Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Plans to bring a prominent Margate seafront site back into use have taken another step forward, with the decision to compulsorily purchase more land for the project.

Thanet District Council’s Cabinet were given an update on Thursday (6 January) on progress with the Fort Road Hotel, one of the few seafront properties still recognisable from Turner’s day. The council compulsorily purchased the site in December 2010.

The then Cabinet agreed in March 2011 that the site should be promoted for redevelopment as a small character hotel, offering 10 to 12 rooms, and a restaurant, as this would help to address the shortfall of quality hotel accommodation in Margate.

The issue came back to Cabinet in September 2011 and it was agreed that the council would continue to try and find a developer who was both willing and able to deliver a high quality boutique hotel. Planning permission was also granted in September 2011 to change the building from bedsits back into a hotel.

The council received about 20 informal enquiries about the Fort Road Hotel, before the search started in earnest for a development partner. A formal advert was published in October 2011 and, as a result, 30 application packs were sent out, but none were returned to the council.

Feedback from interested parties was that the lack of on-site parking and amenity land were the main reasons why developers didn’t want to take the project forward. As a result, Cabinet has now agreed that, subject to a valuation and available resources, the council would serve a compulsory purchase order on the land at the rear of the Fort Road Hotel, which could then be used for this purpose.

Cllr. Iris Johnston, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “Every effort was made to encourage the previous owner to make good the building and surrounding areas to no avail. We now need to go ahead with the additional Compulsory Purchase Order on the nearby land. Hopefully with that land secured, we can then get the Fort Road Hotel back into use for the benefit of Thanet.”

The council is also exploring another option for the site and is holding discussions with the Spitalfields Trust, a charity which rescues derelict historic buildings and sells them on for beneficial use.

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