The opening of the Viking Bay lift is now unlikely to take place until July and the East Cliff lift in Ramsgate is not expected to open at all this year.
An expected date of June 21 had previously been announced to open the Viking Bay lift but a report to Thanet council Cabinet members says due to some parts needing to be bespoke repairs will ‘likely be completed at the beginning of July.’
Procurement for repairs is complete with parts currently being manufactured. There is a needed minimum spend of £17.4k just to get the lift running for the season. This money has been allocated from TDC’s Brexit Readiness pot, and will ensure that this lift is operational in the remainder of the summer season.
A further £1,700 is in the budget for servicing.
The report says that in the long term, consideration should be given to upgrading the lift at an estimated cost of £45,000.
The Ramsgate Edwardian Lift is unlikely to be opened at all this year.
Insurance work valued at £48,000 has been undertaken to repair damage following the theft of lead from the roof but a further estimated £20,000 is required to replace and repair the first floor entrance. The report says there is some concern with the structural integrity of the Edwardian lift in Ramsgate, which was built in 1912. There are signs that the building is possibly moving causing problems with the operation of the lift doors and architrave. A full report from the building surveyor is expected imminently.
Arrangements are being put in place for TDC cleansing staff to open, clean and switch the lifts on/off every morning/evening when they are operational.
Discussions are ongoing with Your Leisure and beach concession to agree that they will check the lift operation throughout the course of the day and be available to assist with any lift failure until the lift engineer arrives. A manager will now be responsible for both lifts in charge of operational arrangements, budget, contracts and safety.
It was announced in April that surveys would be carried out on both lifts with a view to bringing them back into operation following an outcry when ‘permanently shut’ notices were placed on both lifts at the start of that month.
Thanet resident Barry Stickings launched a petition asking the district council to make repairs to and reopen the lifts and he says he will continue to campaign until they are open all year around. More than 4,000 people have signed his petition.
Barry, whose son Toby is blind, told councillors at a meeting earlier this month: “We need the lifts designated for disabled people and open 365 days a year. We have to spend that money or we are denying people with disabilities access to the beaches and lower areas.
“The petition will grow and I won’t stop until the day I hear the lifts at Broadstairs and Ramsgate are open permanently not just for the summer season.
“That would be a fantastic step forward.”
Cabinet members will discuss the latest lift update at a meeting tomorrow (June 17).