Work on redeveloping Whitstable Harbour’s south quay shed has stepped up a gear.
The building is being developed by the harbour’s owners Canterbury City Council as a mixed-use space for shopping, a restaurant or café, a possible museum and for exhibition and education activities.
Plans include a large, internal courtyard, surrounded by converted shipping containers on both the ground floor and first floor with a mezzanine deck. The aim is to create all-year-round facility with views of the working harbour.
Whitstable Harbour Board will be updated on the project at its meeting this Friday (14 June). Board members will be told the external cladding has been removed, leaving just the outer skin, and work is starting this week on a new flood defence partition wall and construction of parts of the front of the new development.
The report also gives the latest on the potential for the development to be home to a boutique cinema. Meetings have taken place with cinema operators to look at the commercial viability of the project.
This process has concluded that a cinema is not a viable proposition for the south quay shed site for a number of reasons.
These include there not being enough headroom to accommodate the seating angle for a cinema and a 15-year lease to coincide with the design life of the shed being restrictive for operators. In addition, some major operators were only interested if they could have the entire shed site.
However, operators have indicated that interest in creating a cinema at the harbour is high due to the unique location. This would, though, need to be at a larger site and for a lease of 25 years in order to get a return on the investment.
The report therefore recommends to Board members that a cinema is not incorporated into the south quay shed development.
Chairman of Whitstable Harbour Board, Cllr Pat Todd, said: “Regular users of the harbour will have already noticed the changes that have taken place to the south quay shed. We’re pleased with the progress that is being made on this exciting project for Whitstable.
“The one outstanding issue has been the cinema, and Board members will be asked to now rule this out at the shed.”
The Whitstable Harbour Board meeting takes place on Friday 14 June at 3pm in the Mallandain Room at Whitstable Castle and is open to the public.