Tuesday 27 July 2010

Last minute call to object to the development of houses over Margate Caves

Thanet District Council - who own Margate Caves - has applied for planning permission to build houses on the site. The application says that the houses will not prevent the Caves re-opening, but my opinion is that if this development goes ahead it's almost impossible to see a viable future for the tourist attraction.

It takes only a minute or two to object to the planning application. If you can spare the time, and of course if you agree, we’d be grateful for your support.
The deadline for Comments is Tuesday, the 27th.

You can view the application by going here


And searching for Application No: F/TH/10/0546 (Can’t provide a direct link as it changes daily!)

If you haven't time, and would like to object, you can add your name and address and send the note below to thandi.zulu@thanet.gov.uk and a send a copy to cllr-Clive.hart@thanet.gov.uk and cllr-Linda.aldred@thanet.gov.uk .

Dear Thandi

I am fully in support of Claire Blackwell’s statement below. These houses should not be built here.

Best wishes

[name and address]

I believe that this proposal does nothing to safeguard the Margate Caves and almost completely extinguishes any prospect of them re-opening as a tourist attraction.

In addition, the houses proposed are of poor design, and would represent a discordant and derivative addition to the built environment immediately adjacent to a conservation area.

Many millions of pounds of public money have been invested in Margate’s future as a tourist resort, both at Turner Contemporary and Dreamland. We stand on the brink of a bright new future for the town, but tourism experts speak of the need for a ‘broad offer’ ie a range of attractions for the visitor to enjoy.

This proposal removes all of the Caves’ roadside presence, thus rendering them invisible from the highway. More importantly it takes any land that might be utilised for ancillary uses, such as a gift shop and café. It is generally accepted that secondary spend is vital to a tourist attraction’s viability, often accounting for at least 50% of turnover. The removal of land for this purpose effectively renders the Caves unviable as a business proposition. (The damp conditions in the Caves themselves preclude the creation of an underground shop/café.)

The proposal sees the loss of the original access tunnel (created in 1914 by tunnelling from the cellars of the Vicarage for incumbents to gain safety during air raids). Indeed it suggests that this tunnel is infilled. There is a suggestion that Forsters Entrance could be brought back into use, but details as to how this might be achieved are completely lacking.

Forsters Tunnel was filled with rubble and sealed off after the bombing of Holy Trinity Church and Northumberland House. Research suggests that it was last used in 1941, so we cannot know – without extensive surveying – whether it represents a suitable alternative entrance.

Crucially, there is no assurance that Forsters Entrance will be opened before the existing entrance is closed.

There is no provision for testing the ground under the proposed development for any unknown caves/voids. There are known caves across Northdown Road under Flint House so it is not inconceivable that there may be something south of the Vortigern Caves, under the proposed development site. Also it is known that there was at least one WW1 'dug-out' dug somewhere near the Caves – however, the exact location is unknown.

Adam Single, the Archaelogical Officer at Kent County Council, has reported that there is potential for iron age and Romano-British remains on the site. This is, therefore, a potentially important historical site even without considering the Vortigern Caves.

Lastly, this proposal flies in the face of the results of TDC’s own Margate Caves Consultation (2009). Over 90% of respondents opposed the sale and development of the site. Specific concerns voiced included infilling of any part of the Caves and the potential loss of a tourist attraction for the town. Representations included one from Margate Civic Society and a petition of 2,592 signatures.

The Margate Caves are an important and fascinating part of the town’s tourism offer. Their potential worth is far greater than that of seven poorly-designed houses.

Claire Blackwell
Trustee, Friends of the Shell Grotto

Margate Photofest Saturday 31st July & Sunday 1st August

Please see the attached flyer promoting Margate’s First Photographic Festival, exhibiting the work of professional and contemporary photographers which will be held on Saturday, 31 July and Sunday, 1 August from 11:00-17:00.

Venues are: The Community Pharmacy Gallery (Market Place), the Substation Project Space (Bilton Square), CRATE Galleries (1 and 2) (Bilton Square) and The Pie Factory (Broad Street).

The organisers are also in desperate need of volunteers to help look after the work during the show. Given that they have 5 venues they will need 25 people to watch the work. It is only a 3 hour shift and any one that helps will be invited to the private show.

