Arlington site fails the Sequential Test

The Sequential Test is an integral part of Planning Policy. The intention is to promote town centre vitality and viability by focussing developments in town centres. Whether an 82,000 square foot superstore will do that, is another question- Freshwater’s own stats say there will be a 30% loss in trade to existing businesses- but going back to the Sequantial Test, site “1” was proven by the applicant and accepted by the Planning Officers to be the nearest to the town center retail (in red)

Isn’t the derelict site “2” nearer?

Arlington House and Arlington Square now in vicinity of two Grade II* Listed structures

With today’s upgrade for Dreamland’s Scenic Railway from Grade II to Grade II*, a rating that is reserved for the top 6% of listed structures in the UK, the Arlington proposal is now arguably of national importance. The development of the site will directly affect sites that are on the national register and two of which are Grade II*. The Scenic Railway and The Dreamland Cinema.

Detail on the listed status of the Scenic Railway:

Reasons for Designation

The Scenic Railway at Dreamland, Margate, built in 1920 by JH Iles for his new American-style amusement park is recommended for listing at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Rarity: it is the oldest surviving roller coaster in Britain and is of international importance as the second oldest in Europe and amongst the five oldest in the world of this prominent C20 entertainment structure; * Design: Scenic railways are amongst the earlier types of roller coaster design and it is an internationally important surviving example of this technology; * Townscape value: as an important and evocative aspect of the seaside heritage of Margate, one of the earliest and foremost English seaside resorts, and Dreamland, its principal amusement park ; * Group value: it groups with Dreamland’s other listed buildings the Grade II* cinema and Grade II menagerie.”

The Arlington site is directly affects Dreamland. The side of the proposed superstore faces Dreamland and the listed menagerie alongside.

One more reason why, now this application has come back to TDC for a decision to ask that this matter be considered.

TDC’s Press Release also outlines just how important these seafront locations are to a town like Margate. Yet, so important they decided to allow the UK’s first seafront superstore to wreck any future enjoyment of it.

Scenic Railway listed status upgraded


Margate’s Scenic Railway, the iconic centrepiece of one of Britain’s best loved amusement parks, Dreamland, has had its listing upgraded to Grade II*, putting it into the top 6% most important listed buildings in the country.


The move was made by English Heritage, following an application from Thanet District Council. English Heritage describes the Scenic Railway as being of “more than special historic importance”, saying that its “special interest is clear and its survival is remarkable”.


The structure is one of only two amusement rides in the country to be listed, the other being the water chute on the boating lake at East Park, Hull. The Scenic Railway was the first ride to be so protected, in 2002. It is the oldest surviving roller coaster in the country, the second oldest in Europe and the fourth oldest in the world. Of the 111 wooden roller coasters erected in Britain up to the Second World War, only six now survive, and no examples remain of the approximately 250 scenic railways once in existence in the United States. This is something recognised by English Heritage, who comment that it “has claims to international importance being amongst the five oldest of this predominant and evocative twentieth century entertainment structure in the world.”


English Heritage also says that it has considered the location of the Scenic Railway along Margate’s seafront. They comment that “buildings quintessentially associated with its development as a major seaside resort have an added significance.”


Scenic railways are distinct from other types of roller coaster because they have a brakeman who rides with the train and controls its speed. The only other example of this type of ride in Britain is at Great Yarmouth and dates from 1932, but is much altered.


The Dreamland Trust is building the world’s first amusement park of thrilling historic rides at Dreamland Margate and aims to preserve this important part of British popular culture and amusement park heritage. 


Restoration of the Scenic Railway will be at the heart of this multi-million pound project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Sea Change and Thanet District Council. It forms part of Margate’s regeneration programme spearheaded earlier this year with the opening of the Turner Contemporary gallery, which has already attracted in excess of 100,000 visitors to the town in just three months. 


The Trust’s Chairman, Nick Laister said; “It is wonderful news that the Scenic Railway listing has been upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*. The Scenic Railway was listed Grade II in March 2002, and this amendment to its status is an entirely appropriate recognition for this rare and vulnerable structure. It puts the Scenic Railway into the top 6% most important listed buildings in the country. This is a great springboard for the restoration works that will be starting on the ride over the coming months.”


Cllr. Simon Moores from Thanet District Council, said: “We’re delighted at this news, as the Scenic Railway thoroughly deserves its upgraded listing status. It’s become something of an icon for both local people and visitors to Dreamland over the years, who have fond memories of the time they spent here. It’s exceptionally well loved and will be a stunning centrepiece when Dreamland Margate opens to the public.”


The Dreamland site is already home to two other listed structures, the Grade II* Cinema and Grade II listed menagerie cages. English Heritage cites this as a further reason for the upgrade to the Scenic Railway’s listing. Dreamland Margate is due to open to the public in 2013.


