Ambitious Beach Street plans take big step forward

Work to demolish three buildings in Beach Street, Herne Bay, gets underway in early April.

It’s part of the city council’s plans to develop the car parking area in Beach Street along with the former Tivoli arcade and a number of adjoining derelict buildings, to provide much-needed housing and improve the appearance of this part of the town.

The work is being paid for through a government grant of approximately £550,000 from the Brownfield Land Release Fund 2 (BLRF2) and is expected to take several weeks.

In total there are five buildings across the full development site, but demolition is planned to take place in two phases, with this first phase covering three buildings in Beach Street itself.

The remaining two buildings – the former arcade and the derelict half of the dual fronted Edwardian house, both fronting onto Central Parade – will remain in place for now, as the council is considering the best approach to bringing its half of the Edwardian house back into use.

Once a decision has been reached on this and work carried out, a further decision will be required on how the site as a whole will be developed.

Options for this could include the council building the scheme itself, seeking a development partner or selling the land to a developer to take on.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for property, Cllr Michael Dixey, said: “We are pleased to have progressed this project to the point at which local people will now see activity taking place on the ground, following a lot of hard work behind the scenes over the last year or so.

“The successful bid for government funding to pay for the demolition means we are not spending any council taxpayers’ money as we get the site into a position where we can take the final decision on how this scheme will be built.”

Cabinet member for the coastal towns, Cllr Chris Cornell, said: “This is a significant moment for our regeneration plans at this key seafront location and we are sure residents will welcome the start of work.

“This has been a tired looking area of the town for too long and we are very keen to revitalise it with a new development that brings in families and provides a boost to the local economy.

“And before the rumours start, this site will not be home to a fourth ‘plaza’ for Herne Bay.”

For safety reasons, on-street parking in this part of Beach Street will be suspended during the work, which will be carried out by a specialist demolition company, Goody Demolition.

The contractor has written directly to people living nearby to update them on how the demolition will be managed and provide contact details should there be any concerns.

Some disruption is inevitable with a project of this nature but the contractor will be endeavouring to keep this to an absolute minimum.

BLRF2 is a capital grant funding scheme available to all English councils.

The programme targets council-owned small sites where viability issues have prevented their development and pays for:

  • site levelling, groundworks, demolition and remediation
  • the provision of small-scale infrastructure
  • highway work or overcoming other access challenges
  • addressing environmental challenges

Published: 21 March 2024

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