Published: 16:39, 20 September 2019
| Updated: 17:38, 20 September 2019
Striking plans have been drawn up to transform Newingate House in Lower Bridge Street into a city attraction complete with an entertainment venue potentially offering indoor crazy golf.
The bold proposals, submitted by the Girne American University, will see the top-storey restaurant housed in a "lightweight glass box" based on the cafe design at the Tate Modern.
It will sit atop the run-down office block, which will be renovated and fitted with multi-coloured external panels. Ten two-bedroom apartments in a new three-storey building adjoining Newingate House will also be built. The flats will face on to Ivy Lane and spread around the back of Newingate House, with there also being a penthouse level on top of the apartments.
Demolition of an existing building on the site will take place first.
Original plans to include an outdoor terrace on top of the new restaurant have been shelved.
The project team says: “The restaurant will provide a destination rooftop dining experience offering a unique experience for locals and tourists alike, with views across the city and to the Cathedral.
“The experience will benefit from being fully accessible served by level access and a lift; this in itself is something that Canterbury lacks due to the historic nature of the city centre. There is no comparable premises offering this amenity within the identified city centre.”
The ground and first floors of Newingate House will be temporarily converted into a venue offering activities such as crazy golf, darts and table tennis. Money generated through the venture will help fund the refurbishment of the old offices above.
The entertainment space will be subject to a one-year renewable licence before it is then transformed into further offices.
The project team add that the entertainment venue will offer “a unique experience for locals and tourists alike”.
“The proposal follows a trend for these types of social activities aimed at 18 to 35-year-olds that are popular in London and are spreading across the UK,” they say.
The large building has stood mostly under-used for about a decade, with only one floor currently occupied.
Karl Elliott, managing partner at Clague Architects, said: “The time is right to redevelop Newingate House as the supply of good quality office space is low in Canterbury and demand is strong.
“The development of the apartments, the new social venue and the rooftop restaurant will enable the office space to be brought back into use and provide a visually more appealing site on the edge of Canterbury’s historic city centre.”
A decision on whether the plans are approved is expected before the end of the year.