A report on the 2017 Kent property market released this month says Thanet is becoming a key destination for homebuyers and businesses looking to relocate, mainly from London – and says the isle should capitalise on its frequent use as a film location.
The Kent Property Market Report 2017, produced by Caxtons Chartered Surveyors, Kent County Council and Locate in Kent, reviews the past year’s activity in a number of key sectors and monitors progress of on-going projects.
For Thanet the report highlights a rise in house prices of some 36% over the past five years and suggests this is partly driven by property buyers from London.
Th report says: “Bespoke analysis provided by Hometrack for this report, demonstrates affordable locations such as Margate and Dartford showing house price rises well in excess of the traditional west Kent commuter towns.
“However, Kent remains good value for home buyers, with the average house price in Kent 6% up on last year but 14.8% lower than the average for the South East. The average house price at a County level masks a significant range in prices across Kent, with an average of £469,202 in Sevenoaks to £236,993 in Thanet.”
The report also notes a flourishing trend of Thanet entrepreneurs setting up businesses across the isle, resulting in a particular transformation of Margate Old Town and Ramsgate harbour and marina.
The report points to the reopened Dreamland, Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour and Turner Contemporary as prompts for a strong tourism market but says this is also driven by a ‘cultural revolution’ of independent shops, restaurants and galleries, particularly those clustered in the Old Town.
It adds: “Thanet is attracting new investment in the form of boutique hotels, guest houses, restaurants, cafés and outdoor leisure attractions alongside new and relocating businesses.”
The report says the isle’s attraction as a film location should be used to bring more creative production companies to Thanet.
It says: “With a requirement for a substantial percentage of the BBC and Channel 4 programming budgets to be spent outside London, Thanet’s visual appeal, proximity, affordability and creative flair make it an excellent choice for the creative agencies’ principal broadcasters contract with for programme making. There is an opportunity to attract a small cluster of such creative production companies to Thanet and this is a realistic ambition for the area.”
Filming this year has included the adaptation of Nick Hornby novel, Juliet Naked, starring stars Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke and Chris O’Dowd as well as Azhy Robertson (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Lily Brazier (People Just Do Nothing), Ayoola Smart (Vera) and stand-up comedian Jimmy O. Yang.
Actors Michael Caine and Charlie Cox were in Margate this Summer shooting scenes for Night in Hatton Garden, a movie about the Hatton Garden jewel heist that was carried out by a gang of ageing crooks in 2015.
Crews from Sky Atlantic’s The Tunnel used the isle as a location and numerous adverts, photo shoots and music videos have also been filmed in Thanet this year.
What the Kent Property Report says for Thanet:
Manston Business Park
Manston Business Park continues to be a key site for commercial development with 101 new units, totalling 9,572m2 of workspace, developed and sold since August 2014.
The park has progressed significantly with further marketing of the site through Savills Sevenoaks office. Previous developments and realisation of the pent up demand for suitable new space, has enabled Manston Business Park to continue to provide excellent value-for-money. This is meeting and encouraging interest in taking up land for both owner occupation and speculative development. Manyweather Properties Ltd have secured further consents over the past 12 months, acquiring significant land interest from EKO LLP.
Manyweathers Properties Ltd completed and sold/leased The Oaks Business Park, off Invicta Way, in June 2017. The company have now secured further consent for the next project at Manston Business Park to be called The Maples Business Park. This is under construction and is expected to be substantially complete and occupied by spring 2018, with a greater mix of offices and workshops to The Oaks. A number of local firms are signed up to relocate to Manston Business Park, being seen as a gateway position. It is becoming ever more popular with local firms needing fast road connections to the rest of Kent. EKO LLP has a number of other ongoing schemes at Manston Business Park with end user occupiers, subject to the planning process. The accumulative job creation opportunities for Thanet are extensive.
Discovery Park and the biomass plant
At Discovery Park, the site owners, Discovery Park Limited, commenced work in Q2 2017 on creating 4,645m² (50,000ft²) of new laboratory space in Discovery Park House with plans in place for a 5,574m² (60,000 ft²) expansion of office space capacity. Alert Technology, Digital Automation, Gemini Lotto Fundraising, Development House, Great Oaks Small School and Clinical Venture Services are among the new companies to take space in 2017.
Work began in earnest during 2017 on a new £160m bio-mass combined heat and power plant, which will open by the end of 2018, funded and constructed by Copenhagen Infrastructure II Fund and BWSC (Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S).
The project will create 25 new jobs, an additional 350 jobs during the construction period and further jobs in the local forestry sector.
The Yarrow Hotel in Broadstairs
One of the first hotels in the UK to be entirely staffed by hospitality and catering students. (The hotel marked its first anniversary in July. In its first year it welcomed thousands of guests and had a turnover of £1million while establishing itself as a venue for community groups, weddings and awards ceremonies.)
Thanet Parkway Station
Kent County Council is seeking to deliver Thanet Parkway and its associated car park by 2020 to significantly improve rail access from London to local communities and developments at Discovery Park, Stone Hill Park and Manston business parks and from within Kent.
(An eight week consultation on the project finished in March.)
Eurokent, New Haine Road, Ramsgate
East Kent Opportunities LLP is a joint venture company between KCC and Thanet District Council set up in 2007 to deliver jobs and housing in Thanet. In March 2017 it successfully sold 8.9ha (22 acres) of serviced residential land at New Haine Road, south of Westwood Cross, to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The HCA simultaneously acquired a further 4.45ha (11 acres) of adjoining residential zoned land, as part of the delivery of 350 homes and local community space within the mixed-use development.
East Kent Opportunities LLP successfully secured planning consent at appeal in 2014 for a mixed use development. and is now promoting the sale of the remainder of the majority of its landholdings at New Haine Road, in accordance with the re-aligned Master Plan for employment land, mixed business use offices and workshops. The development will create both a major residential community and significant opportunity for job creation in a sustainable location.
Laleham Gap School
The freehold of the new school site (in Ramsgate) was transferred in March 2017 to the county council. The former school site at Cliftonville was sold to Orbit Homes for 70 new family dwellings. The scheme has been designed by BDB Design LLP and will introduce a high quality of housing design for the area. This project resulted from a collaboration between East Kent Opportunities LLP and Kent County Council and a unique land swap arrangement. This innovative solution enabled the development of the new Laleham Gap Special Education Needs school working with the Education Funding Agency and Wates Construction as main contractor.
Live Margate is a long-term programme creating quality family homes. The aim is to make Cliftonville West and Margate Central the place where more people aspire to live. The wider community value is to encourage investment in owner occupied homes and improving living and housing for the whole community.
The scheme is a collaboration between Thanet District Council and Kent County Council working with local consultants and contractors. Five homes in multiple occupation were acquired by the County Council removing some 150 bedsits. Three were presented in significant disrepair, requiring extensive remediation before conversion into family homes.
One property was demolished to provide five new family homes and this was recognised as the Best Small Residential Development in the 2016 Kent Design and Development Awards. The last property is undergoing refurbishment to create a home suitable for multi-generational living and a model for energy efficiency.