Thanet Cabinet members agree to measures for estimated £2.7million repair works at Royal Crescent and for ‘recharging’ to leaseholders to be assessed at Tribunal

Royal Crescent in Ramsgate

Cabinet members at Thanet council have approved proposals to put out to tender a contract for repair works to flats at Ramsgate’s Royal Crescent buildings which could see leaseholders facing significant costs.

Leaseholders in one block will face estimated worst case scenario bills of between £177,000 and  £217,000 while those in the second property could fork out between £94,000 and £164,000..

However, the contract price for the costs will now be referred to an independent body to assess and make recommendation on the proportion to be paid by leaseholders, deputy leader Helen Whitehead told the meeting this evening (April 29).

The council owns the freehold of two parts of the Grade II listed property in St Augustine’s Road, from numbers 4-15 and 19-23.

These are divided into 16 and six flats respectively, of which 12 are tenanted -so will not be billed – and 10 sold as leasehold, under the right-to-buy legislation. Six of these properties are sub-let.

The leaseholders face paying a share of an estimated £2.778 million repair bill across the two sites. This means three properties will be due to pay up in numbers 19-23 and seven in 4-15.

Thanet council says it needs to carry out essential structural works and passive fire works to both buildings, which are Grade II listed.

Due to the age, heritage value, risk and complexity of the property, the delivery of the programme will span over three to four years and the council has appointed specialist consultants in the lead up to putting the job out to tender.

A document to council Cabinet members says the current pre-tender cost projection for the whole project is £2.778m and includes essential structural repairs, water tightness and fire safety measures. This sum could be lower once tender bids are received.

The council will “recharge legitimate costs to leaseholders,” giving them the choice of paying off the bill in instalments across a number of years with a voluntary legal charge registered against the property or of having a legal charge registered against the property, requiring repayment in the event of the flat being sold.

At a meeting this evening (April 29) the measures were agreed subject to approval of full council.

Ward councillor Becky Wing spoke at the meeting but was not entitled to vote as she is not a Cabinet member.

She said the costs were a “serious, life-changing” amount and outlined leaseholders concerns at a lack of communication, historic neglect of the building and a lack of detail around the scope of works.

Cllr Wing asked for the decision to be delayed until leaseholders had been met and consulted with but acting council leader Helen Whitehead said approval to go out to tender had to be agreed before the stage of consultation could take place.

She said delaying a vote would: “Delay significant and fundamental works that need to happen to the blocks.”

Director of Housing, Bob Porter, said residents in the blocks would receive monthly newsletters about the project on top of any meetings with council staff and members.

Cllr Whitehead said that the costs to leaseholders was something the council was “acutely aware of” and to give “a greater degree of surety” the charges would be referred to the First Tier Land Tribunal for scrutiny. The tribunal is an independent body that deals with settling of disputes in relation to leasehold property and the private rented sector.

The Tribunal will then recommend the proportion of charge for leaseholders. Cabinet members agreed to the measure of recharging after this independent review to recommend the amount to be billed.

Leaseholders at the two blocks have formed the Royal Crescent Action Group to oppose  the scheme.

Resident Jeremy Millar said tenants and leaseholders do not dispute work needs to take place, and in fact have been asking for repairs to be carried out for several years, but they are bewildered at how such a large cost has been reached. He added: “The level is extraordinary, it is the cost of a rebuild not repairs.”

Cllr Whitehead pledged that carrying out of the project would be ‘transparent’ and consultation would take place as soon as possible once the move to put the contract out to tender had been agreed.


  1. Typical TDC many years of no upkeep and ignoring tenants reporting faults. So now costs to repair are really high and so parsing the cost to leaseholders therefore costing the council nothing for repairs to a property they own. What this council does is in your face robbery to all in Thanet. Time to vote out this bunch of fools

  2. Well of course they agreed it. They just agree everything the officers want. Bunch of nodding dogs. Roll on a change of ruling party who will actually remind senior managers who are the democratically elected leaders of the Council.

  3. So if all the leaseholders opt for the charge on their flat until its sold tdc will be fronting nthe cash for what could be years. A sensible compromise for the leaseholders but an awful deal for the council tax payer , unless of course its met out of the social housing budget at the council , which would only be fair as its the housing department that have created the mess.
    All for the sake of timely repairs as required over the years.