If you can help, or require further information regarding the event, please contact mark@tomthumbtheatre.co.uk or ring 07982726109.


Helder Clara is a Portugese artist living in Margate, which has been his home for the last 14 months. His new work ‘Displacement’ explores the feelings of disconnected-ness, of being cut adrift, that are experienced if we live in one place, but have our origins in another.

Helder has used recycled materials and the knitting process to create an installation that addresses these conflicting feelings . Knitting, like most craft work, is a repetitive and contemplative activity allowing the artist to ponder over, to sift through, his feelings about being a stranger in another land. The recycled clothes he has used carry their own meaning: they are ‘cast off’, ‘unwanted’, but yet they hold potential for another owner.

Using jellyfish as symbolic representations, Helder creates an immersive environment in which we are invited to imagine ourselves cast adrift. Jellyfish are ancient primitive animals: they encompass both beauty and danger. We are fascinated when we see them, but keep our distance. At the mercy of currents, tides and the weather, they are a metaphor for the lives of immigrants: disconnected, adrift, displaced.

‘Displacement’ runs from Saturday 31st July to Sunday 8th August, Margate Harbour Arm Gallery - open daily from 1pm to 6pm and 7pm – 10pm, Admission free.

Sunday 25 July 2010

Scaffolding erected at Arlington House

We noticed this week that scaffolding has been erected at Arlington House by the freeholders Freshwater.

We enquired at TDC what was going on and got the following reply.

The scaffolding is to enable test cleaning to be carried out on the
building and the subsequent application of stain to try to return the
panel finish as close to the original finish as possible. It would not
require a planning application for that work.

The owners also intend to use the scaffold to replace windows to one
flat to those proposed for the whole building as part of a planning
application for the refurbishment of the building and redevelopment of
the car park and shopping precinct. They will not change the windows
until after they have submitted the application. The application
design and access statement will include confirmation that this will
be a sample installation to show what is intended and enable
assessment of its suitability. It will also confirm that should
permission not be granted, the original windows will be reinstalled.
This will give everybody the ability to make an informed assessment of
their refurbishment proposals.

Online discussions reportedly from Freshwater tenants across the country here. They are one of the biggest property companies in the UK.
More info:

Friday 23 July 2010

Cliff Terrace the story continues

The press release from TDC in November 2008 stated that the renovation at Cliff Terrace, Cliftonville was a success story of the No Use Empty Scheme with Councillor Zita Wiltshire stating:

“Seeing this beautiful building finally brought back into use is perhaps one of the biggest achievements of our Empty Property Strategy to date. It’s a stunning property that’s well known to many local people and it’s excellent to see it now being used to house people again. Our programme of bringing empty properties back into use has achieved some considerable successes in the last few months, with 77 Eastern Esplanade further along the seafront in Cliftonville also being returned to use for shared ownership flats. It just goes to show the achievements that can be made when pressure is put on owners to bring their properties back into use, with 170 properties brought back into use with the help of the council over the last two years.”

However, as we've posted here, it would be a further 18 months when we paid a visit to the building in December 2009 and we posted photographs of the rear facade with no secure windows, no utilities in place, and there was clear evidence of water ingress. And most importantly the building was uninhabited and looking derelict again. It then took until around June 2010 for there to be people living in the end building of 14 and 15, whereas 12 and 13 remain empty.

We have recently learned through recent Freedom of Information requests that:

- No funds were actually allocated to the developers or the owners from the KCC No Use Empty Scheme.
- That the building currently has not got a building control completion certificate.

Yet 14 and 15 have people living in there.
So what's going on?
We also see from the Land Registry records no evidence of a property having sold on the whole of Cliff Terrace, Margate since 2006.

How much of a success and a flagship project is this site? It is standing half empty and really, seeing as it has no completion certificate should this have been removed from the threat of CPO and triumphed as a success?

Google's useful caching facility reveals the TDC press release from November 14th 2008 that for some reason is no longer active on their website. (Why do they do this messing around with URLs?)

