New chapter in long-running Pleasurama development saga?

The Royal Sands project

A new chapter in the long running saga of the development of Pleasurama on Ramsgate seafront appears to be starting with advertisement for apartments at the site by Blueberry Homes.

Last year significant control of the company which owns the freehold of the site was taken over by local businessman Martin Rigden.

According to Companies House Mr Rigden, a director of Blueberry Developments, took control of Ramsgate Development Company on March 19, 2019.

Blueberry Homes is responsible for high-end developments such as luxury apartments Ravello Broadstairs and Barletta Broadstairs.

A £3.4million charge on the site was paid in January this year – meaning the title to the derelict site comes under the sole control of Mr Rigden. The two now-cleared debts were owed to Panama-based firm Mintal Group.

Accounts for the Ramsgate Development Company filed up to March 31 2019 show accrued debt of £11 million, up from £9.8 million the previous year. What that debt is made up of is not shown although a loan amount of £6.4 million remains out of the £9.8million listed for 2018. Loans are secured against work in progress.

The plot has been empty since a fire in 1998. but the development is now being displayed on the Blueberry Homes website for 100 one, two and three-bed apartments, new beachfront shops, leisure, retail outlets and a hotel and gym.

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 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.

FP said it was unable to secure the necessary funds to complete the scheme under the existing development agreement.

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.

Photo Barry James

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.

Cardy Ramsgate Ltd completed a £3.515 million payment to Thanet council for the site freehold  in July 2016.

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 and the registered address changed from Essex to Cliff Street in Ramsgate,.

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 had the £3million charge on the seafront site.

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

Previous Pleasurama hoarding Photo Trevor Shonk

The last contract with Thanet council stated the project must be completed within three-and-a-half years, which would have implied a date of January 2020  if taken from contract completion. However this date has been and gone.

Stipulations within the contract mean if it is not developed then the council has an option to buy it back. It is not clear what sum TDC would need to pay, the £3.5 million the freehold was sold for, the £11million accrued debt or the market value of the land which, if developed, could potentially exceed £30-40 million.

The Blueberry Homes website says ‘prices and launch date’ are ‘coming soon.’

Blueberry Homes has been asked for comment.


  1. 18 years of this shitty criminal activity and it still continues

    My heart bleeds with the whole handling of this from Ramsgate town council to Thanet to Kent.

    How the heck can you work with plan with and agree with a plan that was created by labour in 2002 and no company was registered, even now it still stinks of criminal activities

    The council sold the sea front to someone offshore leaks, Ive studied this like many over the years. Labour and planning and KCC and past and present people involve know that this is land banking and land banking is against the law ….
    The company you mention have a record just like them all it stinks

  2. This looks absolutely horrible.TDC need to sell it for development of beach huts for the people of Ramsgate with landscaped gardens and umbrella pines

  3. The current site looks horrible. This is a huge improvement. Let’s hope this plan bears fruit and Ramsgate can finally fill the eyesore which has been there for years.

  4. Don’t hold out any hope for the site. TDC should Compulsory putchase it back for the price it sold it under the agreements made after being burned over it the first time. These companies are being made up to bank the land for a time they can make a profit passing it between companies and by the looks of it money laundering.

  5. 22 years of total abject failure by TDC. They had a simple option after the fire but quite frankly, a kid who’s played 3 games of Monopoly against his parents could run rings round the council’s legal department. Time for Government to step in and take this away from incompetent council officials and get the site back into use. With the downturn in everything courtesy of COVID 19 it’s clear that a multi million pound development just ain’t happening. It would serve Ramsgate much better for the ground to be simply landscaped/garden/pathway etc for now, and left alone so at least it didn’t look like the rough end of Be

  6. No hotels, no shops. Leisure facilities for locals – skatepark, adventure playground, paddling pools. Lockable at night and supervised by day.

  7. They are definitely planning to start on the site, I know a subcontractor has taken on a package there, as they say watch this space

  8. 22 years of watching this space. The full blame is with poor management by TDC. Why else did they injunct a Councillor? They didn’t want the public to know the dreadful extent of their mismanagement and corruption of process. Let’s not forget the final sale involvement of Ms Edwina Crowley and our current Council Leader Rick Everitt who were both aware of the legal criticisms of TDC and the unlikely saleability of anything built. The site is a money laundrette! If Blueberry is building to the old plan it is the most overblown, ugly design reminiscent of Covid-19 filled cruise ships. It will also blight the view from the conservation area of the beach and sea. Indeed no-one will ever see the beach again.

    • Of course people will see the beach again, why wouldn’t they? But the Hobbit flats are not yet fully inhabited and I don’t suppose there’ll be that many people who want to live at the bottom of chalk cliffs and a spit away from the beach, especially if the flats are ridiculously expensive.

    • Does a Covid-19 -filled cruise ship look any uglier than one whose crew and passengers are healthy?

  9. Marva, close inspection of the plans show that you won’t be able to see the beach from the prom atop the cliff. Please check for yourself before undermining what I have said. Thank you.

  10. There are sections of the design which are shallower from front to back than others.

    But obviously the comment that “no-one will ever see the beach again” is not correct.

    • But Marva this is true from the POV of anyone above the development looking down at the beach from the Eastcliff promenade indeed from here no-one will ever see the beach again. This is regardless of the prominent or as you put it shallower sections. You are entitled to your opinion, but in this instance, your assumption is based on insufficient information. Hence your notion of my exaggeration is unfounded. I am solely, as Kathy’s story discusses, Blueberry Homes potentially building-out to these now very old plans.

      • I haven’t assumed anything.I don’t know about the plans in detail. For all I know they may have been altered since their first conception. Circumstances have certainly changed in the past ten years.

  11. Marva and Andrew, even the shallower parts will still obscure the view of the beach. Selecting a section of a statement to suit your misunderstanding is ridiculous. To remind you:- “It will also blight the view from the conservation area of the beach and sea. Indeed no-one will ever see the beach again.” I could have perhaps used different punctuation but I was not expecting punctillious critique from people who appear to have little understanding of the effects of this extremely ugly, oversized development proposal that will diminish the architectural value of Wellington Crescent. Marva, cruise ships have taken on a new significance in recent months, there is nothing of the art deco glamour that they loosely attempt to emulate.

  12. I have said nothing about my general opinion of this development . I am simply tired of reading exaggerated comments.

    • Don’t you consider that your comments here come under the umbrella of your general opinion? “But the Hobbit flats are not yet fully inhabited and I don’t suppose there’ll be that many people who want to live at the bottom of chalk cliffs and a spit away from the beach, especially if the flats are ridiculously expensive.”

      • I haven’t given my opinion of this specific development. I think this of all such developments. How many people want to live next to an unstable chalk cliff, with a high risk of flooding in winter, in a building standing on a foundation of chalk rubble?

        • Yes Marva u are right , the foundations I am led to believe are from the old prom that was destroyed in a storm way back and put in there , I read an article about this from an American marine engineer but I have searched the internet for ages and now cannot find it , Michael Child may be able to help on this mater , I have contacted him but had no reply

  13. Q. “What was I wrong about?” A. Your disbelief that if the development is built to plan that the sightline along the clifftop above will no longer afford a view of the beach. No ‘exaggeration’. No petty-minded irritation, Marva.

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