Margate Football Club hotel and stand development plans given green light – if Secretary of State agrees

Redevelopment plans for Margate FC Image GPM/Margate FC

Plans for a 120-bed hotel, new stands, restaurant, café, club shop and car parking have been deferred for approval by council planning officers subject to consultation with the Secretary of State due to an objection from Sport England.

Sport England’s objections are based on the loss of open space with the extension of car parking taking a plot of land at Tivoli Park. The organisation says it would remove the objection if the car park extension does not include the open space or arrangements are made to replace the loss of playing area.

The organisation also questioned the planting of trees at the park outside the club’s boundary. However, the planting was carried out by Isle of Thanet Trees and Woods Initiative under agreement from Thanet council and the football club. The planting is outside of the application site.

Image GPM/Margate FC

Thanet council planning officer Iain Livingstone told councillors last night (March 17) that the plot is under the ownership of the football club following the sale of the freehold by the council and had been included in expansion plans for more than 16 years. He added that permission had been granted for the car park in previous applications which date as far back as 2002 and this permission is still live.

Margate Football Club’s  application has been developed with hotel partner IHG Hotels and the brand Holiday Inn Express to reflect increased demand for hotel rooms in Thanet.

Image GPM/Margate FC

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.

Image GPM/Margate FC

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.

Image GPM/Margate FC

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

Plans for a hotel development at the Hartsdown site were originally 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.

Image GPM/Margate FC

The current plan rearranges the internal space of the hotel to expand the rooms to 120.

Developer contributions secured from Margate FC include £12,338.16 towards the Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM) plan to offset the potential impact on protected birds at European designated sites from increased visitors from the district to these areas.

The club has also been advised to contact Kent Police with regard to crime and crime prevention within the site.

Members of the committee backed the plans, citing a boost to tourism and employment. Thanet Green councillor Mike Garner objected to the proposal over concerns of the loss of playing field and traffic access.

Image GPM/Margate FC

Thanet council is now required to consult the Secretary of State over the Sport England objection. If this is not called in then council officers will give approval for the plans. If it is called in the decision will be made by the Secretary of State.

Image GPM/Margate FC

A social media statement from Margate FC says: “We are delighted planning permission for Hartsdown Park redevelopment has been agreed, subject to Secretary of State approval.

The Secretary of State’s review of Sport England objections should be dealt with in the next 21 days.”


  1. I thought it was well known there is a Covenant on Hartsdown Park that it must stay an open piece of playing field free of charge to the community. How can the planning Dept at TDC give this right away by selling a piece to developers when they have no right? Is this more planning corruption under the TDC management of Iain Livingstone?

    If Margate needs more hotels there are plenty that were converted into flats in Cliftonville that could be converted back again. This hotel and car park on Hartsdown Park is just not needed or wanted by anyone except the football club.

  2. I agree with Kent resident this project could fail drastically and end up like the Neyland Rock ,full of immigrants , also if further investigation on the land issue brings forth the fact that it is under a covenant then other offices are at fault in not checking the permission to build on restricted land (I might be wrong but on the other hand if between the two us we’re right there is an argument.ent ) us whT an eyesore that structure is and do MFC get that many supporters and are they going up the leagues ??

  3. Malcolm, the Nayland Rock isn’t full of immigrants 🙄 It has been bought by Sands who are going to do it up, they’ve bought the car park, so that’s an issue, but I’m off topic…

  4. Go for it
    About time the area was updated.
    People don’t like change,
    Manston as an airport = YES
    Margate fc = YES
    Let’s bring it on

    • Manston Airport (on and off) and Margate FC have been around for years, so how are they “change”?

  5. All that we can hope for is that the decision is called in by the Secretary of State. The council has passed a climate change emergency but it is not apparent if any environmental / conservation measures have been incorporated into the build. It appears with the loss of (covenanted) green space and the provision of large area of hard standing this is not the case.
    From the image presented the development is large and overbearing and unsympathetic to the surrounding area and is ugly in the extreme.

  6. Good on the council at long last.This development will benefit the community especially the younger members of it.
    The narrow minded detractors probably haven’t been to, or used the land small amount of land being used for car park.
    One hardly ever sees anyone using this park apart from dog walkers. Plus where were they when the car park was first
    Approved and put on this small section of of the park.

  7. Yes to some form of development – but this design is awful, out of step with the park and the neighbourhood generally – looks like someone at the football club has a son or daughter in first year at uni who needed a project?
    Years ago Rushden & Diamonds redeveloped their ground, a super compact stadium that served the local community too – too big for Margate but an example of what can be achieved with style.

  8. Obviously some people have no idea about MFC a d the good they do in the community, charities, mental health, schools, etc etc plus hundreds of boys and girls in the youth section, All will benefit from the new updated stadium

  9. Brilliant news!
    And investment is welcomed in Thanet.
    Also this has been approved already, its only a loss of a football pitch that hasn’t even been marked out in 11 years..

    • You will find it was TDC who removed the football pitch and hey presto a carpark was built, the hotel and stands look hidious and not in keeping with the local area, its funny how people are in favour of this development to create jobs but against Manston which would create far more jobs

  10. Brilliant, about time Margate had a decent modern conference venue, and a decent modern hotel, as the poncey, overpriced, boutique hotels that have popped up in Margate over the last few years, are awful and well overpriced and offer nothing to the residents of Thanet.

          • Conference facilities in Margate are poor rundown venues, a state of the art conference venue would be perfect to bring down conferences where delegates can stay also.
            Why not, people who get married in Margate, like to stay at the venue where the celebrations are be held, short sighted dfl’s is Thanets problems.

  11. Margate Football Club have been trying to develop the football ground for the last 30 years, finally TDC have approved the plans, anyone on here who is moaning has obviously not lived close the the football ground during the 30 years otherwise they would be fully aware of the clubs attempts to redevelop
    Or is it a case of no matter what is proposed for thanet they feel the need to object, and then moan about the lack of investment
    If you feel that strongly about the football ground move back to where you came from !!!

  12. I find it strange that people are complaining about a small loss of Tivoli playing fields, especially an objection by Sport England. Who, if anybody, objected when the tennis courts were handed over to Thanet Leisure for car parking!!!!!

  13. One stand to have a capacity of 650.. their weekly gate is nowhere near that so where are they getting all the fans needed to fill these grand plans.. MFC punching above their weight I feel, like normal.

  14. While I agree it will be a great attribute to Margate Football club , I would like there to be more sporting facilities for the area that’s beneficial too everyone especially grass roots level.

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