Plans for 73 apartments at Old Gas Works site in Ramsgate submitted to Thanet council

How the site with housing and Aldi could look Image On Architecture

Seventy-three apartments could be built at the former gas works site in Ramsgate.

An application has been submitted to Thanet council on behalf of Thanet-based Blueberry Development Estates to create 58 flats in three new build blocks and 15 in a conversion of the listed gas works office building fronting Boundary Road.

The homes will share the site with the proposed new Aldi store.

Photo by Mike Nichols

On Architecture  has been commissioned by Blueberry Developments Estates Ltd to prepare and submit  the applications for the residential development of the western part of The Old Gas Works. The new Aldi supermarket will be on the eastern part of the site.

The Old Gas Works site currently consists of two decommissioned former gas holders on the and the Grade II listed former offices and depot.

The proposals would mean renovation and conversion of the listed building and the creation of the four-storey new buildings.

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There is a requirement for 30% affordable housing at a 30:70 shared ownership and affordable rent split. Financial contributions towards  schools, libraries, social care, healthcare and open space may also be required.

The three new blocks will consist of

Block A – 31no. apartments (17 x 1-bed and 14 x 2-bed)

Block B – 13no. apartments (3 x 1-bed and 10 x 2-bed)

Block C – 14no. apartments (3 x 1-bed and 11 x 2-bed)

Plus the listed building – 15no. apartments (5 x 1-bed and 10 x 2-bed)

How it could look Image On Architecture 

In planning documents Lee Evans Partnership says: “The design of the buildings is contemporary, drawing from an ‘industrial’ style in order to reflect the historical use of the site.”

In reference to the listed property it adds: “In the mid to late 20th Century a number of very unsympathetic internal alterations took place to the building. These range from the introduction to new rooms within original rooms, or the subdivision of rooms. This led to the loss of plasterwork and harms the character of the spaces. On the ground floor false floors where added and further internal walls were added.

Gas Works site 1910

“Today, the building is in an advanced state of decay; this is most likely due to the roof being lost in places, allowing the water in and also allowing birds into the building. This, combined with vandalism, has left the building in a precarious state.

“The extent or required repair to the building is substantial, with the complete loss of areas of ceiling, floors and wall finishes. Suspected wet and dry rot is present in various areas of the building. In its current state, the building’s interior is being lost to rot and as time progresses this loss of fabric will increase. It is clear that as a result of its poor condition, it is crucial for the building to be refurbished and brought back into active use.”

Vehicle access to the new blocks would be from St Luke’s Avenue and the converted listed building accessed from Boundary Road.

Earlier this year Aldi announced proposals to relocated to the gas works site and joint pre-application advice was given to both the store and Blueberry developments.

The store has traded from its current site opposite the gas works for the last 20 years but bosses say a move would mean the chance to increase the size of the shop and provide more parking spaces.

Currently the store has 1,20acres and wants that to increase to 1.70 acres. Parking spaces would go up from 70 to 118.

A decision is yet to be made on the application for the site.

A place in history

The gas office and depot site in Boundary Road Photo from archives of Mike Nichols

The gasworks were built in 1824 and had six gasholders. Originally it was on the other side of Boundary Road, where Aldi now is, then operated on both sides before being completely moved to the site were the red brick office and clock still stands.

It was taken on by the Local Board in 1877.The local Board and later Ramsgate Corporation ran the site until 1949.

On nationalisation in 1949 the undertaking became part of the Thanet Group of the Kent County Division of SEGB. Gas manufacture ceased at Ramsgate works in 1958 and the site became a holder station.

The offices, railed area, depot, adjoining walls and gate for the gasworks in Boundary Road are grade II listed.

During World War One, in November 1917, two bombs hit the gas works, falling between the gas holders and the rear of the office.

The site was bombed again during World War Two, in August 1940, when eight members of staff were lucky enough to survive after taking refuge in an Anderson shelter at the rear of the offices.

In 2007 and application was made to create 96 homes on the site. Some decontamination work took place but then stopped.

Demolition and remediation works then took place in 2010 but the site remained undeveloped.

It is listed in Thanet’s Draft Local Plan – outlining development plans up until 2031 -for the 96 homes.