Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Earliest May 2013 (Name from)

Holly Tree

Closed 2016

328 Northdown Road


Holly Tree fire

Above picture showing the fire in 2014.

Holly Tree sign 2016

Above sign 2016.


The mock-Tudor pub was built by Russell's brewery of Gravesend in 1926 as the "Olde Charles." When built the area was mainly fields and a view of the seas could be seen, which is now sadly obscured by the houses which have been built since. The pub changed name to the "Holly Tree" at the end of May 2013.

The pub had to close for a short time after a fire, but a posting on Facebook 13 June 2014 said the pub should be up and running again in a few weeks time.


From 10 June 2014.

The Holly Tree, Margate pub fire: Woman rescued

A woman was rescued by firefighters after a large blaze broke out in a Margate pub.

Holly Tree fire

Emergency services were called to The Holly Tree on North Down Road at 08:55 BST following reports that smoke was coming out of the top of the building.

Surrounding roads were closed by police as about 35 firefighters tackled the flames.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the fire is not known but is not being treated as suspicious.

Holly Tree fire

The woman was treated by ambulance crews for the affects of smoke inhalation.

Two Yorkshire terriers were also rescued from the building.


From the By Connor Dunn, 13 April 2016

‘Last orders’ for Margate pub The Holly Tree in Northdown Road damaged in blaze.

A Margate pub which has served the community for nearly 100 years is to close its doors for the final time on Friday.

The Holly Tree, based on Northdown Road, has been run by Lisa Cooke for the last three years after its name change from the Ye Olde Charles and is well-known for live music.

A post on their Facebook page on Monday suggested the pub and land were being sold to make way for a housing development.

Lisa Cooke 2016

Landlady of The Holly Tree pub Lisa Cooke.

The building has been a public house since 1923 and has had live bands performing twice a week since Mrs Cooke’s takeover.

A huge fire damaged the roof and destroyed the kitchen in June 2014, from which the 45-year-old says the business never recovered.

She said: “It’s sad that Thanet is losing another live music venue.

“The fire had a massive impact on the pub, I’d been here a year when it happened and it was a few days before the first England game in the World Cup.

“With an independent pub this size, without a kitchen you cannot compete against the chains.

The Facebook post said: “We are sad to announce that the pub and grounds are being sold off to make way for a new housing development.

“We’ve tried our best to hold out for nearly a year now, but large corporations and their shareholders will always win out in the end – could’ve been worse, might have been turned into a supermarket.”

Mrs Cooke added: “We are still fighting but the chances of us winning the battle are very remote, I have been aware of this for about a year now.

“There is also a very slim chance someone might take it on and hopefully keep it as a pub.”


Indeed the pub did open again but closed once again in 2016, and then in April 2017 it suffered yet another fire that put pay to this one for good.


From the By Eleanor Perkins. 19 April 2017.

Firefighters tackle roof fire at The Holly Tree pub in Margate.

Crews are continuing to damp down hotspots after a mystery fire at an disused pub in Margate.

Six fire engines and a height vehicle were called to the The Holly Tree pub in Holly Lane at 8.40am today.

The blaze, which looks to have destroyed the two-storey building, was declared under control at 11.30am but some firefighters still remain at the scene.

Holly Tree fire 2017

Picture sent by Lee Solly.

Holly Tree fire 2017

A picture of the scene sent in by Josh Alexander

Holly Tree fire 2017

Lee Solly's picture shows the charred remains

Watch video of the fire Click here. Another video Click here.

A spokesman said: "We have scaled down our attendance to a fire at a disused public house in Holly Lane, Margate.

"A warning to residents to keep windows and doors closed due to smoke from the fire has now been lifted.

"Three fire engines and a height vehicle remain at the scene as crews continue to damp down remaining hotspots.

"The cause of the fire, which has severely damaged the building, is not yet known.

"There are no reported injuries."

The blaze had begun in the roof but spread to both floors of the property.

Crew used hose reels and main jets supplied by a hydrant, bringing it under control at about 11.30am.

Holly Tree fire 2017

Firefighters needed a height vehicle to tackle the flames. Picture sent in by Ian Smiler

Holly Tree fire 2017

Putting out the flames created a lot of smoke. Picture: Ian Smiler

Cliftonville resident Ian Smiler saw the smoke billowing into the sky while driving and changed his route to investigate.

He said: "Being curious, I changed my route to take me towards the smoke. I saw the pub was on fire.

"The flames were shooting out of the roof. I saw the gantry being put into place and I saw them dousing it with water.

"You could feel the heat radiating around in the area.

"It looked to me like the roof could cave in."

The area appears to be taped off and Northdown Road is believed to be closed for safety reasons.

Holly Tree fire 2017

Flames have engulfed the roof of the pub. Picture: Ian Pulman

Holly Tree fire 2017

The flames in the roof. Picture: Daisy Read

Holly Tree fire 2017

The spread from the roof into the building. Picture: Daisy Read

New pictures of the blaze continue to emerge. Daisy Read's snaps suggest the roof of the pub collapsed.