Work completed on eyesore property
An eyesore property in Cliftonville that was threatened with compulsory purchase action by Thanet District Council, has been brought back into use.

Work has now been completed on the group of buildings at 12 – 15 Cliff Terrace, opposite the Lido, which had been empty for almost a decade. Cabinet Members agreed in July 2006 to take compulsory purchase action using funding from the “No Use Empty” campaign, which brings together Thanet, Dover, Shepway and Swale District Councils with Kent County Council. This brings extra resources to tackle the problem of long-term empty properties and enhances the Empty Property Strategy already in place in Thanet.

The owner was then informed of the council’s decision and told that the required work could be either be carried out immediately by him or the building could be sold to a developer with an agreed programme of work, but if neither happened, the property would be compulsorily purchased.

The owner chose to sell the property to a developer, with a planning application submitted in July 2007 to convert the former shop units on the ground floor and the accommodation above into 13 flats. Wards Renovation and Construction Ltd. have now completed the work.

Cllr. Zita Wiltshire, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Seeing this beautiful building finally brought back into use is perhaps one of the biggest achievements of our Empty Property Strategy to date. It’s a stunning property that’s well known to many local people and it’s excellent to see it now being used to house people again. Our programme of bringing empty properties back into use has achieved some considerable successes in the last few months, with 77 Eastern Esplanade further along the seafront in Cliftonville also being returned to use for shared ownership flats. It just goes to show the achievements that can be made when pressure is put on owners to bring their properties back into use, with 170 properties brought back into use with the help of the council over the last two years.”

Dave Goulding, Property Development Manager, from Wards Renovation and Construction Ltd. said: “We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved with this property. It’s been a very difficult project with a number of complications and the building was in a worse state of repair than had been first envisaged. This presented us with a number of challenges as work got underway, but the result has been excellent. We’ve been determined to keep as many features as we possibly could and to retain the exterior look of the property and we feel that we’ve been successful in achieving that.”

Publication date: 11 November, 2008

Saturday 17 July 2010

As posted by marvellous Michael on the other side of the isle, permission has been applied for to build on the Margate Caves site. To download the files from Uk Planning, you will have to navigate to:
And search directly for planning application 10/0546 because the links keep changing from TDC.

The design and access statement states that advice has been sought from conservation and planning officers and it was decided to take design cues from the neighbouring application for Capital House that had at the time just been submitted.

The amount of dwellings proposed is 7. They state 'the land to be developed is to the south of the caves and does not encroach on land above the caves or preclude to the reopening of the caves in the future....The land above the caves will be secured with fencing and access retained from Trinity Square.'

In my opinion, these are truly uninspiring designs in very close proximity to one of Margate's main heritage sites and possible future attraction if it could be reopened in the future. It's an extremely sensitive site and deserves to be fully debated.

Here is the Archaeological Survey document from 2008

If you have an opinion or background information please comment here and also add comment to TDC planning for the application.

Middle of Hartsdown Park to be sold off and turned into a synthetic pitch

I'm a bit late on this one as I've been up to my ears in stuff of late. From the island's favourite bookshop, comes news of the disposal of a large are in the centre of Hartsdown Park and the creation of a fenced off artificial pitch:

Michael's post here:

I've 'borrowed' Michael's image as I think he won't mind seeing as it's important to cover this. Its already been decided and planning permission to construct granted.

Did you know about this and what do you think?

Did this slip by the local press?

I believe there is a petition from parks users. Will post back here with details as soon as I get them.

Are works to 47-48 Hawley Square such a success?

47-48 on the left and 49-50 on the right

According to the TDC press release, grade II listed 47-48 Hawley Square, badly damaged in an arson related fire a couple of years ago, is a great success through emergency repair work carried out by TDC's Building Control. I'm unsure how this level of work to a listed building after a fire two years ago can be deemed a success. The release states:

"The Conservation and Building Control teams tried to get the co-operation of the building owner to restore the property, but with no success. During this time, the council has repeatedly secured the site to prevent unauthorised access and have been monitoring the stability of what remains of the structure."

