Ramsgate trader shuts shop for good due to lack of market ‘killing’ town footfall

Jim Brady has shut his Heaven and Hell store saying he can't survive any longer without trade that the market brought

A Ramsgate trader has shut down his business after 13 years of trade from shops and more than a decade before that as a stall holder because the lack of the market has ‘killed footfall.’

Jim Brady ran Heaven and Hell gifts in Harbour Street for 10 years before redevelopment of the building meant he had to move to a new site in the High Street in 2021.

But the grandad-of-two says town trade has relied on Friday and Saturday market days for the majority of weekly income and without that there is a lack of people in the High Street. Last year he launched a petition calling for the return of the market to rejuvenate the town.

Jim, 54, says his takings had been down some 60-70% due to the market closure and he was simply unable to carry on. This month he sold his stock and closed the shop.

Ramsgate town empty on a Friday Photo Jim Brady

The town market shut when covid restrictions were brought in during March 2020. It briefly reopened in June of that year but issues around placement meant the market closed again. A new site proposed for Pier Yard car park on the seafront was scuppered at the 11th hour.

Traders were then given the go-ahead to use Staffordshire Street car park, taking space in several disabled parking bays. But there was a drop in traders taking part on Fridays and none willing to set up for business at the site on Saturdays.

Ramsgate market Photo Maxine Morgan

The low number of stalls meant falling income, with then-operator Hughmark making a decision to cease trade in the town.

In October 2020 Thanet council said there were plans to create a new Canterbury style format with gazebos and themed days and the market contract would go out to tender. This did not come to fruition.

In June last year Cabinet members approved proposals to secure a new operator for the market, and to remove existing street trading and hawking restrictions on the High Street, King Street and Queen Street. The market was expected to be up and running this Spring but this did not happen.

Last month councillors were told an amendment is needed to traffic regulations over access to the High Street, King Street, Queen Street  and Harbour Street  and  that work is taking place on documents ahead of inviting expressions of interest from operators.

Too late for Jim

But it is all too late for Jim who says he has no idea what the future now holds for him although he may stand for council at a future election.

The dad-of-four said: “There is no footfall in the town since the loss of the market. One day of the market would see more footfall than the rest of the week. It’s affected all the shops because there is no market to bring people into town.

“My takings were down 60 to 70%. The council managed to let Margate have a weekly market in the Old Town. When I spoke to my local councillor she said it is a different council but it’s not, it is Thanet and Kent councils that approve the closure of the roads. Ramsgate had a weekly market for years, for longer than I have been here, but we are still waiting.

“If the market had come back by Easter I might have stood a chance but there is no point hanging on, losing money week after week, when there is no idea of when it will come back.”

Jim’s shop is now empty

Jim says trade has suffered further because toilets in the town are shut and the opening of Home Bargains on the old Aldi site in Boundary Road, with a free car park, means shoppers will use that instead of paying £1.50 for an hour at Staffordshire Street car park.

He said: “In town we all got run off from the other shops, so someone in Card Factory might go and look in Bonmarche or go down to Wilko. But a lot of people come to town for Poundland and Home Bargains does 99% of the same stuff at the same price but with free parking, If you only want a pint of milk why would you pay (£1.50) parking?”

Jim says the High Street area needs help but believes the focus for Ramsgate is the seafront and harbour area.

This is prompted by plans for the £19.8million Levelling Up government grant for Ramsgate with proposals including a Green port, restaurant and hotel and a project for The Clock House which features a town square proposal at Pier Yard car park.

He said: “All the investment is for the seafront and harbour, the council seems to be killing off the town. They have plan to set up a town square by Wetherspoon (Pier Yard car park). Why do you want a town square that is not in the town unless you are trying to move the whole focus of the town to the seafront?”


  1. I can’t understand why we have Ramsgate Town Council – Thanet District Council and Kent County Council. Ramsgate Town Council should be solely responsible for Ramsgate in everything that happens or doesn’t happen whatever the case may be. Since 1974 when the Town Councils lost a lot of their say it has been a case of declining trade and everything being run down. There is no new trade coming in from anywhere, Pfizer has closed ( at least to how big it was) Sally line closed Kent coalfields closed Manston Airport closed BHS closed – Debenhams closed – Marks & Spencer closed in Ramsgate and Margate. Rooks Closed. Numerous other businesses have tried to make a go of it and failed. The Market closed. Thats what enraged me and many others to think that Ramsgate Town Council was actively putting up £10,000 of tax payers money to help keep Manston Airport Closed. What I would like to know is WHAT BENEFITS have been had by all those businesses closing down???? Absolutely fa.

