Plans to demolish the Newgate Gap shelter roof have been scrapped

Newgate Gap Shelter. Photo Amelia Gregory

A Thanet council plan to remove the roof from an historic shelter in Cliftonville has been withdrawn.

The shelter at Newgate Gap was earmarked to have its roof removed after it suffered extensive vandalism and deterioration to the timber. The roof is now deemed to be irreparable, prompting the planning application.

It had been proposed to instead install ornate, metal flower hangers on the existing columns.

But during the planning consultation period numerous objections were lodged and a Save the Newgate Gap Shelter campaign was started by resident Amelia Gregory and received warm public support.

Objections included those from one from the council’s conservation officer who said: “In my view, notwithstanding the current condition of the shelter – which I acknowledge could further deteriorate in time -I consider that at this point the shelter’s contribution to the character and appearance of the conservation area is a positive one and should be retained and repaired.”

Isle architect Sam Causer also objected to the plans and suggested the shelter should be listed.

A Thanet council spokesman said: “During the planning consultation period Thanet District Council received community feedback about the proposed approach and as a result the council will now explore further options, including transferring the shelter to the local community.”

In 2017 officers and councillors met with A Better Cliftonville (ABC) group and other residents to talk through options for the shelter’s future.

A community proposal and planning application was put together to include:

  • Keeping the entire cast iron structure and level the concrete to form a flat area;
  • For the area used for planting hanging baskets and adding Solar Powered Lighting;
  • Possible mobile concession space;
  • For the area to be used by community groups for outside performances and theatre shows.

Now it may be possible to progress those ideas.

‘The battle is not over yet’

Amelia said: “The campaign to Save the Newgate Gap Sea Shelter are thrilled to hear that the planning application to part demolish the shelter has been withdrawn. This shows the strength of public opinion in favour of a reinvigorated and rejuvenated Cliftonville coastline for locals and visitors alike.”

A meeting to discuss the shelter’s future will be held on Saturday (September 8) at 4pm at the Olympia Cafe in Ethelbert Crescent.

Amelia added: “The battle to save the shelter is not over yet because it urgently needs to be repaired. We welcome people to come along to the meeting as a solution still needs to be found.”

Find Save the Newgate Gap Shelter group on facebook here