Climbing wall and community hub plans for former Ramsgate fire station

Ramsgate Town Council clerk Richard Styles with a model of Radford House

A planning application is due to be submitted for change of use at Ramsgate’s former fire station in Effingham Street.

Ramsgate Town Council bought the building last year following a bequeathed estate from resident Mr Radford.

The building has been renamed Radford House. It consists of three floors – the ground area was used for the fire engines before KFRS moved to a purpose built site in Newington Road, a second floor with a kitchen and the upper floor which was sleeping quarters.

The aim, says town clerk Richard Styles, is to create a main area on the ground floor for markets and art events -two of which have already been held at the site – with partitions so two events could be carried out at the same time. Audio/visual equipment will be installed meaning it could also be used as cinema space. There will be a reception area with a glass partition separating it from the event space but with accessibility for the stairs to the upper floors.

On the first floor the kitchens will be modified and the four rooms will be knocked into one. On the second floor there will be an archive containing documents including the detailed report on the town’s pulhamite rocks.

A new entrance and a lift will be created. Original features, such as a large fireplace on the upper floor, will be retained.

An ambitious part of the plan is to create a climbing wall up the former escape tower (pictured below) at the rear of the 18th century property and to install solar panels.

The estimated cost of the plans is £740,000. Ramsgate Town Council has some of this and will go to other funders to make up the difference.

Town clerk Richard Styles said: “The idea is for it to become a community hub with independent artists, local community groups, hot desking and wifi and downstairs for markets, exhibitions and events.”

Mr Styles said the hub would be just one of the additional services the town council is providing using the annual precept income.

The building is currently being used by town council staff as a central point for holding food bank stock and then taking those out to delivery to Thanet charities and community sites.

The Effingham Street property was originally a private house belonging to Rear Admiral William Fox. In 1905 Ramsgate Corporation bought the property and converted it into a fire station and the town library and Clarendon House girl’s school were built in the grounds. The station was opened in October 1905 by the Mayor.

New Ramsgate fire station Photo Daisy-May Stillman (aged 10)

Last year Ramsgate’s fire service moved to a new, purpose built site in Newington Road.


  1. No home for the homeless or mental health issues in Ramsgate.

    The warre rec was destroyed by Ramsgate Town Council as I was at that heart wrenching meeting.
    Ramsgate lost land which was donated to the people the swimming pool lost.
    I will never trust them again. For destroying land that was not theirs to have.

    • There is a swimming pool in Ramsgate ! In the new sports centre , mental health issues are dealt with at the beacon in Manston road ! A new building was built for that , an the homeless are catered for at queen’s road Baptist church where they can get a shower every day and a hot meal ,clean clothes and food , also at the global generation church too , if you need help contact them !

    • I am afraid Ms Hooper has been badly informed.
      RTC is working with the Salvation Army and other voluntary groups to deliver food supplies to where it is needed, including and especially,the homeless. TDC are also the housing authority and is deploying funds to reduce or eradicate homelessness. RTC is not responsible for either service.
      Radford House is doing more in its unaltered state than was ever envisaged and the 6 RTC staff working from there need support not criticism.
      As for Warre Rec.The new fire station was built on the site of the former swimming pool, which was owned by TDC. A bit of land was taken from Warre Rec and used by the fire station, but Warre Rec is owned by TDC. RTC had nothing to do with it.Whatever meeting Ms Hooper attended, it was not an RTC meeting. Ramsgate needed a new swimming pool and a new fire station it has both, some in the community might not be happy with what was done, but RTC had no ownership or control of any of it.
      I am glad others have given Ms Hooper the full information, but I find it disappointing that when everyone’s efforts are being directed towards helping others, this sort of uninformed criticism takes place.

    • Rebecca, one spin off from this virus crisis is that all the Homeless people were taken into care, that is all 4,000 of them nationally according to official figures! Whilst I agree there are many families, or single parents with children who are homeless, and need adequate proper full time social housing, the people seen begging in Thanet are NOT homeless! They are full time con men (& some women) who are workshy, feckless, no hopers, poncing off the goodwill of people, and should be run out of town! I think the proposals to turn the old fire station into a social/recreational facility for use by the people, is a sound idea!

  2. Sounds brilliant. I live just around the corner and my 8 year old is really getting into her climbing so this is lovely news for us. The other proposed uses sound good too. I’ll be supporting the planning application!

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