Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ramsgate Development Rejected (Again)

Good news! The revised application to cram another crappy terrace of mock Georgian houses into a small hole here in the Millionaires' Playground was 'strongly rejected' by the Duffers' planning committee last night!

If you recall, Thanet builder DJ Ellis (he who sponsors the Chrissie lights and tarmacs church car parks in Westgate when the call goes out from distressed Doctor/Councillors), has spent three years trying to nudge this one through on an old bomb site in Adelaide Gardens.

National conservation campaigners SAVE (Save Britain's Heritage) wrote to our Jurassic Junta protesting at the proposal, arguing that the plans contravene guidance policies and that the right thing to do in this conservation area, surrounded as it is by proper, Grade II listed Georgian houses, would be to reinstate the three houses demolished by Hermann Göring's planning department 65 years ago. Now the demolition ball is well and truly back in the builder's court!


Anonymous said...

Why is it good news? Whilst there are ‘crappy terraces’ of mock Georgian houses, this development seems to have offered something better than that. Well-researched and sensitive design and a desire on the part of the architect and builder to use high quality craftsmanship and materials might create something at least as long-lasting as the often truly shoddy, but much loved Georgian originals. Not all of the nearby 19th century houses are listed – e.g. the only original Georgian house on Sion Hill is being ripped to pieces quite lawfully as it was not deemed worthy of listing – so old does not always mean good to the planners.
It should be pointed out that not all of the residents in whose back yard the development would be are Nimbys, some would welcome the improvement – whereas several of the most passionate campaigners don’t live close by, or are very occasional 2nd home visitors. I think Michael Child’s blog showed a before and after view of the dilapidated bungalow that previous planners allowed compared with the stunning design proposed. Michael I think had a different objective – but be honest which do you really prefer? A comment on the same blog pointed out that other specialist advisers saw true merit in the proposal. see comments.
SAVE have done some very good work in finding new uses for threatened historic buildings – but are not a statutory consultee in this matter. I doubt they have made independent inspections of the site and plans to arrive at an objective view. On the other hand English heritage have gone through that process and wrote in support of the earlier but similar proposal considering it would preserve or enhance the conservation area and did not require further consultation for such a development. They are the statutory adviser on that aspect of the development - so SAVE’s opinion is just that, and the planners (who of course know the law and stick to it) should carefully weigh up the impassionate expert advice of English Heritage and their own Conservation Officer against the more emotional, but no doubt genuine pleadings of SAVE and other champions of ‘good causes’.
As to the new crusade to reinstate the bombed buildings – why stop at the three houses, why not put back the commercial/industrial store that once fronted Liverpool Lawn? While we are at it let’s reclaim the ‘enclosed’ footpaths between Liverpool Lawn and Hertford Street or that that ran behind Prospect Terrace and linked with the rear of Nelson Crescent and Addington Place – inconvenient for at least one of the ‘antis’ when we stop to drop our lager cans in what is now part of their secure compound. Or perhaps the croaking karaoke fans could drop their mountain of fag-ends there instead of outside the Foy Boat? Let’s reinstate all of the unofficially created parking spaces that have shortened almost all of Adelaide Gardens’ ‘unique long front gardens’ that are now so prized, demolish the covert rear extensions and throw the UPVC windows onto the polluting bonfire of the vanities!

So what is it to be - faithfully return everything to a snapshot as it was in 1799, 1839 or 1939 - or allow 21st century quality design and construction to be inspired by the best of the 19th century originals? It’s a good job for all of us that love the legacy of Georgian and Regency buildings, which make Ramsgate such a beautiful place to live, that the Georgian developers were allowed to get on with the job. But perhaps they shouldn’t have been…in the 1790s it was all still cornfields – where were our campaigners when we needed them?

Anonymous said...

whay is this development rejected, yet a development of 80+ two bed flats with no parking allowed in the centre of town?

I don't agree with either of them, but think this is another example of TDC being out of touch on every level.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I remember when all of these sorts of little problem were easily sorted out with nothing more than a brown envelope stuffed with used fivers.

Anonymous said...

The community is not opposed to the development of the site but they are opposed to its overdevelopment. If the proposal had met the same amenity standards as the social housing in Hertford Street or the modern house at the entrance to Liverpool Lawn then residents would not have been opposed. But 7 'family' homes on a small plot with no parking, no play areas and front doors which open straight onto the street - that's a modern tenement.

And a pastiche of gothic and Georgian design - sorry but that fits the definition of 'crappy' in the view of the 3 residents associations opposing the application. We're not NIMBY - we're NIMFY (Not In My Front Yard - an in-joke for those of us who actually live in the area.)

Anonymous said...

By any standards the two exemplars of modern development given are poor in design and particularly in materials and execution. The plywood boxes in Hertford street are a true case of unsympathetic, over-dense development and 'Marina View' out does anything a Georgian jerry builder could have come up with for slapdash construction - I bet neither will last 200 years.

'Doors opening straight onto the street' - take a look at the existing Liverpool Lawn houses, particularly Liverpool Terrace (the straight run of smaller houses). That is the 'grain' that planners like to speak so much about.

I agree that a mix of appropriate styles and spaces would deliver the best result - and that's what was proposed and recommended for approval by all of the professional officers and statutory advisers. 'Pastiche' is used by campaigners as though it is an inherently bad approach - read the comments of the experts who agree that this is the correct approach for this site - provided that 'palette of materials' and detail design required by the planning officer is stringently enforced.

It will be interesting to see the grounds for refusal, as all of the lawful objections were overruled by the officer's report. If it went to appeal it might be a difficult case for TDC to justify spending our money on defending.

Anonymous said...

What is this 'community'? (10.19) I live in the area and nobody has asked for my views on the matter. I like the new design - good luck to them I say. Stop winging 'NIMFY' and accept that things change.

Anonymous said...

In the 1950's the government had to embark on a program of building affordable housing to replace housing stock destroyed during the war. They built blocks of flats. These became the slums of the next 50 years. The slums created the environment for crime,deprivation and social breakdown. The teeny-weeny carboard flats being crammed into every nook and cranny of Britain will be the slums of the next 50 years. I don't want to be paying the social costs of building slums just so that greedy little developers can make a few more quid. By all means build affordable housing, but that doesn't mean cheap and nasty.

Anonymous said...

Why don't people bother to read the application and look at the plans?

This development clearly isn't intended to be 'affordable housing' - these are high quality family homes with a high build cost thus high resale value (hoped for!).

The Hertford Street flats are examples of the short-lived social engineering experiment that will soon go wrong (structurally and ethically) - not this proposal