County Council puts forward 200 home proposal for former Royal School for Deaf Children site

The Royal School for Deaf Children site Photo Frank Leppard

The site of the former Royal School for Deaf Children in Margate has been put forward for a potential 200 home development as part of Thanet council’s Local Plan review.

An update to the Thanet Local Plan – a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure on the isle – has been extended to cover the period to 2040 – and includes the need for land/sites to accommodate an additional 4,000-4,500 dwellings.

The housing need calculated up to 2031 was for 17,140 new isle homes. But using the  Government “standard method” the number to 2040 is 21,700 dwellings.

Last year the council launched a ‘Call for Sites’ in which developers, landowners and members of the public were invited to put forward potential land for development and/or open space.

Some 200 sites have been submitted for consideration including the former deaf school land at Victoria Road & Park Crescent, Margate put forward by Kent County Council.

The school was shut down suddenly in December 2015 after The John Townsend Trust, which ran it, went into administration.

The distressing closure of the school and Westgate College resulted in some 500 job losses and scores of children left without a specialist school placement.

The land had been earmarked for a new secondary school but last December this proposal was ditched for a second time by KCC following discussions with the Department for Education over the forecast of pupil numbers in the district.

How the new school would have looked Image

The decision was taken after secondary student numbers in Thanet dropped  below the levels predicted when the school was originally proposed in 2015.

Now KCC says: “Given the site is no longer being brought forwards for education use other development options are now being considered. Given the highly sustainable nature of the site within the urban area of Margate, residential development would appear logical.

“The site is a key opportunity to create a green pedestrian link through Dane Park and the site into Margate Town Centre with routes to the supermarket, the high street, the beach, and Margate railway station.

“Public open space could also provide greater community public outdoor space for the new and existing community. For example, with the incorporation of public open space, an outdoor gym, a children’s play area and a youth play area.”

Some demolition at the Royal School for Deaf Children site was carried out last year  Photo Frank Leppard

In its submission the county authority suggest 200 homes could be built on the site, saying: “Individual dwelling design details are yet to be finalised. We propose a high-quality mix of dwelling appearances and materials to create distinctive place-making character areas within the development site, that take inspiration from the immediate local context.

(1) To the west of the site, lodge style detached houses with driveways and garage would positively contribute towards the existing conservation area.

(2) To the southwest of the site, three storey terraced townhouses would be in keeping with the dense terrace typology of residential housing to the south of the school.

(3) To the south and south east of the site, 2/2.5 storey terrace houses would be appropriate.

(4) Alongside public green space, the Central part of the site could have detached and semi-detached dwellings.

(5) To the east of the site, existing buildings owned by the client could be converted into 2 and 3 bed flats.

“The scheme aims to provide a balanced pattern of types and tenures of residential properties with the majority of new dwellings being 3-4 bed family houses. This will increase the proportion of family homes in the area, helping to attract and retain families living in the area.”

KCC says housing development could be phased over five years.

In terms of the 209 sites put forward Thanet council says: “The sites have not been selected yet. We’re reviewing them all now to see if they are suitable for the use that has been proposed.

“In September 2023, when we know which sites are deemed suitable for use, there will be a chance for members of the public to comment and share their views.”

The Royal School for Deaf Children was the oldest in the country, with the Margate site dating back to 1876.

Plans for new secondary school at former Royal School for Deaf Children site ditched – again

More than 200 sites in Thanet put forward for potential development or open space designation in Local Plan review


  1. More Help to Buy homes l take it ,how about building Council homes for people to rent to help get people of the council waiting list.

  2. More dwellings? What about service infrastructure? In Thanet, we have an extremely tiny, overstretched hospital (particularly A&E), and poor quality GP provisions. We also have substandard schools. Why build more homes for the London overflow, when our current public services cannot support the people who already live here? TDC need an overhaul!

  3. There weren’t enough students to justify a new school.
    So an additional 4000 or so house are being built.
    I wonder where the children from those homes will be educated?

  4. And so KCC like TDC are being short sighted in that to build 21,700 dwellings by 2040 without providing all the infrastructure surgeries, dentist and school places is utter madness. More farm land will have to be provided to build these extra facilities required unless the existing large school :- King Ethelberts, Hartsdown, St Georges, Dane Court and the Ramsgate School are expanded to double their existing size.

    All present surgeries are and will be too small to cope with the additional population so extra farmland or present green spaces will be taken up leaving Thanet with a minuscule of green belt land. It is difficult enough to entice qualified staff to the area at present what will it be like in 2040.

    Australia and New Zealand potentially will accept the disgruntled because of the lack of professional worker vacancies within the Thanet district and such poor salary prospects.

  5. YOUR councillor is directly responsible for the already overpopulated developments that have destroyed any quality of life in Thanet. Roads at a standstill all and every day. No dentists, can’t see a doctor, third-world schooling, forget going to hospital, you’d die in the queue, the once jewel in the crown of Thanet, Northdown Road, resembles 1970’s Beirut.

    TDC can’t even organise a man and broom to sweep the filthy pot-holed streets. I don’t believe the level of incompetency in the council chamber… primary school children would make a better fist of running things so one could only assume the brown envelope brigade are behind it. Where are the £ millions of extra council tax from the thousands of ALREADY jerry-built future slums that have gone up on every postage stamp sized bit of land.

    200 houses on this site equates to 400 more children – that’s ten classes of 40 children each… WHERE’S THE NEW SCHOOL?

    It is up to us to ensure the current clowns in Thanet District Circus NEVER get elected again, but they won’t care because ‘they’re all right jack’ nod, nod.

  6. There is an almighty stink about these schools closing and then sold on for redevelopment, these schools were deliberately run down, starved of funding, ridiculed in the press, us public lied to.
    The common name which keeps coming up is our current KCC leader, he who shut a successful school in Canterbury, re Chaucer, he who stood at the podium in the school and told the parents many untruths.
    Now that school grounds also sold to developers, see the pattern, our old KCC leaders family own a building and development company, he also got caught lying about developments, see the pattern.

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