More than 40 objections lodged over ‘300%’ larger replacement aggregate berth at Ramsgate Port

The old Berth 4/5

Dozens of objections have been lodged against Thanet council’s plans to replace the aggregates berth at Ramsgate Port with a much larger facility.

Thanet council says berth 4/5, currently used by Brett Aggregrates, is ending its operational life and the authority has a “legally binding agreement” to provide berth facilities for the company.

A budget of £887,000 is being used for the replacement.

The contract for the works has been awarded to Bam Nuttall – using one of the pontoons that was formerly part of a two-for-one deal rejected by councillors last December.

Pontoon at the East Pier Photo Brian Whitehead

The replacement pontoon will mean there is ability for a huge hike in capacity for the aggregate conveyor belt.

The current berth was built in 1998 and refurbished in 2006 and supports a 400 tonne per hour conveyor belt and is capable of docking 90m vessels.

The new berth will be fitted with a permanently fixed 3,000 tonne/hour conveyor… “to facilitate future expansion for the landing of bulk cargos, the trafficking of mobile plant and with a lifespan of a minimum of 30 years.” It will be capable of docking 120m vessels.

The fixture will also be moved further away from the ro-ro berth.

A prior approval application under a ‘general permitted development order’ for the works at the Crown Estate leased site has been made by Thanet council.

But the proposals have prompted more than 40 objections with many raising issues including why there has not been an Environmental Impact Assessment for the site despite its proximity to areas of Special Scientific Interest; why the council is paying for improvements not requested by Brett Aggregates, which leases the site; why the increased aggregates capacity and whether industrial expansion is planned.

Green councillor Becky Wing is among those to lodge objections to the plans. In her statement she says using General Permitted Development (GPD)  is not appropriate for a number of reasons.

These include the lack of an  Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) associated with the cement batcher.

She says: “A letter from TDC officer Doug Brown to Bretts, dated 28th May 2010 states that an Environmental Assessment was done, giving permission for the cement batcher to be developed. However, neither KCC nor Natural England (English Nature) have any record of this, and nor apparently does TDC.

“This has left us with a cement batching facility without any recorded planning consent or EIA for the current operation.”

She adds that the use of GPD by TDC means the council is both the ‘applicant’ and ‘appropriate authority’, “raising serious issues concerning potential conflict of interest.,” and says Kent County Council has the statutory responsibility to plan for future mineral supply and waste management’.

There are further issues raised about the application, including the lack of clarity over the expansion of the aggregates facility.

Photo Angela Stevens

Cllr Wing says: “The application states the new pontoon will be a ‘similar facility’ and a ‘broadly similar concept to the existing berth’. In terms of function this may well be correct, but it will in fact be over 300% larger in size, with a potential increase in conveyer capacity of 750% according to TDC’s own tender. TDC’s Marine Licence Application states that the increase in size will improve stability, but it is not clear why the increase in capacity is required.”

There are also fears over attempts for the conveyor to be used for other uses – such as the manufacturing and waste wood processing plan raised by the O’Regan group in 2015. This proposal did not come to fruition following fierce local opposition.

Other concerns include the financial cost at a time when Thanet council faces a large budget shortfall and the possible conflict with a port feasibility study commissioned by the council to look at future uses for the land. There are also questions over a lack of insight into cumulative impact regarding health and water supply contamination.

Brett Aggregates at Ramsgate Port

Cllr Wing adds: “My only intention is to ensure appropriate planning and environmental legislation, as well as marine licences, are applied and followed to the highest standard, so that both people and our environment are fully protected. In addition, as an elected member I am committed to ensuring that planning decisions are appropriately evidenced and have a sound business case so that the best value for council-taxpayers’ money is achieved. A failure to do this would be a failure to work in the best interest of residents, our communities and Thanet as a whole.”

Several questions regarding the berth replacement have been submitted for the full council meeting on October 15 but have been rejected because it is a ‘live planning application.’

Ramsgate Port

Among those questions was one from resident Matthew Hurling asking: “The land rental received from Brett’s over the 30-year life of the proposed pontoon is smaller than TDC’s financial outlay. In considering this and the massively increase pontoon capacity, could TDC confirm if they have plans for, or anticipate offering areas for additional industrial activity at the port?”

Work to replace the aggregates berth at Ramsgate Port is expected to start this November.

The contract start date had been set for September 14 but TDC previously raised concerns it could be delayed because the MMO wants the work screened for an environmental impact assessment.

Councillors were told delays could cost the authority up to £11k a week.

Thanet council says: “The proposal constitutes permitted development as described in Schedule 2, Part 18 Class A of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.  As such an application for prior approval has been submitted to Thanet District Council as the Local Planning Authority as described by the above legislation.”

The application can be seen on the Thanet planning portal using reference PA/TH/20/1092


  1. Sometimes our council managers, legal officers, planning departments and councillors make me feel embarrassed to be a resident or even to say I am from Thanet, considering all of the fiasco’s our representatives and employee’s manage to get the area into.

  2. I thought the Council had commissioned a feasibility study on the whole overall issue of the future of Ramsgate’s port and harbour. Have I imagined that? If I’m right how can they possibly go ahead with this scheme which preempts any recommendations that come from the study? And incidentally mops up any money that might have been available for an alternative, twenty first century future for this key Ramsgate asset.

  3. A bigger area would draw in bigger opportunities, however like sabotage Dawes on Manston Airport the sados like to throw their toys out of their prams and will moan about anything.

      • Really? Another ignorant response. Manston Airport was never for exclusive use of Thanetians. As a previous poster on this site has said, I also get so embarrassed by actions of local councillors, local authority, etc. I have lived/worked in Thanet for 36 years and nothing surprises me anymore with these antics.

        • Ok then, “Manston airport was ‘sabotaged’ by the people of Thanet and other parts of the world not using it enough to make a profit.”

  4. The commercial aspects of this proposal need to be seriously reviewed.

    TDC should be looking at the outlay being recouped in rent over a ten year period – and thereafter every year is profit.

    Additionally, the rateable value would need to be reviewed in line with a commercial rent – thus providing a further income stream.

    However – nobody at TDC has two brain cells that fire simultaneously . . .

  5. The heart of a Permitted Development issue is the legality of the original consent. Cllr Wing cays TDC Officer Doug Brown wrote to Bretts 2010 claiming environmental impact assessment was done.

    The Greens take two mutually exclusive positions. First to now reveal they are supportive of Jenny Dawes Manston Judicial Review. Second to question the efficacy and legality of the EIA Doug Brown claimed had occurred re Bretts.

    The Jenny Dawes Judicial Review conceals the issue of contaminated Manston aquifer sourced Public Water Supply.

    The Greens on one hand support the concealment of the issue for Manston JR purposes while on the other hand knowing Bretts are holding inquiry into the Manston sourced water supply aspect of the EIA Doug Brown declared.

    The Greens know I called in DEFRA DWI last year to secure ban on use of Manston aquifer. The Greens know that expert inquiry QEQM maternity tragedies, upon receipt of my report, scheduled research into the toxic hazards of the Manston aquifer PFOA pre eclampsia, foetal damage foetal morbidity.

    So we have Winnie and the Greens keeping schtum about Manston water supply aquifer for Jenny Dawes Judicial Review purposes. We have Winnie and the Greens opposing permitted development at Bretts without mentioning the Manston water supply aspect of Doug Browns EIA. And we have Winnie and the Greens cooing sypmathetically re Maternity Tragedy Inquiries checking out the water supply toxicity history. And we have Winnie and the Greens concealing they know Bretts is holding inquiry re implications of operating a plant with a contaminated water supply.

    Thanet Pick n Mix Greens.

  6. What on earth has the aquifer got to do with the Manston JR? I don’t think Ms Dawes’ intention is to hide anything: quite the opposite.

  7. I’d does rather seem to this lay person that the (very expensive and over specified) upgrade of the berth (using a costly secondhand pontoon) is being rushed through before the public consultation on the sustainable long term future of the port is completed. Something seems rather dodgy about all this, but I’m sure that TDC will welcome the opportunity to present their evidence of the need for this hurried spending in a time of global crisis.

  8. yet more complaints about a business that employs local people. do all these whingers have jobs or are they all retired, it seems that they want to put a stop to anyone or company that supports the local area. how about all the moaners go and live on the goodwin sands and leave the local area for people who want businesses to prosper so that there are jobs for the youngsters in the future. with all the job losses due to covid, job providers should be given all the encouragement they can be given, not throw obstacles in their way all of the time.

