Permission granted for Margate hotel to be converted to 13 bedroom HMO

The Somerville Hotel (Photo Clive Emson Auctioneers)

A bed and breakfast hotel on Margate seafront that sold at auction for £480,000 last September will be turned into a 13 bedroom HMO (house of multiple occupation).

Four-storey Somerville Hotel at 9 Canterbury Road (Westbrook) will have 12 rooms with one of those large enough for two people and the rest suitable for single tenants, plus a shared living room and two shared kitchens and three rooms with kitchen facilities contained.

Five letters of objection were lodged with the council raising concerns including an increase in population density, noise and disturbance, increased demand for parking, loss of tourist accommodation and an increase in antisocial behaviour.

One objection comes from a landlord of a neighbouring property who says their tenant read the news “with horror” adding: “As a seaside town and the Somerville being a hotel, that has to be more beneficial to the town than a house of multiple occupation and all the problems it can bring.”

In response to concerns applicant Dean Smith responded: “This application will take a run down hotel (which doesn’t trade all year round) and will provide 13 well needed homes to the local area.

“There is plenty of parking on Canterbury Rd, Station Rd and Albert Rd, there is also available parking at Margate train station if needed. There are well located public transportation links such as bus routes, trains and cycle options very close to the property.

“We have found being experienced HMO landlords locally that a high percentage of individuals that rent a HMO room don’t have a vehicle.

“I also don’t see how the change of use from a hotel to a residential demise will increase noise, in fact I would say the opposite as the proposals are for single occupant rooms where as a commercial hotel would have catered for a higher footfall.

“There are already lots of HMO properties on this road including the next door property.

“There will be no negative change to the character of Station Road as there will be no external changes to the building. I feel the application will bring well needed life into this building and offer local residents more affordable housing options.”

The application was granted permission last week.


  1. So the area is desperate for hotels and desperate to not have these HMOs now and the council allow this in a prime area

  2. The council have allowed this for years. The council turned cliftonville into dole on sea back in the early 80s. The council do not care. Not fit for purpose.

    • Seriously?! The ‘council’ did not turn Cliftonville into dole on the sea back in the early 80’s. Young fossils clearly don’t have long enough memories. There was a time when Margate and Cliftonville were thriving destinations for families staying at the large hotels and B&Bs, the time when Margate was a Londoner’s day trippers haven, or when it became famous for its mods and rockers, when the seafront was a bustling thoroughfare of shops selling Kiss Me Quick hats. Margate and Cliftonville in their heyday.

      I remember that what happened to that was not the ‘council’. It was cheap flights to Spain. The big hotels and the B&Bs went bust because there was no-one wanting to come and stay in them any more. Cheaper to fly to the sun.

      What advice would you give the owners (the owners, not the council) on what they should do with their properties when they have no trade. Or is that too difficult. Easier to just mindlessly follow the crowd and blame the council.

      • Yes and no. Why didn’t the council ensure that Margate pier (declared too run-down to use in 1976 and washed away in 1978) and The Lido pool (ditto in 1978) were rebuilt? Ditto Ramsgate pool?

  3. There are different types of HMOs. One sort-where each flat/apartment is self-contained with its own cooking and toilet facilities-possibly owned by the occupier, or, at least occupied by a tenant with a long-term, secure tenancy, is far preferable. The residents are here for many years and have a commitment to the srea.
    The other type where residents are renting with no security of tenure ( which is ALL private tenants these days) and where facilities are shared, is a recipe for the type of transitory, almost hostel-type accommodation that CAN bring noise and anti-social behaviour from tenants living a hand-to-mouth existence with no real commitment to the area. I think that this particular scheme resembles the second type. Unfortunately. One problem is that local planning departments work to limited regulations that just count the numbet of possible dwelling units-the more the better- and have little regard for social/environmental factors. This is not the fault of local councillors.
    These factors are laid down centrally in Westminster. Which explains why we despair of ever preventing the despoilation of the countryside and the poor quality of the homes being thrown up. And why there is little point blaming whatever Party runs the Council. They really are as bad as one another because the rules are set in London, not locally.

  4. Dean Smith is living in cuckoo land if he thinks there is plenty of parking, half of Albert Road is made up of Albert Garage and all the roads that are mentioned are already used by residents, brown envelopes anyone

  5. And there’s parking opportunities at the train station!? Prohibitive cost. I’d just always ask one thing to the applicant. Would you live next door to this obviously transitory HMO? Of course he wouldn’t

    • Trains also run from the train station (and there’s a bus stop about 30 seconds walk from the house). People with cars shouldn’t EXPECT somewhere to park it. That’s just not sustainable.

  6. I’m sure Helen For Thanet will be along soon to tell everyone what a great idea this is and how we need more places like this in Thanet and that opponents are just NIMBYs.

    Or maybe not as she’s trying not to annoy voters in that area.

  7. Margate and all the other seafronts need young people to spend money and rebuild the area’s these areas were once up and coming back to life. But the tide turned and many areas were a know go. It became unsafe for all I don’t know what the answer is. But surely now is the time to take back what rightly is ours and build a safer future for the next generation.. Let’s not just do nothing but together build new life and look after those that truly want to live here and make our coast line and towns a place to be proud of.


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