    • What pleased me and many others was RTC putting up £10,000 to support a Judicial Review that quashed the Secretary of State’s illegal decision.
      The state of Ramsgate’s town centre is the same as many, many other towns where a Shopping Mall has opened near by. People, utterly dependent on their cars, would rather go to a Mall with “free” parking (it’s not really free: Tesco, Wikes, M&S and so on are not philanthropists).
      But I’m pleased that there are still enough shopping opportunities in Ramsgate to do day-to-day shopping. Butchers, bakers, banks, building societies, Wilkes, Smiths, Boots ….

      • Just ignore the lack of a market. It obviously suits your narrative. I for one used to often visit on market days, but don’t bother now. I’m not overkeen on the idea of an airport, but I know i’m not the only resident who would’ve preferred to see that money spent on reviving the market!

    • Bill you lost me, are you saying the RTC should have used our money in supporting Pfizer,BHS, Woolworths etc etc lol.

      You support the airport but never answer any points as to how the airport is going to over come is poor geographical position, poor infrastructure, no decent road or rail, no fuel grid.

    • Manston is in the wrong place- it could not be a successful commercial airport. Tony Freudmann is just nuts about opening short-lived airports. RTC did the right thing in helping to fund the judicial review. If the decision to grant permission for an airport at Manston had been made on strongly plausible grounds, a judicial review would surely not have been granted.

  2. Andrew, you are very consistent in what you say in talking such rot. You have the only one in the village mentality.

  3. Bill. 10k on a democratic mandate is to be applauded. Unlike the hundreds of thousands squandered by TDC trying to get the dead duck flying.

    A huge dirty cargo plane 500 feet over the High Street every 15 mins will be the final nail in the coffin.

    Nobody can prove there is a need, and everyone knows it isn’t viable. On account of going bust multiple times under the same stewardship as the same failed aviator now pushing the RSP spin.

    Regarding the market. If road regulations were not needed to be changed last time we had a market, why do they need changing now?

    If they do need changing, what needs changing, how long will it take, will it cost any money and who is doing it?

    • Dirty cargo plane, what about the dirty drug dealers and users. You can smell both when you go out. I, for one, would prefer the smell of the plane’s than to breathe in someone else’s marijuana.

  4. Ramsgate Town Council, and Thanet District Council only think about their pockets and expenses. The truth is this has been going on for so many years that people do not realise it. I really feel sorry for Jim, and all the other local businesses that have had to close. Out of town shopping in now becoming the norm, but the transport system to get there is to expensive and not good enough. According to recent information given by this site, and the news, it might seem a good idea to close everything in Ramsgate and let it become a town that is undesirable to visit due to safety reasons. ( How many people have been stabbed, or ended up in hospital form incidents in Rammsgate this year) ?

      • You tell me. Just look at the news, and what happend a couple of weeks ago. Agree more people haven’t been stabbed, because fortunately there are more good people than bad. I’m not negative, if people were negative they wouldn’t leave there houses, but there again, negative things can happen in the relative safety of your own property.

        • “It might seem a good idea to close everything in Ramsgate”- I hope that was not meant seriously, but the fact that it was written at all indicates a certain negativity in the writer.

  5. The only reason ,I visit Ramsgate is to use the banks, and that’s because they are the nearest,after the ones near me ,where closed down ,the harbour area is great ,but the rest ,is really not very nice ,and after visiting Ramsgate on quiz nights ,I mood changes ,because of the idiots that frequent town centres at night,and that means so town centres ,try Canterbury ,after dark ,you won’t go back ,I assure you,I know because ,I have been there at night ,crazies everywhere

    • Some friends and I went into one of the ‘Spoons in Canterbury, after a concert.
      We’re all Senior Citizens.
      To say it was lively was to put it mildly!
      But, some young people there vacated a table, “found” some extra seats, and cleared a way (like Moses and the Red Sea) through the throng to the bar. It was a bit too noisy for my taste, but at no time did we feel the slightest bit uneasy.

