Thanet council planning officers recommend ‘Dreamland hotel’ plans are rejected

The planned seafront hotel

Plans for a new 124 bedroom hotel in Margate are likely to be rejected by Thanet council’s planning committee next week.

Plans were to flatten Ziigy’s rooftop bar and the adjacent empty property in Marine Terrace ready for work to start on a 5-storey ‘lifestyle’ hotel proposed by Dreamland’s operating company, Margate Estates.

But Thanet council planning officers are recommending that the application is refused, saying: “Unfortunately, whilst a number of economic, social and environmental benefits are offered by the scheme, the proposal, by virtue of its scale, height, depth and roof design, will block significant multiple long distance views of the landmark Grade II* Listed Dreamland building, whilst also creating a development that appears obtrusive and unrelated to the height and scale of development within the historic seafront terrace.

“This impact, in conjunction with the demolition of nos. 48 and 49, which are both of historic significance, would be severely detrimental and harmful to the character and appearance of the conservation area and the setting of the listed building. It is therefore considered that, on balance, the sustainability and public benefits of the proposed development do not outweigh the severe environmental harm to the significance of the historic environment.”

A report to councillors adds: “The proposed development will result in increased recreational pressure on the Thanet Coast and Sandwich Bay Special Protection Area (SPA), and Sandwich Bay and Hacklinge Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).”

The ‘Seaview’ hotel, proposed to lie in the Margate Conservation area, was earmarked to have 124 rooms, a gymnasium, meeting rooms, a shop or café with frontage onto Marine Terrace, a restaurant and bar at the ground floor and a rooftop bar.

But Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group  and The Twentieth Century Society previously said a part of the town’s heritage would be lost if  the properties at 48-49 Marine Terrace were demolished.

How 49 Marine Terrace once looked

Number 49, currently home to Ziggy’s rooftop bar and formerly Escape nightclub, was constructed in 1936 as the West End Restaurant.

It was commissioned by Samuel Isaacs (1856-1939), a Jewish man who opened his first fish and chip restaurant in the East End of London in 1896. It served fish and chips, bread and butter, and tea for nine pence. It was the first of its kind aimed at giving the working class the opportunity to eat in at affordable prices.

His restaurant became a chain, with branches in Brighton – which still exists as Harry Ramsden’s Fish and Chips – Ramsgate and Margate, amongst others. When the building opened, it had two floors of restaurant over the basement, and a roof terrace on top. A sign above the entrance proclaimed “Accommodation for 1,000“.

From The Builder via 20th Century Society

The restaurants were carpeted, had table service, tablecloths, flowers, china and cutlery, and made the trappings of upmarket dining affordable to the working classes for the first time. Menus were expanded in the early 20th century to include meat dishes and other variations as their popularity grew to a total of 30 restaurants.

Sam Isaacs’ trademark was the phrase “This is the Plaice“, combined with a picture of the punned-upon fish.

The architect of the building was local firm, Messrs Gardner & Dale. The senior architect was W.R.H Gardner FRIBA. This firm still exists, after changing partners’ names over generations, as the Duncan + Graham Partnership in Cecil Square.

Margate Estates said the project would create 62 jobs within the hotel;  103 direct construction jobs over 3 years and  52 indirect construction jobs across the region over 3 years.

Councillors will discuss the application on February 20


  1. Unbelievable! On that basis we will have no new hotels in the seafront area- ever. Hotels will bring undoubted economic benefit with jobs much needed revenue to the area all year round. Ok then lets have loads of empty scruffy buildings–thats SO much better!!! We turned down the Tesco/Arlington development partly due to “ruining the towns shops” If that had been encouraged at the time most of that eyesore corner would be gone now. How can we possibly afford to turn down investment in the town.

    • The Secretary of State approved the Tesco/Arlington development following a Public Enquiry. That included outline planning permission for a four storey hotel on the seafront adjacent to the Dreamland building.

      Tesco pulled out which is why the store was not built. Apparently, no developer or hotel chain has approached the current leaseholder of the site with a view to taking up the hotel option.

      With one permission already in place, it will be difficult for another to be refused . . .

      • That’s correct but they pulled out of all new builds due to slump. Had there been no delay in the process it may have been started before their downturn. The same could happen here

  2. The same bureaucrats that say “The proposed development will result in increased recreational pressure on the Thanet Coast and Sandwich Bay Special Protection Area (SPA), and Sandwich Bay and Hacklinge Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).” support of putting thousands of houses elsewhere in Thanet which will totally destroy the environment. If it wasn’t so devastating to Thanet it would be laughable. They should all be fired and replaced with people who can at least be consistent.

  3. Ziggy’s is an excellent example of 1930s architecture..why can’t they work with what’s already there?

  4. It has come to my attention that officers do not live In Thanet .is this going the same way as Arlington square.left derelict.i suppose they are the same people behind this.if they do not know the seafront is in a conservation area should study the history about the area.ziggys roof top bar is included in the development.

  5. Once again the “stop any and all change or progress” brigade scupper any chance of anything good ever happening in Thanet.

    I wonder if ANY scheme in Thanet will ever get the support of the luddites.

  6. Margate desperately needs more hotel availability in summer. Ive often try to book and I usually have to stay outside of town. I thought Margate was trying to rejuvenate its seafront an create jobs?

  7. This is the same committee that approved 14 one bed flats in an office building surrounded by grade 2 georgian town houses in Ramsgate conservation area. Dreamland as an organisation are meting real efforts to improve a derilict seafront and boost the local economy.

  8. Aiden de Brunner the frontman for Margate Estates on this development is closely connected to Arrowgrass which is a hedgefund registered in the Cayman Islands paying little or no tax here . A smooth operator he and other associates involved with other companies in Margate have acquired huge assets as a result of bailing out failing companies eg Dreamland due to financial mismanagement and poor decision making by TDC. Little wonder local councillors were taken in by the slick pr of Aiden and his team. Look beyond the hotel for this company’s ambitions – mark my words their aim is other is to acquire other local real estate and prime sites on the sea front

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