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Ramsgate residents' fears over ‘bulky and obtrusive’ bid for The Royal’s building

A harbourside revamp will turn a “tired” building that houses a historic pub into a “bold landmark”, developers believe.

But critics fear housebuilder Jamie Copland’s plans for The Royal in Harbour Parade, Ramsgate, will transform it into a “bulky and obtrusive” structure.

A CGI showing how the development is expected to look
A CGI showing how the development is expected to look

Drawings show he wants to partially demolish the 1930s building and add a five-storey extension accommodating eight new flats and a reduced-sized commercial area on the ground floor.

In documents lodged with Thanet District Council, Mr Copland argues: “This will better secure the future of the commercial element and maintain the active street frontage.

“The site offers an opportunity for a bold landmark scheme that will create a statement.

“While the building has some historic relevance, it has been subject to minor changes over the years that have negatively impacted its character and appearance.

“It has also begun to appear tired due to a lack of investment and upkeep recently.

“A new lease of life would benefit the site, while also encouraging long-term occupation and upkeep, both of which are under threat.”

Mr Copland also believes his scheme “would act as a catalyst for future regeneration” in the area.

Despite this, the proposals – which were submitted to the local authority in June – have attracted opposition from residents.

The Royal in Ramsgate pictured in 2016
The Royal in Ramsgate pictured in 2016

A neighbour is vowing to “seek legal advice” over concerns the project would lead to a “loss of light”. Meanwhile, Ramsgate Town Council also believes the plans should be snubbed.

“The proposal is bulky and obtrusive,” a spokesman said.

“It is out of character with the conservation area, and not in keeping with the street scene.”

Thanet District Council conservation officer Josie Sinden also says she appreciates “a contemporary approach has been taken to develop this site”, but that she has “concerns” about the scheme, which she believes should be withdrawn and reconsidered.

The site currently has two flats above the tavern, with Mr Copland aiming to build eight more – including a three-bedroom penthouse.

The Royal has a first-floor function room, which would be lost should the project be given the green light.

Planning documents stress the commercial space will be “retained”.

But when asked if The Royal will remain at the site, Philip Thorley – whose firm Thorley Taverns runs the pub – said: “All planning is taking a month of Sundays at the moment because there’s a backlog from Covid.

“The Royal is there, it’s open seven days a week and there’s a planning application in.

“When and if that’s granted, then we’ll look at what happens.”

Records show a business has existed on the site since the 1600s.

In 1717 the premises became licensed as the King’s Head Tavern, before changing its name to The Royal Hotel following a visit from George IV in the 1800s.

The building was remodelled later that century and became one of the most dominant structures in the harbour, with parts of it being five storeys high.

It was demolished in 1938 and replaced with the current edifice, which opened the following year.

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