But 47-48 Hawley Square is subject to a series of recent planning applications to errect a full storey rear extension. This has recently been approved (F/TH/10/0194) under delegated powers with the following comments:

"This is a resubmission further to refusal of ref: 09/0625 and ref 09/0664. These applications were refused for the following reasons:-
- That the size, scale and design of the development would detract from the setting of the existing building and prove severely detrimental to the character and appearance of the listed building and conservation area.

The proposed development has been amended and the extension made smaller and the design altered to be sympathetic to the appearance and character of the existing building. Informal discussions were carried out with the conservation officer before submission and this scheme was found to satisfy issues raised in the first submission."
So if building control and conservation had not managed to communicate with the owner, how can recent discussions have taken place to agree modifications for the four storey rear extension to allow create flats?
And what warranted the writing of the press release for these works by TDC? We understand the owner is also the developer of the Reeves Yard site opposite the Tudor House.

And while we're looking at that little section of Hawley Square, let's remind ourselves of the utter state of next door 49-50.

The magnificent ex-Conservative Club building which has stood open to the elements with no roof covering and no repair works since the fire. Recent plans were afoot for a compulsory purchase order to the tune of £10,000 to bring this grade II listed building back under TDC control. We've learned these plans have been curtailed at the 11th hour when papers were about to be served because TDC has too many CPOs on the boil at the moment!

Really? How many and where are these?

But this does not negate the owner's responsibility to maintain a listed building and if they are not doing so that the authorities can and should move to prevent further damage. At the very least, a temporary tin roof and support to the facade. It is only through example that unscruplous property developers will learn to avoid speculating in listed properties in Thanet. Ownership of a listed property comes with responsibility. The state of this fine building standing in a state of ruin from fire from the last two years is a scandal.

What are the top ten environmental action projects in Thanet?

Well, according to the 'Corporate Plan Refresh (pages 67-82) in the papers published for the Council's General Meeting held on Thursday 15th July:

1. Welcome signs at entry posts to Thanet.

2. Locate red port hand navigation buoy to side of carriageway at upper Ramsgate Port roundabout.

3. Locate 2nd EAP navigation buoy at Margate Station Green roundabout, or other location if first choice not appropriate;
Really?! This is a major improvement project? Who decided this?

4. Paint Margate Harbour lighthouse (colours to be decided) after appropriate consultation with public;
This is madness! Out of all the things that need attention on Margate seafront, a perfectly fine original stone lighthouse on the end of what was originally known as the Stone Pier is singled out as a key environmental project! How did this make it on to the key environmental project list?

5. Remove bricked planters in Margate Hight Street and replace with hanging baskets;
Well, those planters are horrible.

6. Replace kerbside fixed waste bins in prominant locations - starting Ramsgate;

7. Andrews passage Margate - project with KCC
What's this all about then?

8. Margate Old Town lighting project;

9. Nayland Rock derelict land improvements for the 2010 summer season;
Is this the strip of land owned and sat on by the same owners who also own the ex-Conservative Club on Hawley Square that burnt down? If yes, they should be made to do something with it.

10. Routine maintenance to street furniture in all towns.

The Indian Princess is The Ambrette

We've had a few changes in Margate Old Town over the last few weeks. We wish Dev well with the move over to the new brand of The Ambrette. More details from the great resource, Thanet Press Releases blog from our favourite bookseller:

Sunday 11 July 2010

Lilley's Hotel Arcadian 1903 and 2010

Here's an old picture of what is now referred to as The Arcadian on Fort Hill when it was known as Lilley's Hotel Arcadian. The building now has a Compulsory Purchase Order from TDC on it as reported here:

Here is it is in 2010:

Friday 9 July 2010

John Kampfner's Column; All excited about the future

Turner Contemporary Chairman, John Kampfner is enthusiastically positive about the future for Turner and the town in today's Gazette:

The last thing Blackpool needs is preserving


Making the town a World Heritage Site would prevent it from developing as a modern resort, argues Clive Aslet.

Blackpool – the very name evokes a world of saucy postcards, knotted handkerchiefs and gorgon-like landladies. I first went there ages ago, with a group of architectural enthusiasts, bent on admiring the 1930s Pleasure Beach. One of the party – a geography teacher – drove me up, navigating by the stars. We arrived late, to find a friend looking out for us from a bay window. He had been propositioned several times by wags who claimed to think they were in the red light district.

