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The Old Engine Shed restaurant set to open in Whitstable Harbour by summer

By Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A new 150-seat restaurant made of recycled shipping containers is set to open in Whitstable Harbour by the summer.

Planning permission has been granted for the two-storey development on the site of a former industrial building in the South Quay.

Called The Old Engine Shed, the restaurant will also have an outside seating area and host an “educational space” to inform visitors about local heritage.

Plans for the new restaurant
Plans for the new restaurant

It will be run by the Whitstable Oyster Company, which was given a seven-year lease for the site following a tendering process in 2016.

Its proposal – which was originally for a champagne and oyster bar – was selected from a choice of four by Whitstable Harbour Board.

It is hoped work will be able to start within eight to 12 weeks.

The front view of the new restaurant
The front view of the new restaurant

A spokesman for the firm, which already runs restaurants in the town, said: “The Whitstable Oyster Company is delighted that planning permission has been granted so that we can develop this area of the harbour into a successful enterprise, that will showcase local produce but also create more jobs for Whitstable.”

Jo Vogelaar, co-director of Whitstable Harbour Market, says she hopes the new restaurant, which will showcase the town’s world-famous oysters, will bring more custom to the area.

But she added: “However, a restaurant of this size will affect every business in the harbour and Whitstable.

Jo Vogelaar
Jo Vogelaar

“If it brings in so many more people to warrant its existence, where are those people going to park?

“We want to make this a community harbour, and not just outprice locals.”

Canterbury City Council spokesman Rob Davies says there are plans to provide more parking at the harbour.

“The new restaurant will help attract people to the quay, which will be of benefit to the market,” he said.

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