A town centre plot earmarked to become an artists’ haven for a decade – complete with homes and studios - is set to be sold at auction.
The long-standing redevelopment of Sopers Yard in Margate with apartments, gallery space and studios could finally come to fruition after it goes under the hammer this month.
Planning permission was granted to Stockwell Stowe Mount in 2013 to create an artist’s haven, originally comprising 27 apartments for creatives to accompany the ground floor gallery, sales and working spaces.
Centred around a glazed atrium, the development also has the green light to incorporate a cafe and community facilities - though later revisions to the scheme saw the number of homes reduced to 25.
The site in King Street is now being listed for £600,000 for the land which still has active planning consent.
In documents submitted to Thanet District Council at the time of submission, the developer called for “the fullest and immediate support” from officers.
It said: “This site has previously been identified as suitable for development by both cabinet and full council, members of which recognised the regenerative potential of this vacant and derelict brownfield site close to Margate town centre.
“With the added community related benefits that will accrue from the very distinctive nature of the proposed mix of uses, these will clearly outweigh any perceived planning harm.
“This development fully accords with the aims to encourage economic growth, employment opportunities and to assist with the growth of promotion of tourism.”
The site itself is a stone’s throw away from the much-loved Old Town whilst the Turner Contemporary is a matter of minutes away from the area.
It is not clear why the development failed to take off once winning approval from the council, with the landowner refusing to comment to KentOnline about the matter this week.
Anyone looking to take the plot on though will be offered blueprints to further reduce the number of apartments to 21, which can be found via the auctioneer's website.
The site was bought by Stockwell Stowe Mount in 2006 from Thanet District Council at auction as the authority looked to cash in on the abandoned lot.
Formerly farmland, the yard was last used as the Churchill Centre, a disabled people’s day centre, which closed in 2002 leaving the site to rack and ruin.
Previous attempts to develop the land have proved to be troublesome with a 2010 bid to build seven, three-storey houses on the yard being snubbed by the council.
The current planning permission is itself a revision of a prior application that was withdrawn which would have again seen 27 apartments built rather than the 25 currently in the works.
The auction commences on December 11 and concludes two days later on December 13 carried out by Clive Emson Auctioneers.