By Charlotte Richardson
Margate Football Club has submitted a new planning application for stadium redevelopment at its site, including the East Stand, Coffin End (North Stand), a 120 bed hotel and further facilities.
The application has been developed with hotel partner IHG Hotels and the brand Holiday Inn Express to reflect increased demand for hotel rooms in Thanet. It ios also aimed at providing a first-class facility for all teams and a sporting hub for the community.
The East Block will be used for a 120-bedroom hotel together with restaurant and bar facilities. The building will also include space for MFC club offices and a club shop together with the stadium control room. The stand will be all-seater and have a capacity of 650.
The North Stand will be a terrace with a capacity of 1,300 and behind this and integrated into it, there will also be space for first team home and away changing facilities, together with ancillary spaces associated with the first team. On the ground floor, there will be several studio spaces for sports and associated activities. On the first floor there will be a café/bar facility which overlooks the pitch.
The car park will be extended to provide 104 parking spaces and will provide access to all of the East Block offices, shop and hotel. The North End turnstiles will be renewed and relocated into the site to allow access into the ground from the car park.
The application has been developed following pre-application meetings with Thanet District Council and Kent County Council.
Club Chairman, Terry Painter (pictured below) said:“This is an exciting step forward in the evolution of our plans to secure a long term, sustainable and exciting future for Margate Football Club. Lots of hard-work has taken place to get us to this stage and I’m sure supporters and members of the local community will see these plans and be equally as excited as us.”
“We hope our supporters can play their part in this by sending a letter of support or an email to the planning department at Thanet District Council indicating both their support and the need for this facility to allow Hartsdown Park to develop and grow. We will ensure we keep our supporters, partners and the local community fully up to date as we head to planning committee.”
“The past few months have been extremely troubling and sad for many of us but hopefully this news will give everybody a bit of a boost.”
Manager Jay Saunders added his full support for the plans by saying: “When I first spoke to the club about coming in as manager, I was shown these plans and really impressed with the vision.”
“Having played for – and now managed – the club, I know how long this has been going on and I hope we can get across the line and the permission everyone at the club is hoping for.
“I’m sure in these difficult times, it would give everyone at the club and our loyal supporters a massive lift and something to look forward to.”
The club were hoping to have a presentation of the proposals for supporters and the community prior to application, but due to the current ongoing Covid19 situation, this has not been possible. It is hoped an event can take place in the near future.
The application has not yet been published on Thanet council’s planning portal
Plans for a development at the Hartsdown site were originally submitted and granted in 2012.
The initial scheme was for a football stadium, an 80 bed hotel, fitness club, children’s club, children’s play area, theme bar, conference and banqueting suites, hospitality boxes, admin offices, boardroom, 10 five a sides and one full size all weather pitch and associated parking and landscaping.