At the time, I thought Blackpool was charming. Apart from the once-glamorous casino (Joseph Emberton, 1939), there was the famous tower: with Star Warsshowing in cinemas, it seemed incredible that people, young and old, would queue for hours to visit the top, just for the unsophisticated joy of watching the fancy trams.

On the first floor, the Tower Ballroom was packed with foxtrotting couples, done up to the nines – until (collective sigh of wonder, admiration and fear) thepaso doble was announced, when the floor emptied of all except two pairs, one of the men visibly counting time, the other an incarnation of Latin flamboyance. Instead of the tattooed and shaven-headed people I had expected to see on the streets, there were families, many of them Asian. I came home thinking that this was a Britain at its best. Don't change a thing.

Now somebody else seems to have had the same idea, and Blackpool has been proposed as a World Heritage site. Crikey. It may be that they really won't change a thing – but that would be a disaster.

You see, in the intervening 30 years or so, I've changed my view. Not long ago, I went back to the town to see the Pepsi Max Big One, then the biggest roller-coaster in the world. It was winter, and I viewed the town with different eyes. Blackpool does indeed have a remarkable legacy, as the great holiday destination of the Lancashire mill towns, and as – in places – an admirably preserved fossil of the Ena Sharples era. But it has a lot of other things too, such as poverty, poor housing, sexual exploitation and personal debt. I still loved it – but I had no intention of holidaying there.

And it's not that I don't like the British seaside: in fact, my family like it so much that we've got a house there. Ramsgate has a different history from Blackpool, but they shared the same decline in the latter half of the 20th century; they also share some of the same social problems, exacerbated by the wicked policy of dumping problem families from London boroughs in cheap seaside accommodation.

But the Pearl of Thanet, as Ramsgate used to be known, is climbing out of the slough. True, heritage has something to do with it: the cliffs are delightful, the sands glorious, the architecture of bow-fronted terraces largely intact – all things that attract London money. But it has also started to modernise its offering. There are restaurants, farmers' markets, espresso machines, bicycle tracks. I'm not sure that Thanet council has entirely embraced the modern world: its disastrous policy of allowing a giant retail park to develop outside the town means that even Poundstretcher has closed (a new entry on the High Street is the all-too-tellingly named Mr Bankrupt). But it will get there in time.

The model for the seaside is not the old-fashioned resort, but places like Whitstable, Padstow and the north Norfolk coast, fashionable spots where you might find yourself mackerel-fishing with Dave and Samantha. These towns have reinvented themselves for the free-spending middle classes, who want Alastair Sawday gastro pubs, not a kiss-me-quick trip down memory lane. World Heritage status could lock Blackpool into the past, rather than helping it face the future.

Clive Aslet is Editor at Large of 'Country Life'

Zero Carbon Dalby Square Proposal

Hot off the press comes a radical proposal for Dalby Square from Heritage Development Officer, Nick Dermott.
Here's a scheme worth discussing. Take it away, Nick:

I believe that the much discussed huge problems that beset Cliftonville West can only be solved by a radical solution. As a suggestion, I set down a proposal below. Your comments and assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Full Council is to decide on 15th July whether to designate Dalby Square, and Arthur and Dalby Roads, Cliftonville as a conservation area. Conservation areas are defined as *areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance*.

With two notable exceptions, the sites of the former Cliftonville Hotel and the site of the former Warrior Crescent, the external appearance of the properties in Dalby Square, and Arthur and Dalby Roads, remain very much as
they were when the area was built in the 1870s (a time when the British Empire was at its height). The buildings facing the square itself were built as hotels or private schools, not as houses. The standard design is of four to five storeys high, including a semi-basement, and is in the region of 500sqm floor area. The considerable size of these structures is a major contributory cause of the present situation. At the same time, the historic
building stock represents a huge resource of embodied energy. There are no listed buildings within the proposed conservation area and they are unlikely to be listed in the future. This is in no way to say they are not of
historic interest.

