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A Short History of
The Queen's Pier at Ramsey

May 2005 Peter Karran, MHK. raises matter at May Tynwald and suggests a Select Committee investigate.
Jul 2005 Tynwald appoint a Select Committee with Peter Karran as Chairman to report by October 2005.
Oct 2005 Having submitted our written evidence in July we are summoned to give further Oral evidence on October 25th . (Obviously running late.)
Feb 2006 Select Committee still taking evidence. The Director of Planning states that Planners would look sympathetically on proposals to repair the Pier using modern materials where possible. He also confirms that his Department has powers of enforcement as the Pier is a Registered Structure.
Jun 2006 Select Committee's Report and Recommendations debated. This worthwhile attempt to resolve the issue was wasted by the many and varied amendments. Tynwald in effect rejected a Report from their own representatives. Such was the strength of feeling that Chief Minister Gelling returned to Tynwald the following day to offer another Council of Ministers Working Party with the specific remit of "Doing something".
Nov 2006 General Election. New Chief Minister Hon. Tony Brown. (previous Transport Minister during the long years of the Pier's neglect.) John Shimmin now moved to DoLGE (in charge of Planning.) Transport has yet another new Minister. Hon David Anderson. (The fourth in six years.)
Feb 2007 The promised CoMin Working Party finally gets under way. "The Friends" are represented by our Treasurer, Jamie Stokoe as one of the three Lay members.
They are tasked to produce a draft report by 31st May 2007 prior to a consultation exercise in July-September prior to final report and recommendations to CoMin at the end of November 2007. This strict timetable sees massive slippage.
Oct 2007 October sees a consulting Questionnaire randomly circulated to 3200 households.
2008 Results of Questionnaire announced. A massive 81% want the Pier restored/repaired. Even after consideration of a non starting red herring Marina 73% still say 'yes'. Consultants go on record as saying "this result sends a clear signal to the Manx Government that the people want the Pier re-opened as quickly as possible." Survey Findings presented to us as Stakeholders during which meeting the Working Party form a clear idea that the Marina is a non starter.
Apr 2008 Harbours directorate remove about 600 yard of Handrail in clear breach of planning Law. They say "they did not know" that they needed to apply for planning consent. Absolutely untrue!
Dec 2008 The Council of Minsters Working Group publish their report which is very favourable to the refurbishment and re-opening of the Pier. Their recommendations are:

1. That Queen's Pier is of national heritage significance and should be refurbished (by either) -

(Option a) by linking the refurbishment to a new Marina in Ramsey Bay, on condition that the developer completes the refurbishment of Queen's Pier prior to the completion of the residential and commercial development. (or)

(Option b) refurbishment of Queen's Pier using modern materials funded by Government.
Jan 2009 Tynwald unanimously approve Options 1(a) and b as recommended by the Council of Ministers.
Feb 2009 A Steering Group is established to further develop the work and was mandated to make recommendations to Council of Ministers by October 2009 so that the matter could go before Tynwald by November 2009. Tenders were invited for Refurbishment proposals and the contract awarded to BW Partnership of Nottingham whose inspiring proposals involved much use of local labour as part of the drive to minimise post "Crunch" recession. Local Architects "Cornerstone" were engaged to draw up detailed plans.
Nov 2009 Much slippage and Chief Minister advised Tynwald that Council would report in March 2010. Then came more economic woes over which we had no control. Faced with that, the Steering Group, ably led by the Hon Philip Gawne along with the open encouragement of Chief Minister Brown and Ramsey's own two MHKs as Treasury Minister(s), came up with a temporary measure for replacement of failed and damaged structural items. This got the name "De Minimus".
Feb 2010 The Steering Group's report containing their options and recommendations is presented to the Council of Ministers. Option 1 was full refurbishment for £9m. Option 2. Minimal work to stabilise and preserve. £1.875m Option 3. Phased completion £11.675m. Option 4. Partial Refurbishing combined with minimal as Option 2. £3.25m. Option 5. Demolition. £2.2m
May 2010 That Tynwald was asked to vote for the "de minimus"option 2.at a cost of £1.8m. Which, after much debate, they did by 29 votes to 1.
By and large the Friends were at least content that works would be put in hand to preserve the structure of the Pier. Tynwald had decided and that was the first decision since 1994.
The work involves the replacement of missing or damaged bracings and struts, together with the safe removal and storage of the historic artefacts such as balustrades, lighting columns etc., along the whole length of Pier. The works to be completed by the end of summer 2011.
Nov 2010 The requisite Planning Application and request for Registered Building Consent was submitted. Planning Department, Highways, MNH, DEFA all support it as do the Friends and National Piers Society. But Ramsey Town Commissioners do not. Why ever not? Instead they trot out all the old Urban myths.
Jan 2011 An Independent Inspector is appointed due to possible Ministerial conflict of interest.

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