I can’t believe what I am reading in the local newspaper.
A successful 34 yea old national chain might take over a derelict eyesore in a prime location. Wetherspoons – the NO MUSIC venue! They might move in to Ramsgate, renovate and maintain the Pavilion to a standard that one would expect (nice toilets) and they have a good record in using unique environments, not making every venue look the same.
Alternatively the venue could be turned into an indoor market. I can’t quite see how the renovations would be funded, how it would be run, who the stall holders would be. Would it be the sort of stall holders that are in Ramsgate’s town centre on a Friday – I don’t know who they are because I avoid Ramsgate town that day! I wait for quieter times to stock up from the 99p shop. Who would the customers be at the indoor market – profile, numbers, where have they come from? Where would they park and just how would a profit be generated.
QUESTION: can anyone point to a successful indoor market that they would hope to copy within the Pavilion space? Exclude those in London because they have a catchment population of 10 million people and fantastic public transport.
There will be a VERY brief opportunity to investigate this vision, on Sunday 17th Nov 12-2.30 at Albion House.
There have been some comments suggesting that those seafront business down that road are the main opponents to Whetherspoons. Let me give my very personal view of things. Every time Mr Tara Plumbing & I go out in the evening (which isn’t often – young children) we go to Miles Barr I can’t imagine that we would become regulars in a Weatherspoons.
When we have children with us we would not go to MB but we might go in to Pizza Express, Alexandra Ristorante, Pelosi, Pete’s Fish Factory or the Belgium Bar. I also like the cabin next to the toilets for coffee, sorry don’t know the name. And we frequently support the cafe on the beach for budget cups of tea and chips. I still can’t imagine we would go in Wetherspoons.
Lots of people will go in Wetherspoons, people who want a different atmosphere, and much lower prices. Ramsgate seafront is like a ghost town for many hours of the week – even on sunny weekends we are amazed by the lack of people on the streets. When whole families go out they often can’t afford the prices of the venues along that stretch. I think Wetherspoons cater largely for a different group of customers so the existing business should not feel threatened but may benefit from more passing trade and a busy atmosphere in that cul de sac.
I see the issue relating to my own business. There are just over 50,000 homes in Thanet and Tara Plumbing can’t plumb in all of them, so should there be other plumbing business? Offering very different and perhaps cheaper services? Yes, why not let everyone find the plumber that suits their needs.
Is any of this really relevant? Here is a statement issued by Thanet District Council that makes the legal position of the Pavilion quite clear: Rank own the lease, they are responsible for looking after the building. If the lease passes to someone else they must have very deep pockets.
It would be good to hear of other viable plans but so far ONLY Wetherspoons have put a financially viable proposal forwards.