Former British Legion Club building in Margate to be converted into seven flats

The former royal British Legion Club in Margate (Evolution Town Planning)

Proposals to change use of the former Royal British Legion Club building in Margate -most recently used as a temporary hub for the homeless – into seven flats have been approved.

In 2020 a proposal for the site to be used for homelessness accommodation for a period of three years was approved. The site was used for a mix of seven emergency bed spaces and rooms for  homeless households, and a community hub for Rise clients (Rough sleeper Intervention Support & Empowerment).

This permission ran out last September and now building owner Paramount Independent Property Services LLP will change it to residential use with 6 one-bed and one three-bed flats over four floors of the property at 18 St. John’s Street.

The site has been used as the Legion Club until it shut in 2018 and the property was sold at auction for £400,000.

The application from Paramount says: “The upper floors of the building have been vacant for a number of years whilst the social club operated on the ground floor and part of the first floor.

“ It would appear the second and third floor had not been used for around 20 years. The proposal would bring new housing stock into the market.”

The Grade II listed building underwent a number of alterations when it was converted for the assisted living space for those who were homeless.

(Evolution Town Planning)

The application says: “At present, the basement level is in use as storage and office space (accessible externally and via a modern internal staircase). At the ground floor numbers of alterations (and additions) have compromised the historic fabric in the open plan reception/social spaces. In particular the ‘reception’ desk and the suspended ceilings have obscured historic features (such as the sash window and original ceilings).

“At first and second floors there have been a number of subdivisions to create small single bedrooms, shared bathrooms and shared kitchens, although some original features survive. The first floor, original arches and cornices remain, but these are compromised by the subdivision which has occurred.”

(Evolution Town Planning)

Paramount says improvements will be made to the appearance of the former town house, adding: “At present, the building demonstrates a lack of investment over the years and provides opportunities for enhancement.

“A UPVC porch covers the majority of the historic entrance and the (planning authority) have made clear that removing this is a priority. This porch detracts from the historic fabric of the building and offers a major opportunity for historic enhancement.

“The current steps are not as the original access would have been (directly addressing the street), but rise east-west in parallel with the road. This compromises the appearance and experience of the building.

“Reordering the steps will be a more costly job than removing the porch and this needs to come forward as part of this whole redevelopment/conservation of the site. As part of this application these steps are proposed to be reinstalled in the original position, addressing the street.

“New iron railings are proposed, to replace the temporary wooden railings. Additional elevational improvements will also include the blocking up of a number of grills/vents which are not original and detract from the historic façade and the repair/restoration of the windows. “

The application for change of use and another for listed building consent were approved by Thanet council this week.

21 Comments

    • Whilst I agree with you in principle, the sad fact is that insufficient people are frequenting and supporting such establishments – hence their closure.

      Many similar clubs in Margate have closed in the last decade or two – along with numerous pubs. It is a dying trade.

    • You have to remember that most of the shops in Thanet High Streets and in particular Northdown Road were originally houses and were converted to shops over several decades in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

  1. A good idea to put it into use as housing – in a predominantly housing area! There are many buildings around Thanet that could be similarly redeveloped, including above many shops.
    We need housing?, this is much better than building on yet more farmland as is happening along Nash Lane and Shottendane.

  2. we are always told about helping the homeless ? when will they decide to help themselves , my experience of them particulaly in canterbury is of young fit people sitting on the pavement asking for money , which incidentaly is illegal

    • This same company carried out their same practice in Ramsgate opposite the carpark entrance to Waitrose. Alan Webber (deceased) did all he could to save the British Legion Club in Margate fighting the legal bods of Minaitour but without success plus the infighting among a breakaway group didn’t help towards his health.

