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Margate: Plans featuring a hotel and apartments for The Lido in Cliftonville unveiled by Ralph and Alistair Noel

By Katie Davis

Developers have unveiled plans for a £12 million regeneration of The Lido in Cliftonville.

The ambitious project proposes transforming the seafront site by building a 110-bedroom boutique hotel and 94 apartments within the cliff face.

Designs also reveal potential for a cliff-top sculpture park and the preservation of the historic Clifton Baths, which would be covered by a glass dome.

Ralph and Alistair Noel have plans for a hotel and apartments Picture: Paul Amos
Ralph and Alistair Noel have plans for a hotel and apartments Picture: Paul Amos

Father and son developers Ralph and Alistair Noel are behind the project and believe it could “kickstart the regeneration of Cliftonville”.

They have already held talks with Thanet District Council, which says the site offers an “ideal opportunity” for a leisure and tourism development.

The Noels propose demolishing the current buildings on the complex - which include a snooker hall and four-storey club - and in their place installing the one and two-bedroom apartments and upmarket hotel.

At street level there is potential for a sculpture park and areas for open-air art displays, as well as a glass dome covering the historic underground Clifton Baths.

Speaking exclusively to the Thanet Extra, Alistair said: “Margate has undergone somewhat of a renaissance and this the perfect opportunity to kickstart the regeneration of Cliftonville.

“The site is incredibly run-down and we have an exciting vision which would bring it back to life and attract welcome tourism to the area.”

The Clifton Baths were constructed in 1824 at a cost of £15,000, and in 1926 The Lido was established.

The proposed development Picture: Lee Evans Partnership
The proposed development Picture: Lee Evans Partnership

The site was turned into a large modern seaside complex with bars, cafes and restaurants on several levels and a large open-air swimming pool projecting into the sea. These buildings were built onto and over the remaining parts of the Clifton Baths, laid out over a series of terraces. From 1938 the name was changed from the Clifton Baths to the Cliftonville Lido.

The site has also been home to a theatre, cinema and nightclub, but has stood largely unused since 1978.

It is now owned by Stour Side Investments, which in 2016 put it up for auction with a guide price of £600,000, but it was later withdrawn.

The Noels say their development, so close to the Winter Gardens, will encourage larger conferences to the town so it can compete with places like Brighton and Blackpool.

Their plans state: "The large boutique hotel would have restaurants, bars and function suite at the east end of the site.

"Life and economic activity would be brought to the pivotal coastal site with the town, helping with the ongoing regeneration of Cliftonville.

"The Lido was once a major engine of economic activity for Margate and Cliftonville and it could be once again.

An aerial view of The Lido site in the 1950s
An aerial view of The Lido site in the 1950s

"The uncertainty over the future of the Lido site has, we believe, in-part blighted investment in the seaward-facing buildings along the cliff-top road through Cliftonville.

"Our proposal would provide a unique spa hotel boosting the hotel bed-spaces in the town, which should help to encourage conferences and exhibitions to Thanet.

"Together with the apartment hotel, the aims are to encourage more visitors to the area.

"The Lido site has a very distinct character and sense of place, which we are seeking to retain and enhance.”

The cost of The Noels development - including the purchase price - is estimated to be £12 million.

For this reason they say a residential aspect is vital to make the project “financially viable”.

There will also be a multi-level car park built into the cliff near Elthelbert Terrace, with its location avoiding the tunnels of the Georgian Clifton Baths.

"The cost of the removal of the decayed building is very significant," the plans say.

Margate The Lido Ethelbert Terrace.Alistair and Ralph Noel have plkans for a Hotel and Apartments.Picture: Paul Amos. (5722392)
Margate The Lido Ethelbert Terrace.Alistair and Ralph Noel have plkans for a Hotel and Apartments.Picture: Paul Amos. (5722392)

"It will take time to build trade. The provision of new apartments makes the project viable."

Ralph said: "It would definitely be a great lift for that area of Margate, which is going great guns.

"The Lido has sat dilapidated for years; it's horrible.

"The Lido is the catalyst to improving Cliftonville - and although Cliftonville is improving month-by-month, getting better and better, this will really set it alight."

Alistair added: "The way I see the hotel going, obviously with the art scene in Margate coming alive, I want to made the hotel a live-in art gallery, as it were.

"So, you'd have a restaurant section which would be very exciting and have an arty feel about it.

"The way Margate is going, this is the right time to do it."

The Noels are currently in talks with interested investors ahead of moving forward with their plans.

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