Seafront lifts at Viking Bay and Ramsgate to remain shut due to being ‘beyond repair’

Closure sign (image Ruth Bailey)

The Viking Bay lift in Broadstairs and the Eastcliff lift in Ramsgate will remain shut,’ ward councillors have been told.

Signs informing people of the closures were installed today (April 1).

Broadstairs ward councillors have been informed that the Viking Bay lift was “beyond repair and any repairs were financially prohibitive so it would have to be permanently closed.”

One councillor says TDC said there is no money in the budget to finance the level of repairs required and that any repairs would not guarantee that the lift would last the season.

Members of Access Thanet previously asked for the Viking Bay lift to be reopened

On the Thanet council website a statement says: “Unfortunately our seaside lifts at Viking Bay and Ramsgate remain closed. Even if temporary repairs can be made to get the lifts open, contractors have advised there is no guarantee they will stay working during the season.

“A long-term strategy for both lifts will be formulated to consider their future. In the meantime, the council has measures in place to allow for alternative accessible routes to the beach, which include:

  • Matting installed at one side of the beach (Harbour Street, Broadstairs) to lengthen the boardwalk and allow for alternative accessible routes to the beach.
  • Installing four additional disabled parking bays at Harbour Street Car Park in mid April. Blue Badge holders will be reminded that they can park for free in any available parking bay providing they display their badge.”

When the Pavilion pub in Broadstairs is open there will be discussions about extending the agreement for disabled access through the venue’s garden.

Disability group Access Thanet say having the Viking Bay lift operational is essential for elderly and disabled people. Members have been campaigning for them to be reopened since last year.

Helen Kemp, who leads the group, says she was told “tens of thousands of pounds” would be required for repairs but has questioned how this figure has been reached. She said: “After money was spent last year, I was informed by a TDC senior officer that the Viking Bay lift was working on August 24. It’s therefore hard to understand why it’s now not useable.

“This matter cannot rest with so little information sharing and consultation.”
Photo Frank Leppard

The Grade II Eastcliff lift, which dates to 1910, recently underwent repairs after the roof was stripped. It was one of only five of the rare type of seaside structure which remained open to the public.

The lift ceased operations in the 1990s, and the structure subsequently fell into disrepair. In 1999 it was restored as part of a seafront regeneration scheme, and re-opened in April of that year.