The Arlington battle is not yet lost…WE NEED YOUR HELP!

The Arlington battle is not yet lost. Thanet District Council is the freeholder and has to grant Landlord’s Consent for any alterations to take place on the site. This is totally separate from Planning Permission.

There was a Corporation Car Park here from the 1930’s. Continued use as a public car park is a condition of the current lease between Thanet District Council and Freshwater, a lease which has been in place since 1965.  Any changes to that lease have to be approved by a Thanet District Council Cabinet meeting.

In view of the success of Turner Contemporary, the re-opening of Dreamland next year and the regeneration of Margate as a whole, adequate and appropriately located visitor parking is an essential ingredient for continued success.

If you feel strongly that the Arlington car park should be re-opened and retained, then please lobby the Cabinet Members with your views.

The Cabinet Members are Councillors Hart, Poole, Everitt,  Fenner, Green and Johnston.

Four of them voted against the planning application. Additionally, one of them spoke against the application at both the planning meeting and the Public Inquiry. Two of them also submitted written comments to the Inspector in opposition to the application.

They all need to know your views.

The Cabinet Members are not bound collectively or individually by the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning permission. The matter of Landlord’s Consent is an entirely separate issue and therefore the Council’s hands are not tied by the recent decision given by Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State.

Please  email the message below along with anything else you wish to say to Council Cabinet Members and our local MP’s:

Sir Roger Gale MP: galerj@parliament.uk
Laura Sandys MP: laura.sandys.mp@parliament.uk
cllr-richard.everitt@thanet.gov.uk
cllr-michelle.fenner@thanet.gov.uk
cllr-david.green@thanet.gov.uk
cllr-clive.hart@thanet.gov.uk
cllr-iris.johnston@thanet.gov.uk
cllr-alan.poole@thanet.gov.uk

Dear Councillors,

I feel strongly that the Arlington public car park should be re-opened and retained.

In view of the success of Turner Contemporary, the re-opening of Dreamland next year and the regeneration of Margate as a whole, adequate and appropriately located visitor parking is an essential ingredient for continued success.

The Cabinet, either collectively or individually, are not bound by the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning permission. The matter of Landlord’s Consent is an entirely separate issue and therefore it does not follow that the Council’s hands are tied because of the recent decision by the Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State.”

WILL YOU TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION TO ENSURE that the existing public coach and car parking facilities at Arlington Square are opened asap to the public, according to the lease that exists between TDC as Freeholder and Metropolitan Property Realizations Ltd as lessee?

Yours sincerely,


Cabinet Posts:

  • Cabinet Member for Business, Corporate and Regulatory Services – Cllr Michelle Fenner cllr-michelle.fenner@thanet.gov.uk
  • Cabinet Member for Community Services – Cllr Iris Johnston  cllr-iris.johnston@thanet.gov.uk
  • Cabinet Member for Financial Services – Cllr Richard Everitt  cllr-Richard.Everitt@thanet.gov.uk
  • Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning Services – Cllr David Green  cllr-david.green@thanet.gov.uk
  • Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Operational Services – Cllr Alan Poole  cllr-alan.poole@thanet.gov.uk
  • Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Strategic Economic Development Services – Cllr Clive Hart  cllr-clive.hart@thanet.gov.uk

Background notes as to why this issue is so important:

The Arlington Head Lease dated 19th May 1965  between the Borough of Margate/ TDC, the   Freeholder/Lessor and Metropolitan Property Realizations Ltd /aka Freshwate, the Lessee.  Lease term is 199 years from October 1st 1961 at a rent of £7,500 per year for 199 years.

The Arlington site has some 550+ coach and car parking facilities and public lavatories  which cannot be demolished by Metropolitan Property Realizations Ltd/Freshwater without the “Landlords  Consent” being granted by Thanet District Council, following a vote passed in a full cabinet meeting of TDC. This is a separate matter from any planning application. The parking facilities and public spaces and access to the beach are specified in the head lease as for the use of the public for as long as they are needed and that use should not cease unless it can be demonstrated by Metropolitan Property Realizations Ltd that the public parking is no longer needed.

Thanet District Council has already conducted a parking review and Turner Contemporary has had 800K  visitors of whom at least 60%, by their own reckoning, come by car and the Dreamland Compulsory Purchase Order has been successful, where will Thanet District Council  find additional parking if they allow 550+ spaces at Arlington to be re-zoned to Retail A1 use and thus lost to Margate forever?

Relevant clauses from the lease:

(XX)  “Public Access”  during the whole of the term hereby granted to keep open and make available for use by the public upon reasonable terms the coach and car parking facilities and public lavatories now existing upon the premises. provided  nethertheless  should at any time during the term hereby granted the said coach and car park facilities and/or public lavatories become unnecessary or are no longer required through any change of circumstances so that a change of user  is deemed necessary or advantageous then and in such case this Clause may be varied by mutual agreement upon written  notice given by the Lessee to the Lessor.”

  • When was the written request made to Thanet District Council to close the public car parking?
  • What reasons were given by Metropolitan Property Realizations Ltd to close the public parking at Arlington?
  • When was permission given by Thanet District Council to allow the closing off of the public parking?

Thanet District Council’s Legal Department has said it has no record of any request.

Freshwater is in default of its lease. 

(viii) “Public to have use of roads and pathways” to permit members of the public to use the roads pathways and ramps on the premises for the purpose of visiting the shops and other buildings thereon open to the public as well as for the purpose of access to any coach or car parking area provided either generally for the public or for patrons of the shops or other buildings and facilities on the premises.”

The Council has never given Freshwater permission to shut down the  Arlington Public Car Park,  it is still a public car park and the public should be able to access and use it, along with the pathways and Arcade which give direct and safe access to the seafront via Arlington Square.

Lastly, Cliftonville businesses will suffer – it has already been admitted that there will be a loss of trade, since the proposed Tesco aims to be a “one stop” shop with small concessions, so that there will be no need to shop anywhere else in the area.

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