Ramsgate free port proposal will be backed by government and private finance firm boss – The Isle Of Thanet News

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Free port proposal

Funding from central and local government and private funding would be used to support a free port idea connecting Ramsgate Port and the Manston Airport site, says the marketing firm that presented the proposal despite the fact that the sites are owned by the council, the Crown and private property.

I4c company founder Stan Vines said the plan for the project came about after being approached by an agent at a commercial bank he had previously dealt with. The program, he says, has received interest from the bank and other institutions.

The Freeport idea suggests creating a new Ramsgate Freeport and using Manston Airfield, connected to the port via an extension of the existing road tunnel, resulting in a technology-based free zone for the future.

I4c, Information for Contracts Ltd, of London, created the proposal with city architects ORMS, the Crawford Partnership, consulting engineers Tony Gee and Partners LLP and the law firm Temple Bright LLP.

They say it’s a response to the government’s announcement to create up to 10 free ports in locations across the UK.

The government wants to establish free ports, which have customs rules different from those of the rest of the country, with tariff flexibility, customs facilities and fiscal measures.

It is understood that there were preliminary discussions on freeport opportunities, including Ramsgate at the regional level, but the i4c proposal was not one of them.

The port is managed by the Thanet Council which leases part of the estate to the Crown.

I4c says their plan would mean renovating and upgrading the existing port in the first phase of a dual-use development to create additional port capacity in preparation for the UK’s exit from the European Union on December 31. .

A document outlining a 10-year development has been given to Thanet advisers Peter Campbell and David Green and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Mr Vines (pictured) said: ‘Other projects have been submitted for the regeneration of Ramsgate and the area, but none are as complete as that of i4c with the unique inclusion of Manston in the application for Freeport status. “

The plans include a traffic separation system to keep commercial vehicles out of town, but allowing access to local facilities for inbound ferry and tourist traffic.

He says that in the first year the port would undergo an upgrade of ro-ro ramps, an assessment of berths for larger vessels, refurbishment and additional handling and parking areas. At Manston, the plan includes building custom facilities, a logistics and storage center, and renovating suspension and freight sites as well as potential for light industry.

Manston Airport Site Photo Frank Leppard

However, RiverOak Strategic Partners, which owns the majority of the Manston Airport site following a £ 16.5million purchase from Stone Hill Park last year, was not included in the discussions.

The RSP is awaiting a government decision on a development approval order to create an air cargo hub at the site.

RSP submitted a DCO application in July 2018 with the aim of obtaining mandatory buyout powers at the Manston Airport site. The firm wants to relaunch aviation on the site with a cargo hub and associated activities.

The DCO requests planning permission and mandatory redemption powers on the land. This is the way to obtain authorization for developments classified as Infrastructure Projects of National Importance (NSIP).

An RSP graph of Manston Airport

However, Stone Hill Park – which had planned for housing, business and infrastructure development at the site – withdrew after selling the land to RSP as the DCO hearings ended last year. .

The DCO’s decision was expected in May, but a delay means the announcement is now expected on July 10.

A spokesperson for the RSP said: “We have not spoken to them and for the moment we are focusing on the DCO, the decision of which is expected on July 10.”

Mr Vines said: “RSP made a speculative deal on a site which was sold not long ago for £ 1. I have been involved in projects where the land, for various reasons, had values negative millions under £ 1. I know it’s hard to grasp but right now the speculation is that bank interest rates could go to several negative points. You are paying the bank to keep your money. Du never seen under normal circumstances until late.

“The current situation is that it still has pocket currency value until proper diet planning is granted. Regardless of their “ownership” and / or what they “paid” for it, its designation still reflects this old value. “

He added: “We are happy, if our program is preferred, to consult with them if they wish to participate. However, our program will view Freeport as a whole as a “trusted port”, in accordance with our legal advice. “

Ramsgate Harbor

Mr. Vines says that “thousands of jobs will be created in the ‘free zone technology park’ and through the expansion of the port and many others with the development of important commercial, residential and leisure facilities” .

The businessman says his experience for such a project includes working with the shipping industry when he lived in Greece from 1996 and then managing business in the Middle East and Africa from there ‘East and North, contracting with a Swiss investment company for marketing and business information.

He said: “The contacts established over the past 20 years and prior to my stay in Greece have come together to produce the proposal.

“We are seeing a combination of central government, perhaps some local governments, and private finance to finance development, the latter through the bank and other institutions that have shown interest.”

Cllr Green responded to i4c to say that he expected the RSP request to be denied, but highlighted the ongoing consultation on the port and Crown ownership of the reclaimed area, adding: “Any new Site expansion is limited by the protection afforded to the adjacent SSSI. to Pegwell. (The) link provided to the Manston site is of interest in this regard. For my part, I find the employment prospects in (the) plans of the greatest interest.

The port of Ramsgate has accumulated total losses of £ 22million since 2010. However, last year – for the period between April and December – early accounts show a port surplus of £ 385,074. This amount can be modified because the figures during the year have not yet been finalized.

This was accumulated through the use of Ramsgate port for car imports – bringing in just under £ 32,000 during this period, rental and concession income of just under £ 700,000 and income from ships, goods and freight.

Ramsgate Harbor and Harbor Photo Adam Cowell

The Port is currently the subject of a consultation, in progress until October, following a high-level feasibility study carried out by the WSP consultants.

The report suggested uses, including reviving the Smack Boys Home building hotel and conference center plan and creating industrial estates, waterfront homes, retail and facilities. of thematic leisure activities.

Council chief Rick Everitt said he would like to see a major attraction, created in partnership with businesses and other organizations, to attract visitors.

Commenting on the freeport proposal, Cllr Everitt said: “Pending the results of the DCO at the airport, such a discussion on this is premature.”

There has been no cross-Channel operation at Ramsgate since the collapse of TransEuropa in 2013, which left Thanet’s council owed a £ 3.4million unpaid debt accumulated by the ferry company in port fees .

Negotiations with ferry service providers since that date have been unsuccessful.

In December 2018, the saga of Seaborne Freight’s proposals for a Ramsgate / Ostend ferry service saw the company award a £ 13.8million government contract for additional ‘Brexit resilience’ crossings despite no ferry and company history.

The government abandoned the deal in February 2019.


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