That the Dalby Square conservation area be developed as a *zero carbon community*. The aim would be to preserve the historic appearance of the buildings and neighbourhood, and the historic fabric of the buildings, while
drastically reducing energy consumption (ie. creating 'low energy impact*). This would be achieved by retro-fitting the
buildings with very high levels of insulation (including appropriate double or triple glazing), air management systems, rainwater collection arrangements and possibly the use of district heating systems, heat pumps and solar and wind energy * the square faces the site of the London Array wind farm. The project would also encompass public lighting, transport strategies, power for electric cars and the development of public open space.

Although the external appearance of the historic buildings would be maintained, the interiors would be drastically remodelled to form large (in excess of 100msq), modern units. Some might also be hotels or guest houses.
Some of these units might be developed through a *shared ownership* scheme. It would be a big *lifestyle concept* that would fire peoples* imagination.

The proposal would be progressed by a DESIGN CODE and a GRANT SCHEME.

The Technology Strategy Board is promoting a competition for funding entitled *Design for Future Climate: Adapting Buildings*. This offers 100% grants of £100,000 to develop strategies to adapt UK buildings to the changing climate. The adaptation of an existing Dalby Square conservation area historic building to create a *low energy impact guest house* conforms to the rules of the application. Daedalus Environmental Limited of Maidstone wish to work with the Council, free of charge, on a submission for this competition. Submissions need to be with the Technology Strategy Board by 22nd July 2010.

I have been working with the Prince*s Regeneration Trust * who assisted Thanet District Council with funding for Dreamland * on the development of a Heritage Lottery Fund *Townscape Heritage
Initiative* grant scheme for Dalby Square. £2m would be sought from the Lottery, which would have to be matched 50/50. Grants would be given for the restoration of the exteriors of the historic buildings as well as public
realm projects, open spaces and boundary treatments. Grant recipients would be required to sign up to the design code prepared with the competition funding. There is £25,000 in the TDC Capital Budget to develop a new
historic building grant scheme and this seems a suitable candidate.

The scheme could also put significant funds (£1m?) towards a building on the Warrior Crescent site at the south end of Dalby Square which is owned by TDC. Warrior Crescent, a terrace of seven five storey houses built in the
1870s and demolished in the 1990s, was the major architectural event in the square and any new building on the site needs to be of the correct scale and of the highest architectural quality.

For the proposals to proceed, it is necessary for Full Council to designate Dalby Square as a conservation area.
In order to enter the competition it is necessary to identify a building with the proposed conservation area to be the subject of the study. The building does not need to be owned by TDC nor, if I understand the rules of
the competition correctly, does the conversion of the building need to be actually carried out. However, the owner of the building needs to sign up to the scheme and *participate and consider the recommendations of the adaption
design work*. The former Warren Court Hotel in Arthur Road would be ideal. I believe that the building is owned by the Town and Country Housing Group. I have no contacts at Town and Country so I need someone*s help. Because of
the competition deadline there is some urgency over this. Approval from Thanet District Council is needed to use the £25,000 Capital Fund money on developing the THI scheme.

Attachments: -
- Map, proposed conservation area.
- Technology Strategy Board competition blurb
- Letter from the Prince*s Regeneration Trust
- Photographs of the former Warrior Crescent

Yours sincerely,
Nick Dermott.

Nick Dermott BA (Hons) Dip Arch RIBA IHBC Heritage Development Advisor
Major Developments Team Thanet District Council PO Box 9 3rd Floor Cecil
Street Margate Kent CT9 1XZ

Tel: 01843 577142
Email: Nick.Dermott@thanet.gov.uk

Thursday 8 July 2010

Report demolishes myths about demise of British seaside tourist industry

I heard Prof. Steve Fothergill speak at the Coastal Communities Handbook Launch at the Wintergardens back in January. The report is available for download at the end of this post.

Issued 28/06/10

A major new report released today (Monday) finds that the seaside tourist industry in England and Wales remains a substantial and growing employer.

The Seaside Tourist Industry in England and Wales, by a team at Sheffield Hallam University, explodes the popular myth that the increase in the numbers of foreign holidays has destroyed the economy of Britain's own seaside towns.

