Plans to demolish a row of shops on Ramsgate High Street and rebuild 5 smaller shops and 39 flats will be discussed by Thanet councillors next week.
The application submitted by JDP (Ramsgate) Limited is to demolish 60-68 High Street and 1 to 11 George Street which comprises the Pilgrims Hospice shop, Sugar Rush, formerly Cats in Crisis and Simply Danish furniture shop.
The proposal is for shops and 32 one-bed , 5 two-bed and 2 three-bed flats with refuse and cycle stores and external play space. Car parking is not included in the application.
Planning documents for the proposal state: “The new commercial space will be divided into smaller commercial units. The residential aspect of this proposal will be generally accommodated upon the upper floor levels; however part of the George Street commercial accommodation will be residential use.
“It is envisaged the building will be demolished to ground level. However, the footprint of the building will be constructed over the footprint of the existing foundations.
“The development will provide for 5 new commercial units all with their own bin storage areas. All will be provided with their own entrance and secondary exit. The dedicated residential entrance located upon George Street and Meeting Street.”
JDP (Ramsgate) Limited says the flats will be energy efficient and built to ‘lifetime homes’ standard. They say town centre properties need to ‘diversify’ to survive.
Thirty-five letters of objection to the scheme have been lodged with Thanet council with concerns including over-development, lack of parking, increase in traffic, lack of consultation with current business owners and a need to protect the Sugar Rush community hub and dance school.
Councillors Tricia Austin and Becky Wing have called the application in to be considered by the committee due to concerns of potential overdevelopment of the site and the mix of flat sizes proposed which consists mainly of one bed units.
A report to councillors says: “The existing building is considered to be of little architectural merit and is identified in the Ramsgate Conservation Area Appraisal as an opportunity for enhancement.
“The proposed development would largely maintain the character established in the historic commercial core of Ramsgate of commercial buildings with residential above. Whilst the proposed building would be a single building, the introduction of a number of separate frontages and doors to the ground floor, together with its vertical emphasis would add interest to the building and read as several units turning the corner of the High Street and George Street in a uniform way reflecting the traditional pattern of development on this site and within the surviving surrounding area but with a modern design and approach.”
The development will not provide any affordable housing after the applicant raised viability concerns. An independent viability appraisal concluded that no affordable housing provision was achievable, whilst making provision for financial contributions requested by both the Thanet council and KCC and the NHS.
Former tenant Cats in Crisis has moved to a new shop in Queen Street and Sugar Rush has mounted a fundraising campaign to help raise £15,000 to take over the old HSBC building in the town.
Sugar Rush, headed up by Heidi Moran, also houses Stage Door Arts, provides performance, rehearsal, meeting space, music and office rooms, hotdesks, baby and children classes, community social groups and more.
Heidi moved the business into the current venue in March 2020 and completely renovated what had been an empty unit for a number of years.
Fundraising events include a ball and auction at Ramsgate Music Hall on March 31 from 7pm.
It will include cabaret, live music, DJs and auction.
Tickets from £5 at https://www.outsavvy.com/event/12529/the-filthygorgeous-ball-charity-auction
Council planning officers are recommending that members defer and delegate the application for approval, subject to safeguarding conditions and the receipt of a signed agreement for developer contributions, when the application is discussed on March 15.
Developer contributions requested:
Community learning, youth service, libraries and social care contributions of £640.38 towards additional resources, equipment and services at Broadstairs Adult Education Centre
£2,554.50 towards additional equipment and resources for Thanet youth services
£2,162.55 towards additional resources, equipment and book stock (including digital infrastructure and resources) to be made available at Ramsgate Library
£5,728.32 towards specialist accommodation in Thanet.
A contribution of £2,124.33 is also requested towards improvements at Thanet Household Waste and Recycling Centre to increase capacity.
NHS Kent and Medway have requested a contribution of £21,744.00 towards refurbishment, reconfiguration and/or extension of Dashwood Medical Centre and/or The Grange Practice and/or East Cliff Medical Practice and/or Summerhill Surgery and/or Newington Road Surgery and/or towards new general practice premises development in the area.
A contribution to the provision of off site open space of £34,125.00 towards play equipment and facilities at Boundary Park in Ramsgate