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As soon as I was aware of the demolition in progress I telephoned TDC at the time no one was available to speak to me I was later telephoned by one of TDCs heritage experts who was as dismayed at the extent of the demolition as me.

I haven't included his name but below is our correspondence so far I hope it serves to clarify matters, on further point I telephoned him today and TDC have now served an order on the buildings owners making any more demolition a criminal offence.

This first email was sent to English Heritage and copied to me.

No 1 Granville Marina is part of JT Wimperis' 1877 development of a

beach resort for Edward Pugin's Granville Hotel. As originally devised,

the development consisted of shops, houses, shell grottos, tea rooms and

a 'wintergardens'. No 1 was built as a photographer's studio. Numbers

1-4 were listed Grade II on 21/12/2004.

Last year Thanet Council became increasingly concerned about the

condition of the building. Its last used was as a restaurant, a use that

ended some years ago. It was, however, still owned by the catering

company who - despite several offers - refused to sell it. A change in

the management of the company saw it being sold to a firm of Ramsgate

developers in the middle of last year.

I had a meeting with the new owners in August last year at which it was

clear that it was their  desire to demolish and redevelop. It was pointed

out to them that this not an option since the building was listed.

Being concerned that they were not going to take any action, we served

an Urgent Works Notice on the owners on 15th August 2007 - with a

compliance period of three weeks. The Notice required the sea facing

elevation to be shored up and the structure made secure and watertight.

The developers appointed a structural engineer who designed shoring for

the defective elevation.

As the autumn progressed it became clear that the developers were not

going to carry out the works  and it transpired that they had dispensed

with the services of the structural engineer. We therefore engaged the

same engineer, had the structural works priced and appointed contractors

to carry out works in  default. The contractors started work on

28/1/2008. On the morning they started the owners turned up saying they

were sorry and that they would carry out the works immediately. We

withdrew our contractors.

On Thursday 31st January there was a considerable south-westerly gale

and a considerable crack opened up in the south west corner - the left

hand side of the sea facing elevation. By Friday morning it was clear

that the sea elevation was becoming too 'live' to prop anymore and would

have to be demolished. Our structural engineer was in attendance -

together with our Building Control section. Once the front was down it

became clear that the lateral walls were being forced apart by the roof

and two thirds of the building ended up being demolished - see attached


The  remaining third is, at the time of writing, being stabilised using

a Notice under the Building Acts. Any loose historic material from the

demolished parts is to be collected and put in to storage.

It is the Authority's intention to serve a Section 48 Repairs Notice

requiring the owner to re-instate, on a like for like basis, the

demolished parts. I am of the opinion that the Ramsgate THI scheme could

underwrite a compulsory purchase notice.

English Heritage's support in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Would it be possible for you to make a site visit in the near future?


thanks for the update, greatly appreciated.

Some initial thoughts and questions occur to me.

Are any other important Ramsgate buildings in similar danger that you know


Why was no effort made to tie the lateral walls together prior to

demolition? Presumably the engineers present would have expected the roof to have this

effect. Frankly I could see no sign of lateral wall instability even  when the

demolition workers were applying considerable extra stress on them see

pictures at _

( any you want in high definition don't hesitate to


What exactly was the past relationship of the consultants employed by TDC

with the present owners of the building?

Do you mind if I publish your response where I have commented on the

internet at _ (

and _

( and do you mind if

I publish your stunning 1930s picture?

As a further note the last resident of the flat over the café moved out

after the ground floor was flooded during a storm and the fire brigade told him

that the couldn't guarantee his safety in future storms, so ironically the

environment agency will probably stop it being rebuilt as it was.  

I think the bottom line here is that it's no use crying over spoilt milk and

that everyone needs to cooperate for the best possible outcome, although

personally I don't think TDC was effective enough in terms of enforcement I just

hope some lessons have been learnt.

I don't quite know what can be done with the whole Marina esplanade area in

the short term the road system seems to be being built without waiting for

the environment agency report or any reference to the probability that a road

will now have to built next to the cliff, behind the new Pleasurama development

which presumably means that the roundabout on the car park is no longer

necessary and Marina esplanade could be turned back to one way traffic with the

majority of the seafront parking restored.

In general terms the council needs to be looking at ways to lessen the

disruptive effects on the main sand area otherwise there won't be many businesses

left in the town when the work is finished.   

Best regards Michael.  

Dear Michael,

Within the Ramsgate conservation area I would cite the following properties that give me concern.

- 50 Royal Road. We carried out some demolition works to stabilise this a few years ago. The owner won't sell.

- Dunns Yard, Addington Street. Of some. perhaps minor, historic merit. Owned by Nora Annastasio I believe.

- Fire damaged buildings in Harbour Street. Some one told me that a planning officer told the owner that the facades could be demolished.

- 1 & 2 Kent Terrace (listed). Planning consent has been granted for refurbishment, but nothing is happening.

Thank you for leading me to the demolition photographs. I was not at the event on Friday and, looking at the photographs gives me some doubt with regard to what I said to English Heritage. I will discuss this with the structural engineer.

Tim Baker of Holt and Wotton was appointed by the developers on our advice. They then laid him off. He has acted as advisor to TDC on historic building issues for some years.

You can quote me if you like but please don't use my name. The 1930s photograph belongs to CONTACT DETAILS PROVIDED.
I would guess that the position of the Environment Agency would be the same here as in Margate 'Old Town' (some of which is 2.8m AOD) - "we will make an exception since you are re-enforcing the character of a conservation area but, no living accommodation on the ground floor"


once again thanks for the help, I believe one of the facades in Harbour Street has already gone, although I think it was genuinely dangerous. The brickwork between the windows was bulging outwards.
As far as 1 Marina Esplanade goes, I am genuinely concerned that the structural engineer, for some reason allowed parts of the building to be demolished that were not dangerous, which begs some rather awkward questions.
That the owners appear to be going to incur considerable more expense because of demolishing the sound part of the building gives cause for concern too.
I won't of course mention you by name.
Anyway I will publish up you're your explanation of the situation once I am certain that I have as full a picture of what happened as possible, at the moment I think most people would draw the inference that the owner the demolition firm and the structural engineer caused the demolition of the majority of the building unnecessarily. It looks like a mixture of criminal damage and incompetence, and frankly if the demolition was genuinely necessary I would rather not go off at half cock and make a fool of myself.
The average uninformed person in Ramsgate is assuming that this is all to do with the Pleasurama development and that is the intention to flatten the whole area and build something like Arlington House on its side down there.
There is also very much a perception that all of this is all TDCs fault so some sort of detailed explanation about what is going on down there wouldn't go a miss.