Residents are being invited to take part in a consultation for proposals to create Retirement Living apartments on the site of the former St Peter’s Church in Westgate.
McCarthy Stone is holding a virtual consultation to display its plans for the Canterbury Road site.
The consultation, hosted via post and online to ensure that engagement is safe and inclusive, will provide the community with the opportunity to view and comment on McCarthy Stone’s proposals ahead of a planning application being submitted to Thanet council in the coming months.
A newsletter, which outlines the proposals, has been distributed to residents, along with reply cards for those who want to be kept updated on the project. Residents can also view the plans via the project’s dedicated website which contains an online feedback form to record comments,
This will be available to view and comment on at www.mccarthystoneconsultation.co.uk/westgateonsea from today (January 25) until Tuesday, February 8.
The site has previous planning consent which permits the development of a mixed-use scheme. This includes a new 4-storey building containing commercial office space on the ground floor and residential apartments on the first to third floors. The application had been submitted by developer Kentish Projects asking for permission to flatten St Peter’s Church and Presbytery and replace it with commercial offices and apartments.
McCarthy Stone’s plan is to replace the existing buildings with up to 38 one and two-bedroom Retirement Living apartments, contained within a new single building. The proposals will also provide a residents’ communal lounge and a hotel-style guest suite for when friends and family come to stay, extensive new landscaping, including attractive shared garden spaces, together with on-site car parking.
McCarty Stone says redeveloping the brownfield site with specialist Retirement Living apartments will help address the need for specialist housing for local older people, and significantly improve their housing choice.
They say it benefits the wider housing market, as there are two additional moves in the housing chain for every homeowner moving into specialist retirement accommodation.
Mark Bryan, Divisional Managing Director for McCarthy Stone London and South East, said: “The consultation provides us with an important opportunity to understand feedback on our proposals at this early stage. That way, we can incorporate and address the views of the local community into the design process and our plans for the site, where possible.
“It is important that communities cater to the needs of all their residents. We are proposing a high-quality redevelopment that delivers specialist Retirement Living accommodation on a sustainable and vacant site in Westgate-on-Sea. This development would improve accommodation choice for older people in the local area, within a vibrant community of like-minded individuals.”
A newsletter about the scheme says: “The site shares a boundary with Westgate-on-Sea Conservation Area and there are several listed buildings nearby.
“This has had a direct impact on the design of the proposals which will be delivered using high quality materials that respond to this context. The building will be a larger structure which is characteristic of Canterbury Road. It will also be set back to maintain the building line and pattern of the road. Trees will also be retained to maintain the wooded contribution to the Conservation Area. Collectively, these factors mean the scheme will have a positive contribution to these important heritage assets.”
McCarthy Stone apartments can be occupied by people aged 60 or over and are provided for outright sale, as well as shared ownership, rent and part rent-part buy.
McCarthy Stone hopes to submit a planning application following a full review of the feedback it receives.
Residents that have any further comments or require more information can contact the project team via a Freephone Information Line on 0800 298 7040, email email@example.com,
The last days of St Peter’s Church and Presbytery
The final Sunday Mass at the building before closure was in July 2014 and since then the building has remained empty.
The decision to close the church was made because the cost of repairing and maintaining it was not considered economically viable.
The church had capacity for up to 400 parishioners but in the preceding years before closure, numbers had dropped to around 60-65 per week.
The Benedictines owned the site and when they moved from St. Augustine’s Abbey, Ramsgate to Chilworth, Guildford in Surrey, the Diocese of Southwark ran the church.
Both the Diocese and the Benedictines as freeholders, looked internally at a range of possible uses before disposal could be authorised. The Benedictines have a significant estate and the decision to dispose of the church and its grounds was not taken without very careful
consideration of the long-term interests of the church.
The Benedictines made the final decision to dispose of the church and its grounds.