Developers who 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, have been sent back to the drawing board to amend the design.
The proposal for a ‘statement building’ at the site, which would see three additional floors added to the property, divided opinion when it went before planning committee members at Thanet council this week.
Lee Evans Partnership LLP was commissioned by site owner Belgrave Road Margate Ltd to submit the application for the “unashamedly modern” development which includes bright orange cladding on the upper levels and a sign stating The Fun Starts Here on the roof.
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.
The proposal is for a mixed used scheme of three commercial units and parking at ground floor and 10 apartments over three floors, including 2 penthouses.
However, council planning officers recommended refusal for the scheme based on concerns including overlooking, bulk and height, materials (colour) and a negative impact on the conservation area.
These points were also raised by Grosvenor Place resident Geraldine Scott who told the meeting that she had no objection to commercial units or self-contained flats but did object to the appearance of the proposed building and the impact it would have on the conservation area.
She said the design was not in keeping with the area and would “blight” the views, adding: “Three additional floors on the existing building greatly increases density…it is disruptive rather than sympathetic.” She added that the lettering was “entirely not in keeping with the conservation area.”
A representative from Lee Evans Partnership told the committee that the scheme would be a “significant investment” in the regeneration of Margate and aimed to “revitalise a brown field site’ by ‘reflecting the unique and exciting character of Margate.’
She said overlooking concerns could be dealt with by using balcony screening; that there was no objection to providing developer contributions and changes to the appearance could be considered.
Cllr Reece Pugh, who called the application in to committee for discussion, said it was a good use of a brownfield site and pointed out it was in the same area as the Flamingo amusements sign and the rear of Dreamland.
He said: “It is an incredibly inventive and interesting design,” likening the concerns over the modern appearance to those initially held by residents over the Turner Contemporary building.
He added that, following covid, it could be a way to encourage people to come back to, and live in, town centres.
Councillors including Phil Fellows and George Rusiecki spoke of the project bringing investment to Margate but others, such as Cllr Heather Keen, said the design was ‘gaudy’.’
Cllrs Steve Albon and Becky Wing branded the elevation at the rear as ‘barking mad’ with Cllr Wing saying she didn’t understand why the rooftop sign was included but also supported large parts of the proposed build.
Council officers had recommended that the scheme was refused but councillors voted against that. Instead a proposal suggested by Cllr Albon was agreed for the application to be deferred back to officers to seek amendments and then returned before the planning committee.
If the application is eventually 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.
i wonder waht size envelope will resolve this ??
Good to see Lee Evans hasn’t lost his sense of humour.
I wouldn’t say ‘no’ to a penthouse there!
Just stop trying to change buildings in a conservation area there are already enough empty upgraded buildings sitting empty who are they for certainly not local people as for traffic Eaton road Belgrade road is already clogged up with cars etc then there is water as this area is warming up water shortages will occur then there is the sewage problems when are councillors who don’t represent Margate going to stop interfering in our town sooner we have a town council for Margate the better that’s what localism is about others can’t make overriding decisions that are detrimental to the area
Margate Town Council would not have powers to decide planning applications – as with Ramsgate and Broadstairs these would remain with the district council. The town councils are consultees only. Apart from anything else a town council couldn’t support the staff needed to process the volume of applications, most of which don’t go to committee.
The existing buildings don’t look out of place. The new design is just a box on top of a box . There’s nothing great about modern architecture . If that building is rendered in 10 years time it will look a total mess.
It is a concern that a senior Councillor has “called it in” What part of “refuse” do Councillors struggle with in a CONSERVATION area? The reason given by the planning department are clear and mostly statutory, most importantly they can set a PRESIDENT.(If previously you allowed a 6 storey building there WHY can’t we?. Looking at his one, it will be a BLOT on the landscape, similar to the monstrosity now on the junction of Holly Lane. It is clear after almost 4 years on the Planning Committee most seemingly haven’t either not read the application, haven’t got a clue or sadly have a hidden agenda?