Ramsgate freeport proposal to be backed by government and private finance claims company boss

Central and local government funding and private finance would be used to back a freeport idea connecting Ramsgate Port and the Manston airport site, claims the marketing company putting forward the proposal despite the sites being in council, crown and private ownership.

Founder of company i4c, Stan Vines, says the project plan was put together after he was approached by an officer from a commercial bank he has previously dealt with. The scheme, 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 to the existing road tunnel, resulting in a technology based Free Zone for the future.

I4c, Information for Contracts Ltd, of London, has 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 is a response to the government announcement to create up to 10 freeports in locations across the UK.

The government wants to establish freeports, which have different customs rules than the rest of the country, with tariff flexibility, customs facilitations and tax measures.

It is understood that there have been early-stage discussions about freeport opportunities including Ramsgate at regional level but the i4c proposal wasn’t part of them.

The Port is run by Thanet council which leases part of the estate from the Crown.

I4c says their plan would mean the refurbishment and upgrade of the existing port in the first phase of a dual purpose development to create additional channel port capacity in readiness for the UK exit from the European Union on December 31.

A document outlining a 10 year, phased development has been passed to Thanet councillors Peter Campbell and David Green and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Mr Vines said: “There have been other schemes submitted for the regeneration of Ramsgate and the region but none as comprehensive as this from i4c with the unique inclusion of Manston in application for Freeport status.”

The plans include a traffic segregation scheme to keep commercial vehicles away from the town but enabling access to local facilities for leisure and tourist traffic from incoming ferries.

This is an extract of an article appearing on The Isle of Thanet News website on 19 June 2020.