A former church in Westgate will be demolished to make way for a new build office space and flats if planning permission is granted.
The St Peter’s Church and Presbytery will be flattened and replaced with 766.9sqm of commercial office use for a new headquarters for Miles and Barr Estate Agents (ground floor) and an additional 21 one and two-bed apartments on the first, second and third floors, with associated parking, access and landscaping.
The church, on Canterbury Road, was constructed in 1963, first opening in 1964. It has a nave and Lady Chapel with sacristy room sited on either side of the nave, and baptism and repository areas each side of the main entrance.
The final Sunday Mass at the building before closure was in July 2014 and since then the building has remained empty.
The decision to close the church was made because the cost of repairing and maintaining it was not considered economically viable.
The church had capacity for up to 400 parishioners but in the preceding years before closure, numbers had dropped to around 60-65 per week.
The Benedictines owned the site and when they moved from St. Augustine’s Abbey, Ramsgate to Chilworth, Guildford in Surrey, the Diocese of Southwark ran the church.
The Benedictives made the final decision to dispose of the church and its grounds.
The proposed new four-storey building will have 54 parking spaces, landscaping and cycle storage. It is proposed to include 30% affordable housing.
A proposal previously approved in June 2018 provided for office use on the ground floor of the existing church building, with a boardroom on mezzanine above, in the vaulted void.
But the planning application now lodged says: “Following further investigation of the costs of conversion and the limitations on the floorspace layout operationally for the end user Miles and Barr, the benefits of a new purpose a revised proposal for a purpose built office in terms of energy consumption and running costs and preferred layout for optimum working practices were identified.”
Permission would mean Miles and Barr could relocate from its current rented premises at Discovery Park in Sandwich.
A decision on the application has not yet been made.
Has the TDC got architectural advisers who are capable of judging the aesthetic qualities of the existing buildings, which are considerably superior to those of the replacement design? Would it not be better to convert the existing building in a sympathetic way? The simplicity of design of that has considerable attraction
As this is Thanet what’s the odds that the developers chop down every tree that is on the site all in the name of progress.
Thanet Distric Council Planning Department is not up to standards. They are allowing all sorts of breaches to take place without any enforcement procedures to follow. They seem unable to cope with their procedures and protocols also. Mature trees are being chopped down all over Thanet in the name of development and nothing is being done by TDC to put a stop to it.
I think they need to put a stipulation on the build that any old/large tree should be replaced by as at minimum like for like but leave as many of them as possible for nests and wildlife and the buildings should be in line aesthetically with the surrounding area and no nets to be used on trees and hedge whatsoever so as all wildlife cannot get trapped Ln and die.
The church was designed by John Clague. The firm is currently working on a visitor centre for South Foreland lighthouse
The firm has quite a distinguished record
John Clague RIBA lived in Herne Bay, his architectural practice was based in Canterbury. He was also an amateur filmmaker recording the Herne Bay Carnival from 1935 to 1970. He deserves to be better known
That’s interesting. I might have a little read up if I get a chance
This application is a farce. Miles and Barr, Kentish Projects, Chris Lynch, Sam Bambridge, Carol Messenger. Say no more….
Martin Hopkinson I have to agree with you on the architecture and it is a really good looking building and better looking than the the intended plan it is also better quality than the normal ones built around the same time. And is in a very visible location being next to the A28 it may be possible to get it protected for its unique architecture from its era not sure how we go on this but if there is enough people interested we mite be able to deliver the goods!!
I am trying to contact the 20th Century Society to alert about this proposal
Martin did you succeed?
I did and it should be in contact with Thanet District Council, as should the local heritage society, and the Canterbury firm of architects , who designed the church. The Victorian Society may also have taken up the case as well
I have also contacted a couple of councillors [from 2 different parties] , whom I know, who are on TDC’s planning committee
Clague Architects is still in business in Canterbury and may well have the original plans
The church lies within the Westgate on Sea South Conservation area
A lovely restaurant and bar would have been nice as a shortage in Westgate
In the grounds there arethe ashes of many Catholic people, including my Mother. I am outraged at this four story eye sore,also the construction of the trees, and the problem of the traffic.
I’m not Catholic myself David Norton but I feel like we need to protect as many of these architecturally pleasing churches and buildings as this was built in the 1960s it is still in very good condition and the fact that there are peoples memories of family on the site be it in ashes or I’m not sure buried people. Would that mean having to apply for removal of coffin & bodies from the grounds.
Has the TDC set a date and a time for its planning committee to discuss this planning application? All those who have shown an interest SHOULD be informed
Martin agreed we should be informed allowing us to oppose this monstrosity being built.
I have looked no dates yet but left an objection against the planing application.