Saturday, 9 November 2013

Royal Pavilion, Ramsgate

Why does Ramsgate always seem to come last?

Royal Pavilion, Ramsgate
If the Royal Pavilion was in Margate it would have been a world culture site by now.
The building is stunning. Even if we accept that all the heritage features in the internals were lost over years of neglect, the external skin should scrub up well and with a sympathetic restoration, it could become one of the key features of Ramsgate Seafront.
I admired the plan put forward for the community market and the proposal of a JD Wetherspoons. I used to enjoy popping into the local JDW when I lived in London. They were good.
Some of the images of the interiors JDW have worked with in their restorations are impressive. They could do a good job.
But that is not our decision. That is Rank’s. They decide who they do business with.
So I welcome JD Wetherspoons and hope that the community will support them if they end up with Rank’s decision.
A JD Wetherspoons pub
I do have some problems. Firstly, why did councillors accept that JDW were “the only game in town”, to quote Deputy Poole? When Rank offered the remainder of the lease back to the council, they refused it, feeling that no-one would want the Pavilion. Which officer gave that advice? Did the adviser not know about “back to back” lease sales
I would question that recommendation.

'Only Game In Town'

Do TDC really believe that someone else wouldn't fancy that site, even if it does need a full internal makeover?
We know there was one other bid in the pipeline and that was when it was only a 31 yr lease and we now know they have had at least 40 approaches from interested parties since it went on the market in 2008
And the most worrying thing is the deal TDC Officers are currently striking.
They are about to say to JD Wetherspoons - "Here are the keys to one of our treasures for the next hundred years for peanuts". Do you not feel the Pavilion is worth much?
If the rumours are true, TDC have negotiated a terrible deal with JDWetherspoons and just thrown away one of the jewels of Thanet.
And unlike TDC, I value that site more. I want to see it sympathetically restored and well maintained. I would want to make sure if things didn't go well, we would be able to get the lease back if they are not using it. I would ask for some community provision - perhaps a Jungle Jim’s type play area - in the remains of the building they do not want to occupy and I would insist it was subsidised.
Ramsgate deserves better, and the Pavilion deserves more and, most definitely the People of Ramsgate deserve much more. 

They deserve a ruling Cabinet that treats Thanetians fairly and all parts of Thanet equally.
The offer will be made soon and let us hope decisions made now do not disadvantage Ramsgate for years to come.

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