Councillors to discuss proposal to demolish former pub The Orb to make way for flats development

Margate Civic Society object to the destruction of the pub building photo 2010 by David Anstiss Creative Commons Licence.

An amended application to demolish former pub The Orb and build 12 flats and two maisonettes with associated access, parking and landscaping on the site in Ramsgate Road is due to be discussed by Thanet councillors next week.

The Orb closed in 2017. The Shepherd Neame boozer on Ramsgate Road was sold despite only being taken over by new managers in January, The pub freehold was being marketed for £225,000.

Planning officers at Thanet council have recommended that the decision is delegated for approval to allow Grifo Development Ltd to go ahead subject to safeguarding conditions and the submission of a signed legal agreement securing the heads of terms.

But Margate Civic Society is outraged by the proposal to demolish The Orb, saying: “The existing structure has graced the site for almost 200 years and deserves better than this.”

The pub, which was called The Crown and Sceptre up until 1962, has landlords listed dating back to 1839 but is also believed to occupy the site of the oldest hostelry in Margate, dating from the 15th century.

Photo Carl Hudson

Margate Civic Society has lodged a strongly worded objection to the demolition, saying: “We can find nothing within the amended plans to alter our original objection lodged on August 19. We are therefore still utterly opposed to the obliteration from the landscape of this iconic and much loved local historic landmark.

“The only motive that supports the proposal derives from maximising profit from the site at the expense of local history and this must be rejected at all costs. We only get one opportunity to preserve local history and a rejection of this proposal would reflect the esteem in which we hold this building.”

The Orb has been sold

The society says the site should be sold to a developer who  would “recognise the benefits of retaining and converting/extending this asset to provide a more modest return on investment.”

Thanet council’s conservation officers says: “Although the Inn is of some established local significance and developmental history, there is in fact reduced intrinsic heritage value that remains within the property.”

The officer says a report by Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT) details the development of the site alongside factual evidence that exists through maps, images and locally sourced information. The property is not listed.

Photo Carl Hudson

They add: “ I believe it to be true this is a site that may have once housed a building which may have been of more historical significance had it not been lost within the development of itself through time. Unfortunately little to none remains of its character internally with the main somewhat ‘original’, but largely replaced and repaired, front facade resulting in a feature common and perhaps better portrayed elsewhere in Margate.

“The side elevation is attractive and perhaps an indication of the quality of the building once constructed. It also has painted signage which could be retained as a legacy for the site visually displaying its history.

“Largely I do not object to the application and the demolition of The Orb Inn but advise that it would be complementary to the proposed site to retain the more significant elevation and incorporate that into the proposed construction.”

The proposal is to create two, 3-storey buildings, with accommodation within the roof space. The buildings will be made up of 10 two-bed self-contained flats, 2 one-bed flats, and 2 three-bed maisonettes.

The buildings will be pitched roof with bay frontages, and will be constructed using reclaimed flints from the existing building.

Access will be relocated to the south of the site and there will be 14 parking spaces, plus two visitor parking spaces. The mature trees to the rear of the site are being retained, with four small trees to be removed. The front boundary wall is also being retained.

The legal agreement to be submitted includes contribution requirements for:

Special Protection Area – £4,452

Secondary Education – £12,348

Libraries – £624.26

Play equipment – £10,500

Community learning – £267.80

Social care – £1,909.44

Youth service – £851.50

The application has been called to planning committee by Councillor Candy Gregory, to enable members to consider the risk to wildlife and their habitat and the impact on highway safety; and by Councillor Steve Albon, to enable members to consider the loss of the former public house building and construction of a block of flats, and its impact upon the character of the area.

The proposal will be discussed by members of the planning committee, via video call, on June 17.


  1. Are yes this is another one of the offshore leaks companies that seem to surpass planning officers at Thanet council I just beg disbelief in all at planning and the CEO is she in cohoots with criminals …yes she is she needs to go

  2. omg that legal agreement stinks to high heaven of like rotting sewage which still smells around cecil square

    same old councillors drumming up shite year in year out sick and tired of the criminals who run this council

    • Hi Rebecca I agree with you on this I’ve been looking at grifo as well I think something fishy!! Eko is this east kent opportunities by any chance. It would be a tragedy for this old building to be demolished and ugly housing erected. Also they have a construction in sea road Westgate just past the memorial still in progress started 2018 according HM land registry. Unfortunately couldn’t get details from TDC site. At least they haven’t started cutting the trees down yet looking at photos but don’t know how long ago they were taken. Grifo have according to paper work been a company for 3 years unless I have read it wrong.

