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Monday, 4 November 2013


It would seem that the Thanet Council Cabinet decision to "openly and transparently" market the extended lease of Ramsgate Royal Victoria Pavilion has not happened. Instead what appears to be a "sweetheart deal" with Weatherspoons seems to be underway without any consideration of rival proposals. Surely if you say you are going to be open and transparent them you must be open transparent, or perhaps not if you are Thanet Council Cabinet. Here is a copy of an e-mail I sent to the Council Chief Executive about this and there is a song from the Happy Mondays - "say what your saying" too right Shaun!!

Dear Ms McGonigal
On June 20th 2013,  Cabinet agreed that officers would support the current leaseholders of the Victoria Pavilion in "commercially marketing on the open market of the lease for the Royal Victoria Pavilion". The report to the Cabinet also stated that the marketing process would be "open and transparent, whilst ensuring best value and probity for the Authority". I recall that I spoke at that meeting and strongly supported the open and transparent management of the marketing exercise as a way of ensuring fairness for organisations wishing to express an interest in taking on the lease of this important building and ensuring that the Council achieves best value in the broadest socio-economic sense.
I am now led to believe that the marketing process which followed this decision  might not have been as open and transparent as Cabinet and the Council agreed. From information I have received I do not believe that any  serious efforts have been made to market the lease and I do not believe that the Council's insistence upon an open and transparent marketing exercise has been adhered to.
I therefore request that the Council as the freeholder does not agree the assignation of  any new lease until a full investigation has been carried out into its  marketing.
In the meantime under the Freedom of Information Act please provide me the following
1. Full details of the commercial marketing exercise of the lease of the Victoria Pavilion including copies of adverts placed the dates of placement and the media in which the adverts were placed.
2. Copies of notes of meetings between Council officers, the current leaseholders and/ or their agents regarding the commercial advertising of the lease.
3. Copies of any other notes or reports, or e-mails in possession of the Council about the marketing of the  Pavilion in the past 12 months.
 It would be a very serious matter if the current leaseholder is unable to demonstrate that it fully complied with the wishes of the Cabinet in relation to the disposal of the lease. it would be highly improper if the current leaseholder has manipulated the disposal of the lease so as eliminate competition and prevent the Council from being able to review a range of options which might maximise best value.
I look forward to hearing from you on this matter
Yours sincerely
 Councillor Ian Driver


  1. Ian,
    This derelict eyesore is a blot on the landscape for Ramsgate, wouldn't we all want to see it restored and in use but I would imagine the cost of internal work would be somewhere higher than ridiculous. If any big chain are willing to take it on let's welcome them, it has stood empty for longer than I can remember with for sale and to let boards outside so I really don't understand your point.
    I would say business in Ramsgate struggle. On rare occasions that Mr TP or I venture in that direction things are dire. The beach is often empty on sunny school holiday days. Bars and restaurants are empty even on weekend evenings.
    Don't Tell Weatherspoons! Let them take it on.
    I see this as very different to selling the airport for £1.

  2. Confidential "sweatheart deals" is the Thanet Council way. The first thing they do with prospective business deals, and the last thing they do with paid off directors, is a confidentiality agreement.

  3. Re Tara Plumbing 0855 - the point about who would actually have the large sum of money to fix the building is valid until you consider Rank weren't exactly small, my point is that placing a hoarding on a building in a cul-de-sac hardly amounts to serious marketing. If you look at CBRE's website it is not even mentioned, indeed if you put in Ramsgate you get a fat zero.

  4. i think the major point is that ONCE AGAIN, TDC say one thing and do another! they have promised open and transparency, but behind closed door meetings are still going on, lack of promotion, lack of consideration of us who have to actually live with these state of affairs! how can thanet grow if the officers and top of the council continue to not get the best deals, or listen to the people! i personally prefer emma's layout to wetherspoons, but as mrs TP says if ANYONE is going to take her (pavillion) on, good luck, but get her right first time round, she doesnt need half jobs done. maybe john, the gent who is doing up the alexandra, could take her on, he wold need extra help im sure but his work is loverly.
    again Ian, keep up the amazing job you do. you are the only one i trust. your the only human there! xx BRAVO xx

  5. So, prospective purchasers of a Pleasurama luxury flat can look forward to a dodgy leaky cliff at the back of them, and a noisy pub chain to the side?