More than 100 people turned out tonight (August 29) for a meeting about Ramsgate port and harbour.
The gathering at Oddfellows, in the town, was hosted by the Ramsgate Action Group.
Headed up by RAG committee member Steve Coombes the aim was to pass a motion of no confidence in the management of the port, which has made losses of some £28 million over eight years, inclusive of £5million in live export compensation and £3.4million for bankrupt TransEuropa Ferries unpaid fees and charges.
Mr Coombes (pictured) opened the meeting by saying: “There are four self evident truths for Thanet.
“The port loses approximately £2million a year and has done for the last four years/.
“In (Thanet council’s) 2017/18 draft accounts the loss for the year was £1.86million. The publication of the final accounts show that has gone up by £771,000 to around £2.6million.
“Thanet council has been cutting its own budget by £1million this year, £1million last year and a projected cut next year.
“Since the new administration took over 179 opportunities to address the issue of the port have been missed. The previous administration had hundreds more opportunities.”
Mr Coombes, who said the failure to address the situation damaged Ramsgate and Thanet, then put forward a motion that: “This town has no confidence in the management of the Ramsgate port and harbour.”
A vote showed all but one in favour. Thanet council leader Bob Bayford, who said he attended the meeting to listen, voted against.
RAG, which also held nominations for new members, will now organise an e-petition with the motion and will invite Thanet residents to sign.
In contrast to the port losses Ramsgate harbour made a £229,000 profit for 2017/18 through mooring fees and businesses at the Arches.
Community backing has been expressed for a marina village development at Ramsgate Port and harbour being proposed by RAG and also county councillor Paul Messenger (pictured above).
It has been suggested boat-building and boat-repair. sailing schools water-sports, retail, residential and leisure facilities could be of economic benefit.
Although it has been suggested Thanet council would look at all potential options for the site if necessary the authority has previously said “priority is to re-establish a ferry operation at Ramsgate.”
Despite continued efforts and talks to attract a ferry service to the port there has been no cross-Channel operation since the collapse of TransEuropa in 2013.
Talks are currently taking place with Seaborne Freight, a UK company incorporated in April last year by marine consultant Roy Dudley, and Belgian officials for a Ramsgate to Ostend ferry service.
According to Belgian press reports this month the city’s mayor Johan Vande Lanotte says financing of the project is complete.
Last October, during the run up to the Ostend elections, Mr Vande Lanotte announced a ‘basic agreement’ had been made for the ferry line between Ostend and Ramsgate.
He said the route would start with freight but a passenger service could begin shortly afterwards.
The mooted March 1 start date came -and went- with no ferry service in evidence. No contract had been signed by Thanet council and there remained the question of which vessels could serve the route.
The contract has not been signed to date although discussions continue.