‘Turner Prize for Business’ protest march to take place against council ‘barge’ decision

A protest message on one of the pontoon/barges (with the Ramsgate Arts Barge alonside) Photo Malcolm Kirkaldie

A protest march in the guise of a Turner Prize submission will be taking place tomorrow (October 9).

Members of Ramsgate Action Group, councillors who are members across political parties and the public will parade from Margate clock tower to Turner Contemporary in protest at Thanet council’s purchase of two large pontoons (‘barges’) – one for the Brett Aggregates facility at the port and the other for installation at the listed Royal Harbour.

The match will end with a spoof submission for the Turner Prize ‘in business.’

Chair of Ramsgate Action Group and self-nominated ‘Turner Business Prize judge’ Steve Coombes said TDC are being nominated because:”The Port management’s approach to conventional business is just like the Turner Prize’s approach to conventional art. In both instances, the aim is to use public money to disrupt and challenge the norms via controversial and experimental installations.

“Using Ramsgate port and the 200-year old heritage harbour as their canvas, the port management will deploy the sculptural piling of two provocative Bogoff barges to explore the extreme outer shores of absurdity and to break all the conventional rules of doing business to create something that is truly shocking.”

Mr Coombes says the march is also a demonstration against the annual losses made at the port and the accusations of bullying and harassment that have been levied against the council’s top management.

The ‘barges’ are for a £1.477million scheme to replace berth 4/5 at the port and for large commercial vessel berthing in the Royal Harbour. Vessels such as offshore wind farm crew transfer vessels, tugs/works vessels and large barges will be served by the harbour berth, says Thanet council.

The council says the decision is about delivering both the Berth 4/5 project and the Royal Harbour Commercial Berth project through a combined procurement exercise, meaning there will be no extra funding needed.

A council committee was told planning permission is not needed for the berths because it will be done under ‘permitted development rights’ but RAG says this is not the correct process.

Protesters will set off from the clock tower at 4.30pm.