Breem Construction have commenced on site with the construction of a new community and visitor facility for Margate Caves. Working alongside Architects – Kanerollete and Quantity Surveyors – Betteridge & Milsom. Works are due to complete Spring 2019
The Margate Caves Community Education Trust has planned an ambitious mixed-use scheme for the site.
Over the last six years, the Trust and the Friends of Margate Caves have worked closely with the local community to design a landmark building. The dramatic exterior will provide a new landmark on the route between Margate’s Old Town and nearby Dalby Square, Northdown Road and Cliftonville. It sits on the footprint of the old Bryan House/Northumberland House which was destroyed during the Second World War.
At the front of the building is a visitor centre that will provide access to the restored Caves. The visitor centre includes a shop and cafe. Behind the visitor centre is a community centre. This flexible space provides either one large or two classroom-sized community rooms, which will be used for a range of activity and will be available as a base for schools visiting Margate. The community rooms open onto gardens, which cover the Caves themselves.
Designed by award-winning architects Kaner Olette, the building received planning permission in 2015. It is now expected to open in 2019.
The plans have been supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant which will be used to build a new visitor centre, including a community café, and enable the refurbishment of the Caves. The Big Lottery Fund has supported the much needed community centre, to be used by local people.
Alongside the building, the funding also supports a series of commissions for artists, an activity programme that takes the Caves out to the local community, and the development of a learning scheme for schools. It also provides training for volunteers not only at the Caves, but also those working at other heritage attractions locally. A Crowdfunder has raised an additional £10,000 to support this work.