Cost of aggregates berth replacement project at Ramsgate Port spirals to £2.3million

The old Berth 4/5

A Thanet council project to replace berth 4/5 at Ramsgate Port has spiralled from an original £1.497 million budget to £2.322million.

The hike in cost has been blamed on an “unanticipated delay” due to the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be undertaken for planning and marine licence consents.

Floating Berth 4/5 transfers aggregates from ship to shore but the existing berth was decommissioned in November when Thanet council said it needed to be removed “as a matter of urgency.”

Brett Aggregates, which uses the berth, is currently bringing gravels in by road to the site at the Port of Ramsgate

The council said the berth required significant maintenance last year to keep it in service and had suffered damage during the high winds and rough seas.

The berth replacement work was originally postponed until early this year after Thanet council conceded that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was needed. The authority said this would mean a delay in works until October this year.

Brett Aggregates at Ramsgate Port

The council has a contractual obligation with Brett Aggregates to provide a berth for the handling of aggregates and a tender was awarded to Bam Nuttall last year for the replacement of the berth, using one of the pontoons that was formerly part of a two-for-one deal rejected by councillors in December 2019.

In October 2020 Thanet District Council acknowledged that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would be needed as part of the Prior Approval application for the replacement of Berth 4/5.

A statement was released at the time confirming that the project would be delayed.

Now Cabinet members are being asked to make an urgent decision to approve more spending as costs rise.

The report says: “The delay in progressing and completing the project has directly impacted upon the overall scheme cost. The additional costs (over and above the approved £1.497m budget value) as a result of the delay are estimated at £825k, bringing the revised total estimated costs to £2.322m.

“The increase consists of additional revenue costs totalling £445k and capital expenditure totalling £380k.”

Bam Nuttall pontoon Photo Brian Whitehead

Incurred costs include an additional £261,000 to works contractors Bam Nuttall and £180,000  to Brett Aggregates for the cost of transporting gravels  by lorry, as well as £55,000 for connection to services on quayside such as power and water which was not included in the original contract. There is also a need for £50,000 for dredging.

Some £105,000 will be taken from existing budgets but that still leaves a shortfall of £720,000.

Part of the funding will be found through borrowing £275k. The report says: “Over the expected 20 year life of the pontoon this will result in an annual debt repayment of £13.5k and interest payments of £6k. There is no provision in the revenue budget for this £19.5k increase in the council’s debt and interest repayments and as such will increase the budget gap forecast for 2022-23.”

The EIA is yet to be carried out, meaning £55,000 is needed to fund this work from next month.

Cabinet members are also being asked to approve  £325k capital budget funding and an additional £445k revenue costs.

The report says if Cabinet members do not approve the additional funding it will require the decision to be taken to full council in September for consideration. This would result in further delay and a further increase in costs for the council.

The revised project completion date is now August 19 2022. It had originally been January 31 of this year.

The  outcomes from the EIA are required to be completed before a marine licence process or Prior Approval application can be resumed.

The replacement pontoon will mean there is capability for a hike in capacity for the aggregate conveyor belt. The old berth supported a 400 tonne per hour conveyor belt and was capable of docking 90m vessels.

Old berth in green, proposed new in red

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.

Dozens of objections were lodged against the  proposal for a much larger replacement facility.

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

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

16 Comments

  1. all the many thousands of pounds that are paid by the off shore wind farms for use of the harbour ( which we never hear about ) might go towards this ?

  2. The key question is which senior TDC executive member has responsibility for the port ? They should be held accountable for the extra £800k cost to the taxpayer as, if they were competent at their job in the first place, they should have known an EIA was needed.

    These is something the Cabinet should be looking into as part of their decision making.

  3. TDC will use Bretts to dig the hole for Thanet as we sink deeper and deeper into debt.
    Who in heavens name draws up a contract omitting to state that they and not TDC are responsible for all power and water supplies. Heaven Help us

  4. What happens if the EIA report comes back negative ? more cost for the local council tax payers to stump up, how long can tdc keep pick pocketing us.

