Five Thanet developments that never got off the ground

The Pleasurama site has been derelict for almost 20 years

On Tuesday (August 29) Ramsgate celebrated the opening of the new Wetherspoon pub, the Royal Victoria Pavilion, which has brought back to life the Grade II listed building after years of neglect.

Work on the building took a little less than a year – but there are other isle developments that have simply failed to get off the ground.

The Royal Victoria Pavilion

We take a look at 5 promised schemes which have yet to come to fruition.

Pleasurama

The Pleasurama site, once earmarked for the Royal Sands development, is a long and convoluted tale – but here it is in a nutshell:

In 2004 planning permission was granted for a 60-bed hotel, 107 residential apartments, leisure facilities and retail at the former Pleasurama site on Ramsgate seafront.

The deal was headed by development company SFP Venture UK but work never got underway.

In April 2013, Thanet council rejected a bid for SFP to buy the freehold of the site before project completion.

SFP said it was unable to secure the necessary funds to complete the scheme under the existing development agreement.

In February 2014 cabinet members agreed to axe the development agreement with SFP, but were unable to reclaim the three 199-year leases for the site because they had no long stop date.

Talks with Cardy Construction to take over the project by buying out SFP were revealed in September 2014.

Contracts, which included a long-stop date, were signed with Cardy Ramsgate Ltd – an independent company created for the scheme.

Cardy Ramsgate Ltd completed a £3.515 million payment to Thanet council for the site freehold  in July 2016.

Cardy Construction went into administration the same month.

Michael Stannard, then the sole director of Cardy Ramsgate Ltd, resigned his role last August.

The company director is now Anthony Hollis. The firm has been renamed Ramsgate Development Company Ltd.

Mr Hollis is a director of Aldress Developments SE Ltd, formerly SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd until a change of name last year.

Shaun Keegan, one of the founder directors of SFP Ventures with Mr Hollis, resigned his directorship in 2014.

The contract states the project must be completed within three-and-a-half years. If it is not developed then the council has an option to buy it back.

Image via The Friends of Ramsgate Seafront

The site has been derelict for 19 years after being destroyed by fire in May 1998, two years after then-owner Jimmy Godden took it over. Originally planning permission was given to Mr Godden, now deceased, for a shopping centre on the land but, in 2001, when it became clear this was not going to materialise Thanet council bought the site by compulsory purchase – a move they may have to repeat in the future.

Rendezvous hotel

Guy Hollaway Architects

In 2013 Guy Hollaway Architects had in 2013 were appointed by Kent County Council for a plan to create a 60-bed ‘destination’ hotel and restaurant with multi-coloured shutters on the seafront at the Rendezvous site by Turner Contemporary but this did not come to fruition.

The scheme for the hotel, restaurant and 18 apartments was granted planning permission in October 2014 and minutes from this time reveal the authority had hoped the hotel would be built and open by Christmas 2017.

But the £10 million plan was mothballed because KCC needed “third-party funding” to get work underway.

Westwood ice rink

Former Margate FC director Keith Piper was agent for the Moirai Capital Investments Ltd  group which proposed a £10 million all-weather leisure development, including an ice rink, for land at Westwood.

The plans featured an Olympic-sized ice rink, housing and leisure, plus related retail.The £60 million project, first mooted in 2013, did not materialise. Moirai Capital Investments went into compulsory liquidation last year.

Lido sea life centre

In 2014 Stour Side Investments – then headed by directors  Paul Eley and Alexander Andreev -struck a deal to invest in the Cliftonville Lido with plans to bring it back to use with a sealife centre.

But the firm put the Lido back up for auction in March 2016. It was withdrawn after it failed to reach the reserve price. The guide price had been £600,000.

The sea life centre never got off the ground and Stour Side Investments has since entered administration.

West Cliff Hall

Project MotorHouse, headed by Ramsgate resident Janet Fielding, has been working  since 2009 to acquire and renovate the West Cliff Hall to create cinemas; theatres; bars; restaurants, offices and youth facilities. It had previously been the site of the motor museum, which closed in 2005.

Three years ago, TDC and Project MotorHouse jointly commissioned a surveyor’s report which found that not only is the steel frame of the building severely corroded and needs replacing, but the outer walls are resting on wet masonry with no other support.

The building supports the main road to the harbour and the first 40 metres of the West Cliff Promenade.

Guy Holloway design

In 2015 Guy Hollaway Architects made two presentations showing their vision for the site.

In 2016, Thanet council announced it was seeking ‘a formal development partner’ for Ramsgate’s West Cliff Hall and Gardens who had a ‘regeneration’ and ‘community benefit’ agenda.

In June this year Thanet council announced the West Cliff Hall was earmarked to be put up for sale on the open market. The decision was agreed in July.

Project MotorHouse said the team may be forced to walk away from its eight year bid to renovate and refurbish the  hall if Thanet council does not carry out major structural repairs which could cost over £1.5million.

A Thanet council spokesman said: “Although Cabinet has approved the disposal of this asset there is currently no timescale as we are evaluating the most appropriate method of disposal. The council did enter into an option agreement with Project MotorHouse in October 2013 for a scheme which became incapable of implementation and has subsequently expired.

Photo PMH

“Project MotorHouse, along with any other interested parties, are welcome to submit their interest once the council has finalised the process for disposal.”

 

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3 Comments

  1. Surely the biggest development which failed to materialise was the airport? After all of the talk about economic regeneration and thousands of jobs, little money was invested and the airport went bust. Now, the new owners have plans for a mixed development including housing, recreational facilities and a business park for advanced manufacturing. Will Stone Hill Park be added to the list of developments which never happened?

  2. The airport is a dead duck sitting. There are numerous other sites across Thanet that have sat idle for years and years too, many of these are now derelict waste grounds when they should have been purchased and rebuilt on. One more noticeable of these being the old Jimmy Godden amusement arcade on Margate seafront which was another of his premises which went up in flames ! With all the regeneration of Thanet can some of these sites be reused first I wonder.

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