Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Margate Mistakes?

I am always a bit wary about posting Margate issues, the truth is that I don’t understand them properly.

The first one is the new Tesco under Arlington House, to be honest I was quite surprised that so many people seem top be against this one, viewed from the outside I looks like anything would be preferable to what’s there now.

As most of you probably know that when it came before the council planning committee that is equally spit along party lines the voting for and against was equal. Perhaps there is a party whip at planning level or perhaps it just went like that I don’t really know.

This left it in the hands of the new independent chair of planning, Jack Cohen, to cast the deciding vote, which meant it has now gone to central government for a decisioin.

My understanding is with the new localism bill in the offing, central government are much more reluctant to overrule local government in these issues, so without considerable local pressure they are not very likely to call in the pans.

It is also my understanding that you have until this Friday to write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, asking him to have the plans called in.

The email addresses for this and you need to copy the email to both of them are; The National Planning Casework Unit at and

You need to quote the application ref F/TH/10/1061 and your name and address.

 I have also been sent some artist’s impressions of the effect of the Margate Football Club development on Hartsdown Park, they are before and after pictures, I am not sure how realistic they are. However the map on the plans that I have published before does seem to show the park being pretty much cut in half by the fencing for the artificial pitches.


  1. I remain convinced that the vast majority of the people where I live in the West Margate / Westbrook / Garlinge area are in favour of Tesco at Arlington House. Certainly of the dozens of people I've spoken to (including at least three residents of Arlington House) I haven't found anyone who totally oppose it. So I think it's the usual Thanet example of a handful of opposition being very vocal.

  2. In that case Peter you should write in support of the application. Personally this application doesn’t effect me that much so I won’t be writing asking to have it called in or supporting it, on the one hand I don’t really see where else the money could come from to sort out the area, on the other I don’t really see how the traffic plan would work, Margate seafront doesn’t seem to get sensible traffic lights. Half an hour sitting outside the Turner Contemporary when it is busy will confirm this.

  3. If it can convert a very grim corner of Margate directly outside the station it can only be good.

    I don't think the argument about traffic is really an issue as I can remember queues back to Whitstable to get into Margate in the summer so I don't think Tesco being there will be that bad !!

  4. Micheal: I suspect this is a done deal (or at the very worst we'll get a slightly smaller Tesco than planned).

    I really can't understand how people get the idea (as some have claimed) that there'll be lorries thundering along Margate seafront making deliveries to Tesco; this will only happen if stock is brought in by boat via Margate harbour(!!!), otherwise lorries will be coming from Westbrook &/or Victoria traffic lights direction....& as 21:55 quite rightly pointed out, we had plenty of traffic back in the days we attracted holiday makers!

  5. I'm opposed because:

    1. It isn't going to improve Arlington House, the owners will have to stump up the cash for that.

    2. It isn't really the first thing I would expect visitors to Margate want to see as they come off the train or round the corner at Buenos Aires.

    3. It will undoubtedly impact on lots of local shops who have struggled though after the impact of Westwood Cross, Margate town centre has only recently started to turn intself around a bit but we don't need a whole town centre full of arty little nicknack shops serving ice cream, tea and donuts.

    4. People I talk to tell me that it has a hotel built into the plans, yet everything I've read tells me that although a hotel may have been discussed no one has come forward to way they are willing to build and operate one right next door to a Tesco.

    5. Finally I would prefer the centre to be rejuvinated with smaller shops and cafes to balance the Piazza at the other end of the sea front. If we are to get a new/old Dreamland then I think surely it would make sense to turn it back into a communal area for people to use on their way in and out of town.

    Anyway, you now have someone who totally opposes it, and I believe my reasons are pretty damn valid.

  6. It's going to help revive Margate: it's estimated that it will bring back 30% of the shoppers who currently use Westwood Cross, though at a cost of 10% of customers who currently use the existine Margate stores. I quite reasonable pay-off imo.

    People keep accusing me of being pro-Tesco, but I'm not: I'm pro-getting the Arlington House area sorted out, & until someone comes up with viable alternative plans (ie not yet more snack bars & restaurants) then it will continue to gain my full support.

