A former college which sold for just under £3 million in February could be converted to 18 apartments.
Kingsgate College which is set in three acres of ground, was the former Chaucer College language school. It was decided the location was impractical and inconvenient for its students and the preference was to use the sister college in Canterbury.
After failed attempts from a private treaty agent to sell the vast freehold Connect UK Auctions found a buyer.
The property had a guide price of up to £4 million but sale was agreed for a sum just over £2.8million.
An application has now been submitted to Thanet council on behalf of Convent Road ACP Ltd. The proposal is to convert the property into 18 flats with a balcony/terrace and/or private garden area. There will also be communal landscaped gardens within the grounds.
The principal entrance into the building will be maintained and a central car port and soft landscaping buffers and hedging is proposed. The car port will house a series of Photovoltaic Panels to operate electrical vehicle charging points.
Two new outbuildings will provide a cycle store and bin area. There will also be 40 car parking and 27 bicycle spaces.
A new footpath will be created on the west side of site connecting it to both the North Foreland Golf Club and Convent Road. Although not a formal public right of way, the applicants would permit public use of this path.
The proposed development will retain most of the woodland, although “a minimal number” will be removed for the footpath.
An Arboricultural Impact Assessment confirms that one tree will need to be removed as a result of the main part of the development, together with the removal of selected trees within the woodland on the north-western boundary.
The application says: “The footpath route has been carefully designed in consultation with our arboricultural adviser in order to keep effects on trees to a minimum, and to ensure that the majority of trees are maintained.”
Chaucer College was established as a language school for Japanese students in 1992 by the Shumei Foundation, a Japanese educational and charitable organisation.
The Shumei Foundation has three schools and one university in Japan, with Chaucer College playing a role as the Foundation’s overseas campus in the UK.
The Kingsgate College building was one of three UK campuses, with others in Canterbury and Folkestone. The Folkestone college closed in 2011 and Kingsgate closed in September 2018.
Despite initiatives including expanding the business model to allow students from countries other than Japan, and introducing reduced fees, Kingsgate College had run at a loss for the preceding three years prior to closure. The site was marketed but there was no viable interest from other educational establishments, and relatively little interest from developers.
The theft of roof lead from the site also resulted in water ingress causing substantial internal damage and further devaluing the building.
A decision on the application is yet to be made. Find it on Thanet council’s planning portal using reference F/TH/20/0591