Council rejects homes and micropub plan for The Holly Tree

The pub was devastated by fire in 2017 Photo Frank Leppard

Thanet council  has refused permission for plans to build 41 flats, three houses and a micro pub at the site of the former Holly Tree pub.

A blaze that ripped through the property in 2017.

Some 163 letters of objection were received in response to proposals to redevelop the site.

Kentish Projects adapted original proposals from a 5 storey building to a three storey block with a recessed/cut back fourth storey to reduce density and height.

Design proposal submitted by pod architects to Thanet council

The plan was for the micro-pub to be on the Holly Lane/Northdown Road corner of the project and to have four of the homes as wheelchair-convertible. Eighteen parking spaces would be provided.

Objections were raised about lack of parking, over-development of the site and the building being too large and ‘not being in character’ for the area. Concerns were raised over antisocial behaviour linked to the micropub and obstructed views for drivers pulling onto Northdown Road.

In a design statement pod architects say: “The site in its current condition represents an eyesore, and with its two highway frontages on a prominent thoroughfare, there is an opportunity to enhance the public realm through quality place making, led by the design of the built form.”

The proposals were submitted to Thanet council in last January. They included suggested developer contributions of 30% affordable housing, £1,824.76 towards the additional bookstock for Cliftonville library, £ 11, 728 towards the Special Protection Area and£28,872 towards the extension of The Limes Surgery, Margate.

The council’s planning department says: “The provision of 38 dwellings would give rise to employment during the construction phase of the development, and is likely to result in an increase in the use of local services and facilities, both of which will be of benefit, albeit modest, to the local economy.”

However, they then add: “Concerns are, however, raised as to the impact of the proposed scheme in terms of its design, height and scale of the part 3 part 4 storey building on the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

“It is considered that this element of the scheme would represent a visually dominant, obtrusive and incongruous form of development which would fail to respect the low density largely two storey character of the surrounding area.”

The report concludes: “On balance, it is not considered that the benefits of the proposed development outweigh the demonstrable harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding area. ”

Thanet council rejected the scheme on January 11. Independent  councillor Gary Taylor said he hoped something more appropriate would now be drawn up.

The Holly Tree shut its doors in 2016, never fully getting back up to strength after a blaze in 2014 started in the kitchen and ripped through the building.

The pub, formerly Ye Olde Charles, was built in 1926 by Russell’s Brewery of Gravesend. A typical 1920s roadside inn, it was aimed at motorists visiting nearby Margate. It was named after local architect, Charles Reeve.

During World War II Ye Old Charles was used by pilots and ground crew of RAF Manston.

It is said that actor John LeMesurier used to drink in the pub when he was seeing Carry On actress Hatty Jacques, who used to live in Laleham Close.

In 2013 Ye Olde Charles became The Holly Tree until it shut for good in 2016. In April 2017 a fire ripped through the building.

Photo by Roy Goldhawk

Some 20 firefighters and six engines, including the specialist height vehicle, were used to tackle the blaze which was finally brought under control after some four hours.

Photo Frank Leppard

The property was so badly damaged that DDS Demolition were on site in the early evening to take down some of the parts of the structure which had become dangerous.