  3. I would like to know how long this form of bribery has been going on. It ironic that ‘special interest payment’ is the very thing of special interest that they want to knock down. What other payments are being made that are not on the list.
    Refuse permission.

    • Yes I would very much like to know the answer to that question too! How much is not on the ‘so called list’ Ann?

      I thought that this development was ONLY granted permission INITIALLY provided the developer KEPT the old building. The developers were forced to retain it as many resisidents objected to its removal because of its history. As a result the developers re-submitted their original drawings and asked TDC if they could move the building line forward to the pavement to mitigate against the loss of flats caused by having to keep the old building. TDC agreed to the new building line (which I believe was totally inappropriate). So now the developer is asking AGAIN that they can be allowed to demolish the old building. The only reason they were granted building permission in the first place was that they had to retain the old part. So now we could lose the old part and the developers get to build right up to the pavement line again because TDC had granted this before.

      Once again TDC Planning run roughshot over the concerns and objections of residents. Why, because there must be some financial incentive. This development now represents a massive over development within its limited site area. And more disturbingly we may well lose the old building. Well done TDC Planning. Complicit with developers in BAD planning practice, which begs The question….why?

  4. I fear a lot of Pubs will be suffering these consequences, sooner rather than later. So, let’s build some Flats, we need them for all the illegals entering our Country/County! Pubs do not make money any more. Even if the good Councillors vote against this Plan, all the Developer has to do, is appeal to Planning Appeals Commission. They will, sometimes out of spite, just grant it.

    • It does not have to remain as a pub but can be converted to a dwelling. As for housing yet more illegals, do not get me or any of us on that one!

  5. If planning not granted, there will be a fire. That’s the usual way in Thanet tricky planning submissions are sorted out.

  6. I believe that the current structure of the Orb encompasses the previous building there . It would be criminal to allow demolition without further investigations , perhaps of an intrusive nature , within the walls . I remember a 1930s facade of a pub in the Midlands that was subjected to some later alterations . They discovered that they enclosed the original wattle and daub construction .

    • This handsome building should be kept and restored, converted into housing, yes, but not demolished. At least incorporate the facade, as the conservation officer suggests. What if it isn’t the best local example of its period and style? If nothing but the best was kept, our towns would have very little of interest in them. It is variety not only of style but of quality which gives the places we live in their character and visual interest.

  7. As a previous landlady and Tennant for Shepherd and Neame, I was not allowed to change sash windows for double glazed ones because it was a listed building. When did that ruling change?????

    • Surely if a building is 200 years old then it should automatically be a listed building and preserved. Doubt if any of these wood frame lego houses wil; still be around in 200 years.

      • 200 years ago = 1820. There were already a lot of poor-quality, sometimes dangerously so, buildings. Just because something is old does not automatically make it suitable for listing.

    • nor did the late jimmy golden as the clock was a listed building , sadly the lot burnt down , electrical fault .

  8. Listed buildings should not be demolished just to allow some sardine factory homes to be all squashed into two blocks of ugly and cheaply built flats so some dubious developer can make mega-bucks getting even richer. These plans hold no value to Thanet, just the opposite ! TDC, stop allowing over development in Thanet, and even more trees felled. You should be doing all you can to preserve what little historical sites we have left here. Oh, but is that too difficult for your officers, is it easier to keep accepting the contribution offset fees ? Your officers need replacing!

    • TDC delisted a row of flint cottages to allow demolition and then build building of castle close broadstairs. Nice though the Orb is, it would not convert to a useful number of houses flats and would struggle to be as energy efficient as a new build. It was always going to go one way or another.

  9. There appears to be no evidence that the pub was involved in the slave trade or that millions were murdered to enrich its historic owners.
    So a lot of Tory councillors will be happy to see it destroyed.

    Of course, if it could be established that the pub is a monument to racism and exploitation, many newspapers and politicians would be outraged at the “violence and vandalism” when it gets pulled down.

    As a local pub for centuries, it will have been part of the lives of ordinary people all that time. Which is NOT the kind of history that gets preserved in our elitist society. Instead, our establishment erects statues to monsters and murderers and only wail when THEY get torn down.

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