Council receives 13 expressions of interest to lease concrete sea shelters in Ramsgate

Sea shelters below the Winterstoke Gardens

Thirteen expressions of interest have been made to Thanet council to take on a lease for eight concrete shelters at Ramsgate’s East Cliff.

The shelters at the sea wall below the Winterstoke Gardens are being offered as a bundle at £8,000 per year, with a two year rent-free period to allow for refurbishment.

Thanet council says the shelters could be used for small food outlets, mobile light refreshment stands, spaces for pop-up performances and art, bases for fitness and wellbeing activities or lockable storage.

The offer has received a mixed response with some calling it ‘bizarre’ and questioning how the shelters could be used with no supply of gas, electricity and water and no way of securing them.

Others have suggested using them for art ‘galleries’ paddleboard hire or sauna spaces.

Thanet council says there is existing electricity and water infrastructure on the upper promenade level, “meaning that connection to utilities is possible, subject to the necessary consent.”

The shelters were given a mural makeover by students from Broadstairs College in 2017 and have been used for Busk at Dusk events during the Ramsgate Festival of Sound.

There are no facilities along the stretch of promenade.

Photo credit TK Studio.

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The decision to lease eight coastal shelters on Ramsgate’s East Cliff was made in response to proposals for commercial enterprises received from members of the public in recent months.

“Achieving the best outcome for council-owned assets is important to the council; the opportunity is being promoted to local people to test the market, and to encourage Expressions of Interest from a range of sectors.

“We welcome ideas for a range of uses. These could include, but are not limited to, small food outlets, mobile light refreshment stands, spaces for pop-up performances and art, bases for fitness and wellbeing activities, or lockable storage.

“There are many successful coastal concessions already in place around the Thanet coastline, including saunas, boot camps, ice cream kiosks and coastal watch stations.

Photo Frank Leppard

“The lease provides an opportunity to refurbish the historic shelters and to bring them back into use, to introduce new activities and facilities for local residents and visitors thus securing them for future generations.

“Subsequent to posting about the opportunity on Facebook, we have received 11 Expressions of Interest. These are in addition to two received in response to a targeted email campaign. The Expressions of Interest received are commercially confidential.”

The terms of the lease will not include utilities. The successful leaseholder will need to arrange reconnection and ongoing supply if required.

Anyone interested in the lease can email [email protected]


  1. What were they used for originally? May be able to convert them as nuclear bomb shelters if Putin goes even more mad. Carve vertical staircases for access, would be a nice weekend job.

  2. Well let’s hope the new leaseholders look after them than TDC.They have noe become graffiti,weed,litter havens which are an embarrassment to our area.What must tourists think!.Day at our glorious coast or the Third World.

  3. Does anybody remember the plans for new build with a cafe and loos at the western undercliff where there are services? Not to mention plans for west cliff hall, shops and cafes on the ground floor of the new seafront flats, rejuvenated pier yard, revised pedestrian access from the town to the harbour … I won’t go on.
    All have had ‘plans’ and all have faded away so don’t hold your breath if you’re expecting any action.

    • I agree Tony.

      The suggestion that they should be used for providing refreshments is bizarre since there is no plumbing for water or drainage and the nearest toilets were closed by TDC a couple of decades ago.

      It should also be noted that some of them are structurally unsound.

  4. How many years will it take to actually cover the costs of setting up a lease, monitoring what goes one and tidying up any mess that may possibly be generated from any future use?
    An attempt to offload another financial liability , you can almost predictthe future, lease signed , two free years taken, then handed back in worse state.

  5. Very interesting proposal by tdc or was the idea farmed out to an armchair social media bot tty.
    Tbh that area is a haven for seasonal casual campers and the usual vagrants, one that often resides there is known to violent in many forms. Other vagrants just ask for cash for a coffee.
    The cliff face there is known for masonry falling, tdc have installed a warning sign showing rocks falling down and the text says Keep Away.!
    The nearest car park at marina esplanade has bin on tdc disposal list for a while but who believes tdc. It’s a decent carpark/plot of land usually occupied with many motornomes so tdc will have a lot of cash from overnight parking charger or penalty notices.
    Anyone wanting the concrete cancer ridden sea shelters will need to deal with the casual campers or vagrants. Good luck there.
    There are alternative ideas which will work in that area, just ask a local !

  6. Look at the toliets in the recreational grounds in Boundary Road yet another eyesore and loss of a public amenity . It would pay the council to keep the shelters in house and set up a catch team to catch the graffiti vandals out idiots and make them pay for the damage and they do compensation payments would bring in much than leasing the shelters.

  7. What not open one as a vape shop, one as a Turkish barbers, one as a nail bar and another as an art space.

    To be honest, if you could put shutters on them and there was power / water this would work (not the things I mentioned above) Without power and water it really limits what they can be used for. And without shutters anyone can just set up camp in them and use then as a toilet, just as they are at the moment

  8. A very talented former photographer took some very “artistic” photos of a model in those shelters around 15 years ago.

    Or so I’m told.

  9. Peter checksfield used to do a lot for tourists trade I remember years ago a woman approached me and my wife as we walked along the prom showing me a photo of a nude lady in one of the shelters and asking “ do you know where this shelter is and I don’t suppose you know the photographer by any chance” she had travelled from London and told us she worked for the Sunday sport.

    • Was that the same bloke that got publicity for taking pictures of a woman draped over tombs in a Margate graveyard for some magazine about 10 years ago? 🙂

  10. Have TDC overlooked the two arches at the Western Undercliff? Prime space going begging there, but you’d need a ladder to access them.

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