Construction of Westgate retirement apartments due to begin in December

Westgate retirement flats (ON Architecture)

Building work on retirement living apartments on the site of the former St Peter’s Church and Presbytery in Westgate is scheduled to begin in December.

McCarthy Stone, which specialises in retirement developments, says the 35 apartment project will be delivered by its site management team, along with sub-contractors and a team of architects, engineers and designers.

The developer says that at its peak the new retirement homes for the over 60s will mean employment for up to 100 construction workers.

Once complete, the building will provide one and two- bedroom retirement apartments with energy-efficient features and communal spaces, including landscaped gardens and a lounge for social events and activities. A hotel-style guest suite is included to cater for visiting friends and family. There will also be pet-friendly living options.

McCarthy Stone Show Suite

The planning application, which had undergone some amendments including a reduction of apartments from 38 to 35, was approved by Thanet council last December.

Seven letters of objection had been lodged raising concerns including development height, loss of trees, ecology and impact upon the Conservation Area.

Westgate Town Council objected on grounds including highways access, loss of trees and the development not being in keeping with the surroundings.

Thanet council’s conservation officer also raised concerns that the application was for a larger footprint that one previously granted for the site in 2020 to flatten St Peter’s Church and Presbytery and replace it with commercial offices and 14 one and two-bed apartments.

The conservation officer said: “Previously works were approved for the site which proposed a different design development. It also accepted in principle the demolition of the existing church upon the site which is considered to offer little to the setting and appearance of the surrounding environment.

“The scale of the proposed development was an element raised at pre application stage. In response to this it would appear that the tallest prevailing ridge height has been reduced down to meet that of the granted application, however still in a considerably wider mass, and then elsewhere the ridge height has been increased to be very minimally below this height but again in a much larger footprint. These amendments are minimal and offer little in the reduction in the height of the scheme.”

(ON Architecture)

However, planning officers recommended approval, saying: “The provision of 35 dwellings on previously developed land within the urban confines would make a good contribution to the district’s housing supply as a windfall housing site in a sustainable location, supporting the economic and social dimensions of sustainable development, with employment provided through construction.”

Sam Burley, Divisional Marketing Director at McCarthy Stone, said: “We’re delighted to offer a greater choice of quality retirement living in Westgate-on-Sea. Our purpose-built, specialist homes allow people to make the most of their retirement, and to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible, with peace of mind that help is nearby.

“We’re anticipating high demand for our Westgate-on-Sea retirement properties, with the development providing an ideal setting for retirees looking to be part of a wider community in a sought-after coastal location with a range of amenities close by. We encourage anyone who is interested to get in touch to receive updates on the development’s progress and to find out how McCarthy Stone can make a move work for you.”

McCarthy Stone will make developer contributions of:

£574.20 towards Community Learning

£1940.75 towards Library Service

£5140.80 towards Social Care

£1906.45 towards Waste

£9,868 SAMM contribution

£22,395 towards general practice

£98,130.30 Affordable housing contribution

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The last days of St Peter’s Church and Presbytery

St Peter’s Church and Presbytery in Westgate

St Peter’s Church was constructed in 1963, first opening in 1964. It had a nave and Lady Chapel with sacristy room sited on either side of the nave, and baptism and repository areas each side of the main entrance.

The final Sunday Mass at St Peter’s Church and Presbytery before closure was in July 2014.

The decision to close the church was made because the cost of repairing and maintaining it was not considered economically viable.

The church had capacity for up to 400 parishioners but in the preceding years before closure, numbers had dropped to around 60-65 per week.

The Benedictines owned the site and when they moved from St. Augustine’s Abbey, Ramsgate to Chilworth, Guildford in Surrey, the Diocese of Southwark ran the church.

Both the Diocese and the Benedictines as freeholders, looked internally at a range of possible uses before disposal could be authorised. The Benedictines have a significant estate and the decision to dispose of the church and its grounds was not taken without very careful consideration of the long-term interests of the church.

The Benedictines made the final decision to dispose of the church and its grounds.


  1. Be very careful buying these places. We experienced a massive loss on resale. Bought in 2018 for £80k, reduced from original sale price of £120k. We thought it a bargain. 24/7 warden services were no better than the alarm linked to help which my mother had for very little cost via her Local Authority prior to her move. All they did, if she fell, was phone the paramedics. They are not allowed to help to lift or move or provide any practical help – for a monthly fee of nearly £600. We had to sell after two years. Took nearly a year to find a buyer and were still paying the monthly service charge – no reduction for an empty apartment. Best price we could get on selling was £47,500.

  2. The comments above are food for thought.Some of these apartments are leasehold and they are trying to exclude these developments from the leasehold reform regulations.
    Being old is bad enough but being packed off to live an expensive oldies barrack block, with high charges and cramped accomodation is disrespectful.Look at the drawings,they are bland and poorly thought out.Thus is before you get to the inevitable snags that new build entails.
    The block is located on a main road and though handy for public transport, it will be noisy.In my retirement I want peace and quiet.
    For some people these places might be suitable, but claims about a high level of interest can be put in the same category as we are giving you a good deal.
    The s106 payments might be made, but even if they are paid in full and that’s a big if, what will these payments achieve? Not a lot is the answer.

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