  6. Councils have a tendency to over do the bureaucracy!

    Thats why it’s very important to vote in councillors who listen to the residents and remove them if they don’t.

  7. @real world, old crap? This is a man’s livelihood that your mocking. Maybe you don’t understand what that means to be a hard working family man, considering you sit at home all day getting ‘crap’ off ebay. He wasn’t forcing his “crap” (as u call it) onto ppl, to them it wasn’t crap. Unlike ur crap comment, being forced onto us. Looking down your nose at ppl, thinking your better. With a soul like yours TRUST ME..YOU AINT!

  8. Let’s get real, i never write on these but read the comments on here and thought well why not, I wish the guy all the best and feel for him. He gets up and goes to work to support his family. Regarding the airport, well what can I say, 5 years time we will all be saying the same crap and Jenny Dawes will be on her 30th appeal with no doubt more of our money. One thing he said is right, I went to ramsgate for something last week, paid for parking and to be fair after walking around the town would have felt safer parking in Afghanistan. Thanet council, use the money you charge us all and sort it for once. I couldn’t care less what people write after this but speak for most I speak to in that in ten years time we will still have a deserted airport that has been there since I was born doing bugger all. Personally I think give them a go with the airport as no one else is coming forward with the money do do anything else with it. Reality is we live in Thanet and unless someone in the council grows a pair and actually does something, we are all wasting our time.

    • Deserted airport?
      Yes. Hardly anyone used it. That’s why it went bust.
      Coming forward with the money?
      Who? No-one knows, and RSP are refusing to say. But the reason the CPO application was turned down (twice) by TDC is that RiverOak would not or more likely could not show where the money was.
      Have you ever been to Afghanistan?

    • I feel safe in Ramsgate- I walk into the town centre and back almost every day.I enjoy being there. Ramsgate is not the ruinous almost-deserted dump that the author of the article makes it out to be.

      “Fact not crap”‘s comment “would have felt safer parking in Afghanistan” is an appallingly insensitive thing to say considering what is happening in Afghanistan.

      • Utter RUBBISH-Ramsgate town center with all the crime THAT has been going,with all these stabbings.

    • Fact not crap

      There was a great plan for manston with house, doctors, school, parks etc so money was there to develop manston.

      Instead TDC back a struck off solicitor with no prove of the backing to open manston. Who is going to invest 500million, with all the problems manston has ?

    • If you felt unsafe in Ramsgate in the day, then you will feel the same in any town in the UK.

      Maybe consider a move to a countryside village or hamlet, it will help with your paranoia. You could even live in a model village.

  9. I seem to remember many years ago as Westwood was just about to be built some one said it will destroy our high streets . It seems they were right. Northdown Road is crap. Margate is rubbish. Ramsgate is going down hill. Broadstairs is not far behind. You wanted Westwood, you have got Westwood. I for one miss the decent traders in all our now perishing shopping streets. All you have at Westwood are the same shops you have all over the country. Leaving little choice. We had some excellent independent traders but no longer. I can understand why eBay and amazon are so popular. At least you can buy from independent traders selling some decent gear. Or directly from the makers.
    As for Manston, flogging a dead horse comes to mind as it resurrects itself and dies yet again. Let them waste the money to open it and see how long till it dies again. I don’t care but those on the flight path should. You will get night flights and you will get increased pollution from aircraft and trucks. You will get blocked roads that can’t cope. Even the 2 lane M2 will be a nightmare at times and worse than it is now.

    • Thanet council ,stated years ago ,that they wanted Westwood cross to be the new town centre,this was at the time the planning permission was granted,for the place,,I remember when it first opened ,people stating the would never use it, sure looks empty every day or am I blind,it gets packed ,so people obviously want it ,some small shops will be more expensive that’s life,

  10. Europe, including the UK, have just announced a huge increase in planned offshore wind in the North Sea. The EU wants the equipment built in Europe. This is a prime opportunity for Ramsgate. We already have the wind farm operators, and we could have the manufacturing, with 1000s of skilled jobs, on the closed Manston airport site. But our MP, in the pocket of oil interest, and SMAs living in a rose tinted past block anything that could be good for Thanet. Remember that on polling day.

  11. Jim, so sorry to hear that you have also been failed by our “not fit for purpose” Council. Very sad that the High Street has taken another hit.

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