Published: 05:00, 22 November 2021
| Updated: 17:02, 22 November 2021
A prime seafront location home to a derelict arcade could be transformed into a hotel, council bosses say.
The rundown shell of the old Tivoli amusements in Central Parade, Herne Bay, has already whet the appetite of a number of developers since it was put on the market towards the end of last month.
An asking price has not been placed on the Canterbury City Council-owned site, but advertising material says it would be suitable for a care home or hotel.
Local authority spokesman Rob Davies told KentOnline: “It’s fairly early days but the agent tells us there has already been ‘a decent number of inquiries’.
“We have also shared with the agent the contact details of half a dozen parties that got in touch with us directly before we started actively marketing the site.
“We’ve previously had conversations with people about the scope for including a hotel in the scheme, but we’ve not had any conversations directly with hotel operators as yet.
“However, we already know there is interest in Herne Bay from hotel operators.”
The site up for sale – which includes the Beach Street car park behind the arcade – already has planning permission for three shops and 31 homes.
But faced with the prospect of rising building costs and shelling out £40,000 to demolish the amusements, the city council settled on a change of tack earlier this year.
Instead, it is searching for a development partner to help it deliver the scheme, or a buyer to snap up the site.
“The price will be determined by the market,” Mr Davies added.
“We’re seeking offers for outright sale and partnership opportunities, so there is the potential for a range of offer structures and proposals.
“We are getting a valuation carried out so that we have an idea what we think it is worth, so that if or when we receive offers, we can assess them against the valuation.”
Travelodge announced three months ago that it was on the lookout for spots in Herne Bay for it to launch a brand-new branch to add to its expanding portfolio.
Town centre councillor Andrew Cook also called for a hotel to be erected in place of the Tivoli arcade during the summer, as he argued that it would put an end to Herne Bay losing tourists to Whitstable.
The Conservative urged authority bosses to use the potential sale of the prime site as an opportunity to address the dearth of beds in the Bay.
“People have to stay in Margate, Whitstable, Canterbury, and only come across here for day trips,” he reasoned.
“If it could include a hotel, that’d be absolutely brilliant. We just haven’t got sufficient beds at the moment.
“That means people will leave the town to stay somewhere else and eat somewhere else, so it’s hard work for our restaurants in the town.”
In July, A La Turka owner Mehmet Dari revealed a £4 million vision to transform a long-vacant site on the corner of Central Parade and Market Street into a boutique hotel equipped with a rooftop bar.
As part of the project, his restaurant will be extended across the ground floor, while up to 30 £200-a-night rooms and an exclusive rooftop bar will be built above.
It is the second hotel planned for the seafront, as Wetherspoon wants to convert the space above its Saxon Shore pub in Central Parade into 20 rooms.