First apartments at Ramsgate’s Royal Sands development will be ready to move into by Spring 2021

The build will 'quickly make an impact' say Blueberry Homes Photo Frank Leppard

The full structural shell of the first phase of development at the Pleasurama site on Ramsgate seafront should be complete by the beginning of December with the first batch of apartments ready for residents to move in by next Spring, say the team behind the construction.

Thanet-based Blueberry Homes started work on the long-awaited Royal Sands last month and say they hope to complete within a two to three year timespan, with faster sales resulting in the shorter build time.

The complex will be made up of 107 apartments, a 60-bed hotel and gym and leisure and retail units. There are also plans for an upmarket spa franchise at the site.

Speaking at the development today (July 1) the team revealed the first phase of the build, starting at the Ramsgate Tunnels end of the site, consists of 26 apartments – blocks D and E – with the planned hotel at the Wetherspoon end of the plot being in the last phase.

Retail units, taking up some 16,000 square foot, will be built alongside each phase with larger units at the hotel end of the site.

The shops will be at the front, below the transfer slab, with apartments above. Parking will be at the rear via an access road.

The site had been derelict for 22 years

The plot has been empty since a fire in 1998 devastated the former funfair on the land. Thanet council made a compulsory purchase on the land in 2001 after plans for a shopping centre failed to take place.  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 and lengthy wrangles over the three 199-year leases and legal agreements followed.

Takeover talks in 2014 resulted in Cardy Ramsgate Limited purchasing 100% shares of SFP Ventures and contracts were signed in March 2015.

The firm was renamed Ramsgate Development Company Ltd and last year significant control of was taken over by Thanet businessman Martin Rigden – head of the Blueberry Homes team alongside son Scott.

Now the Blueberry team say there will be “quite an impact very quickly” with a fully structured building being in place by the end of November/ start of December ready for fitting out and sale before moving on to construction of blocks C through to B and then block A and the hotel.

An anchor company for the hotel is yet to be secured but talks had been taking place prior to the pandemic.

A spokesman for Blueberry said: “Discussions had been quite a way down the road but stopped with Covid-19 but interest remains. It would not make sense for us not to build the whole scheme.”

The Royal Sands project

There have been around 65 registers of interest in the seafront properties so far, some 80% is local but enquiries are also coming from London.

The team say the pandemic has increased a market desire for coastal property, saying: “People want to move out of the cities and get into the fresh air. It has been proven that people don’t have to work in an office so they can come here, work by the sea, go to London once or twice a week using rail links that will get them to Stratford (in under an hour).

“This means people will be spending their money here, bringing their families, and that will all go back into the local economy.”

The company, which has worked on developments across Thanet for some 30 years, says at the height of work some 100 tradespeople will be on site, with consecutive Blueberry builds at the Boundary Road former gasworks site and Margate’s Dane Road bringing that number to around 200. There will also be employment through the local supply chain.

Photo Frank Leppard

The team say 95% of that workforce will be local, consisting of trusted sub contractors from previous projects.

Currently the transfer slab is being put in place, due for completion at the end of August, and then the steel frames will go in for the upper level of the build. These are being manufactured off-site for speed and also to reduce heavy-load traffic on the seafront.

The team have “been delighted” with many positive comments from residents since work began and say the project is driven by a passion to regenerate the seafront.

Photo Dave Stillman

Thanet council leader Rick Everitt and ward councillors Corinna Huxley and Steve Albon were also onsite at the development today.

Cllr Albon said: “When we saw a Ramsgate-based company was doing the development we felt that was a real bonus. We wanted to get this site developed and do everything to help, The council is able to work with the developers to try and achieve what our area requires. We are fully supportive of getting this done.”

Cllr Everitt added: “We are finally getting rid of a big, empty space that has blighted our seafront for more than 20 years and will be getting a good-looking development.”

Apartment prices have not yet been released but Blueberry Homes say they will be “competitive and value for money.”

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  1. That’s good but hope there keep the cafe next to the lift and the amusement arcade opposite wetherspoons

  2. One thing I don’t understand is why they believe there’s a demand for retail units in that area when the retail unit next to Wetherspoons remains empty. Hopefully the new development won’t end up with empty shop premises. I’m so glad though to see building happening on the site at last.

  3. It is good to see progress at long last. My concerns are the plans are for totally inadequate parking, both for residents and visitors. One car place per flat, one per hotel bedroom, six for hotel staff. I went to a planning seminar long ago. I said if the hotel conference room was holding a wedding with an evening bash to follow where were the visitors to park. Likewise friends visiting flat owners. The response was those people would have to come and go on a bus! Alternatively they might park on the old swimming pool car park and was told a mini train would operate from the pool site back and forth to this development. I simply don’t believe it. Time will tell.

  4. It us hid to see this site being developed at last . My concern is will these apartments become holiday lets purchased by wealthy landlords,or will local people young families in particular be able to afford to live here

  5. What’s wrong with coming down to the sea front on a bus? And if they park on the marina car park they will only be a few minutes’ walk away.

  6. They already said they want money up front to build… 2002 TP was hoping for same thing…
    If they research the history you will find they been in hand with land banking and criminals
    TP said he wanted money up front

    18 years of this shit

  7. Marva Reeves makes her points. Has she ever tried walking from the pool car park in the driving rain against a freezing westerly wind and with the sea spray coming over the prom? I have. It’s a bitter experience. Not to mention elderly or disabled in wheel chairs! Also, when the wedding reception bash finishes at say midnight are there plenty of buses available going in all different directions to enable
    folk to get home? I think not. And what kind of shops does she think could make a living there for twelve months of the year? Welcome to the real world.

    • I have walked there in rain and wind. I live in the real world and I’m tired of reading posts by people who seem to think that everyone who doesn’t worship the private car is an idiot.

      Re the ground floor shops, I think they will do badly.

  8. At the moment Ramsgate has lots of parking compared to some resorts. There is a multi-story car park a few minutes away, and people could use a taxi. Mind you car park needs to be spruced up. But if people coming to wedding we want them to book accommodation and stay for the weekend/bring some money in.

  9. Really great news that it is a local building company.
    My only concern would be the flood defenses in the area. These need to be improved as the sea levels will rise with climate change.

  10. what about parking a car no room 107 apartments one person with one car 107 cars not good
    no room now for locals cars

    • Even if in the unlikely case an owner does not have a car each flat will have its own dedicated space so should not be used by others. There are no parking spaces for visitors to the flats nor for two car owners. Another problem will be that the car park spaces are at the rear of the building in an exposed space between the back of the building and the cliff space with no cover. As such they will be sitting ducks for vandals from the cliff top. THE Leopold multi story car park has a reputation for vandalism. Is it open 24/7?
      Don’t get me wrong. I am delighted the site is being developed but this scheme is designed for maximum short term profit and not for long term benefit for local residents and visitors.

  11. Glad to see this as Ramsgate has so much potential. Add a few more pine trees and English Riviera here we come.

  12. Just wait until they spend a million on a spanking new flat and then realise for many weeks of the summer they will have a travellers camp as neighbours.

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