Is demolition taking place at Arlington?

In today’s Thanet Gazette, Thanet Council state there’s no demolition underway at Arlington. The landlords, Freshwater state demolition is taking place. This is confusing!  We need answers!

Thanet Council:

“The authority this week said it was aware of the “soft-strip asbestos removal” at the former shopping arcade, but no permissions were needed for it to be carried out.”

Margate Central Ward Councillor, Iris Johnston said:

“A resident from Arlington House contacted me regarding demolition works on Saturday so I immediately contacted officers and planning at Thanet council. I was informed that asbestos was being removed and there are no more plans for further works at the present moment.”

Freshwater, the Landlords said:

“The land owner is seeking occupiers to enable a viable regeneration of the site but is not yet in a position to promote new plans for redevelopment.

“In the meantime, some small scale demolition of a number of the shop units away from the sea front is taking place which will help to bring forward future regeneration.”

We presume Freshwater’s spokesperson intended to say they as landlords were seeking occupiers, not the land owner. The land is owned by Thanet District Council, that’s the public.

We reiterate, that Arlington shops should be opened and made available to rent and the 500 public coach and car park open to the public as per the terms of Freshwater’s lease with Thanet District Council.  [This is a separate deck than the Arlington House residents parking deck].

We’re urgently seeking urgent clarification from Thanet District Council: If demolition takes place, as described by Freshwater in this article, is this deemed a commencement of works on the approved planning application for the 82,000 sq ft Tesco superstore and outline planning for a hotel?

Why does this matter?

Examples of where a commencement of works has gone ahead in Thanet and then stalled through a lack of developer are Pleasurama on Ramsgate’s seafront and Hoser’s Corner in Cliftonville.

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Pleasurama image: Thanet Gazette

 

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Hoser’s Corner, Cliftonville: Google Images

Both blighting communities for years. Arlington can be opened and regenerated and playing a positive role for Margate seafront.

Please continue to write to Councillor Chris Wells, Leader of Thanet Council.
And your ward Councillors

 

Demolition crew move on to Arlington site

 

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Demolition workers from Morden based company Sloan Demolition have moved onto Arlington and have started work on stripping out shops in preparation for demolition.

Leaseholder, Freshwater’s 2010 planning permission for an 82,000 sq ft Tesco superstore and outline planning for a hotel facing the main sands expires on June 6th. If works are deemed to have been started (and that’s a formal process) then the permission stands in perpetuity. I.e. works could be started, such as demolition, and then stop unfinished for years. Tesco pulled out of the deal in October 2014. Since then, no known supermarket or hotel partner has emerged as interested in building the approved superstore or hotel.

Freshwater lease Arlington (the residential tower with over 100 apartments, the 500 space car park and the commercial areas on a full repairing lease agreement from Thanet Council at the cost of just £7,500 per year (seven thousand five hundred pounds).

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Demolition requires approval from freeholders Thanet District Council. To date, there are no published permissions from Thanet Council allowing demolition work to commence. The timing of these works appear to be a ploy to constitute a start on site under The Town & Country Planning Act 1990.

Before demolition may commence, leaseholders, Freshwater are required to obtain two further permissions from freeholders Thanet District Council:

  1. Method Statement approval
    This is required by Conditions 20 and 26 of the Planning Approval relating to demolition. Basically, they should set out how the demolition process will be carried out. E.g. how they will remove waste.
  2. Landlord’s Consent
    The Leaseholder is not permitted to commence demolition without first  acquiring Landlord’s (Thanet District Council) Consent to structural alterations to buildings in accordance with clause 3.(xii) of the Head Lease.

What can you do?

Write to Thanet Council (customer.services@thanet.gov.uk)  and, if you’re a resident of Thanet, your Ward Councillors  to demand they do not grant Freshwater these permissions; because there is no evidence of a supermarket or hotel partner to implement the approved scheme. Instead demand the shops and car park be open to the public, maintained and lit as per the terms of the lease.

Freshwater are an immensely rich company with directors now officially billionaires.

Thanet Council, as the freeholder should be enforcing the Arlington lease on behalf of the people of Thanet, thus ensuring the best value and the best outcome for this prime seafront location on Margate sands. It can once again contain small businesses and provide valuable and badly needed parking.

Since the planning consent was applied for in 2010, Margate has moved on. Turner Contemporary is open. Dreamland is now open and needs car parking. The Arlington car park can take 500 vehicles and is built to take coaches. There are many people who would rent a shop at Arlington if the shops were reopened.

Margate seafront now has footfall – The council must not give permission for demolition.

Demolition would result in a boarded-up  wasteland at the entrance to Margate with no plan.

The car park is a condition of the lease and essential to the traffic strategy. Parking at the entrance to the town avoids the need for visitors to Turner, the beach, Dreamland and the Old Town driving along Marine terrace, preventing the aspirations for a pedestrian friendly seafront.

Write to:
Councillor Chris Wells, The Leader of Thanet Council
Thanet Residents: Find and write to your ward councillor