Margate Harbour Arm Ltd in talks to take over management of Stone Pier toilets

Margate's Stone Pier Photo Phil Bay

The lease holding company for Margate’s Stone Pier says it is in discussions with Thanet council to take over management of the toilets on the site.

Harbour Arm businesses  had appealed to Thanet council to let them take on maintenance of the pier toilets  which have been the target of vandalism.

Food and drink outlets on the arm say the vandalism – which has resulted in Thanet council shutting the facilities overnight from between 6.30pm-8pm – could be avoided if they are able to take over responsibility.

Thanet council says vandalism is one of the reasons for the overnight closure of the loos

Thanet council said although it is responsible for the toilets any conversation about a handover of responsibility has to go through the leaseholder, Margate Harbour Arm Ltd.

Margate Harbour Arm Ltd, headed by director Graham Knight and secretary Dr Fiona Sheriff, pays  £1 per year for the site lease which runs from 2008 until February 2021.

The lease does not include the walkways and toilets, which are retained by Thanet council.

But Dr Sheriff has confirmed proposals for Margate Harbour Arm Ltd to take over the facilities were put to Thanet council some 18 months ago,

Dr Sheriff said talks have been more positive during the last week and the company hopes to be able to take on the management of the toilets and get them refurbished.

Photo Dean Spinks

She said: “We just can’t have bars and then shut the toilets.  The planning permission granted back in 2007/08 clearly shows those units are for bars and restaurants and, at that time, we agreed with TDC that the businesses in those unit would have keys so their customers could have use of the facilities and then the businesses would make sure they were locked up at the end of the night.

“The situation has been hugely frustrating, but we need decent quality facilties on the Harbour Arm and we have the resources and are best placed to provide that.

“We want to refurbish them as they are not currently a pleasant environment and the harbour area needs to be a welcoming and pleasant place.

“No agreements are yet signed but we are feeling encouraged that we will be able to work with TDC to find a solution that works for everybody.”

BeBeached bar and floor manager Billy Nicholas welcomed the news. He said: “That sounds positive.

“To my knowledge we currently only own a key to the disabled toilet, not to either the gents or ladies and we don’t own keys to any of the currently fitted padlocks. I know given the chance a lot of us would love to have this sorted as soon as possible.”