This plan is not just for the benefit of regional and local planning bodies and local stakeholders; we believe that the process of producing and maintaining it will assist with:
- being clear and transparent about the future strategic direction;
- facilitating inward investment;
- engaging local and regional planning bodies at an early stage to allow any development to be incorporated at various levels of spatial planning and to secure the buy-in of stakeholders; and
- keeping local stakeholders informed of relevant maritime activities and building good working relationships locally
This plan will be a key document in determining the future direction for Ramsgate’s port and harbour, which are of considerable importance to the local and regional economy, both now and in the future.
This plan also fits within a wider policy context, as detailed below.
The Thanet Corporate Plan emphasises the importance of protecting and diversifying the commercial function of the port as a key Kent cross-channel trade route; working with European partners and encouraging further location of sustainable energy businesses into the area, particularly at the port; and encouraging and influencing the growth of Thanet’s economy, including the tourism/leisure, creative and sustainable energy sectors.
The draft Local Plan sets out a vision for 2031 and foresees:
- Ramsgate making the most of its close proximity to Europe and easy access to London;
- Ramsgate Port as a successful economic asset, essential to Thanet’s business and gateway role;
- Thanet having a sustainable, balanced economy with a strong focus on tourism, culture and leisure;
- the importance of Ramsgate’s maritime heritage; the commercial function of the Port; supporting renewable technology; its Royal Harbour, marina, beach and attractive waterfront, providing a vibrant mix of town centre uses, with a strong visitor economy and café culture; and
- a continuing policy for the growth of Ramsgate Port.
The Economic Growth and Regeneration Strategy identifies the port as a strategic asset for the District, which is part of a comprehensive transport system that adds to the area’s competitive po sition. The strategy aims to:
- build on the transport and communications infrastructure hence improving the flows of goods and people between Thanet’s key markets;
- work with industry to capitalise on Ramsgate’s role as the support base for some of the world’s largest offshore renewables projects;
- prepare for the future development and deployment of offshore technologies that build on the infrastructure that is already here; and
- capitalise on the area’s natural advantages, its assets, heritage and culture that are unique selling points, to encourage private sector investment and support the visitor economy.
The Destination Management Plan sets out the priorities to help Thanet achieve its potential as a visitor destination. The Plan has been designed for a wide audience and has been informed by new market research. The priorities are:
- Beach management and development – to deliver a programme of prioritised beach-by-beach improvements, informed and steered by a new Beach Management Delivery Group, and to identify and deliver community and industry-managed beaches that are freely available to everyone and which incorporate the best creative and commercial ideas to enhance quality, protect the environment and deliver new distinctive experiences
- Coastal regeneration – to make a stronger case for tourism regeneration in specific underused or derelict coastal buildings and target inward investment to those specialist developers who can inject creative solutions and deliver new quality developments – large and small - that reinforce what is distinctive about Thanet and create much needed character accommodation
- Telling our stories – using the Shared Story developed for the DMP to create a stronger sense of place through a joined-up approach to marketing, information and interpretation, including helping small tourism businesses improve the quality of their marketing through skills development and support. The emphasis is on business engagement, support for the DMP and delivering a consistent quality product.
The Local Transport Plan highlights that:
- the future of the Port of Ramsgate depends very much on the development of new short sea shipping routes between Ramsgate and other European channel ports;
- in line with this view, we would wish to support the Government and EU initiative for the development of short sea shipping and aims to attract new business to Ramsgate’s port;
- the development of the port is not expected to necessitate further land reclamation in the foreseeable future; and
- as a priority action, the port needs to build on its diverse commercial activities.