Permission granted for new Aldi store on former gasworks site in Ramsgate

How the site with housing and Aldi could look Image On Architecture

Permission has been granted to create a new Aldi store in Ramsgate at the former Boundary Road gasworks site.

The store has traded from its current site opposite the gas works for the last 20 years but bosses say a move would mean increased size of the shop and provide more parking spaces.

Currently the store has 1.20 acres and wants that to increase to 1.70 acres – equating to a 1,900 sqm store. Parking spaces would go up from 70 to 118, including 6 disabled spaces, 11 parent and child and 2 active electric vehicle charging spaces.

The development will be on the eastern side of the former gasworks site and excludes the listed building. It will include a new pedestrian access onto St Lukes Avenue and involves the part demolition of the curtilage listed boundary wall for vehicle access, along with the soft and hard landscaping of the proposed car park area.

Amendments have been made to the original plans to enable the majority of the Hardres Road boundary wall to be retained. Shrubs and 14 trees will be planted and log habitat piles, bat boxes and sparrow boxes will be installed.

A pedestrian island and crossing point is proposed for Boundary Road. A legal agreement with Thanet council also requires an off-site financial contribution of £22,000 towards the provision of active electric vehicle charging spaces within Ramsgate car parks, with a claw-back of the contribution if not spent within 5 years of payment,

A decision notice for approval of the scheme was published on July 10.

Planning permission has already been granted for the redevelopment of the western part of the former gasworks site for residential use, including the change of use and conversion of the listed building to residential flats.

Permission for Thanet-based Blueberry Development Estates to create 58 flats in three new build blocks and 15 in a conversion of the listed gas works office building fronting Boundary Road was given in January.

How it will look Image Lee Evans Partnership LLP

Blueberry Homes, which is also carrying out the Pleasurama site on Ramsgate seafront, will provide 30% affordable housing at a 30:70 shared ownership and affordable rent split. Financial contributions towards  schools, libraries, social care, healthcare and open space may also be required.

The three new blocks will consist of:

Block A – 31no. apartments (17 x 1-bed and 14 x 2-bed)

Block B – 13no. apartments (3 x 1-bed and 10 x 2-bed)

Block C – 14no. apartments (3 x 1-bed and 11 x 2-bed)

Plus the listed building – 15no. apartments (5 x 1-bed and 10 x 2-bed)

The gasworks

The gasworks were built in 1824 and had six gasholders. Originally it was on the other side of Boundary Road, where Aldi now is, then operated on both sides before being completely moved to the site were the red brick office and clock still stands.

It was taken on by the Local Board in 1877.The local Board and later Ramsgate Corporation ran the site until 1949.

The gas office and depot site in Boundary Road Photo from archives of Mike Nichols

On nationalisation in 1949 the undertaking became part of the Thanet Group of the Kent County Division of SEGB. Gas manufacture ceased at Ramsgate works in 1958 and the site became a holder station.

The offices, railed area, depot, adjoining walls and gate for the gasworks in Boundary Road are grade II listed.

During World War One, in November 1917, two bombs hit the gas works, falling between the gas holders and the rear of the office.

The site was bombed again during World War Two, in August 1940, when eight members of staff were lucky enough to survive after taking refuge in an Anderson shelter at the rear of the offices.

Photo by Mike Nichols

In 2007 and application was made to create 96 homes on the site. Some decontamination work took place but then stopped. Demolition and remediation works then took place in 2010 but work stopped until Blueberry Homes started the development this year