Home   Thanet   News   Article

Residents back petition calling for urgent action to tackle 'lawless' Ramsgate

Bloody brawls and assaults late at night have seen residents of a 'lawless' seaside town demand more be done to stamp out the violence.

People living in Ramsgate say urgent measures are need to be made by authorities so they can once again walk the streets in the evening without fear.

A petition demanding action - including a review of late night licenses - has already been signed by 120 people, with many expressing their desperation for something to be done.

Bar and nightclub owners, however, say they do all they can to help stop trouble, including having tight security and strict entry policies.

They also dispute claims the problems stem from their premises, instead blaming cheap drink establishments and people loading up with alcohol before they go out.

Earlier this month, seven people were assaulted near Military Road - with three needing hospital treatment - sparking a police manhunt.

In October, a video showing revellers throwing punches at each other in Harbour Street was filmed by a terrified resident.

Another clash caught on camera at Ramsgate harbour
Another clash caught on camera at Ramsgate harbour

And in December, two thugs were jailed for breaking a woman's jaw outside the York Arms in King Street.

People living in the town have commented on the petition, saying they are fed-up with being scared of where they live.

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay admits he is also increasingly concerned about the late-night violence, which he says appears to be escalating.

"I have held discussions with Ramsgate Town Council on this very point; additionally, local residents are regularly in touch to express their anxieties," he said.

"Kent Police will have a clear picture, through crime reporting, of the regularity of late-night violence and I would expect them to allocate resources accordingly.

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay
South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay

"In the longer-term, Thanet District Council (TDC) needs to use the powers it has to enforce against licensees where appropriate and for the licence holders to take greater responsibility for managing their customers.

"But further than that, and I am no killjoy, we need a debate as to whether licences up to 2am and beyond, similarly for late-night takeaways, are they appropriate in a residential location."

The new petition, however, demands any action goes even further, calling for late-night licenses to be revoked until problems are resolved.

"I've been speaking to the local nightclub owners, Ramsgate police, church community members, council members and other local residents," the petition's author said.

"Everyone has horror stories to share about weekends and everyone unanimously agrees that things are out of control, particularly from 2am and later as clubs shut and people pour out into the streets.

Philip Thorley is from Thorley Taverns

"There is no excuse not to use the powers held by Thanet council, police and nightclub owners to make Ramsgate safe on weekends.

"The clubs should be able to operate but only when measures are in place for preventing illegal behaviour."

Phil Thorley, director of Thorley Taverns, which runs The Royal, The Oak Hotel and The Queen's Head by the marina, says Ramsgate seafront is not a lawless place.

"There have been some incidents however, and that has got to be recognised," he said.

"The last one reported was very late at night, 4.25am, so well after closing time.

"From a bar owner's perspective, we are tight on security and strict on who is coming in.

"It's only through us all working closely together that this problem can be eradicated..."

"A police presence late at night helps, although in the later hours that's not always seen.

"We work closely with the police and licensing officers at the council but because of lockdown people haven't been meeting face-to-face as much, so we haven't had the dialogue we had previously.

"It's only through police, licensing officers and bar owners working closely together that this problem can be eradicated."

Toby Foster, who has run Enoteca in Harbour Parade for 15 years, says he rarely sees incidents directly on the seafront due to the security teams operating there and stopping any trouble.

He says he shuts his bar usually about 1am, and Rokka and Clique close at 3am.

Residents have been woken by fights in Ramsgate
Residents have been woken by fights in Ramsgate

"They run a really tight ship next door, as do we, with security," he said.

"Trouble doesn't tend to happen along here because of that."

Mr Foster says one problem is people loading up on cheap drink either at home or Wetherspoon, but he states Enoteca has a strict admissions policy, and won't let them in.

He also expresses his sympathy towards residents having to deal with excessive noise late at night.

"At 3am or 4am when it's silent and you suddenly get woken by a group of young people leaving a pub, walking down the road shrieking, then I understand why someone would be upset," he said.

"What I would say is a staggered approach to closing times would be sensible so places aren't all emptying out at the same time..."

"But with late licences, there's a lot of process that goes into them being granted, and the public can have a say during that period - it's all advertised.

"What I would say is a staggered approach to closing times would be sensible so places aren't all emptying out at the same time."

District Commander for Thanet Chief Inspector Matthew Smith says the force is aware of the impact anti-social behaviour can have on residents.

He adds that officers continually carry out proactive work to identify, deter and deal with those responsible.

"For example, during half-term holidays, dedicated schools officers work with patrols to tackle any ASB issues involving young people," he said.

"We understand that (the recent) report of an assault may be concerning and it will be investigated fully..."

"We also work with local youth organisations to have outreach posts to engage with young people in Ramsgate during the evenings.

"We are working with the district council to increase and improve CCTV and street lighting within the town under the Safer Streets funding.

"We understand that (the recent) report of an assault may be concerning and it will be investigated fully."

Additional patrols were put in place in the town centre and harbour area last weekend, and a 48-hour dispersal order ran from 5pm on Friday.

Such orders give officers additional powers to move on anyone seen to be carrying out nuisance behaviour. If they return to the area once dispersed, they risk arrest.

Chief Inspector Smith said: "While we appreciate that Ramsgate has a vibrant night-time economy, we want those who are socialising to enjoy themselves but remember to do it responsibly and with consideration for those who live and work in the town."

A Thanet District Council spokesman said: "The Licensing Act 2003 allows for a premises’ licence to be brought in for a review by responsible authorities such as Kent Police or residents. A review must demonstrate, with evidence, how one of the four licensing objectives is being breached and it must be specific to the premises in question.

"The four licensing objectives are: prevention of crime and disorder; protection of public safety; prevention of public nuisance and protection of children from harm.

"Reviews are heard by a licensing subcommittee comprising three elected members from the Licensing Board. The subcommittee has the authority to determine applications, agree licences, add or amend conditions or revoke licences. Subsequent appeals to these decisions are then made to the Magistrates' Court.

"As of today, we have not received any communications from members of the public regarding the licensing arrangements of the premises named in the petition."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More