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.
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“.
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