Thanet council is proposing to sell off 11 sites including the Italianate Greenhouse in Ramsgate’s King George VI Park, the former lifts at Walpole Bay and the Western Undercliff and the car parks at Marina Road in Ramsgate and Harold Road in Margate. Foreness Bay Cafe is also on the list. Newington Community Centre and Broadstairs bowls club have been recommended for transfer to community bodies.
However, the freehold for land between Montefiore Lodge & The Old Stable Block, King George VI Park was bought by Italianate Greenhouse leaseholders Phil and Janice Dadds in 2018 . (NOTE: Thanet council has now withdrawn the site).
Cabinet members are to consider the possible disposal of the council-owned sites and the community transfer of two buildings when they meet on Monday, December 16.
Cabinet will be asked to approve the sale of:
- Westbrook Loggia, Margate
- Land between Montefiore Lodge & The Old Stable Block, King George VI Park, Ramsgate
- Marina Rd Car Park, Ramsgate
- Italianate Greenhouse, King George VI Park, Ramsgate
- Rifle Club, King George VI Park, Ramsgate
- Foreness Bay Cafe, Margate
- Harold Road Car Park, Margate
- Sackett’s Gap Garage, Margate
- Ethelbert Putting Green, Margate
- Western Undercliff Former Lift, Ramsgate
- Walpole Bay Former Lift, Ramsgate
Cabinet will be asked to approve the community transfer of the following assets:
- Newington Community Centre, Ramsgate
- Broadstairs and St Peters Bowls Club, Broadstairs
In a statement the council says the sites have been fully appraised and are considered suitable for either selling on the open market or transferring as a community asset.
Thanet District Council owns around 560 assets in the form of land and buildings throughout the district.
The statement adds: “To ensure the council works as efficiently as possible, it must keep these assets under review as they require significant management and budgetary commitment, which has to be balanced against the benefits they provide to the community.
“Retaining a property incurs day-to-day running costs which may seem negligible but ties up investment that could be directed elsewhere. Money raised through the sale of council-owned assets helps to fund important capital projects which is part of the council’s Medium Term financial strategy.
“Disposing of underused assets helps to reduce the amount of council-owned property in the district and protects assets that would otherwise fall into disrepair. In disposing of unwanted assets the council is following the practice of other local authorities.
“The sale of unwanted council-owned property is part of the council’s asset management strategy to reduce costs, generate additional income and meet energy efficiency targets. This in turn can be used to fund improvements to other assets across the district through the council’s capital programme. This approach is built into the council’s medium term financial strategy.”
A report to Cabinet members outlines each site and reasons for proposed sale.
Westbrook Loggia, Margate
A two-storey building of mixed leisure use, part vacant and part let as a cafe/ shop under a secure business tenancy. Other parts let out to Thanet Lifeguards. Small unit on the ground floor forms part of bay inspectors office and part used as public toilets. Land identified adjacent to site as suitable alternative for new toilet provision.
The building is in very poor condition requiring an estimated £700,000 to be spent over a term of five years to maintain and prevent further deterioration of the building.
Rental received per annum of £9,900, however the lease has expired and therefore the income is not certain. All income is received on terms which mean that the Council retains the liability for the majority of repairs and maintenance as well as Capital works.
It is recommended that property is disposed of on the open market with tenants in situ. A clause will be included whereas the purchaser, in addition to the purchase price, will also build a new modern public toilet facility in accordance to TDC`s specification and exact location.
Land between Montefiore Lodge & The Old Stable Block, King George VI Park, Ramsgate
The land provides access to the Lodge and the Old Stable Block The lodge and Stable Block are not in the ownership of TDC, but TDC has maintenance and liability issues for the land and derives no benefit from it. One property in TDC ownership has a right of pedestrian access over the land. This right would be retained on disposal.
Note: Phil Dadds of the Italianate Glasshouse bought this freehold in 2018.
Marina Road Car Park, Ramsgate
Large size car park located at the far end of Eastern Esplanade and lacking proximity to any local amenities, this car park does not receive any significant use and is often taken over by the travelling community and camper vans parked diagonally across the bays rendering the car park unusable by the general public. The car park is large in size but is the second lowest earning car park Thanet. For the year 2018 – 2019 the car park only generated £10,042 in ticket sales. This site incurs significant costs in enforcement and maintenance, requiring approximately £2,000 per year in maintenance for the pay and display machine. TDC is also responsible for £1,215 p.a. on business rates for this car park. This site is surplus to the general fund, it is recommended that this property is disposed of through the disposal framework at full market value as well as exploring leisure use options for the site towards income generation opportunities.
