Friday, 4 February 2011

"Don’t mix business with pleasure."

Continuing today with the Royal Harbour theme.

A recent planning application for building a bar and restaurant complex on the site of demolished slipways was refused by the council, and quite rightly so. It is not that Ramsgate can afford to turn down such investment but illustrates that a clear vision of the right place and right time is essential to good planning. Ramsgate is a town of two halves, the first half is a safe haven harbour and the second half is a leisure and recreational centre.

The waters between the two halves should not be muddied. Visitors come to Ramsgate  because of the harbour and like to see a working harbour not a “Noddy town” harbour.  Boaters, both recreational and professional use Ramsgate for a safe haven, repair and maintenance facilities. The strange thing about the waterfront at Ramsgate as a town planning exercise, is that it works successfully. The two uses co-exist and are entwined but are not mixed.

By drawing an imaginary line from the Obelisk, along the centre of Harbour Parade, Royal Parade, The Paragon and Westcliff Promenade as far as Westcliff Lift , then designating everything seaward of that line as marine-related usage, inappropriate residential and leisure developments in the harbour can be avoided.

On the landward side of that line there are scores of under-used buildings and sites suitable for a whole range of leisure and recreational uses. In that way both marine and leisure uses can be promoted side by side without one threatening to overrun the other. We must remain vigilant otherwise an inappropriate use may slip through providing a precedent to open up the flood gates

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