    It will also save me & many others in the Westbrook / Garlinge area a fortune on our weekly shopping bills, not something to be sniffed at in these hard times.

    As I've pointed out before, when I moved to Westbrook in 1999 we had a butchers, bakers, fishmongers, greengrocers & post office (& the bank had only recently closed), now we have none of those...& these all (apart from the post office) went before Westwood Cross opened. If these were still here I'd oppose it, but the vast majority of remaining stores (several restaurants & hairdressers, a mobility scooter centre, a motorbike shop, an arts & craft shop, a photographer & a DVD store amongst them) won't be affected by Tesco & may even benefit from the returned trade to the area.

  7. PS. Excuse the typos, it's late & I'm cream-crackered!

  8. So basically your arguement for is that it'll save you money on your shopping bill.

    Have a look at the Jacob's PDF about regenerating the sea front, in that they talk about slowing down and reducing traffic on the sea front, not increasing it like having a Tesco situated there would. They also talk about creating a "sense of arrival" at the train station, Buenos Aires and parts of the sea front, what sort of "sense of arrival" will a big Tesco sign be?

    I understand that people are digging deep to keep their head above water but I don't believe that Tesco on the sea front is the sort of regeneration we want, especially that it will do nothing to change the monstrosity that is Arlington House.

    Jacob's PDF >>

  9. If the idea was to reduce traffic on Margate seafront then I guess they should've built the Turner Centre on The Ryal Seabathing site as I (& many others) suggested years ago...

    ...and Tesco won't be on the seafront; that will (hopefully) be a hotel.

  10. "1. It isn't going to improve Arlington House, the owners will have to stump up the cash for that."

    Is that not one of the joys of home ownership - that you have to pay for your own improvements ??

  11. did arlington house have the dubious pleasure of being the only occupied building in a list of the 20 buildings people would most like to see demolished?

    being a fan of brutalist buildings, I think arlington would look good in a city, not on a seafront.

    As for a Tesco on the seafront, you wouldn't put one in broadstairs. Whistable said no. Margate gets dumped on again.

  12. If Arlington House goes then I'll be happy to see Tesco go elsewhere too. Unfortunately demolishing Arlington House doesn't seem to be on anyone's agenda (not even JG's).

    I do believe that Broadstairs already has a Tesco just around the corner from the seafront.

  13. So the Isle of Thanet becomes Tesco Isle.
    Tesco here, Tesco there, Tesco .... everywhere. May the force of Tesco be with you. Jack beware Birchington may be next.

  14. JG doesn't own AH otherwise I'm sure KF&R would have been busy months/years ago.
    You do wonder how many more Tescos we need on this Island. Won't be much longer before we each have our own personal one. Anyway I live in Ramsgate so, as with Michael, I don't really care.

  15. I'd welcome a small Tesco metro in Birchington. At the moment there's TWO co-op's, charging very high prices due to lack of competition (I used to shop in Birchington regularly when one of the supermarkets was a Safways but not now).

  16. Why are we getting so many ugly new fences as solution to vandalism problems in Thanet? The allotments in Broadstairs has been spoiled by the fences erected there, at least for anyone who is not inside them. Before, we benefited by being able to see the wonderful gardening done by our fellow citizens, and it was a joy to sit on the benches along the path on a balmy summer evening. Who would sit on one of those benches now and stare at a military-grade security fence six feet in front of their nose! No one. If the land is owned in common, it should be for the common good. If it does not serve all the commoners, perhaps it should be sold for housing.

  17. From Isle of Thanet Gazette Facebook page:

    Arlington Tesco latest: The Secretary of State is not calling in the decision to allow the store so Thanet Council's decision stands. The supermarket can be built.

  18. Wow! What an amazing sight that'll be when people roll off the train or round the corner at Buenos Aires after abandoning their car due to the gridlock of normal traffic, shoppers and day trippers, a Tesco, a tatty looking block of flats as the freeholder doesn't want to use any of their millions, and the owners can't afford to pay and a big empty space where hopefully one day someone will build a hotel.

    Now that's a "sense of arrival" and I'm sure will pave the way to future regeneration and provide Margate and Thanet with the much needed jobs and tourism.