  4. If the leaseholders have been complaining for years about the problems, perhaps they should have got themselves organised sooner and set up a sinking fund towards these costs. I have had a flat since 1988 and shortly after moving in found the managing agents were not doing essential repairs etc. I created a Residents Association and we immediately set up our own sinking fund, paying something on a monthly basis so that when works were eventually carried out, we had a good amount in the fund towards the costs. We have continued to pay extra into the fund ever since and now never have to pay any large sum towards any repairs – usually just a few hundred pounds each and the balance comes from the sinking fund. Of course we still have monthly maintenance charges as well.

  5. Bought under “right-to buy”. And some of them then sub-let. The right-to-buy legislation has been extremely damaging. The sooner it’s rescinded the better.

    • The social housing sector could get its own house in order first by ensuring that official tenant actually lives in the property and is not subletting it. Start with these people who are profitting from state subsidised housing and not paying tax, then look at the properties that have changed hands legally.
      Plus in this instance rtb has save the district a million or so, which will be way more than they were sold for.

  6. The people profiting from rtb are those ex tenants who bought their council houses at huge discounts (costing taxpayers money), then subsequently putting them up for rent at market prices. Even though they have next to no (or indeed none) mortgage to pay, and little other outgoing, they still charge their tenants obscene monthly rents. And if the tenant is on benefits, then that costs us taxpayers too.
    Right to buy was a scheme devised by Thatcher to a)get voted and b) move public money even more quickly into private bank accounts.

    • But the labour government that had the keys to No.10 after Maggie were quite happy to let RTB to continue.

        • My point was that everyone blames the policy on Thatcher (who introduced it) but never say a word about labours decision not to do away with the scheme. So effectively there’s been cross party agreement that its a popular policy.

  7. Blame Margaret Thatcher for allowing social housing to be sold off, its tough on leaseholders but their solicitors would have made them aware of the risks regarding repairs and improvements, pretty sure they didn’t consider these costs,when they got the discounts on purchase price.

  8. As a former member of the Chartered Institute of Building I must say that buying any flat means living a nightmare! Leaseholders are tenants in law, and don’t own a brick! Any dispute with the owners of the property can be taken to a Leasehold Tribunal, a costly and often fruitless exercise! Leaseholders are jointly responsible for the maintenance of the “Common Parts”, but “Improvements” cannot be imposed, and are not enforceable. Forming a Residents Association is a good idea, but check the lease to see how this can be constituted! In many cases owners may refuse to recognise a Residents Asociation, but that doesn’t mean one can’t be formed! Many flats that have been let out, either legally or illegally, will be a problem, as they will not want to contribute to any maintenance costs! The 3 golden rule are: Never buy a flat, never buy a flat, never buy a flat!

    • You are aware that not all flats are leasehold? I think the golden rules are never buy any leasehold flat only freehold. Next never buy a freehold flat in a crap area. Finally only buy a freehold flat that has 10 plots or less. But of course the best type of home is a detached house / bungalow.

        • Not really, its common sense. If your talking about my last sentence then yes, not just my opinion though, look at valuations. I live in a flat by the way I’m assuming you do, nothing wrong with that, unless its leasehold of course!

  9. Agree with ‘Dumpton’ having been former part owner occupier at Hyde Housing Association who sold out to Riverside when it suited them! At Fortuna Court, Ramsgate Hyde HOUSING also IGNORED LAWS CONCERNING TREE FELLING SLAYING SONGBIRDS ETC & MULTITUDE OF other chicks strewn round development with mature trees 20+ years old MASSACRED DOZENS, FORTUNATELY I WAS called immediately it was realised MANY unable to be saved despite help from nearby vet practice, then to ANIMED for long term FREE care to raise any survivors. I gave EVIDENCE to have a prosecution under contravention of the WILDLIFE & COUNTRYSIDE ACTS contravened.Another OAP resident got CHAINSAW to massacre more, WARNED HE IGNORED & got from car boot a MACHETE I RANG 999 NO POLICE COR OVER 1 HOUR AFTER OTHERS REPORTED HE GOT AWAY WITH IT & POLICE WONDER WHY we fail to trust them- O.K. if they want our help though! I now OWN MY OWN HOME, disaster 4+ years ago despite fully insured I could not get insurer to respond to escape of water, leaving dream retirement from NHS home UNINHABITABLE having to still pay utilities council tax etc kennelling, alternative accommodation, STORAGE £2k a month AS INSURER TOOK IT ANY SOLICITORS who can GET JUSTICE AS IRA BOMB COMPENSATION ALL SPENT BUT TDC NO HELP. SAY SELL.

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