Italianate Greenhouse, King George VI Park, Ramsgate
Grade II* listed building approximately 200 years old accessed from Montefiore Avenue. The upper part of the structure comprises cast iron ribs with copper glazing bars rising from a York stone plinth. It is supported mid span on central cast iron columns with a beam between. The glazing is curved and overlapped and consists of
approx 3,170 panes of glass. The Greenhouse was renovated in 2006 with a £30,000 grant from English Heritage with the works costing £122,154.
The property has been leased on a peppercorn rent for a 20 year term. Under the current lease the occuper is responsible for the maintenance of the property but the insurance liability is with Thanet District Council.
It is recommended to dispose of the property via the disposal framework, first refusal being offered to the current occupier of the premises, Phil and Janice Daddds who hold the lease. Special condition of sale – the glasshouse to be kept for public use in perpetuity.
Rifle Club, King George VI Park, Ramsgate
Rectangular piece of land used as rifle range. The club that lease the space have erected timber buildings.
This is a high maintenance area with shrubs which the club control and clear under the terms of their agreement but Thanet District Council is responsible for the pruning, treating and general upkeep of the trees and roots within the premises as well as on the boundary. Agreement is due to expire 2035. The annual rent generated by this lease is £430. It is recommended that the property is disposed through the disposal framework. First refusal given to the Rifle Club.
Foreness Bay Cafe, Margate
Beach fronting cafe owned by the Trustees of Foreness Waterski Club. The former clubhouse burned down in 2009 following vandalism and an arson attack.
The Trustees built the current premisses themselves in 2010 paying a ground rent for the premisses of £275 per annum. The club have been looking after the area actively trying to prevent further vandalism , by fitting CCTV systems and having a regular presence on site. They also host several boating days during the summer season and provide a tractor launching and recovery service at the slipway. Several social events are also being held at the club
house enhancing the community. Disposal of the freehold of the land is recommended with first refusal offered to the Trustees of Foreness Waterski Club.
Harold Road Car Park, Margate
Operating level surfaced car park with pay and display machine and annex. There are various keep clear areas, which access the back of neighbouring properties. Some of the access areas have got permission and hold a valid license as
opposed to several other ones that do not hold permission, but have installed gates to gain access via the car park. Parking revenue generated for the entire car park is only £5000 per year. This site costs £3,682 in business rates per year. The car park is often reported to have antisocial behaviour, fly tipping and vandalism, contributing to the large
maintenance changes associated with this site.
Sacketts Gap Garage, Margate
Garage in poor condition after suffering continuous vandalism and arson in recent years. Let out historically but vacant for the past couple of years. Due to its poor condition no further interested tenants have been found.
The structure requires significant repair works. No income generated.
Ethelbert Putting Green, Margate
Former crazy golf site that has been left derelict for several years. This site costs £1,334 per year in business rates. Non operational premises this has been identified as surplus to requirements and is recommended that this is to be disposed of on the open market. Restrictive covenant to be put in place to safeguard the landscape
character of the area. The advertising of the site will highlight that the site will not be for development.
Western Undercliff Former Lift, Ramsgate
This is a Grade II* listed Lift from the Westcliff Promenade leading down to Military Road. Now in poor condition, suffering with graffiti and vandalism. It is recommended for disposal by public auction.
Walpole Bay Former Lift, Margate
Former public lift with machine room in the cliff. Built circa 1920 Grade II listed, is now in poor condition, suffering with graffiti and vandalism. It is recommended for disposal by public auction.
Newington Community Centre, Ramsgate
Purpose built Community Hall built circa 1975. The centre has been run by Newington Community Association since 2007. The area has been identified as suitable for transfer to Newington Community Association or another qualifying community organisation.
Broadstairs and St Peters Bowls Club, Broadstairs
This land accessed via Lawn Road has been identified as potentially suitable for community and social use. Currently let out to the Trustees of Broadstairs and St Peters Bowls Club. The trustees have been keeping the sites in good order and have plans to improve and develop the Pavilion. It is recommended to progress the site to
transfer to Broadstairs and St Peters Bowls Club or another qualifying community organisation.
Previous assets to go under the hammer include Ramsgate’s Westcliff Hall, the Western Undercliff toilets and cafe, the Fort Raod Hotel and several closed isle toilets.