English Heritage listing details for the Scenic Railway

Publication date: 12 July, 2011 

Arlington House Residents’ Association re Secretary of State decision in respect of planning application for Tesco superstore at Arlington Site, All Saints Avenue,Margate


Re: Secretary of State decision in respect of planning application for Tesco superstore at Arlington Site, All Saints Avenue,Margate

 John Moss, Vice Chairman of the Residents’ Association says, “I am appalled that the Secretary of State has merely ‘rubber stamped’ Thanet Councils decision to approve the application and sent it back for Council officers to implement.  I do not believe that the matter has been anywhere near Eric Pickle’s desk, as it has been dealt with by a civil servant working for the National Planning Casework Unit in Birmingham.”

 Margate’s Mayor, Iris Johnston, joined many residents who wrote to the Secretary of State requesting that he ‘call in’ this application for review and even her pleas have been ignored.  The whole process is a complete sham, ignores due process and flies in the face of public opinion.

 Even the Council is unsure that it really wants the proposed development in its current form.  At its planning meeting last month, there were far more councillors who spoke against the application than spoke in favour.  When it came to the vote, it was only approved by the casting vote of the Independent chairman, Jack Cohen, as the committee members were split 7-7 with the Conservative members who spoke against it, toeing the party line and voting in favour.

 During the planning meeting, Councillor Alan Poole had proposed an amendment to the application that would have restricted the hours during which deliveries to the store could take place.  He was told by the officers that the amendment could not be allowed.  Therefore, no vote was allowed to take place on that amendment and this must call into question the legality of the procedure.  Clearly, democracy and public opinion had been stamped upon with a very heavy foot.

 We do not believe that the councillors who voted in favour of this application even realised that by so doing, they were in fact denying themselves the opportunity of any further input.  The full application, for a 60-bed hotel, to be built in a prime location on Margateseafront, will not now come back to the Planning Committee as it will be dealt with by the officers.  It is our view that a number of the Planning Committee members have acted like puppets, and had their strings well and truly pulled.

There are currently over 70 residents and leaseholders at Arlington House who have signed a pledge to refuse to vacate the existing residents’ car park.  This will effectively prevent the development going ahead in its current form.  Hopefully this may encourage the council and the developers to realise that the ‘steamroller’ approach to this application is not going to work”.



Labour Group’s response to Arlington decision

From: Clive Hart
Sent: Monday, July 11, 2011 10:18 AM

Margate Central Ward Councillors Iris Johnston and John Watkins have worked with the residents of Arlington House and nearby neighbours to try to get a sensible solution for the much neglected site.

Cllr Johnston said “Everyone has been in agreement, that due to Freshwaters years of neglect, the site is crying out for regeneration. Residents were very fair in their submissions and only wanted what was best. Traffic management, a right to a quiet night life and sufficient parking were high on their lists.

Mr Pickles, Secretary of State, has ignored our concerns and obviously given very little time to this application. We all want to work together for what is best for Margate and the Planning Committee really should have agreed to my request to bring the final decision to Full Council so that any outstanding issues could be addressed”.

At the original Planning Committee Meeting an amendment tabled by Cllr Alan Poole to restrict deliveries to between 07:00 and 23:00 was ruled illegal by the Planning Officers. The reason given was the developers would not agree to it! The object of the amendment was to limit the potential noise nuisance to local residents.

The new vision for Margate seafront

At the moment, Margate seafront is a pretty hostile and uninspiring environment for pedestrians. The public space is dominated by a wide road that forms a barrier between businesses and the beach. This is the route visitors walk along from the station to the old town and the Turner Contemporary.



Pedestrian friendly seafront with reduced carriageway

KCC proposed reducing the traffic on Margate Seafront to create a pedestrian friendly environment between town and beach. The proposal was drawn up by a large the consultant firm, Jacobs following public consultation and in line with the “Margate 10 year Cultural Development Plan and the Arlington planning brief”

From “Margate Cultural Vision 10 Year Plan 2008”:
“Margate is a place with stunning, inspirational public realm that has creativity, innovation and inspiring art at its heart. The process of achieving this will also be innovative and inclusive and will restore a pride and sense of ownership within the local community. Margate will set the bar for other public realm interventions across the South East and beyond.”

Predicted seafront traffic jam

If the proposal for a Tesco superstore the size of 2 football pitches goes ahead, there will be a peak of 17,000 extra vehicle movements on the seafront on weekends. That is in addition to any traffic for Dreamland and Turner Contemporary.

Even without Tesco and Dreamland, if no improvements are made for pedestrians, Highways predicts:
In 2015 in the Friday pm peak hour the Marine Drive and Marine Gardens approaches to the roundabout are predicted to operate over capacity without the proposed development, with estimated queues of 13 vehicles and 28 vehicles respectively. The addition of development traffic is predicted to extend the queues on these approaches to 27 vehicles and 59 vehicles respectively, with the queue on Marine Gardens potentially reaching back to Cecil Square. “

Jacobs’ – Margate Seafront Public Realm Improvements Report

We had wondered where the conclusion report was from Jacobs following the months of public consultations. This document was not published anywhere we could find it at either TDC or KCC. Many of us actually had requested it prior to sending in our comments to the Arlington Planning Application. We would also have expected such an expensive exercise to have fed into KCC and TDC’s opinion on what to do with Margate’s seafront.

This 99 page document clearly shows the desire is to have less traffic on the seafront not the opposite.

The 4.4MB PDF is available here: