Thanet District Council has appointed Alan Baxter Ltd, a leading design and conservation consultancy, to complete an appraisal of the conservation area in Ramsgate.
The project has been funded with a £30,000 grant from Historic England as a key part of the Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone scheme.
The first Ramsgate conservation area was designated in 1970, with 2020 marking its 50th anniversary. It is the largest conservation area in Thanet and is designated by the council because of its distinctive character. It covers most of the town centre, from the listed buildings near the top of the High Street down to the Royal harbour, and spans west to include Pugin’s The Grange and east to the Pulhamite-bordered Winterstoke Gardens.
The Heritage Action Zone project to review Ramsgate’s conservation area began in 2018 when community volunteers, including members of the Ramsgate Heritage and Design Forum and the Ramsgate Society, worked with Historic England to assess different parts of the town.
Data collated during this volunteer exercise will be reviewed by Alan Baxter Ltd, which will produce a final document with recommendations, ahead of a public consultation this summer.
The appraisal will set out the special historic and architectural significance of Ramsgate’s conservation area, and proposals for its future management. It will outline positive areas and those suitable for change and will be used together with other planning policy documents to inform decisions on future development.
The public consultation exercise will allow residents to have their say on the draft documentation which will be used to guide planning application decisions. Thanet District Council intends to adopt the conservation area appraisal following the consultation.
Alan Baxter Ltd is preparing an owners’ guide, which will be available on the Thanet District Council website, for people living and working in the conservation area. The guide will explain what the conservation area protections cover and provide practical advice, including best practice for adapting buildings for climate change and to reduce carbon emissions.
Cllr Ruth Duckworth, Cabinet Member for Estates and Economic Development at Thanet District Council, said: “I am very pleased to see this work taking place which will shape the future management of Ramsgate’s heritage within the conservation area for years to come and will help to inform future conservation area appraisals in the district.
“I hope to see as many local residents as possible engaging with the public consultation process this summer. Your feedback will help us further refine the document and inform our understanding of the area, what makes it special, its challenges and opportunities.”
John Willans, consultant at Alan Baxter added: “We are delighted to be working with Thanet District Council to produce an Appraisal and Owners’ Guidance that will help manage change in one of the UK’s finest conservation areas. Ramsgate is of immense architectural and historical significance and every street reveals a different aspect of the town’s remarkable story.
“The passion and engagement of local residents with their heritage is abundantly clear – they know the town better than anyone, and the volunteer input has been an invaluable resource. These documents will be very practical tools for residents, council officers and applicants alike, designed to offer constructive support for building conservation and sustainable urban renewal.
“In collaboration with leading specialists Prewitt Bizley Architects, they will also include advice for adapting buildings for climate change and to reduce carbon emissions, advice that we hope will become a model for local authorities and communities all over the country as we start to gear up for a zero carbon future.”
Emily Gee, Regional Director for London and the South East at Historic England, said: “Taking a fresh look at Ramsgate’s conservation area is a major part of the Heritage Action Zone scheme. The final appraisal will be a really useful tool for making the most of Ramsgate’s rich architectural legacy so that it works for everyone now and in the future.”