Planning conditions for demolition at Arlington yet to be approved

Planning Condition documents submitted by Arlington leaseholders, Freshwater to Thanet Council planners in late March detail the area, method and timescale of demolition works taking place in Arlington Arcade. This is the removal of shops 4-12 and the canopy to Marine Terrace.

Condition 45 Method statement – March 21st 2016
Construction Management Plan – March 22nd 2016
Works area and listed plan – March 2016

Ironically, the plan has Arlington House, with 140 flats, in the wrong location next to Dreamland.

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The demolition works are yet to be approved by Thanet Council’s Planning Department. A Council spokesperson indicated May 12th as a potential deadline for the decision date.

The question remains, will the demolition works as outlined in these documents give a green light for the planning permission granted on June 13th 2013 (F/TH/10/1061) making it extant  and paving the way for the further demolition of the shops, resident and public car parks at Arlington?

We believe the Arlington shops and car parks shouldn’t  be demolished and instead should be made available to rent and use as per the terms of the commercial lease. Why not look at a future re-use of the Arlington site as it was originally designed for?

 

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Russell Diplock’s 1960’s vision for Arlington Square

 

If you would like to see the shops at Arlington and the car parks reopened, please contact the Leader of Thanet Council, Councillor Chris Wells. If a resident of Thanet, please contact your ward councillor.


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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

 

The Court of Appeal Judgement

Today’s judgement from the Court of Appeal has been handed down. Unfortunately, the Court of Appeal did not find in favour of the appeal.

We are pleased to see that the Court of Appeal has recognised the importance of regeneration, and it may well be that the decision by Tesco to pull out will enable really meaningful regeneration of the town centre and seafront, which is so essential for Margate and the region. We are now considering the options of whether to appeal the Court of Appeal decision. It does on the face of it seem to be a bit unusual that very important local matters such as sewage discharge, flooding and traffic and a supermarket at the Arlington site can simply be left hanging in the air without full environmental assessment.

The Court of Appeal Judgement, 7th November 2014.

Back to the future!

back to the futureFollowing Tesco’s decision that a large superstore is unviable at Arlington, Margate now has the opportunity to look at viable options.

1. Freshwater can now open the 500 space car park and arcade of shops.
2. Kent County Council and Thanet District Council can now get back on track working on the pedestrian friendly seafront scheme (PDF) from the railway station to Turner Contemporary.

We have moved a new Facebook Page. We’ll no longer be updating the No To Tesco Page. We’ve also got a new twitter id: @ArlingtonMar

The future is looking bright!

High Court Judgment

We are disappointed with the today’s judgment at the High Court. This is particularly so when the Judge, Lord Justice Moses was clear that the environmental effects of both Arlington and Dreamland should have been considered as a whole – and our understanding from the Secretary of State and the Public Inquiry was that clearly was not the case.

It is also of concern that the Secretary of State has now stated publicly that there must be an end to out of town/edge of town development being proposed by Tesco.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/10505321/Eric-Pickles-interview-The-British-high-street-can-survive.html

We will be considering the judgment carefully and then deciding what to do.

In the meantime, a huge thanks to everyone who has supported the campaign. We all know Margate is regenerating. The improvements to the seafront are bearing fruit.  New hotels, restaurants, shops, the new sea defence steps. Dreamland on the horizon and even more planned hotels.

Mike Pearce in the Thanet Gazette ‘Tesco has become a hate figure’

http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/Mike-Flipside-Tesco-hate-figure/story-19375940-detail/story.html

Published June 28th 2013.

“THE year is 1813 and little Albert has failed to learn by heart the first three chapters of Leviticus.

“If you do not show greater endeavour, Napoleon will come and snatch you,” his mother warns the wretched child.

The year is 2013 and Wayne’s mum ain’t that bovvered that her chubby teenager hasn’t finished his 200-word homework on “My favourite soap star”, but which bogeyman can she call up, in the absence of a power-crazed Frenchman?

Probably Tesco.

“If you don’t watch it, they’ll build a store – and then where’ll we be?” she can ask, whacking him soundly round the head with a leaflet containing the latest food offers.

What is it about the country’s largest supermarket chain that has made it a hate figure, not just among anti-capitalists who have nothing and want to share it, but among the chatterers who would have us believe supermarkets are the work of the Devil?

Even before Government minister Eric Pickles discovered it makes sense to build a Tesco on what is – and would have continued to be – one of Margate’s most prominent eyesores, the salvos had started.

Boom! It will ruin the seafront.

Boom! It will be ugly.

Boom! Boom! There will be thousands of traffic movements and no-one wants it.

It is time to return fire.

What practical and fundable alternative is there to the Tesco development?

Can it really be uglier than Arlington House or the Turner shed?

If no-one wants it, there will be little additional traffic. And if there is, it means it’s wanted. Guaranteed win!

In fact Tesco is not wanted because it is not “cool”. In the same way pretentious folk weaned on drug-fuelled rock music ridicule the millions who bought Cliff Richard records, so Tesco cannot be mentioned without a thinning of the lips, a sneer and an uncomplimentary adjective – usually “evil”.

Tesco is guilty of something unforgivable when seen through right-on eyes. It makes profits. Large profits.

As in profits to take on staff. Large profits to take on even more staff.

It is an agreeable fantasy to imagine a world with no supermarkets, where every little shop in every little cobbled street is run by a little old lady with thin-rimmed glasses and thinning hair, sitting on a rickety stool and reading a dog-eared Penguin classic, forever hoping a kindly stranger will come in from the rain and buy one of the pashminas she has lovingly created from the hair of goats from the Isle of Capri.

An anti-Tesco scream goes up whenever and wherever a supermarket is planned. Out of town, near the seafront, at Westbrook, the default position is “How awful!”

For real awfulness, talk to anyone old enough to remember the pre-supermarket days when we toddled along to the corner shop.

Every item had to be searched for by the owner, there was always a queue, and, after you had waited 20 minutes to ask for 20 Park Drive tipped, you were told they’d run out.

I am a Morrison’s man (it’s less prone to swamping its stores with multi-buy offers which disadvantage so disgracefully the millions of us who live alone), but I admire Tesco for the service it gives, the 310,000 jobs it provides in its 3,416 stores, the dividends it pays and the profits it makes to guarantee its future.

Among the reasons we should be thanking Eric Pickles:

It is not a pie-in-the-sky project from a bunch of dreamers and the site will not revert to an eyesore within a generation.

It will not be subsidised through our taxes.

Oh yes – and it’s upset Mary Portas.”

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Breaking News: High Court Legal Challenge to Secretary of State’s decision to approve Margate seafront ‘Tesco Superstore’

 

Today, June 18th, It has been decided to issue legal proceedings to the High Court to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision of June 13th 2013 to approve the ‘Tesco Superstore’ development at the Arlington site in Margate.

The order sought is that the Secretary of State’s decision notice and the Inspector’s report are quashed.

The claim has been requested to be joined/consolidated with the associated judicial review of the Secretary of State’s Environmental Impact Assessment that was granted permission on March 27th 2013 on an expedited basis.

The Developer has been asked not to commence any works on site, including any demolition until the lawfulness of the Secretary of State’s decision is determined by the Court. This is because there is a risk of ending up with a demolition site on the seafront at the gateway to Margate.  If the Developer does not agree to do so, then an interim injunction will be sought to prevent this. It is hoped that this will not be necessary.

For press enquiries please use our contact page.

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.