The Royal Victoria Pavilion in Ramsgate is a beautiful listed building in a prominent position, which has lain empty for far too long. It is important that every effort is made to bring this facility back into use and the Conservative Group is totally supportive of that aim. However, contradictory and highly personalised statements from the Council and Labour Cabinet members have cast doubt on this process and questions remain over the transparency and fairness of the marketing of the Pavilion since June 2013.
Shadow Member for Housing and Planning, Cllr Julie Marson said: “I am shocked at the public drubbing of Emma Irvine in an official but unattributed council press release. The Labour administration has a history of treating the public, particularly in Ramsgate, with disrespect and rather than writing press releases targeting individuals they should be concentrating their efforts on achieving the best possible outcome for this site and for the people of Ramsgate.”
When the proposition to extend the lease to aid marketing of the building was brought to Cabinet in June 2013, the officer’s report stated that that the marketing would be done “in conjunction with the existing tenant...in an open and transparent method, whilst ensuring best value and probity for the authority.”
Unanswered questions include: why has the latest council press release been altered to remove the words ‘the current council leadership is not aware that this has been the case’ regarding Rank’s willingness to surrender the lease?; has the council worked ‘in conjunction with’ Rank?; has it sought to influence or work in partnership with Rank in order to ensure ‘best value and probity’?; how does Cabinet define these terms, particularly with regard to the impact on the local area, its residents and businesses?; has Cabinet tried to ensure consistency with the recently adopted Destination Management Plan?
The TDC Conservative Group is calling for answers to these questions and transparency and fairness in the whole process of determining the future of the Royal Victoria Pavilion.