    • I agree with you totally. I am of the ‘older’ generation but am still of working age (just) and find it impossible to get a regular job as the work obviously what little there is is going to the young ones. This is the right thing although it does sometimes annoy me that us older people are not ’employable’ due to age. I love Thanet have lived here for over 20 years and would not want to live anywhere else. We NEED more work for this deprived area for everyone. Those who have retired and are on their pensions should except that there is a younger generation in the area who want to stay here and be able to WORK here.

  9. Well done Becky Wing. I would love to see published the ‘legally binding agreement’ TDC have with Brett Aggregates and the business case for this expensive upgrade to the berth. Whatever the agreement with Brett one would hope that TDC, acting on behalf of all council tax payers, are planning to make a profit out of the agreement and upgrade over the period of the contract. If not they should explain exactly why.

  10. The contract awarded to Brett in 2009 was £15K pa plus £2.5K when they put in the cement batcher. Rent is RP indexed divided by the RPI of the previous year. I make it that Brett is currently paying £19809 in rent for a site that is 1.38 hectares. As Port of Ramsgate is a KCC Minerals & Waste Safeguarded Wharf, no development is allowed within 200m of the Brett site. The dredging to put in the new berth is costing more than that. Furthermore, when I look online, I can see that TDC could have bought a second hand genuinely like-for-like pontoon for £300-£400k. So why spend £1.4 million on BAM Nuttall’s second hand pontoons? Has there been an engineering report on the BAM Nuttall pontoons?

  11. In countering some of the ridiculous comments on here that claim residents against this don’t want jobs in the area or ‘investment’ this couldn’t be further from the truth and speaks of just not reading or understanding the information available.

    – Brett’s employs only one local, yet benefits massively from local taxpayers’ funding, has a cement-batching facility on a prime seaward-facing position directly adjacent to four marine conservation reserves and two leisure bathing beaches & this proposal looks set to massively expand these activities and also potentially include incineration of London waste.

    With this information, consider these questions:
    – How many more jobs would this actually create for the taxpayers money vs how many tourists, residents, fishermen & visiting sailing boats would want to be here with waste incineration and ecologically-polluting activities.
    – how can a mixed use marina village, which is a far bigger jobs creator and currently undergoing feasibility consultations, be realistic when next to heavy industry area (I’m not talking about the wind farms, which are fine and employ many more staff)?
    – How much are a couple of extra jobs worth when set against the huge damage done to the environment and ecosystem?
    – Why should taxpayers, from a poor area, subsidise a large polluting company for potentially only single figure jobs, especially in the current financial climate?
    – Who in TDC/executive is also benefitting from these very dodgy dealings?
    – Where is the business plan, for spending taxpayers’ money, that should have been created over a year ago when these pontoons were first mooted?

    • I see that in your official objection you describe thRamsgate Main Sands and the WEstern Undercliff as being popular with wind-surfers and kite-surfers.I don’t know about the Western Undercliff but kite-surfing and wind-surfing take place ,sometimes, on part of Winterstoke beach. They are activities with a high element of risk for other beach and sea users, so they are not, in fact, suitable for a popular bathing beach.

      If you have evidence that sand and aggregate from Brett’s are blowing across to the Main Sands, could you please give me some references? As a frequent user of this beach, I am interested in its cleanliness. Thank you.

      • Hello Marva, do you share my confusion about why it is so abhorrent to use a port for shipping and industrial purposes? Perhaps I’m missing something but it doesn’t seem obvious to me that washing aggregates in seawater is a form of pollution.

  12. That part of the port could be a commercial success,seen it all before but the existing sea front concrete batching plant has a negative effect for developers.
    tdc have spent a lot of our cash on study’s, why they dont listen to their council tax payers is a mystery.
    There are property developers eager to start new developments on unusual/difficult locations,many are now ongoing which i see as positive.

    seen it all before,god help thanet tax payers.

  13. Get Jenny Dawes on the case, she is against everything in ramshite, oh and don’t forget the crowd funding page

  14. Why do all developments and proposals in Thanet appear so dodgy? I’m imagining plenty of brown envelopes and under the table dealings.

  15. Really great , don’t need planning permission or environmental impact study to erect a sand and gravel installation close to town, near a triple SSI , marine conservation area , could employ nearly 6 people ! Next thing would have happened without this development , would have attracted more people to the area as Ramsgate is far too attractive place to live . More hospitality businesses , gyms , foreign tourists . We would all be working a full week !! Whatever next !

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