Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19


2.34 The vision for Ramsgate is to maximise its maritime heritage, Royal Harbour, marina, beach and attractive waterfront, and provide economic base of its vibrant mix of town centre uses, visitor economy and café culture. The former surplus of small shops beyond the town's commercial core has been refurbished to provide quality residential accommodation and there is a viable balance and mix of residential and commercial use including specialist shopping.

2.35 Ramsgate has been adversely affected by the decline of the traditional resort holiday. However, with its rich heritage adding vibrancy to the town. Ramsgate has been quick to recover. A café culture has developed around the harbour area and this needs to be further encouraged.

2.36 The key issue for Ramsgate town will be to maintain and improve the vitality, diversity and economic vibrancy of the town centre, secure enhancement of historic buildings, support development of the visitor economy including cultural creativity, attract more economically active residents and strengthen the range of local services.

2.37 Ramsgate contains many separate commercial areas. As well as at the traditional focal point of the High Street, commercial development has stretched to the upper High Street and the length of King Street. Over recent years as with all high streets, Ramsgate has seen an increase in vacancies and commercial development has become somewhat sporadic and in some cases run down. The strategy of the Council has been and continues to be to draw commercial development back to the commercial heart of Ramsgate and allow the more peripheral areas of the town centre to revert to residential use. This strategy has been showing results and Ramsgate is benefitting from an improved public realm and so it is appropriate for this policy approach to be continued.

2.38 Ramsgate has a need for an additional 4,537 square metres of retail floorspace. The current vacancies and scale of the town centre boundary can adequately accommodate this in the plan period.

2.39 Retail development will be focused in Ramsgate's core area with complementary town centre uses accommodated within the wider town centre boundary. Leisure and tourism uses will be particularly encouraged around the marina area.

2.40 Land at and adjacent to Ramsgate harbour is identified for a mix of uses including leisure, tourism, retail and residential purposes. Any proposals should have regard to the emerging Ramsgate Maritime Plan or any future plan for the port and Royal Harbour.

2.41 The Royal Harbour and historic waterfront are important for both leisure and commercial users which is important for the vibrancy of the town. The seafront area already has a thriving café culture. The Royal Harbour is a Grade II* listed structure and is at the heart of Ramsgate Conservation Area. The regeneration of Ramsgate depends on the continued attractiveness of the Royal Harbour and new development in this area will need to preserve and enhance its character and appearance. It is a tourism and leisure attraction with significant potential and already offers much to smaller pleasure craft. Commercial fishing and ship repair are also carried out in the Royal Harbour.

2.42 The growth of the Port of Ramsgate is supported as a source of employment and as an attractor of inward investment. The Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-2030 proposes to safeguard the port for the importation of minerals into Kent. In addition to the potential growth of port trade including passenger ferry operations, there is additional employment associated with marine engineering, including the use of the port as a base to assemble and maintain offshore wind turbines, and other businesses benefiting from a port location.

2.43 Further development will be permitted at Ramsgate Port that supports the aims of the Ramsgate Maritime Plan or any future plan which the Council adopts. Any business plans and supplementary guidance will have regard to the need to make optimum use of the existing port land to protect and support diversification of its function.

2.44 Recognising the proximity of the port to the Sandwich Bay and Thanet Coast SSSIs, SPAs, Ramsar Site, Marine SAC and Thanet Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), development proposals for growth would be subject to the Habitat Regulations and will need sensitive consideration in relation to nature conservation and landscape. Proposals would need an acceptable environmental assessment of their impact on the Harbour, its setting and surrounding property, and the impact of any proposed land reclamation upon nature conservation, conservation of the built environment, the coast and archaeological heritage, together with any proposals to mitigate the impact.

Policy SP09 - Ramsgate

The Council will seek to support the continued regeneration and development of Ramsgate focusing on its maritime heritage and developing leisure role, in line with the following area based proposals, indicated on the Policies Map.

1) Ramsgate Town Centre*

The main focus for retail shall be the central High Street/Queen Street/King Street/Harbour Street area of the town, and complementary town centres uses will be permitted in the wider town centre area, as defined by the primary and secondary frontages.

2) Ramsgate Waterfront and Royal Harbour

Land at and adjacent to Ramsgate Royal Harbour, as indicated on the Policies Map, is identified for development for a mixture of leisure, tourism, retail and residential purposes.

Any such proposals should have regard to the emerging Ramsgate Maritime Plan or any subsequent plan adopted by the Council. The following activities and development will be supported:

  • Eastern Undercliff - mixed leisure, tourism and residential uses; and
  • Ramsgate Royal Harbour - continued development of mixed leisure and marina facilities, in particular at the Military Road arches.

All proposals must:

  • Take particular care in the design, location, use of materials and relationship of land-based facilities with open water, such as to protect important views and preserve or enhance the historical character of the Royal Harbour and seafront.
  • Ensure that the integrity of nature conservation interests within the adjacent SSSI,SPA, SAC, Ramsar, Thanet MCZ site is maintained.

3) Opportunity Sites

There are Opportunity Sites identified on the Policies Map which are considered suitable for mixed use town centre development. The ultimate goal of redevelopment is regeneration. Residential development will be considered acceptable where this does not conflict with the area based criteria above.

4) Ramsgate Port

The Council supports further development at Ramsgate Port which would facilitate its improvement as a port for shipping, increase traffic through the port, and introduce new routes and complementary land based facilities including marine engineering, subject to:-

  • a demonstrable port-related need for any proposed land based facilities to be located in the area of the port, and a demonstrable lack of suitable alternative inland locations; and
  • compatibility with the character and function of Ramsgate waterfront and the Royal Harbour as a commercial leisure facility; and
  • an acceptable environmental assessment of the impact of the proposed development upon the harbour, its setting and surrounding property, and the impact of any proposed land reclamation upon nature conservation, conservation of the built environment, the coast and archaeological heritage, together with any proposals to mitigate the impact.

Land reclamation will not be permitted beyond the western extremity of the existing limit of reclaimed land.

Any development permitted by this policy must not adversely affect any designated nature conservation sites either directly or as a result of increased visitor pressure. All development must comply with policies relating to the Protection of International and European Designated Sites and associated Strategic Access Management and Monitoring Plan.

*As defined by the Primary and Secondary frontages