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Arlington House, Margate

Content originally from Simon Pengelly

Arlington House is an eighteen storey residential tower block with shop units under and around it (at ground level) in Margate, Kent. Mildly interestingly, this solves the confusion caused by different floor-numbering conventions: in some, the ground floor is numbered "1" against the UK convention that "1" refers to the floor above the ground floor. The Southern part of the plot of land currently has a multi-level car park built on it with a ramp access to the residents' car park on the third floor.

As recorded on tiles on the walls of the main entrance to the building, Arlington House was designed by Architects Russell Diplock Associates and constructed by Bernard Sunley & Sons. The tiles state that the owners are Bernard Sunley Investment Trust - the legal registered lease, however, quotes Bernard Sunley Investments (Margate) limited.

The site on which it was built in 1963 is land that, until the early 19th century was a salt marsh. A sea wall was built in 1809, causing the land to be reclaimed. A Southern Railway Company terminal railway station was built in 1846 which operated until 1926 in conjunction with a second terminus to the West (neither to be confused with the railway station built to the immediate East which never received approval by parliament).

The freehold of the land is currently held by Thanet District Council by virtue of a Conveyance dated 25 August 1927 made between The Southern Railway Company (Company) and The Mayor Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of Margate (Purchasers). It is leased at an annual rent of £7,500 for 199 years from 1961, by means of a lease dated 19th May 1965 by The Mayor Aldermen and Burgesses of The Borough of Margate to Bernard Sunley Investments (Margate) limited (and successors in title). Land Registry Title number K248788 and others.

A Transfer of the lease dated 31st March 1969 effectively transferred control of the property to Metropolitan Property Realizations Limited.

The apartments were initially available to rent with car parking spaces provided.

From the summer of 1976, individual apartments were leased for a period of 114 years from 1st October 1961. Apartments re-sold still have this 2075 end date to the lease.

A notice in THE LONDON GAZETTE, dated lst August 1977, states that on Friday 2nd September 1977 at 10.15 o'clock in the forenoon there will be a General Meeting of Bernard Sunley Investments (Margate) ltd for the purpose of having an account laid before the Members showing the manner in which the winding-up has been conducted and the property of the Company disposed of, and also of determining by Extraordinary Resolution the manner in which the books, accounts and documents of the Company and of the Liquidator shall be disposed of.

The building fronts onto All Saints Avenue and lies along an approximately North-South line. Most of the apartments (excepting some of the lower-floored) have views over both sea and country. Higher-levels having further-reaching views. The West side gets the afternoon sun and sunsets; the East has sunrises and views (where not blocked) over the harbour and the Margate Roads.

Each apartment above the first floor is built with a two-sided bay window, giving access to the views without having to lean out. There is a central corridor between the West and East apartments on each floor except the first; this having an external pathway past the apartment doors, these apartments have no bay and extend from one side of the building to the other. At each end of the building is a stairwell, the Southern stairwell is separated into two sections: one from the the ground floor to the first and another for the higher floors. There is a pair of lifts in the South-East corner, serving all floors. The apartments are referenced by the floor number and a letter from A to H: West side apartments above the first floor are A, C, E, G (South to North); those to the east are B, D, F, H (again, South to North); first floor apartments are sequential A to H (South to North).

Following a fatal fire on the 16th floor in 2001, gas supply within the block was removed. Electricity (and solar gain) now being the only form of heating.

A number of aerials have been installed on the roof, serving mobile phones and network carriers. There are no domestic broadcast aerials communally serving the apartments.

The construction is of steel-reinforced on-site-cast concrete. A number of vertical risers house plumbing, ventilation trunking, electrical feeds and a waste-chute. Two risers run through each apartment: one serving bathrooms; the other, kitchens.

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