In fact, the British seaside tourist industry continues to employ as many people as the whole of the telecommunications sector, and more than the motor industry, the aerospace industry, pharmaceuticals or steel.

The report uses novel methods to disentangle the jobs supported by tourism - in shops, hotels, bars and restaurants for example - from those supported by local consumer spending. It finds that:

The seaside tourist industry in England and Wales directly supports some 210,000 jobs spread across more than 100 resorts. Large numbers of additional jobs are also supported indirectly through the supply chain.
The Blackpool area has the largest single concentration of seaside tourist jobs - more than 19,000
No fewer than 58 individual towns each have at least 1,000 jobs in seaside tourism
Since the late 1990s employment in the seaside tourist industry has actually increased by about one per cent a year - an overall growth of 20,000 jobs
The estimated value to the economy of the jobs in seaside tourism is around £3,600 million.
The report provides local figures on seaside tourism employment for 121 individual resorts around the coast.

Professor Steve Fothergill, from Sheffield Hallam's Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR), who led the team, said: "That a large seaside tourist industry has survived and adapted is good news, not just for seaside towns but for the British economy as a whole.

"Leisure and tourism is a growing market. What our figures show is that even in the face of stiff competition from holidays abroad, Britain's seaside towns have been able to retain and even expand much of their core business. The British seaside tourist industry remains a major employer. The new government should make every effort to ensure that the industry delivers its full potential in the coming years."

Peter Hampson, Director of the British Resorts and Destinations Association, said: "People who follow the fortunes of the British seaside tourist industry have always known it is a myth that the industry is in terminal decline, but we have not had the comprehensive and convincing evidence to prove otherwise until now.

"Britain's seaside resorts face challenges in responding to changing economic circumstances and consumer tastes, but what the Sheffield Hallam report tells us is that in many places around the coast the seaside tourist industry is still alive and well - and growing. The seaside tourist industry has been written off too often. This report highlights its resilience."

The report can be obtained on the CRESR website at www.shu.ac.uk/cresr The Seaside Tourist Industry in England and Wales: Employment, economic output, location and trends is by Christina Beatty, Steve Fothergill, Tony Gore and Ian Wilson from Sheffield Hallam University. It was co-financed by the British Resorts and Destinations Association, North West Development Agency, South East of England Development Agency and Visit Wales (Welsh Assembly Government).

For press information contact: contact Laurie Harvey in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on (0114) 225 2621, email laurie.harvey@shu.ac.uk

For sale: Flat 5, 8-10 Ethelbert Terrace, Kent CT9 1RX


A Leasehold Self-Contained Ground Floor Flat subject to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

Guide Price: TBC
Auction date: 15th July
Venue: The Cumberland Hotel, Great Cumberland Place, London, W1H 7DL

For sale: Flat 15, 8-10 Ethelbert Terrace, Kent CT9 1RX

A Leasehold Self-Contained Third Floor Flat.

Guide Price: TBC
Auction date: 15th July
Venue: The Cumberland Hotel, Great Cumberland Place, London, W1H 7DL

For sale: 6A Lombard Street, Kent CT9 1EJ

Situated in Margate's Old Town and cultural quarter. A Leasehold Self-Contained First Floor Flat subject to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in a Grade II Listed Georgian building.

Lot details:
Details of Grade II listing:

Guide Price: TBC
Auction date: 15th July
Venue: The Cumberland Hotel, Great Cumberland Place, London, W1H 7DL

For sale: 31 & 32 Fort Crescent

Up round the corner from the Turner Contemporary gallery, this imposing Grade II Listed Georgian seafront property is up for a crazy £170,000 - £190,000.

A Freehold Double Fronted End of Terrace arranged to provide Seven Self-Contained Residential Units. Three Units subject to Leases, Four Units subject to Assured Shorthold Tenancies (Lot 342). Together with a House to the Rear which is subject to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (Lot 343). To be offered either Individually or Collectively.

Guide Price: £170,000 - £190,000
Sold: £307,000
Auction date: 15th July
Venue: The Cumberland Hotel, Great Cumberland Place, London, W1H 7DL

Details of listing on English Heritage's Images of England website:

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Margate Architecture Blog in Coast Magazine!

