Plans to develop Belgrave Road site into ‘bold landmark’ building recommended for refusal

Original design Image Lee Evans Partnership

A plan to turn 1 Belgrave Rd, Margate -occupied by Dreamland Beds and Lobster Van hire – into commercial units and /parking at ground floor and 10 apartments over three floors, including 2 penthouses, is being recommended for refusal by Thanet council officers.

Lee Evans Partnership LLP was commissioned by site owner  Belgrave Road Margate Ltd to submit the application for the “unashamedly modern” development which the architect says would “create a statement building.”

The prominent building dates from the 1920s and has been used as a commercial building for its entire lifespan. It is currently divided into two for use by Dreamland Beds and Lobster Van Hire.

Planning documents say: “This proposal is a mixed used scheme of commercial units and parking at ground floor and 10 apartments over three floors, including 2 penthouses.

“The site is located in the heart of Margate and offers an opportunity for a bold landmark building that celebrates the excitement of arrival and will create a statement in the town and act as a catalyst for further regeneration of this location.

“The design respects the existing building by retaining the façade but instead of echoing traditional language the design responds to the image of Margate today – vibrant, fun, aspirational and unique.”

Image Lee Evans Partnership

The proposal is for  new commercial space with a larger unit at approximately 100sqm and two smaller kiosk style  units at approximately 20sqm each. A parking area at the rear with room for 10 cars and apartments with six 2-bed and four 3-bed.

However, Thanet council’s planning committee is being advised to reject the application when it is considered on February 15 on grounds including its: “incongruous and dominant form of development that competes with and detracts from the significance of the listed buildings,” direct overlooking and the applicant’s failure to enter into a legal agreement for developer contributions.

Six letters of objection have been lodged with the council and one of support.

Thanet council’s conservation officer says the proposed conversion is: “too large for its setting and incongruous within the conservation environment.”

She adds: “A design of a more industrial influence would have better suited the constraints of the site, appearing not out of place against the listed terrace nor within its setting of the general conservation area whilst reflecting its past function.

“I am not against the development of this building as it has been established from the start, however it does need to be sympathetic given its important historical surroundings.”

The application has been called in to committee by Cllr Reece Pugh.

If the application is approved Kent County Council will ask for developer contributions of:

Secondary education contribution £12940 towards a new Thanet Secondary School or additional places and the secondary land contribution £3777.80 towards the new Thanet Secondary School land acquisition cost.

The community learning contribution of £164.20 at the Margate Adult Education centre, £655 towards additional resources for the Thanet Youth Service,

£554.50 for additional book stock and resources at Margate Library

Social care contributions would be £1468.80 towards specialist care accommodation, assistive technology systems and equipment to adapt homes, adapting community facilities, sensory facilities, and Changing Places within the local area.

A contribution of £554.70 is also requested towards improvements at Margate Waste Recycling Centre.