Opinion: Cllr Rick Everitt – Next steps for Ramsgate port and harbour

Ramsgate Port
Cllr Rick Everitt is the leader of Thanet District Council.  Here he talks about the port and harbour and the recent feasibilty study carried out to look at proposals for its future:
Much of what we do as district councillors is everyday detail – chasing up missed bin collections, dealing with housing or parking issues, reporting dumped rubbish.

For the residents immediately affected, these can be important matters. And there is personal satisfaction to be had in getting them resolved. Who doesn’t like to help people out if they can? But individually these things don’t usually make news.

Due to our district’s geographical position, however, and especially its extensive coastline, we have more than our fair share of major projects. Dreamland, the former Pleasurama site in Ramsgate, Manston, Thanet Parkway are just a few obvious examples.

Another one obviously is Ramsgate Port and Harbour, where structural economic change has overtaken something that worked well for the district in the past. Now it is our responsibility to make sure that we adapt and change to reflect the new reality. The harbour continues to thrive, but the port is underused and often seen as a financial burden, although some of the headline loss figures which appear in the media can be misleading. If we take a positive view, we can also see it as a massive opportunity, for Ramsgate, the district as a whole, and the council.

Ramsgate port and harbour Photo Adam Cowell

At the beginning of this month we published on our website the feasibility study prepared for the council by consultants WSP. It’s not prescriptive about the way forward. It’s not groundbreaking and to some extent it tells us things we already knew. But it does provide a framework in which we can have an informed discussion about the port’s future. And that’s what I am hoping we will be able to do over the next few months.


We need to put aside previous concerns that the council has a fixed agenda and some of our past critics need to recognise that some existing commitments can’t just be wished away because they appear inconvenient to what they would prefer to happen there.

We didn’t ask WSP to provide a vision, because we want that vision to be shaped locally.

I know there are many people in Ramsgate who are passionate about the town and its future. Well, so am I, and now we need to work together to come up with plans that can be delivered, because in reality it’s a big job for a small district council. We are going to need help.

Personally, I think the port needs an iconic attraction that brings new visitors to the town, perhaps utilising an environmentally friendly shuttle bus from Thanet Parkway station, and that may well be something which celebrates Ramsgate’s maritime heritage.

It would need to be underpinned by enhanced pedestrian links to the harbour and the town centre, in order that the port becomes a focus not an add-on and so it can help support all our existing businesses and attractions, as well as encouraging new ones.

Residents know that Ramsgate already has a lot to offer, but in my view it does need a signature attraction to achieve the critical mass that will make it a more substantial destination.

Is that achievable? I don’t know, but it’s clear we won’t find out unless we try. The next three months are all about what residents, stakeholders and businesses want to see, not just me as leader of the council. But we all want Thanet to succeed. So let’s be positive and aim high.

Make your comment on the recently published feasibility study or attend the public drop in sessions held at the Port Terminal in March and April. Sessions are planned for:
  • Monday 30 March
  • Monday 20 April
Both sessions will run from 5:30pm – 8pm,


  1. How many studies have you lot studied over the last 2 dedcades and thrown good tax payers money at ..
    pipe dream to run cruise ships
    that report cost thousands
    you had money for dredging that went to the police because funds were not being spent on dredging
    you allowed a criminal and still do to use the port even though you have paid him via our council tax compensation of over £6million
    please do not forget the port is running at an over £28 million loss
    and sits there doing nothing
    now the travellers have settled there but you cannot decide to give them a permanent home yet but have to destroy people’s lives that live here in the process
    you had a secret deal with the ferry companies which came out in the wash
    you have a scared harbour master that thinks all animal rights people are vexatious and incite hate and rattle abuse at the animals but it is right to allow a known criminal to use the port and have half of the police force attend costing £18k to the tax payer
    You will never get a ferry company touching this port with the poor history
    and what happened to the situation regarding using the port as a lorry park
    and the ferry company that never was

    Who does play the ferryman
    it sure is like ferry awful management from harbour master to council

    you wanted to make a animal lairage
    your ex leader and officers of the council broke the law and you never said sorry that the money was settled out of court and still had to keep that a secret

    Ramsgate seafront 20 years almost of dereliction man handled by 2002 labour lead agreement with an estate agent and a company that never existed nor was challenged as being a real company 2006 people were getting annoyed at how you had promised them a build on the sea front and everyone in the town has fought nail tooth and comb and you still have to do a deal of the sea front with a company that is based offshore then the other company goes bust
    did you check their history no
    and now the people that have taken over well not really because the main people are still lerking beneath the car park that was going to be swimming in water
    the whole thing was set up and you know it was and have never come clean about your dealings with criminals

    hey build a prison down there please to put all you lot in ta muchly

    you done this town wrong for so many years time you were all locked up for dealing with criminals using my money and the whole towns money to bail yourselves out and put money offshore
    as I know you have no money laundering policies

    • Quite right Rebecca, neverending stupidity and corruption. And to have Rick, who cheerfully signed away Pleasurama in Ramsgate, offering the public confidence in another round of we don’t know what we’re doing but will try you all again and again is pure Dreamland. A tax payers moneypit to fund offshore companies failures and give their old executive the chance to pocket Boris’s millions. What a shocking shower of sewage they all are.

      • What has happened to the Friends of Ramsgate Seafront, led by Kandy Jones and John Davis? Have they all given up on protesting about Pleasurama?

  2. Why run a shuttle bus between the non-existent and totally useless and unwanted and unnecessary Thanet Parkway Station and the Port? We already have a perfectly functional station: it’s called “Ramsgate”

    • Yes, we do but the MP for fanit norht wants high speed
      he wants to build fanit houses that are affordable at £500k upwards on the Manston Green shite oops site
      fanit no other place than fanit to ruin
      fanit been the route of all evil and criminals here you could run them all off the run away oops that was stage coached for disaster!

