Early designs revealed for £19.8m Levelling Up Fund projects at Ramsgate port, harbour and Newington Community Centre

Satinder Bancil and Anna Markova from Pascall + Watson with early plans for port uses

Architects working on Ramsgate’s Levelling Up projects have shared early designs and details with residents today (July 18).

Firms Curl La Tourelle, Pascall + Watson and Jan Kattein have been commissioned by Thanet council to work on five schemes across the Port and harbour and a Newington Community Centre project which are being funded by £19.8m of Levelling Up money awarded to the town by central government in 2021.

Plans on display showed early designs for an expansion of Newington Community Centre to create a new kitchen, kitchen garden, lunch yard, glazed walkway, new entrances, an orchard area, polytunnel and pizza oven space.

Architects Jan Kattein have been working with Newington Community Association on the plans, which have been allocated a grant of up to £500,000 from the Levelling Up pot.

The training kitchen and space for people seeking job and training opportunities will be headed up by community chef Mike Spackman who works with Newington Community Association to share food, cooking and health skills with residents.

The centre runs a food club and in the first year of the covid pandemic the Newington Community Food Club (Starlings Support CIC) supported more than 1,600 households across Thanet with free and low-cost food. The club is part of the Newington Big Local community project.

Mike Spackman and kitchen apprentices at Newington Community Centre

The training kitchen will be an extension of that work. Amongst the aims is the training of at least 30 young people per year, 30 employees receiving on the job training, work experience, apprentice training and an outcome of two new food businesses being formed each year.

Heloise Desaissement, of JKA, said: “We are at a very early stage. We have added a walkway and space to run the programme with a new kitchen, kitchen garden, lunch yard, We’ve reorganised rooms, added different entrances and made it more enclosed so kids won’t just run out onto the road. We have moved the container office and we are using part of the parking area.

“It is a really exciting project.”

A further community/education hub is being provided in Ramsgate town at the former haberdashery shop but this project was not included in the drop-in exhibition.

JKA is also heading up early designs for the Green Campus project at Ramsgate Port which will create spaces for training, enterprise and light industry along Military Road.

Gabriel Warshafsky, from JKA, said: “There will be training and community facilities at the front, a ground floor café, rooms for training sessions and work space units. We are hoping to have space for the Ramsgate Cadets to use and we are looking generally at smaller businesses in maritime and marine skills and offshore wind and green energy.”

The core of the Green Campus will be centred around a south-facing courtyard. At the north of the site, there will be training and seminar spaces and a canteen. Two ‘terraces’ of workspace will line the east and west sides of the courtyard which could be combined to create larger units for anchor tenants.

Some £9,615,100 has been earmarked for the port projects with £3.5 million of this for improved port infrastructure.

The Pascall + Watson design team have been working on first stage designs for a new fishing facility on the East Crosswall at Ramsgate Royal Harbour. The team are developing designs for quayside fishing facilities to enable freezing and processing of daily catches, as well as the creation of retail units to sell the catch.

The aim of this project is to revitalise the fishing industry in Ramsgate and provide an avenue to create new jobs and business opportunities.

The design team is also working on the refurbishment of existing Post Infrastructure with plans including two roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) berths  with the aim of finding an operator for ferry/cargo transport services.

Early designs look at cargo transportation with cargo entering and leaving via the tunnel at the artificial beach.

A report completed for the council by consultants Infrata says there is a demand for cross channel ferry freight services, with limited opportunities for expansion in other ports, meaning Ramsgate has an opportunity to take a share of the increase in cargo in the future.

Port of Ramsgate Photo TDC

Earlier this year Thanet council approved an option for a multi-purpose hybrid model at the port  offering a concession contract with a lease attached to it. Agreements with Brett Aggregrates and wind farm operators would remain in place.

The option means the council retaining the management of part of the Port, such as non-ro-ro traffic, with ro-ro cargo and traffic managed by a third party.

Thanet council is currently seeking expressions of interest from commercial port operators.

Satinder Bancil and Anna Markova from Pascall + Watson

Satinder Bancil and Anna Markova from Pascall + Watson were at the Ramsgate drop-in today to share the designs.

Satinder said: “We have got the Levelling Up funding and that has to be spent to keep the process moving.

“We are at the early design stage (for fishing facilities), we will finalise the layout and requirements and what is affordable and then go forward for planning to get it built. The money has to be spent by early 2025.

“We have been working with Thanet Fishermen’s’ Association for the last five or six months looking at facilities and location

“We have to brief quite a few stakeholders, like UK Border Force (for the port infrastructure).

“It will all start to link together, so  linking community, heritage and cultural with the Maritime Museum.”

Curl La Tourelle Head Architecture is working on the Sailors’ Church/Smack Boys Home scheme and the Clock House/Pier Yard project.

The firm is carrying out feasibility studies to look at new uses for the church and Smack Boys site while also restoring and retaining its historical and heritage value. The Levelling Up bid earmarked the buildings for a training hotel and restaurant.

For Pier Yard Curl la Tourelle aims to make the area largely pedestrianised with repair and conservation works on the Clock House with the addition of low energy use, waste minimisation, low carb emissions and green energy generation.”

The Clock House building will include extensions to give more space to the maritime collection and a café/restaurant will be included.

Designs were originally drawn up by The Ramsgate Society and these have been partially incorporated into the new plans.

Amrit Seera, of Curl La Tourelle Head Architecture, said: “We looked at the Ramsgate Society design, looked at the pros and cons, and used those that we thought were successful. We have had surveys, talked with stonemasons, talked to Historic England and have developed the plans on this.

“We have looked at models of one storey vs two storey, where lifts and stairs would go, the Clock House extensions for the museum and hospitality and making sure it is respectful of the beautiful, existing building.

“There is a lot of conservation and repair work needed.”

Amrit says the hope is to put in for planning permission this Autumn.

Council leader Rick Everitt was among those at the drop in session. He said: “The money has to be spent by 2024/25 and we want to see that happen. Talking to people in Ramsgate, they are anxious to see some evidence of progress, spades in the ground.

“One interesting thing is the impact for the public will work from Pier Yard to the port whereas the impact economically will be from the port back to Pier Yard.

“There are challenges around inflation but it will come at its own pace.

“I am really excited about the Newington Community Centre (project) and was keen that involved Cara (Thorpe – the centre’s Community Development Manager).

“They have wonderful facilities but they are dated and the way activities have been taken forward there means that needs to e reflected in the way the building works.”

For the harbour project – including the town square proposal at Pier Yard car park – another £9,388,300 is earmarked.

Project plans can be seen online at: https://www.thanet.gov.uk/services/levelling-up-fund/

Council takes next step in bid to attract cross-channel freight operator to Ramsgate Port

Next phase of works under way for Ramsgate’s Sailor’s Church, former Smack Boys Home, Pier Yard and Clock House projects

Details of £19.8 million Ramsgate ‘Levelling Up’ proposals published by Thanet council

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