    Sorry my imbuilt sarcasm filter has broken.

  19. Nice to see us getting what the vast majority want for a change, unlike the TC...

  20. Peter "vast majority" ? Proof needed, citation required.

    No one knows whether the majority wanted it or not as they weren't asked.

    6 voted against, 6 voted for and the chair cast the deciding vote, they are the only facts, everything else is speculation.

  21. You'll be telling me that the vast majority of locals didn't oppose the TC next...

  22. So the present view is to be prefered Rob? The site at present looks crap and can only be improved by Tesco being there. I see no problem with it going there.

  23. I must admit that I did quite like the look of the architects proposal that was in IoTG a couple of weeks ago. It did look a lot more in keeping with what is being attempted elsewhere on the seafront but of course it never stood a chance against Tescos.
    Still smiling at the irony of Jack Cohen having the casting vote for this environmentally unfriendly project!

  24. It never stood a chance of succeeding either. Who wants yet more cafes & snacks bars, particularly hidden away in the shadow of an ugly tower block when we have a far prettier harbour & old town with the same things just down the road?

  25. Harbour? What harbour? Ramsgate has a Harbour (and a Royal one at that, the only one in UK). Margate has a breakwater

  26. Peter I was born and work in Margate, everyone i know supports the TC, so you as i, don't speak for the majority, also you state you have spoken to three residents of Arlington who are pro Tesco, fair enough, then you go on to state you haven't found anyone who opposes it, excuse me Peter, but what about all those "say no to Tescos" posters in the windows of Arlington house?? friends of mine included, as a photographer i would of thought you would of noticed them, your beginning to sound like a politician, i would of expected better from you.

  27. Should fit (shoehorned)in between the Turnip centre and a whole lot of built garbage. well done not so independent jack and as for the drivel from the Sec of State who is he /she kidding. Stand by Margate for the so called officers at TDC stitching you up with a 106 that they stitched Ramsgate up with.

    Tesco world anyone!!!

  28. 17:14, I guess the truth whether locals want it or not is whether it's a commercial success.

    Strange that the same people who are claiming that few locals want it are also complaining about all the cars that will be going there.

  29. @ 1 o'clock Rob Yay ! someone standing up to the one-man-mission to have a massive Tesco on our seafront, that is Peter Checksfield.

    You may ask for citations for the sweeping generalisations he substitutes for facts. You will be met with more of the same. I don't think he actually understands the concept of an informed and balanced debate.

    Still, so long as he gets his shopping a bit cheaper ....

  30. There is nothing in the plans, that have been put forward to refurbish Arlington house or the area around it, the plans put forward are by freshwater, not tesco, who lease Arlington house from TDC, who are you,me and all who live in Thanet, The leasholder is obliged by the lease to maintain etc the fabric and decoration of the building, and have they, NO is the answer, shame on our councillors!!!! secondly Freshwater pay TDC £200.00 per year ground rent, Tesco will pay Freshwater 1 million rent per year, guess who keeps the million, yes Freshwater, and all along there is still nothing on the plan that will do anything for the Arlington site, the car park was closed because Freshwater didnt stump up the 2 grand insurance, as is required by the lease, did TDC enforce it NO, shame on our councillors!!! the artists impression you see in pics is wrong it is too low, much to low, it actualy goes nearly halfway up arlington house, the traffic report [done by KCC] states there will be stationry traffic on Fri & sat from Arlingtin house up to the winter gardens & then down to the Duel carriagway in Westbrook, and yes it does say stationry, not moving, engines ideling tempers flaring, loads of u turns etc, First and foremost our councillors and council officers have not enforced the Lease. Secondly nothing will be done around arlington House, Thirdly the Traffic will not Move, {remember the traffic lights at the clock tower} The choice is yours, and by the way, Freshwater have a tower block in central london on Shaftsbury Ave, and it is in the same condition as Arlington House, Freshwater are the New face of Slumlandlord's.
    If you dont believe it have a look at the plans, then you will see, but do read it, dont be taken in by the pics they are an "impression" of what it could look like and not what is actualy proposed


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