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The Escapement in Margate team to open six escape rooms in Retort House, Broadstairs

By Katie Davis

More than a year after the Broadstairs Youth and Leisure Centre shut its doors at Retort House, the site is to be given an exciting new lease of life.

Six immersive escape rooms will be housed in the building by the couple responsible for the popular Escapement in Margate which opened just last year.

The town council has been working with Lewis Hunt and Mica Dougan to deliver a community and commericial mix in building in Albion Street car park, which was once a gas works.

Retort House (5018048)
Retort House (5018048)

The Escapement team came forward as a potential tenant during an expression of interest exercise back in April.

It has now been announced it will be transformed into a major new escape rooms complex, will a lease for the small table tennis room and the former office suites upstairs.

The escape rooms will have a keen focus on the story telling theatrics The Escapement is renowned for.

Along with toilets, meetings rooms and spacious waiting areas, this new venue is hoped to bring hundreds to the area to rejuvenate the unused town asset.

The community element of the building, the sports hall, will remain while new disabled facilities, refurbished toilets, kitchen and front porch will be provided.

Lewis and Mica say they are very excited about the opportunity and hope to bring tourists to the town.

Lewis Hunt and Cllr Paul Moore (5017061)
Lewis Hunt and Cllr Paul Moore (5017061)

"From everyone here at The Escapement, thank you - this is such a wonderful venue," Lewis said.
"I've lived in and around Broadstairs all my life, growing up on the sands of Viking Bay, every year attending the folk events and festivals.

"My team and I are so lucky to be able to bring something amazing to the people of Broadstairs and the tourists alike.

"We promise to always create world class experiences, we cannot wait to release the themes of our next adventures.

"The history of our little town, from Charles Dickens and its shipbuilding past through to this monument of a building as a nod to our fossil fuelled industrial revolution, will create an atmosphere not seen in the story telling world of escape rooms before.

"It is so very exciting."

A planning application has been submitted to Thanet District Council for the new porch.

Danielle Dunn, town clerk at Broadstairs and St Peter's town council, said: "By delivering a commercial element in Retort House, the long-term viability of the sports hall has been established.

"Not only will it deliver a major new tourist attraction to the town, it will also ensure that the costs of running the building are subsided for the community."

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