Former Royal School for Deaf Children site up for sale – with early design for 185 properties

Freehold sale of the former Royal School for Deaf Children site Image JLL

The site of the former Royal School for Deaf Children in Margate is being marketed for sale with ‘positive’ pre-application plans to build 185 houses.

The land is owned by Kent County Council, which paid £6.8m (exclusive of VAT) for the land in 2020. It includes the Blue Wave Hydrotherapy Centre which the tenant, Your Leisure, holds on a 15 year lease from 2020.

It is being marketed by JLL as a “13.4 acre brownfield site.” Most of the school buildings have been demolished although buildings remaining include the former cricket pavilion and swimming pool with adjoining garages, a timber shed, two, 2-storey  dwellings and the hydrotherapy centre.

Former cricket pavilion (1) and swimming pool (2) with adjoining garages (3) and a timber shed (4) two, 2-storey dwellings (5) and e hydrotherapy centre (6)

The school was shut down suddenly in December 2015 after The John Townsend Trust, which ran it, went into administration.

The distressing closure of the school and Westgate College resulted in some 500 job losses and scores of children left without a specialist school placement.

How the new school would have looked Image

The land had been earmarked for a new secondary school but in December 2021 this proposal was ditched for a second time by KCC following discussions with the Department for Education over the forecast of reduced pupil numbers in the district.

In 2022 the site was put forward by KCC for a potential 200 home development as part of Thanet council’s Local Plan review.

An update to the Thanet Local Plan – a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure on the isle –was due to be extended to cover the period to 2040 – and included the need for land/sites to accommodate an additional 4,000-4,500 dwellings.

The housing need calculated up to 2031 was for 17,140 new isle homes. But using the  Government “standard method” the number to 2040 was estimated at 21,700 dwellings. However, government has now deferred updating statistics until 2025 and Thanet council says it is no longer using that methodology because need is calculated on 2014 based population projections that are no longer accurate. The Thanet Local Plan currently still runs to 2031.

Demolition has previously been carried out Photo Frank Leppard

When putting the site forward, KCC said:  “Given the site is no longer being brought forwards for education use other development options are now being considered. Given the highly sustainable nature of the site within the urban area of Margate, residential development would appear logical.

“The site is a key opportunity to create a green pedestrian link through Dane Park and the site into Margate Town Centre with routes to the supermarket, the high street, the beach, and Margate railway station.

“Public open space could also provide greater community public outdoor space for the new and existing community. For example, with the incorporation of public open space, an outdoor gym, a children’s play area and a youth play area.”

Image DHA Urban Design

In the sale brochure JLL says: “In 2023, a pre-application meeting was held with Thanet District Council outlining a housing-led development of up to 185 dwellings. The site received a positive response and hence offers an indication of development capacity and route to delivery.

“The illustrative masterplan, designed by DHA Urban Design, comprises 1 & 2 bed apartments and a range of 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom houses, extending to a maximum of 4 storeys with the top storey within the roof.

“The majority of residential development is directed to the south, with an area to the north of the site next to the hydrotherapy centre accommodating a further 15 dwellings. The hydrotherapy centre itself has been excluded from the proposed plans.

“The proposed development will provide a substantial area of public green space on site, in addition to a children’s play area.”

Image JLL

An expected sale price has not been given.

The freehold interest is being offered for sale by informal tender A bid date will be set during the course of marketing and circulated to interested parties.

Offers are invited to be submitted electronically to JLL

Find out more here

County Council puts forward 200 home proposal for former Royal School for Deaf Children site


  1. The second the RSDC closed i said ,houses would be built on the place ,should have put a bet on .KCC never really wanted to build a new school,that was for the media and the public.They bought to site purely to hold on to ,and sell on for a profit .Be nice to see how much the land sells for ,and an access road to the new development goes

    • That was exactly what I thought at the time that there is no way a school will be built there but lots of houses will be because there will be back handers as usual in this corrupt system to ensure that happens.

  2. I’d rather see housing here than on prime agricultural land.

    But do hope they include solar panels on all the housing and sufficient car parking spaces for the size of each property and to allow for visitors.

    They will also have to do something to restrict parking on the upper part of Addiscombe Road where it approaches the St Peters Road roundabout as it is already a problem with cars parked on both sides which don’t allow for free flow of traffic on both lanes.

    • Agree Jane ,my point is KCC, deceiving everyone about building a school there ,when really,it was a way of making a profit at the expense of a school which is needed for Margate ,look at all the new house being built to prove my point

  3. Jane beat me to it. Pretty much what I was going to write. Not farm land for a change which is an improvement, but that many homes needs Drs and school places too.

  4. with all this development thats swallowing up thanet , its only ever about housing which = piles of money for developers , there is never a decent project that will create jobs , the only real job opportunitys will be at manston airport , and they tried thier best to stop that , and cover it in houses !, there is never much about hospitals / dentists / schools / shops/ just endless housing

    • Piles of money for developers???? As I have previously posted, plans for 9035 houses are already written in stone (without these 185) and, at a minimum of £250k per house that equals £2.25 BILLION.

      I do not believe for one minute that the insanity in allowing this kind of development (9035 + these 185 houses) is totally down to the lack of brain cells in the council chamber, so I can only attribute it to brown envelopes. Graft.

      Let’s face it, primary school children would make better decisions that the bottom-feeders in the council.

  5. As much as I would like to see it turned into a park for the surrounding community, Thanet does need housing so this is a necessary plan. I hope they manage to keep the green spaces in the proposed plan and these don’t get gobbled up. Affordable housing wouldn’t go amiss either. Phil is right, Thanet council need to start looking at the availability of amenities for the increased population and start planning appropriately, there is no point having large population increases if the facilities to sustain them aren’t in place.

    • A park? It’s just a short stroll from Dane park, and not that far from both Northdown and Hartsdown park.

      It’s Westwood that needs a park, but it’s the 21st century rather than the 19th century, and wealthy land owners don’t tend to gift parks to the people these days.

  6. 185 houses..holy smoke that’s cramped.Parking,doctors,dentists
    Housing for 21k houses but who for
    We need 1 bed flats in the first instance as there is a lack of them here.
    Council own the land paid peanuts for and how much when.sold ..kcc is bent as five bob piece

  7. Perhaps planning will insist that the developers will pay for a Doctors & Dentists be built……….Yer right.

  8. It’s easy building doctor and dentist surgeries. The problem is staffing them. There are not enough doctors and dentists for the surgeries we already have in Thanet. Hence the huge problem in getting appointments. But this is not just a problem for this area, but nationally.

    And it is not going to change any time soon as it takes years to train up both. So it really doesn’t matter what all the political parties are saying, nothing is going to change with a new government.

    I want to see is:
    Legislation for solar panels on all new buildings – residential and commercial.
    No solar farms or building on agricultural land.
    Sufficient parking for all new builds – and that does not mean one parking space per house, but one parking space per bedroom as the minimum.

  9. I strongly agree and with you very much on this one.
    Also the infrastructures should be in place before building new complexes and stop congestion
    There should be made compulsory like with care homes, to build a hospital where there is so many housing built and help alleviate some of the excessive work load on the medical profession

  10. That doesn’t sound right what the DOE said to KCC. If all these thousands of houses are still to be built in Thanet then there will be great need for more schools. Is KCC just trying to profit now out of the site it bought to build the school or what?

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