  3. Thanet Parkway is an absurd fantasy. Run a shuttle bus service from Ramsgate Station if one is needed. Considering the realities of climate change, improvement of Thanet’s existing stations and public transport would be a much better use of money and resources.

  4. Why not run an environmentally friendly service from Dumpton station to the harbour? It wouldn’t clog our roads in Ramsgate then. You could even make it a feature and attract people!

  5. What a fine picture at the top, of Ramsgate’s silting man made mud hole a ferry terminal that should never have been built and is ruining our beautiful Royal harbour with the constant sand movement from our main beach and the changes to the natural tidal floes we used to have residents may have noticed how the stone banks that acted as a barrier in NE gales have all moved westwards and ended on our main sands. We are now stuck with this white elephant and I suggest a breakwater East of the harbour that would take some of the strong tidal flow inside it and divert it along the back of the East pier, this would stop the heavy NE swells in the winter from rebounding off the east pier and bring sand westwards and the southerly gales would be trained do do the same thing. We could then have an international yacht haven in the ferry terminal for large top class yachts plus a marina village, this would pay for the constant dredging needed to keep the poor designed terminal dredged.

  6. Thanet parkway has nothing to do with thanet district council except it has given NETWORK RAILWAY £2 million gift. Thanet council have NO say in the project or any veto on the possible downgrading of existing railway stations including Ramsgate station .

    • If Thanet council has given £2 million towards this unnecessary new station on the understanding that they will have no input into its development – as Barry Lewis says, above- then they have made a stupid, stupid decision. If what Barry says is true, then the residents of Thanet are owed a very clear explanation by the council. For if the proposed Parkway station actually gets built, it will not be viable unless local competitors are removed. That means, unless Ramsgate and Minster stations are closed.

      That’s a lot of ifs.

  7. Next to Sydney Harbour is a stunning man-made parkland with botanical gardens. Why can’t we have something like that which will bring visitors, create a beautiful space for locals and encourage biodiversity? I’d love to see something truly inspiring down there. I live a 5 minute walk away and it would be awesome to have a mixed-use parkland with something for nature lovers and kids to enjoy. We’ve got Ellington and King George IV park but nothing near the centre of town where we can sit under a shady tree or see any wildlife other than a seagull. In Canada all the playparks have “splash pads” where kids can play all day in fountains and paddling pools. I’ve seen something similar at coastal parks in Brighton and Hove and Worthing so it just brings an extra element to a day out at the beach. What about a water park? Closest ones are at Deal or Faversham but some thing with water slides and a lazy river woukd definitely bring money into the area. Swansea has a brilliant one (H20) next to the marine village so surely we can find some great leisure uses alongside the blocks of maritime-themed apartments that will most likely end up there. Please let’s make it something beautiful and fun and a place to be proud of.

    • There is no soil at the port ,is there? What exactly is this reclaimed land made from?

      The old Pleasurama site would be a better place for a seaside park. Get going on it it now- it might be a few years before whoever owns the site decides to actually use it for something.

  8. Thanet District Council has just given notice of its own demise by pointing to the severe financial challenges it faces.How then does this financial situation,sit with a port complex that loses considerable sums of money every year.
    The iconic part of the port complex is the Royal Harbour with its heritage environment, yet this has been the most unloved and under maintained part of the whole port/harbour estate.
    Ramsgate is a small port,that also faces almost overwhelming competition, yet TDC acts like an anxious gambler throwing good money after bad, year after year.
    I don’t believe there is the necessary competent management establishment or structure to pull off the miracle of turning round this situation.The WSP report exposes this lack of talent from those who should be advising the Cabinet. If they know what to do they would have made costed proposals not wish lists.
    TDC should be about social housing and developing a green economy with ‘real jobs’ that have a future, not betting the farm on more ill thought get rich quick schemes.
    Railway stations in the middle of nowhere,Airports with no future and shuttle buses that are unnecessary are not the answer.
    If you want to run shuttle buses create a new loop service taking in Westgate,Birchington and outer Thanet and run it into Margate and Ramsgate stations that already have excellent infrastructure in place.No need to spend £35M.Spend money to upgrade the Ramsgate/Ashford line instead.
    We would think a lot more of TDC if it did useful things to reduce poverty, instead of being ‘strategic’.
    Its time to think out of the box, its time to ask what is the commercial port for and who are or will be the beneficiaries?
    The Royal Harbour is rooted in the community and the Borough made it what it is.In the 46 years TDC have existed where is their rootedness in the community of Ramsgate?

  9. More pipe dreams and loss of money, better spent cleaning Thanet up and employing those to do it. Thanet is filthy and the council cares not a jot.

  10. TDC certainly need to think MORE about the lovely area in which we live and should spend the money on the things that are really needed here. All they seem to want to do is spend the money (which we give them) on things that will NOT make the area better but worse (if that is possible). WAKE UP TDC and DO WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT PUT this once lovely place BACK to a LOVELY place to live and to visit.

  11. I have just moved here a year ago. I love it here. Why are you all so negative all the time? Why not try to help in the consultation as asked?

  12. Lynda- I believe it’s because the council is *really* rubbish and for many years now people feel Thanet has been left without decent services or investment. I’m not a native (been here 8 years after moving from sleepiest Sussex) but I bloody love it and my Ramsgate-born-and-bred kids are having the best childhood here. It’s a brilliant place but I think people with a longer-term perspective feel let down. It’s easier to be positive about a place when it’s all new to you and part of life’s big adventure. Long may your enthusiasm last as it’s fab here.

  13. Thanet is full of lovely people but Thanet council is holding our community back. Many examples, for example they refuse to allow street entertainment,selling off property that could be used by the community.

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