    • Clubs and pubs were the main entertainment many years ago and most clubs were for old soldiers and other military people to meet and soocialise. There was little other regular entertainment other than radio, and later TV. Now there is so much variety and property is so expensive that these small membership clubs can no longer survive. Life progresses and generations evolve. Clube like Rotary, Lions, Round Table are declining nationwide, spotrts clubs are still thriving but most still cannot afford their own premises, or if they have them cannot maintain them. Thanet has so many positive and free opportunities with the beaches, parks and seaside. We just need some industry to provide employment, like an innovative airport with advanced technology being developed tor green aircraft being developed.
      Thanet is unique in that it now has port, rail, road and air faciities and could be a really thriving hub.

  3. I agree we need places in which to relax in our towns. The building would make a charming LGBT cafe, community centre and art space. Ms Pink could meet reel wurld for coffee there, politely discuss current affairs and generally “put the world to rights”. Perhaps our Trace will oblige and buy the property?

    • I prefer talking to working class people who have had proper jobs and know more about real life (as for what genitalia they have and what they do with them, I don’t give a monkey’s).

  4. The UPVC porch was removed sometime last year, so hardly a current issue. If anyone were to look at the retrospective application for the creation of the homeless hub, vast amounts of the original structure were ripped out by paramount during lockdown with no planning or listed building consent, all this done with TDC’s knowledge and guidance ( as it was tdc that leased the facility once completed) , makes a mockery of the planning and listed building rules.

  5. Apologies Pinko old girl (and further apologies if you’re not old, or identifying as a girl today. One can’t be too careful in these wokey times, can one?), but I wasn’t suggesting you’d like to meet reel wurld in a cafe, LGBT or otherwise, to discuss, or, heaven forbid, to compare your genitalia. If, however, you’re hankering after a “working class” man or woman to marvel about life down t’pit you’ve missed the boat by 50 years, and free markets and Mrs Thatcher did away with much of our manufacturing industry in the 80s. So unless someone opens a coal mine, steelworks or cotton mill in Margate soon, and a working mens’ club opens to slake their thirst, you’re stuck with having to chat with the horrible woke arty DFLs who bring in the cash these days. Sorry..

    • Plenty of scaffolders, doormen and van drivers around though… or are they deemed middle-class career options these days (they bring in quite a bit of cash too). As for you arty DFL’s, it looks like your cash cow is about to run dry, now that the Arts Council have been forced to update their policies and not fund anything deemed politically devisive – the likes of Anka Dabrowska with her “Gays against Boris” T-shirt might even have to get a proper job – you know, like those pesky working class people who still insist on working for a living and making a contribution to society.

  6. From reading this artical, can somebody explain to me if the building will house people privately or is it still going to be used to house homeless?

  7. Interesting points raised by both Ms Pink and Mr Perfect. My dictionary says working class means unskilled and poorly paid, and I’m not sure scaffolders, builders etc. fit either criteria, so it’s probably an outdated definition. Possibly such workers are middle class these days, well paid and self employed?. Either way I don’t know where Ms Pink hopes to meet and rub shoulders with them anyway. I don’t think said scaffolders would these days be up for a contemporary version of a Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club hosted by a 21st century Bernard Manning.
    I still suspect Ms Pink hankers after proper working class folk from the 60s smelling of coal dust and engine oil rather than the gouache and oil paint of the arty types that so infuriate her. Her loss I guess. I’d like to go for a drink with David Hockney and Fred Dibnah, but I like a beer and all different sorts of people. I can’t imagine Ms Pink likes the former, and she doesn’t seem to like many of the latter.

  8. Ms Pink needs a time machine to meet some proper working class folk in my view. In fact she’d make an ideal companion to a Dr Who played by Peter “Checkers Plays Pop” Checksfield, a Billy Piper, if you will, to his David Tennant. They could travel back to Liverpool in the early 60s, save the universe from the Daleks, and Checkers could go and check out out an early performance by Gerry and the Pacemakers at the Cavern, while Ms Pink could head to the Port of Liverpool and have some genuine non genitalia based working class wisdom rub off on her from the visiting sailors and scouse dockers. What a great episode that would be. But of course the wokey old BBC won’t allow a straight white Doctor these days. Meh.

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