Approval has been given to create holiday apartments at Grade II listed buildings next door to Margate’s Theatre Royal.
The plan is to make 15&16 Hawley Square – currently laid out as office space and flats – into seven serviced ‘hotel apartments.’
The site is a 4 storey plus basement terrace building with a parking area at the rear. The property was built in the late 18th century in a Georgian style and was made grade II listed in 1973. It has been unoccupied since August 2017 and much of the original features have been altered over the years.
The approved proposal from MCUBE Ltd is to create the holiday apartments to: “help attract visitors to Margate and in turn assist with the uplift of the local economy.”
MCUBE will reinstate original features to front and create a rear roof terrace, provide three parking spaces, add balconies and transform the interior.
Planning documents state the property will be run as a serviced apartment hotel, with flexible staying times. Guests can stay for long weekends, a week or even months with all services and bills included in the price.
The developer adds: “As part of the scheme’s sustainable drive, limited parking will be made available onsite for guests to park permanently. Spaces onsite can be used by guests to drop luggage off and for short stay. For longer stays, guests will be provided with car parking at a local car park.
“As the location of the building is within close vicinity to the rail station it is envisioned that the majority of guests will arrive by train. This mode of transport will also be recommended as the best form of transport to reach the serviced apartment hotel.”
A developer contribution of £1,768 is required as holiday accommodation means additional recreational pressure on the area.
The property is within the Margate Conservation Area. Hawley Square is a Georgian square created by Sir Henry Hawley in 1770, who owned the land. It was conceived as a pleasure ground where people paid a subscription to access the gardens.
The terraced houses surrounding the square may have begun construction in the 1780s and by the 1790s, the square was practically completed. The buildings are characteristically tall, a notable mark of status of the town and the number of visitors it attracted from the capital despite its distance from it. Their height also reflects an economic thinking: ‘tall buildings provided more rooms to rent out as lodgings and therefore more income for the owners’.
During its Georgian and Victorian heyday, many of the terraced buildings in the square were used as hotels, boarding houses and private schools, whilst others provided residences for gentry, new professional and mercantile classes.
In a heritage statement for the project, it says: “The proposed change of use is a direct reflection of the historical use for the building and those surrounding Hawley Square, in the context of Margate’s development as a popular seaside resort town.
“There are numerous historical sources that confirm that buildings in this square were developed and thrived thanks to their popularity as quality lodging houses for seasonal guests that would descend from London.
“Margate has in recent years regained popularity as a weekend and seasonal destination with visitors from the capital, and the offer of quality accommodation has the potential to attract more interest. The proposal wishes to capture the spirit of Margate and bring it back to life in an updated version for the new visitors that it will attract.”
The development was granted permission by Thanet council on June 13.