Flats and cottages plan for site of historic Britannia pub in Margate

The Britannia

From the 1800s the site of the Britannia pub in Margate has been a destination for drinkers but now plans have been put forward to convert the property into four flats and two cottages.

The original building overlooked the harbour and the jetty and has been in use in its current form since the mid 1840s. It is claimed it was once a hunting lodge and tied with the original Cobb’s Brewery, in operation on the site adjoining the pub from the early 1800s until 1968.

Following the demolition of Cobb’s in the 1970s the site saw some new buildings put up which included the current police station next door.

The Britannia was last run by landlord Paul Rollins and wife Edna but they announced its closure in 2020 due to pressures including ‘crippling’ business rates.

Paul and Edna had run the Fort Hill boozer for almost five years and hit the headlines with their £1 Sunday roast dinners but it came to an end when they said it was no longer viable.

Paul and Edna

Paul, who was the President of the Licenced Victuallers Association Thanet Branch, revealed during a meeting that he was paying a huge £22,000 a year in business rates.

There was a brief reopening in 2021 but this was short-lived.

Now the application lodged with Thanet council on behalf of Acme Lettings proposes the alterations and conversion of the existing building to form four 3 bed self-contained flats and the erection of two semi-detached 3 bed cottages.

The proposed conversion will provide two flats to the ground floor and two flats to the first floor, The two proposed cottages will be in the rear garden/yard area.

To the front of the Britannia, the existing hardstanding will be reduced to allow for two parking spaces each to the flats and to the rear proposed cottages and some edge planting and individual garden spaces.

Submitted documents say: “It was our intention to be as sympathetic as possible with the proposals to allow them to fit comfortably with the existing listed building, surrounding conservation area and other nearby listed buildings and street scene, with materials to match the existing building and nearby surroundings.

Image Ian Barber Associates

“The cottages being designed in a traditional period style, to reflect most of the rear part of the Britannia and the area in general – specifically the brick built Victorian era properties, probably the most expansive period before the present.

“The original historical façade of the Britannia and details will be retained and where necessary, reinstated – particularly the original sliding sash windows.

“Internally, the Britannia has some of the original flint walling visible and this would be retained, along with any other traditional details that would be uncovered during work.”

The Britannia building is Grade II listed and the applicant says there will be no alterations to the front of the property.

Britannia 1970s

Planning documents add: “The decline of the pub as a community facility is highlighted by another local pub that has closed, together with many other pubs within the area, most due to the non-viability of running them.

“There is availability at local community centres which are not yet at capacity, such as the Al-Birr community centre, the Salvation Army church and community, St. John’s Church Hall and Cliftonville community centre, so any slack can be taken from the loss of the Public House.

“As the pub has been shut for a lengthy period now, any requirement for a community use has already been redirected to other local facilities, which have shown that there is still capacity available.”

A decision on the application is yet to be made. It can be found on Thanet council’s planning page, reference F/TH/23/0945 and  L/TH/23/1080


  1. Anyone who thinks Margate is better now than 20-25 years ago are out of their minds. On any Friday or Saturday night there were at least 5 pubs to see live bands, great times sadly gone.

  2. It seems that there is great emphasis by the worried applicant regarding Community asset factors, which is a criteria for de-licensing local authority permissions. Also, where is the considerations within the new build plans I adhere to its grade II listing?

  3. Another pub gone In Margate sad days was a really good place to go. Now we will see flats and cottages at stupid price and or Airbnb instead

  4. Once you have cleansed the history of the town away . All your be left with is like the master architecture of things like the Turner gallery. Modern day architecture is a square box . When was the last time you see a Modern day building that features an arch. No that takes a bit of thinking and skill

  5. The Britannia didn’t have an arch….

    Which buildings in Thanet that have recently been demolished had arches? Or is this some massive tangent? To just basically say “modern life is rubbish”

    In the 90s we were all angry there were “no local pubs” and they were all Thorleys….. the other day I see people saying it’s a shame about how few Thorleys there are now….. grass is always green and it was always “better in my day”

  6. My point was today designing is all about quick and cheap construction. You put a bend or a curve in to a wall everything slows down . I’ve been in the building industry for 47 years and everything designed is square

  7. Great pub – top bands in the day – More luxury dwellings aimed at rich Londoners to buy up as holiday homes or rent out as Airbnbs with sea views or the artyfarties will pay well over the odds for these right next to the Turner with a view of Turners famous sunset.
    As section 21 eviction orders fly around Thanet and locals get pushed away from friends and family to areas out of their hometown – as long as everyone is making money who cares? NO ONE!

  8. Sad news however all depends of who is managing the pubs nowadays, some pubs are very successful due to good managers. May I add that I’ve never seen such beautiful sunsets from this location in Margate.

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