum rumoured to be nearly £500K and then re-market it under the auspices of the "Ramsgate Rennaissance opportunity"

On the 21st November 2002 the Cabinet met and decided to go with one partner.
""Following the Marketing of the site, six shortlisted companies were invited to develop their expressions of interest in accordance with the planning and development brief." Only two companies developed their expressions SFP Venture Partners and Westcliff Park Limited.

The choice was SFP and the die was cast for 13 years of utter fiasco.

The proposal from SFP was submitted on the headed paper of Terence Painter Properties and laid much emphasis on Whitbread's involvement. In itself that is very odd (development would have been worth £20M to the winner and SFP didnt have proper notepaper however what is more starange is Whitbread (In March 2003) said they had no involvement.

History will show that in May Labour lost control letting in the Conservatives under Ezekiel.

Planning was submitted on November 2003 and granted by TDC on the 28th January 2004 and many people raised eyebrows at the speed that planning was obtained.
Did anything get build? No however the boundary was extended almost to the old railway tunnel and work was done on an improved storm drain and KCC Highways altered the roundabouts at both ends of the site.
 In Summer 2006 Ezekiel's Cabinet entered into a Development Agreement with Shaun Keegan of SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd. The key point was SFP had to provide a £5.6M Bond in case SFP failed to develop the site.
What happened? Er nothing. SFP failed to get a bond and 3 years later in June 2009 Ezekiel had to negotiate a new Development Agreement this time the bond was exchanged for £1m surety yet still nothing was built except in 2010 Cardy (the builders) started putting up "tombsones" very gently so as not to bring down the cliff face.

So after 18 years and many false dawns what is going to be the fate of this derelict bombsite? The simple answer is who knows? Cardy have taken of the Development Agreement however they still have yet to get on with it as in true TDC style it was decided to repair the Cliff face in 2015 after it was repaired (to last 100 years according to Mark Seed TDC Officer since left TDC) in 2011.
In the last 18 years it has been an eyesore holding back Ramsgate and the holiday offering. In 2008 at least they made use of the site however just think what Ramsgate would have looked like had James "Jimmy" Godden had built what he promised.
What does the future hold seeing as Cardy will not "start" until the cliff face is finished in April 2016. If the past is anything to go on then it might be finished by 2050.

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