Published: 16:18, 12 May 2022
| Updated: 16:38, 12 May 2022
Controversial plans to replace a berth at Ramsgate port - which could cost more than £2 million - will be considered next week.
Ships had been able to transfer their aggregate onto the shore via berth 4/5 since 1998.
However, in 2020 it was decommissioned as a “matter of urgency” by Thanet District Council as it had "reached the end of its life”.
Since the decommissioning of the old berth, the company which used the facility, Brett Aggregates, has resorted to bringing its aggregate to Ramsgate by road.
The council still has a contractual obligation to provide a berth and plans to build a new one were put in place in the same year.
However, costs for the project have sky-rocketed.
Initially estimated to cost £1.5 million last year, now a replacement could cost up to £2.3 million.
The increase was put down to an environmental impact assessment, which was also delayed.
There are also concerns the new 119-metre berth will be far bigger than the 70-metre original, with some objectors claiming this isn’t necessary.
Since the project was announced in 2020, vocal concerns have been made by residents and councillors alike.
In a statement to the council, ward member Cllr Tricia Austin (Green) said: “We were advised that the previous berth 4/5 were deemed unsafe and had to be removed.
“We are also advised that Bretts, who pay an extraordinarily modest rent for their facility on the port, had not asked for any replacement or increase in the facility.
“Yet we are apparently proposing to replace the old berths with something bigger.
“We are also simultaneously maintaining that this is a 'like-for-like replacement' and at the same time that we expect to be increasing not only the berth's size (which might perhaps be justified on safety grounds) but also its conveyer capacity.”
Other objectors include Cllr Rebecca Wing (Green), Ramsgate town council and Ramsgate town society which also claim the new berth would be too large.
However the council is still keen to proceed with the project and planning officers have recommended the plans be approved next week.
Thanet councillors will meet on Wednesday, May 18, to decide the berth’s future.