Tuesday 6 August 2013

Urgent: Save Thanet Press from demolition for flats in Margate!

Please object this morning to the proposal to demolish the historic Thanet Press site in Union Crescent Margate. It's proposed to be replaced with a mock victorian, mock Georgian mockery of 70 flats with bin storage in a tiny single room up to 4 storeys away from a flat! That's 70 flats. Right there opposite the Post Office (recently sold off by the Council).

Proposed Flats

Proposed Flats

Thanet Press is a historic print press site in the centre of Margate. Perfect for regeneration. It can create jobs, footfall to the centre of town. It's one of the oldest print sites in the country. 
This is what the Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group said to the last proposal in 2012.

Since then, how much work have the authorities put into marketing this ideally placed commercial site?

Aren't we told that Margate lacks studio space? Aren't we eligible for 0% loans from Kent County Council's £35m Regional Growth Fund scheme?

Comment today: planning.services@thanet.gov.uk
Application Nos: F/TH/13/0538 and C/TH/13/0539



Comment via UK Planning:
Search for both 
F/TH/13/0538 and C/TH/13/0539
Please share and spread the word. And if you have an idea for a business, studio or something for the site, you might be eligible for a 0% loan from Kent County Council's £35m Regional Growth Fund.

Here's what I said:

Thanet Press is in a Conservation Area and is surrounded by Listed buildings.

Thanet Press is a rare example of industrial heritage in Margate.
Although the complex is not of sufficient architectural and historic interest at a national level to merit national Listing, the Thanet Press site is a valuable non-designated historic asset, unique in the Conservation Area. 

To demolish the buildings, as proposed. would be to eradicate a whole chapter of Margate's history and an important aspect of the Conservation Area would be lost.

The industrial buildings are of different periods, materials and design. This offers a varied streetscape of interest. The proposal is a poor pastiche that offers nothing of interest.

The proposal neither preserves or enhances the appearance of the Conservation Area and is therefore contrary to national and local policy and should be refused.

Thanet Press is one of Margate's biggest regeneration opportunities, to demolish it and turn the site into housing would not only miss the opportunity, but aggravate the town's employment problems. The Council's statistics show 870 empty dwellings in Margate central and Cliftonville East and an unemployment level way above the national average.

The buildings, and the open spaces in between, would make ideal creative quarter that could provide much needed employment. The large open-plan workshops, full of natural light are desirable for the creative industries that Margate wants to attract. Thanet Press could offer large desirable, studio space and could attract creative industries to Margate. The property has not been available on the market. There are a number of regeneration schemes (for example "Grow for IT" - the 35 million pounds of Regional Growth Fund or the Heritage Lottery Fund which has made Thanet a priority area) that could encourage independent businesses to re-locate, and develop knowledge economy and creative industries.

This is contrary to Local planning policy and should be refused.
The play area will be in the shade most of the day, the courtyard area will be even darker and colder. This is poor design.
Space for rubbish and recycling is located in a single room at at one end of the site! Are all 70 dwellings are served by this one room? All 205 residents put their rubbish in that one room? Some people will have to go down 4 floors to the ground and then walk 60 meters to place their their refuse, divided into mixed recycling, paper and card, food waste and non-recyclable into that single room?

This is poor design that will result in problems of fly-tipping that are a daily feature of the area. Residents with poor refuse storage tend to dump rubbish in public wast bins (resulting in overflowing and litter on the streets and dumping rubbish in alleyways and on pavements at night. 

Characterless design of no merit looks like it has been copied and pasted. A generic mock-victorian/mock Georgian design gone wrong.
The proposal has no relation to the site and surroundings
Poorly detailed pastiche unacceptable in a Conservation Area

The proposed buildings bear no relation to the listed buildings that surround it or the historic buildings of the Conservation Area. 

The feeble attempt to create generic Victorian/Georgian fenestration, doors and railings fails miserably, resulting in a pastiche that has no place in a conservation area. The attempt to replicate historic architecture fails in every aspect, from matching floor levels and window datums to opening forms and proportion and materials. 

Railings are mentioned many times, yet there is no detail to show if these are a contemporary design, heritage/conservation grade or pastiche.

The aluminium sash windows are inappropriate. The design is weird. It looks like a victorian style withe a hint of georgian multi-pane. The 1st floor is even stranger than the others.
The brick tops of the the window openings are completely flat making the openings look impossible and wrong, adding to the pastiche effect.
This issue of privacy was solved in the design of the historic houses that surround the development buy putting the living rooms and bedrooms on a raised ground level. Contemporary architects solve this problem with many imaginative solutions. Here the problem is not resolved.
Ground floor windows will allow pedestrians to look directly into the flats obliging residents to have curtains closed all day. 

Overall, this proposal neither preserves nor enhances the conservation area. The demolition of historic buildings of distinctive character will cause considerable harm to the Conservation Area. 
The loss of heritage assets and employment opportunities will be detrimental to the regeneration of Margate.

Pastiche housing is inappropriate in a Conservation Area, and on this scale, totally unacceptable.

Recommendation: OBJECT


  1. Some of your objections are just laughable:

    "The play area will be in the shade most of the day, the courtyard area will be even darker and colder."

    Yet Arlington House (which you "love") casts a shadow on the BEACH for much of the year!


    "The proposed buildings bear no relation to the listed buildings that surround it or the historic buildings of the Conservation Area."

    Two words: Turner Contemporary!


    "This issue of privacy was solved in the design of the historic houses that surround the development buy putting the living rooms and bedrooms on a raised ground level."

    These days people prefer buildings that are disabled & pushchair friendly...

  2. Thanet Press is of massive national importance. They printed catalogues for the Arts Council. It forms part of this countries commercial history - look at Jorolds print museum in Norwich. It could easily support new media / small companies. Its a total waste.