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Westbrook Loggia in Margate to be sold off as Thanet District Council cannot fund £4m renovation


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A dilapidated bathing house on Margate beach is to be sold by the council after the cash-strapped authority was told it would cost more than £4 million to renovate.

The Westbrook Loggia building at Westbrook Bay was built in the early 1900s but currently sits empty, save for a section occupied by Thanet Lifeguard Club and Your Leisure.

The Westbrook Loggia provides a depressing backdrop to families enjoying a day at the beach. Pic: Roberto Fabiani
The Westbrook Loggia provides a depressing backdrop to families enjoying a day at the beach. Pic: Roberto Fabiani

The building is currently owned by Thanet District Council, which last year commissioned a feasibility study into potentially redeveloping the former baths.

Now that the report has estimated it would cost £4.06 million to renovate the Loggia, the council hopes to sell the site after admitting it does not have the resources to fund the makeover.

Announcing the decision, Cllr Reece Pugh (Cons) said: “It’s an asset the council may own but actually it may not necessarily be in the best interest of the community to stay under our ownership.

“If there were better circumstances and the economy was different we may be able to look at different options.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge when there are people in the public or private sector that can do this better than us.”

Much of the original building has been altered since its heyday in the early 1900s, including the loss of two grand twin towers, but a new tenant will be able to renovate the building to their requirements.

The council has been told it will cost more than £4 million to renovate the Westbrook Loggia site. Pic: Roberto Fabiani
The council has been told it will cost more than £4 million to renovate the Westbrook Loggia site. Pic: Roberto Fabiani
The cash-strapped council cannot afford to redevelop the site. Pic: Roberto Fabiani
The cash-strapped council cannot afford to redevelop the site. Pic: Roberto Fabiani

Previously, plans to turn the building into a centre for martial arts, water sports and a restaurant - known as Project Combat Westbrook - were considered but failed to get the required funding from central government.

During a council consultation on the site’s future most respondents said they would like to see the former baths become a beachside restaurant, cafe, or even a hotel.

Leader of the council Cllr Ash Ashbee (Cons) says it is sad the council cannot do more.

“I look at this building most days of my life and it’s very sad to see it standing there not being used," she said.

“No benefit to the community, no benefit to the business, no benefit to the council, because we aren’t attracting any business rates or any income.

The Westbrook Loggia site was built in the early 1900s. Pic: Roberto Fabiani
The Westbrook Loggia site was built in the early 1900s. Pic: Roberto Fabiani
How the Project Combat Westbrook development could have looked Pic: 3DAvenue.co.uk
How the Project Combat Westbrook development could have looked Pic: 3DAvenue.co.uk

“If I was an investor with quite a few million, I would love to take that building - the location is fantastic.

“I really do look forward to the day when we can look at it and reap the benefits from it.

“It’s unfortunate councils these days aren’t structured in a way we can do it ourselves, but I’m sure in the hands of a good businessperson it can benefit the community.”

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