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 toned down the design but council officers are still recommending refusal.
At a council planning meeting last month the proposal was sent back to the drawing board after members were divided over the bright orange cladding and ‘The fun starts here’ sign on the roof.
Councillors Steve Albon and Becky Wing branded the proposed elevation at the rear of the building as ‘barking mad’ with Cllr Wing saying she didn’t understand why the rooftop sign was included but also supported large parts of the development..
Lee Evans Partnership LLP was commissioned by site owner Belgrave Road Margate Ltd to submit the application for the “unashamedly modern” development
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.
Officers said there were concerns regarding the height of the building, design of the rear elevation, proposed materials and signage, and overlooking resulting from the development, and the provision of developer contributions.
There was support for the development from members including Cllr Reece Pugh, who called the application in to committee for discussion. He 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 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’.’
In response to comments at the planning meeting new designs with muted colouring, altered balcony arrangements, changes to the rear design and removal of the roof sign have been submitted.
However, officers are still recommending the plans be refused, saying: “The previous plans proposed a bold and prominent building that could have been considered a statement form of architecture.
“The amended plans and muted colour scheme make no alterations to the height or scale of the building, and are considered to result in an extension that is neither a bold and unique form of architecture nor a seamless addition to the existing building.
“Consequently the amended plan is still considered to result in an incongruous, dominant and overbearing form of development that competes with and detracts from the significance of the listed buildings fronting Marine Gardens and the buildings fronting Marine Terrace in the Margate Seafront Conservation Area, resulting in significant harm to its special character, appearance and historic interest of these designated buildings and 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.’
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.
The revised application will be discussed by councillors on March 15th.