Clearance at former Holly Tree pub site prepares for 38 home and micropub development

Holly Tree pub site being cleared Photo Jamie Horton

Clearance of the remains of the fire hit Holly Tree pub debris in Cliftonville is underway.

The pub was destroyed by the blaze that ripped through the property in 2017.

An application by Kentish Projects to build 41 flats, three houses and a micro pub at the site was rejected in January last year.

However, in July 2019 a proposal for a part three, part four storey building of 35 flats and a micro-pub, plus three detached homes was given approval, with conditions, on appeal.

Photo Jamie Horton

Proposals included a scaling back in of units from 42 to 38 and increased parking provision from 18 to 34 spaces plus changes to create landscaped frontage and ‘setting-back’ from Northdown Road -particularly at the corner with Holly Lane.

Appeal documents state the development will contain 30% affordable housing and “would provide a stimulus for further regeneration within the area, particularly given that the application site occupies a ‘gateway’ position into Margate and Cliftonville.”

Homes and micropub proposal

The document adds: “The problems of delivery of housing in Thanet is a particular issue acknowledged recently by the Secretary of State which this statement represents a further material consideration.

“The mismatch between housing need and delivery is of greater significance in Thanet where scheme viability is critical and meeting policy requirements of 30% affordable housing provision as well as other infrastructure contributions and in the case redeveloping a brownfield site must be balanced against lower than average sales values relative to the rest of Kent.”

Thanet council says permission was refused due to the scale of the build being “visually dominant, obtrusive and incongruous,” and failure to enter into a legal agreement to secure affordable housing – now rectified – as well as “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).”

Photo Frank Leppard

On appeal the Planning Inspectorate concluded the “building would not have a material adverse effect on the character and appearance of the area,” and imposed several conditions including the need to to limit the servicing hours for the micro-pub.

Suggested developer contributions are 30% affordable housing, £1,824.76 towards the additional bookstock for Cliftonville library, £ 11, 728 towards the Special Protection Area and£28,872 towards the extension of The Limes Surgery, Margate.

Photo by Roy Goldhawk

The Holly Tree shut its doors in 2016, never fully getting back up to strength after a blaze in 2014 started in the kitchen and ripped through the building.

The pub, formerly Ye Olde Charles, was built in 1926 by Russell’s Brewery of Gravesend. A typical 1920s roadside inn, it was aimed at motorists visiting nearby Margate. It was named after local architect, Charles Reeve.

During World War II Ye Old Charles was used by pilots and ground crew of RAF Manston.

It is said that actor John LeMesurier used to drink in the pub when he was seeing Carry On actress Hatty Jacques, who used to live in Laleham Close.

In 2013 Ye Olde Charles became The Holly Tree until it shut for good in 2016. In April 2017 a fire ripped through the building.

Fire at The Holly Tree pub Photo Frank Leppard

Some 20 firefighters and six engines, including the specialist height vehicle, were used to tackle the blaze which was finally brought under control after some four hours.

The property was so badly damaged that DDS Demolition were on site in the early evening to take down some of the parts of the structure which had become dangerous.


  1. bit more behind the story to that fire than meets the eye
    and to whom the land belongs to
    have reported to the right department
    seems estate agents like to form offshore leaks account with one of the biggest scandals ever linked to the tory government and yes folk I have the proof and the trail and a crime reference number
    shame on who I know to be involved
    seems that estate agents round here can do what they want not when it is a criminal trial

  2. Don’t worry if this is a guy holloway project it won’t get off the ground……see numerous other faux designs and non developed land banking projects

    • not sure about the architect
      follow the people behind this
      on the gate for years the land next to it, it read Kentish Projects …Miles and Bar the offshore leaks company and yes I have proof
      then there was the jackie pallo fire
      both this fire and pallo fire were suspicious and treated as arson
      probably for insurance purposes
      Gutted ..pardon the pun

  3. It’s such a shame that we desperately need more homes-especially affordable ones- in Thanet but we have to watch all kinds of dodgy dealing with land owners and property developers to get them.
    The sooner the government gets stuck in and builds houses and flats themselves , cutting out the greedy middlemen, the better. But I won’t hold my breath. We have got a government of other “greedy middlemen”.

  4. Remember that everyone….£28,872 for The Limes Surgery ( let’s see where that goes) and to include 30% affordable housing…how is that going to happen in this small construction!!!????

  5. Affordable? AFFORDABLE?? By whom?
    We need social housing in Thanet, not necessarily here maybe, but that is what is really needed. These so-called ‘affordable ‘ houses can only be afforded by at least 2 people working and in very good jobs with commensurate salaries. How many factory workers, shop assistants and similar can afford these houses?
    The term affordable needs banning.

    • I agree
      affordable for the developer in staged developments so the land price increases
      this land was set on fire by arsonists
      Land is owned by a director of Miles and Bar
      the DDS people who demolished it are offshore leaks too
      everything here is criminal but as soon as I commit one I be handcuffed but offshore leaks is anything from not paying tax to other criminalities

  6. The block looks hideous, and another cheap construction with large premiums when being sold on to prospective buyers. Every developer now appeals directly to the planning Inspectorate to get their way when plans are turned down by TDC. This will be a scar on the surrounding buildings and look very much out of place, but that doesnt matter as long as the Government gets it’s way !

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