There's a very good letter in today's Isle of Thanet Gazette from my colleague Cllr. John Watkins...
For anyone who has watched the decline of facilities at Ramsgate during the last seven years of Conservative control of TDC, the downgrading of our Royal Harbour to the bottom 6 out of 91 UK harbours, by the Yacht Harbour Association, will come as no surprise.
The 'jewel in the crown' today is in a sorry state, due to years of Tory neglect. In 2000, under Labour's TDC management, the harbour saw the addition of the brand new 100 berth Western Marina and by 2003 it was equipped with a new port control room, it's own dredger, the new 40 tonne boat hoist and a new fuel barge facility, plus new security gates and a CCTV system, together with two new amenity blocks for visiting boat’s crews.
Now, due to adverse reports in the national boating press in recent years regarding departure delays and vessels grounding on the sand banks at the entrance, some yachtsmen are avoiding our harbour. Less leisure vessel visits were recorded during 2009 and less permanent berths were occupied. There have been reports of accidents caused by unstable and poorly maintained pontoons and due to the build up of silt, the inner marina gate has had to remain closed for longer periods in order to prevent boats grounding in their berths.
In the outer basin the long eastern marina breakwater and pontoon has been out of use since last October awaiting major repairs, with no firm date for when it will be available for mooring large visiting vessels this year, and there are rows of smashed light fittings on the pier. Meanwhile,the listed Maritime Museum building stands closed and forlorn, with boarded up broken windows and rain water pouring in the roof, putting the artefacts at risk.
The Tory cabinet member for Ramsgate Marina said last week “We are not complacent about our wonderful historic harbour, and we are restructuring".
He deserves a golden rivet for complacency - what is badly needed is a change of administration at Thanet District Council.
Cllr. John Watkins, Labour Shadow Member for Ramsgate Marina.
I would add that one of the problems here is that the Thanet Conservative administration have had 3 different councillors in charge of the marina in the last years Cllrs. Mike Roberts, Roger Latchford and John Kirby.
Roger Latchford especially is quick enough to claim credit for other matters, I wonder who he holds responsible for this damningly poor performance?
I would far rather see all the effort and money that is put into the annual air show put into sorting out the Marina. I'll say it again, Thanet does not need one off events, it needs long term sustainable tourism and Ramsgate Marina should be the cornerstone of this, not the neglected afterthought that it has been over recent years.