Charles Court development comes to completion on former Holly Tree pub site in Cliftonville

Charles Court Photo Frank Leppard

A project to build 35 flats, three homes and a micropub on the site of the fire hit Holly Tree pub in Cliftonville has now reached completion.

The pub was destroyed by the blaze that ripped through the property in 2017.

An application by Kentish Projects to build 41 flats, three houses and a micropub at the site was rejected in January but a scaled down application was approved on appeal in 2019.

Developer contributions were listed as 30% affordable housing, £1,824.76 towards the additional book stock for Cliftonville library, £ 11, 728 towards the Special Protection Area and£28,872 towards the extension of The Limes Surgery, Margate.

During the build Photo Frank Leppard

The build – named Charles Court – includes a micropub/restaurant site which was being advertised for sale with an asking price of £300,000.

The advertising details say: “The commercial property forms part of an exclusive new development ‘Charles Court’ in the sought after location of Holly Lane in Cliftonville.”

The Holly Tree shut its doors in 2016, never fully getting back up to strength after a blaze in 2014 started in the kitchen and ripped through the building.

The pub, formerly Ye Olde Charles, was built in 1926 by Russell’s Brewery of Gravesend. A typical 1920s roadside inn, it was aimed at motorists visiting nearby Margate. It was named after local architect, Charles Reeve.

During World War II Ye Old Charles was used by pilots and ground crew of RAF Manston.

It is said that actor John Le Mesurier used to drink in the pub when he was seeing Carry On actress Hatty Jacques, who used to live in Laleham Close.

In 2013 Ye Olde Charles became The Holly Tree until it shut for good in 2016. In April 2017 a fire ripped through the building.

Photo by Roy Goldhawk

Some 20 firefighters and six engines, including the specialist height vehicle, were used to tackle the blaze which was finally brought under control after four hours.

Fire at The Holly Tree pub Photo Frank Leppard

The property was so badly damaged that DDS Demolition were on site in the early evening to take down some of the parts of the structure which had become dangerous.


  1. It is obviously quicker and easier to build boxes as you only need a robot, bricks mortar and a plumb line where as a building with character such as curves etc takes skill.
    Now we know what the site at Westbrook next to Tesco’s will look like. Mind you this will be no different to the new build on the Sea Bathing site.

    • If the site next to the Westbrook Tesco looks like this, it’ll be a vast improvement on the state of it for the last 25 years! I remember the old Lada dealership there as a child, but since then it has become an overgrown wasteland with revolting looking hoardings surrounding it. A modernist development offering housing on existing developed land is infinitely better than the continued desecration of our farmland.

  2. I actually like it. I think it looks a lot better than the hideous mock tudor decrepit building there before. Not sure the people living opposite are impressed now they have people looking directly into their front rooms. At least there is still a drinking venue there so the ghost of previous regulars can still sup. Only my opinion.

      • 20 years ago I had the best hair in thanet now bald as a bowling ball !.

        Live moves on kids dont do live bands anymore it’s all Simon Cowell silly bands.

        Personally I think the building looks fine.

        • Kids, adults and pensioners still enjoy both performing and watching bands. But without somewhere to play, we will indeed only have “reality” TV acts.

          More importantly, I still have all my hair!

  3. Comments on Facebook about “brown envelopes” and planning/councillors being a disgrace need to planning laws – they can’t turn down a planning application because something doesn’t look nice (unless it is in a conservation area or a listed building) planning is mostly about being legal, safe, doesn’t impose on people, etc… not aesthetics.

    • We have a MODERN monstrosity of a building at Duke Street, Margate sited right IN A CONSERVATION AREA which was passed by planners! So even conservation areas are not protected from modern buildings even though quite clearly it shouldn”t have been granted or built !!!!!

      • It is clear from the conservation officer’s comments on the new Duke Street building that new buildings in conservation areas don’t have to be in the same architectural style as the older buildings already there.

      • Listing is never absolute protection, but the point still is aesthetic are rarely part of why a planning app can be rejected, it would likely easily be overturned under appeal (and the taxpayers likely to pick up the costs)

  4. What is the money for the special protection area?
    Is this the Northdown rd conservation area. As I would like to know where the council spends this money as they don’t seem to put anymore back into Northdown rd.

    • Some think it hideous, some don’t. As Egon Spengler says, personal aesthetic opinions don’t come into it, which is probably just as well.

  5. I remember when Cliftonville and Northdown road were great since hoteliers left a long time ago it has been hard who will be living there? are they afraid to use social housing by using affordable.

    • Cliftonville was ok until Thatcher and Tebbit with Tebbit telling everyone to get on their bikes to find work. Alot of hoteliers than advertised in the liverpool echo …..why sign on in liverpool when you can sign on by the sea. Cliftonville never recovered from that!

  6. if you want to build something new in thanet just burn the old one down – for the answers just look around !

  7. Compared to the original footprint, this has been allowed to be grossly over developed = A featureless “Blot on the landscape” It is said 25% of the Tories donations come from developers, until that changes this is what you might get

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