Blimey! We don't know what we've done to deserve it! But anyway, perhaps we'll allow ourselves a little 'big-up!' Our very own Margate Architecture blog is featured in the real world paper magazine of Coast Mag this month. Kindly sent to us by a reader from Herne Bay Matters.


CABE Urban Panel Advice - do not pour money into the roundabout

Remember way back in June 2009 when we posted the CABE Margate Urban Panel Review Document from their March 2009 visit?

Here is the whole Word document for download and to print off:
Link to download the PDF file on CABE's site here.

Having a further peruse of the detail of the review, now reveals advice that is extremely pertinent to the public realm consultation along the seafront, roundabout and Arlington House, and adds weight to the argument that limited resources could be better applied to other areas within the town.

In particular we note:

3.2 The Georgian town built on the hill fields beyond the High Street put Margate at the forefront ofEnglish seaside development for a while and, had Cecil Square and the Assembly Rooms survived intact, the image of the town might well be different today. What is left is poignant proof that good intentions can lead to disappointing outcomes. Staff were keen to point out that Cecil Square remains a viable municipal centre with many of the facilities the town needs still available there. This is true and important, but a high price has been paid to achieve it. Within the governance and local politics ofThanet, it is great for Margate that the civic offices are located in Cecil Square along with the library, Post Office and so on. However, the building that houses them is so out of scale and overbearing as to drive the image of the rest of the square from the mind. What is more, the square has suffered as badly as almost any from the non-negotiable demands of the highway engineer. The Panel’s comments on this can be found at (7.1) below, but it will be no surprise that the repair of thepublic realm here is strongly recommended. Hawley Square, with a good green space and the elegant Theatre Royal, along with Trinity Square with its sadly much expanded but still well managed green space, are examples of the value which Georgian planning brings to today’s town and Cecil Square should rejoin them.

7.1 One area where the Panel saw the opportunity for trimming the sails was in the public realm proposals. While the Panel is a strong proponent of the quality of the public realm generally, it was concerned that the enormous areas potentially involved could resulteither in loss of focus, or in huge costs which would not deliver sufficient returns. So for, example, the Panel much admired the benefit which has been derived from the relatively small and affordable areas of public realmwork in and around the Old Town – particularly the new piazza facing the harbour. It did not believe that the same effect could be achieved by pouring large sums of money into the roundabout by the station or into some hundred yards of the front. Rather members felt that there-creation of Cecil Square as a pedestrian dominated space of quality would offer a far better return for residents and visitors alike. Engineer led schemes of the sort defacing the square are often up for renewal for engineering reasons and now would be the time to ensure that the preparation work has all been done, the vision of another Georgian square of quality being returned to the public has been promulgated and political drive is behind a great transformation.

8.0 Another aspect of management of the public realm is connectivity. It was suggested to the Panel that the development history of Margate combined with its topography had somehow made a place which wasdifficult to comprehend and navigate and where there were critical disconnections which had to be overcome. The Panel did not accept the analysis and thought that the emphasis on connectivity in the masterplan was overdone. In many ways Margate is easier to understandthan other seaside towns. Few others, if any, can boast a view of the sands from the main entrance of an attractivestation Once the short walk which that view inspires has been undertaken (and the Panel accepted the case for some improvement of the pedestrian route past Buenos Ayres) then the Harbour, the Droit House and the emerging Turner Contemporary will be obvious. The Panel thought there was strong case for the Droit House to contain orientation displays and probably for some investment in modern, map carrying fingerposts. Both ofthese should then direct visitors to the attractive small inter-connecting routes which are one of the pleasures of the town, which should be more widely shared.

10.2 Servicing such an economy could have a number of very positive outcomes. Boarding houses could once more function for their original purpose, providing opportunities for self-employed operators and entrepreneurs to establish high quality businesses and provide local employment. Modern guests expect high quality local cooking and the Isle of Thanet is a great place for local sourcing. The very significant skills required to achieve such an aim could be the focus of new further education provision in the town (such as a catering college linked to a training hotel), and the new‘5 star’ boarding houses could both help build the market for and complement new high grade hotels (much better to wait for this moment than fall for a budget hotel in the short term).