Permission granted for ‘ship-shaped’ Western Undercliff cafe, flats and restaurant build

How it would look MBW architects

Permission has been granted to demolish the derelict café and toilets at the Western Undercliff in Ramsgate and build a five storey building with ground floor cafe and outdoor seating, ground floor public toilets, eight apartments and a fourth floor restaurant.

The application, made by Maidstone-based Western Undercliff Ltd follows the purchase of the site at auction in 2018.

The site was sold by Thanet council  for £100,000.

A  fundraiser had been launched by The Hideaway – made up of members from the Western Undercliff Regeneration group – to buy the site from Thanet council as a community asset. But Thanet council  turned down a £50,000 bid from the group.

Undercliff Cafe.

The property was won by the Maidstone-based buyer who said the aim was to build something “new and shiny” in its place.

The plans, drawn up by MBW architects, reveal a building with “a stepping form” to allow for all apartments to have terraces or balconies as well as a top floor viewing terrace available for restaurant guests.

The “ship” shaped build will have green copper on the front elevation and light coloured stone at the base and rear.

The roof, which will be visible from the cliff top at Government Acre but will be below the cliff level, will be finished with single ply membrane and 40mm beach pebbles as ballast.

There will be no additional parking with residents and guests expected to use spaces at Royal Harbour Approach and Royal Esplanade above. Disabled parking will be available on street at Royal Harbour Approach with level access to the building as is currently provided. Some 19 bike spaces will be provided

It is planned for the apartments to be put on sale and for the restaurant and café to be let with the public toilet managed and maintained by the café proprietor.

Planning documents state: “The design of the building is innovative and contemporary but respectful of its sensitive coastal location. Each floor of the building is set back from the west elevation to create a tiered effect and will take the appearance of the bow of a ship. It is proposed that the main building material will be copper and concrete. Solar shades will be metal. Glass balustrade and aluminium windows will be used.

“The site itself is unique, occupying a sea front location between Western Undercliff Beach and Royal Esplanade above. A critical driver of this submission has been the optimisation and regeneration of this sustainable located brownfield site to provide a landmark building and ‘destination’ restaurant, to not only support the function of the beach, but reprovide a valued community use.

“The scheme… will provide an economic benefit through the re-instatement of the cafe use and new ‘destination’ restaurant, which will bolster local tourism provision at the Intermediate Beach, as well as supporting beach’s function. The provision of new housing also plays an important role in supporting wider economic growth, together with short-term construction employment and that of associated industries.”

One letter of objection and three in support of the scheme were submitted to Thanet council.

Café opening hours are planned to be Mon – Sun (inc. Bank Holidays) 10am – 4pm and the restaurant Wed – Sun (inc. Bank Holidays) 11:30 – 3pm and 7pm – 11pm.

The derelict café and toilets at the site were constructed in the early 1960s and extended in 1965. In 2014 the café premises closed when the building became contaminated with raw sewage from a burst Southern Water rising sewer main.


      • It would be good if they fixed the lift in that case for access for all from the esplanade above. Being negative about local people isn’t a very helpful mentality either. Ann why do you think it must be stopped? Genuinely interested. I thought it may improve the area but would love to hear other opinions.

    • People have no vision and what’s it got to do with mentality, I’ve grown up here all my life and all this area is, is a magnet for junkies and street dwelling scumbags, I say get them built and bring some light back to the area.

  1. This looks great and would provide more facilities in the area, plus more jobs. It’s a fantastic location with plenty of community members keeping the area clean and tidy. And with no dirty cargo planes flying over it will be peaceful. We just need to get rid of the eyesore of the aggregate facility on the port.

    • I don’t think Brett’s is particularly noticeable. The council does need to clarify whether the works have caused/are causing pollution. Brett’s is not exactly in the middle of town and the port seems a highly suitable place for industries, provoded that they conform to environmental regulations.

  2. Yes, it will greatly improve amenities in the area, but as there is no parking I would never buy one of the flats! Coming home with a car full of groceries would be difficult if you can’t park outside for a few minutes to unload!

  3. Currently, there is no restriction on parking on the road.
    The wider picture is that for the sake if the planet we have to get away from the idea that we are entitled to drive wherever and whenever we want.

  4. Yet again TDC approving a building with no parking. How is it possible? Government should introduce legislation that all new buildings have to have sufficient parking relevant to the size and use of a new construction.

  5. This is the real Ann from North Foreland.
    Yes it’s a good idea it’s about time TDC got their finger out and started approving a few applications ( you know what I mean TDC) . I would make two suggestions 1. That car parking be allocated in the port car park area car park . 2. That a zebra / pelican crossing was installed for the safety of those crossing from the beach and walkway.

  6. I wonder what that original £100,000 investment is worth now. I suppose we’ll find out when the site/project is flipped.

    • A project flipped requires someone to risk their money. Would you take that risk? Or would you prefer it left as it is?

  7. This is the real Ann from North Foreland.
    Good idea the site has been an eye sore for far too long. Parking should be allocated near the port parking car park and a zebra crossing / pelican crossing should be installed.

    • Fantastic just imagine on a dark winter’s afternoon with a howling gale sending waves crashing in carrying your shopping from your car to the door! Or your guests suitcases from the Royal Esplanade, when the nearest available space is half a mile away.

  8. There’s loads of parking space there. If those gypsies can park along the beach all year why not council tax paying residents?

  9. How absolutely speculative and matches its parent on Ramsgate sands.
    This is a bit like how Docklands in London gradually transformed into a mini Manhatten and the poor were socially cleansed. Thank heavens I won’t live to see the complete urbanisation of Thanet and experience even more divisiveness created by half-witted politicians and billionaire making money launderers.

  10. I’m sure the building will look quite splendid, and have very cosy appartments, with most costing a premium price.

    The average buyer of these would most likely have one or more, top range cars. This is a ridiculous plan, with no parking allocated, especially during the summer season, how will anyone ever park? In winter time you will have waves crashing over your vehicle, if you are able to park outside, or you could choose to park on the main road above, offering a lengthy walk for anyone with limited mobility, down all those steps. On the other hand, it will offer 19 cycle park facilities. Are there likely to be 19 residents using cycles? And if there was, wouldn’t most people take their push bike inside, for safety reasons.

    How did this corrupt idea, get through planning?

    • By complying with current planning and building regilations , i expect. There will always be those that don’t like it. Its hardly going to be intrusive on any other local houses. A developer saw an opportunity and took a chance, they’re over the first hurdle, just remains to be seen if when built there are buyers for them. It can hardly be accused of dragging the area down.

      • Local Chap, are you some kind of a clown, do you not actually read the comments?

        Where have I said that I didn’t like the building?

        It’s not worth writing anything more, because you are not capable of reading.

  11. Not out of the price range for some locals, otherwise expensive areas eg North Foreland would be uninhabited.

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