A Town Investment Plan for Ramsgate has been launched with proposals for schemes including investment in local businesses, youth employment, new cafes, hotels and restaurants, restoring historic sites, creating better public spaces, cycle paths and crossings and leisure attractions.
The Ramsgate Future Town Investment Plan is based on schemes using funding of £600,000 from the Future High Street Fund, £2,7million from the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ), and £19.8million from the Levelling Up Fund with the hope of gaining additional grants and private investment.
The scheme is mainly focused on the town, seafront and port and East Cliff although other areas, including Newington, also feature.
Thanet council leader Ash Ashbee said: “The aim of the Town Investment Plan is to outline the potential opportunities in supporting Ramsgate’s future. It has been created by the people of Ramsgate who identified what they would like for the town. The council commissioned specialists to support activities to engage local stakeholders – businesses, community groups, funding partners, members of the public – to understand the ideas and solutions for Ramsgate.
“The Ramsgate Town Investment Plan marks a huge step forward in the regeneration of Ramsgate. It sets out very clearly the projects that have been identified as being of greatest value to the town. The fact that the Plan has been created by people who live and work in Ramsgate, and who care about its future and the changes that will make the greatest impact, only adds to its importance. I look forward to seeing the wide range of projects as they start to take shape.”
South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay attended the stakeholder launch and said the £19.8million Levelling Up funding for Ramsgate was “only the start” with private sector funding also playing its art.
He highlighted the schemes to renovate Ramsgate’s clockhouse and remodel the area in Pier Yard for public space use, renovate the Smackboys Home building to create a social enterprise/training boutique hotel, his keenness for schemes that would boost Ramsgate’s fishing industry – such as the plans for a new fish restaurant and linked fish market – and the need to focus on Net Zero funding and business at the Port.
Chris Paddock, from consultants PRD, is among those who has been collecting statistical evidence and developing the plan.
He said many striking elements were instantly visible for Ramsgate in terms of deprivation, and restricted job and economy growth but also in potential for the plan.
He said Ramsgate’s job economy has not grown for a decade and many businesses needed help to grow.
The investment plan aims to provide support and advice for local businesses, turn underused spaces to provide affordable workspace, reduce reliance on seasonal trade, support year round marine jobs, increase skills and training and build on locational advantages to create opportunities within Green and Low carbon sectors.
With youth unemployment in Ramsgate almost 10% higher than in England on average and unemployment in the over 50s twice as high as the England average. Plans also include getting capital investment to provide opportunities for apprenticeships, skills and training and investment in young people’s infrastructure and places where they can spend time including parks, open spaces and youth programmes. The plan also highlights poor pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and the need for public spaces for residents and visitors.
Ramsgate’s tourism economy is also the focus for improvements with suggestions for new hotels and possibly a spa at Townley House, finding ways to make people feel safer in the town, having events and festivals and seeing Ramsgate’s market return. Investment in inclusive mobility measures that will make Ramsgate more accessible for all are also included.
Using the town’s heritage to build a strong identity is also an aim with the use of heritage assets to provide new business or cultural spaces and a suggestion for sharing information through more publications, podcasts and events and activities.
At the East Cliff suggestions include new green open space and wilding of the public realm, more cafes and publicly accessible toilets, renovating listed structures and finding opportunities to create a new beach club, open to everyone. Ramsgate Town Council has already worked on plans for a beach club and is investing in Radford House which will have community uses alongside town council business.
Other proposals include a new community cafe along the High Street and looking at opportunities to refurbish the Argos building as a cultural hub and accessible workspace, re-use of the Granville Theatre and further expansion at Ramsgate Tunnels – which is already happening through the work of the team at the Tunnels.
Projects have been split in categories ranging from immediate to long term and some are funded – such as Green Campus proposals for the Port and other schemes included in the Levelling Up Fund bid -while others are “aspirational.”
County Councillor representing Ramsgate, Karen Constantine, said: “I welcome this report, and the video and information associated with it, highlight the potential of a much brighter future for Ramsgate. I noted with interest the section on inclusivity, and I feel that this is one of the most important aspects, as much of Ramsgate is inaccessible to those in wheelchairs, using walking aids, mobility scooters, and of course pushchairs.
“So I hope that every aspect of this plan is genuinely inclusive for people with limited mobility. I hope that this access can be extended to ensuring, like many of our European cousins, people with disabilities can also gain access to the beach and the sea.