Ramsgate businessman takes ‘significant control’ of company which owns Pleasurama site freehold

The Pleasurama site

Significant control of the company which owns the freehold of the Pleasurama site on Ramsgate seafront has been taken over by local businessman Martin Rigden.

According to Companies House Mr Rigden, also a director of Blueberry Developments, took significant control of Ramsgate Development Company on March 19.

Cardy Ramsgate Ltd completed a £3.515 million payment to Thanet council for the site freehold  in July 2016. This amount is listed as £3 million by Land Registry. Some £727,600 of that money was earmarked by Thanet council last year buy up to four properties to house isle families

The plot has been empty since a fire in 1998.

The Pleasurama site Photo Barry James

Originally planning permission was given to James Godden, now deceased, for a shopping centre on the land but, in 2001, when it became clear this was not going to materialise Thanet council bought the site by compulsory purchase.

In 2004 planning permission was granted for a 60-bed hotel, 107 residential apartments, leisure facilities and retail.

The Royal Sands project

The deal was headed by development company SFP Venture UK but work never got underway.

In April 2013, Thanet council rejected a bid for SFP to buy the freehold of the site before project completion.

In February 2014 cabinet members agreed to axe the development agreement with SFP, but were unable to reclaim the three 199-year leases for the site because they had no long stop date in the deal.

Talks with Cardy Construction to take over the project by buying out SFP were revealed in September 2014. Cardy Ramsgate Limited purchased 100% shares of SFP Ventures. ]Contracts, which TDC say included a long-stop date, were signed with Cardy Ramsgate Ltd – an independent company created for the scheme – in March 2015.

Cardy Construction went into administration the same month.

Michael Stannard, then the sole director of Cardy Ramsgate Ltd, resigned his role on August 15, 2016.

The firm was renamed Ramsgate Development Company Ltd.

Documents on Companies House revealed two people with ‘significant control’ of the Ramsgate Development Company as Colin and Robbie Hill.  They are involved with the Panama-based  Mintal Group, which still has a £3million charge on the seafront site.

Robbie Hill resigned the role in 2016. Colin Hill resigned on March 19 this year.

Rides on to the site last year

Last year Blueberry Homes applied for  a temporary change of use to site a funfair on the ground.

The registered address for Ramsgate Development Company has now been changed from Essex to Cliff Street in Ramsgate,

A spokesman for Ramsgate Development Comapny said: they were “pleased to confirm that Martin Rigden has  been appointed managing director of Ramsgate Development Company Ltd,” adding: ” We hope to be in a position to make a positive statement very soon.”

Read here: Pleasurama: 20 years since site destroyed in blaze