    Cost on this project is out of control even before work starts, £3m+ is accurate for the finished done and dusted job.

    Seen it all before,

  5. TDC couldn’t care less they don’t want business here they just want houses so more Londoner’s can move in, and all the other unwanted. Instead of there new offices they want ( about 3million cost) they should use that to pay and any short full should be meet by there own wage/ bonus for the endless cock ups. Better still cut all bonuses out and pay no one on tdc no more than a fixed 10 year wage of £50,000. We got monkeys so pay peanuts🙈🙉🙊🥜

    • Considering how unpopular the idea of thousands of new houses in Thanet is with the general population of Thanet, it’s difficult to believe that TDC does “just want houses”.

      Of course, it is the government which “wants houses”, and Thanet is far from being the only area which is having huge numbers of newbuilds foisted on them.

  6. I bet breats are laughing all the way to the bank. Ramsgate taxpayers funding their transport cost. Total incompetence from Ramsgate council again.

  7. So, with all the extra benefits Brett’s will enjoy from the extra expenditure it would only be fair to up their rent each year by a similar amount on that part of the port so the taxpayer can see some claw back on it.

  8. As it’s only Brett’s that use this berth the 2 million bill doesn’t seem warranted. Unless of course the cost is cover in the contract with Brett’s for the use of the birth and docks.

    If the 2 million is covered by Brett’s contract with TDC than crack on, if its covered by us rate payers than ‘ do one’. Scrap it and let Brett’s move to dover.

    If lots of ships were using the berth and the harbour than fine as the harbour cost could cover it. But 2 million for one operator, no I dont think so.

    • That’s all very well, but it will in reality all be down to the agreement/ lease entered into between TDC and Bretts. IF it was written in a manner that makes TDC responsible for the costs then there’s no way of avoiding the costs.
      If that is the case then it’ll be just another example of a deal entered into by TDC with no real idea of what they were doing either as a result of ineptitude , carelessness, ignorance or a cosy deal.
      We’ve seen it all before with Pleasurama, the animal export disaster, the multi storey car parks and are currently awaiting to reap the crop sown in respect of Dreamland. ( in terms of wasted public money and loss of control of huge swathe of margate seafront) , not to mention any financial settlement of the oft mentioned dispute over the original CPO,the councils partnership with Paramount and associated partners is going to be seen in years to come as a massively expensive experiment. If the council goes ahead with the “reprovision” of insulation on the tower blocks there’ll be another massive bill to deal , and thats without the current huge outlays being done on the social housing stock that was not done during the EKH debacle and its attendant additional costs due to disrepair, with and no doubt the general council taxpayer will be expected to subsidise the social housing department yet again.
      There are likely 10’s of millions in outstanding liabilites that currently have no funding in place.
      Plus no doubt many other examples about which we’ll never know anything as a result of non disclosure and gagging agreements/orders.
      Decades of poor governance have dragged thanet to its knees financially and unfortunately there’s no sign that lessons have been learnt.

  9. If TDC had been allowed to get on with the job, without interference from entitled outraged residents, it would have been over and done with at 1/3 the price by now.

    • But surely its the job of TDC and its officers to make sure the proposals they put forward have been thoroughly prepared and all the t’s crossed and ii’s dotted thus not leaving the possibility for successful intervention by those with concerns over due process. In other words TDC should have done its job properly.

  10. Political parties of all colours have to carry some responsibility for this project and the rest of the financial mess that is TDC.
    However, elected members come and go, the conitinuous link between all of the shambles described by LC above is down to incompetent officers and poor leadership – council leaders have been spineless in recent years, will the current one be any better?

  11. Yet more incompetence from TDC over this contract. They should get external lawyers to look at this lease to see if there is a way out of it that would be lower cost for the council tax payers of Thanet over the medium to long term. An aggregates plant is not what is needed if the port could be used for the servicing of the offshore wind farms and leisure development which has got to be the way forward in a post Covid world. Instead of blighting our best assets we should be using them to attract people and businesses to invest in Ramsgate.

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