Public views on the future of Ramsgate Port and Harbour are still wanted by Thanet council which has extended the deadline for comments until December.
The study which was initially published in January this year examines the feasibility of a range of options for the Port and Harbour.
Due to the cancellation of two public drop-in sessions originally timetabled in March and April and the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings and events, the opportunity for comment is being extended from the original October 2 deadline to December 18 at 5pm.
Consultant WSP’s report covers four specific areas (commercial, residential, leisure and mixed use) – other suggestions can be given too.
The report has suggested uses including reviving the hotel and conference centre plan for the Smack Boys Home building and creating industrial zones, waterfront homes, retail and themed leisure facilities.
The study looked at ideas including a hotel and conference centre, berthing for small cruise ships, waterfront homes and the possibility of a maritime village.
WSP also advise retaining commercial port functions so “ro-ro operations can be accommodated on a significantly condensed footprint compared to current operations.” A single berth is suggested.
The report says industrial zones should be prioritised to retain employment land and the scope to deliver a significant jobs boost to the area with a focus on “specialist recycling centres, bespoke design studios, and 3D print facilities.”
Workshop areas for entrepreneurship opportunities and creative industries is recommended as well making space for specialist maritime purposes, such as vessel design / architecture.
Council leader Rick Everitt has said he would like to see a major attraction based on Ramsgate’s maritime heritage and connection with the Dunkirk Little Ships , created in partnership with businesses and other organisations, to draw in visitors.
Themed leisure uses are also suggested such as a theme park, aquarium, or watersports centre on the land currently occupied by the commercial port. The study also says Brett Aggregate operations should remain in place for the duration of the company’s lease.
A suggested timeline of three and a half years to complete the project is given. The aim of the project is to stop the haemorrhaging of cash from port operations.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Rick Everitt said: “Providing an opportunity for the public to access and provide comment on the study is an important part of the process to consider options for the future of the port and harbour at Ramsgate.
“We recognise that the port isn’t a familiar space for many people and our planned drop in sessions were intended to go some way towards showing people the entire area and adding context and scale to the information in the study. To try and facilitate this a visual overview of the site will be added to the website ahead of the closing date for comments.
“I would encourage everyone who hasn’t yet done so, to read the report and complete the online form. We are extending the opportunity again because of the unprecedented circumstances, and that is right, but we are also keen to progress matters as soon as practical for the benefit of all concerned.”
Cllr Karen Constantine says she has has challenged Kent County Council to get ‘their house in order’ and to ensure that Ramsgate Port has an Environmental Impact Assessment in place. She is urging residents to participate in the consultation, saying “the port area could be a key asset to Ramsgate Town, we could use it to attract tourism and more sustainable business and much needed jobs to our area”.
A second survey asking residents for their opinions about uses at the port and harbour is being run by Ramsgate Regeneration Alliance. Submitted opinions will be included in a response to TDC’s High-Level Feasibility Study on Port Ramsgate.
Go to www.ramsgate-regen.net to take part
Find the WSP report at thanet.gov.uk/feasibility-study