Holly Tree fire 2017

The roof as it collapsed. Picture: Daisy Read

Holly Tree fire 2017

The flames inside the old pub. Picture: Daisy Read

Holly Tree fire 2017

The roof is destroyed. Picture: Daisy Read

This is not the first time the pub has caught fire.

In July 2014, extensive damage to the commercial kitchen and upper floors of the pub was caused by a washing machine plug which was not switched off at the wall when not in use.


From the By Ben Ashton, 22 FEB 2018

A 92-year-old former pub in Margate that was destroyed in a fire could be transformed into a block of flats, houses and micro-pub.

The Holly Tree pub was destroyed by a fire in April 2017 but now developers want to turn it into an apartment block.

The Holly Tree was built in 1926 as a mock Tudor public house by Charles Reeves and was originally called Ye Olde Charles Inn before it changed names.

It closed down in April 2016 and the building remained intact, but it was destroyed by a fire one year later on April 16, 2017.

Developers Kentish Projects hope to build a four-storey apartment block comprising of 39 flats and a micro-pub, as well as three detached houses and a parking area.

A planning application was submitted to Thanet District Council on January 26 and the plans are out for public consultation until March 1.

In a statement by Kentish Projects, which was prepared on their behalf by POD Architects in January 2018, it said the proposals are of a “high-quality design” and will create a “landmark building”.

The developers believe it will create an efficient use of the site which lies in a “highly sustainable location”.

Holly Tree plans 2018

An artists impression by POD Architects shows how the site would look (Image: POD Architects)

The statement said: “The proposal will also meet the dual objectives of delivering much-needed housing in Thanet, whilst enhancing the public realm by the quality of the design.

“It is a proposal that provides quality on a prominent site at the heart of Cliftonville creating a modern replacement use for the former fire damaged pub.

“This would support local policy objectives to increase the housing numbers of Thanet and provide much needed residential development along with a modern public facility to replace The Holly Tree Public House.”

They also said the fire has caused a “considerable amount of impact” on the visual aesthetic of the building from the street, creating an “eyesore”.

Holly Tree 2017

The Holly Tree pub, pictured in July 2017, was left in a terrible state.

But the plans have been met with strong objections from residents who have raised concerns about the scale of the development, visual design of the building, insufficient parking and potentially increased traffic.

A number of letters have been sent to the council and made publicly available online.

Holly Tree plans 2018

The plans include a micro-pub which is intended to replace the Holly Tree (Image: POD Architects)

'Entirely inappropriate'

David Wood, who lives in Cliftonville, said the development is “entirely inappropriate” for what he describes as a “quiet residential area”.

He wrote: “The majority of the properties in the area are two-storey Tudor style houses and The Holly Tree was built in a similar style.

“The new development in comparison is overbearing, poor quality in design and materials would adversely affect the appearance of the area.

“The flats would overlook my garden and many others would result in a significant loss of amenity.”

Holly Tree plans 2018

Residents aren't happy with the proposed height and design of the buildings (Image: POD Architects)

Mr Wood explained how the development would house more than 100 occupants and pointed to the fact there is only 15 parking spaces in the plans and three allocated for disabled blue badge holders.

He added: “There would therefore be a massive increase in traffic and on-street parking on an already busy corner.”


Another resident – Mr Burring – described the potential four-storey block of flats as a “monstrosity”.

He wrote: “It would be completely out of character with the surrounding properties and without question have a detrimental effect on property prices, which is totally unacceptable.”

Holly Tree plans 2018

People believe the building is not in keeping with the area (Image: POD Architects)

Derek and Sharan Rogers also questioned the “insufficient” parking arrangements and said there were no plans in place to “preserve parking accessibility” for residents near the site.

George Georgiou wrote: “The building design is not in character with the surrounding residential buildings.

“There is insufficient allocation for parking for residents including the amount allocated for disabled parking.

“The ensuing increased traffic will create serious safety hazards on an already very busy main road on a regular busy bus route.”

Holly Tree plans 2018

Residents have also bemoaned the insufficient parking allocated (Image: POD Architects)

The cause of the fire that destroyed The Holly Tree pub last year was treated as “suspicious” by Kent Police at the time, who confirmed they have never found a culprit.

A police spokesman said: “In terms of our investigation, officers followed up several lines of enquiry, including viewing CCTV footage but a suspect was not identified.”

A Kent Fire and Rescue spokesman said: "The fire was believed to have been started deliberately. The building was not occupied at the time, and a secured door to the rear had been forced open."

The cause of the fire at The Holly Tree was never ascertained.


From the By Kathy Bailes, 22 February 2020.

Clearance at former Holly Tree pub site prepares for 38 home and micropub development.

Clearance of the remains of the fire hit Holly Tree pub debris in Cliftonville is underway.

Holly Tree site 2020

The pub was destroyed by the blaze that ripped through the property in 2017.

An application by Kentish Projects to build 41 flats, three houses and a micro pub at the site was rejected in January last year.

However, in July 2019 a proposal for a part three, part four storey building of 35 flats and a micro-pub, plus three detached homes was given approval, with conditions, on appeal.

Proposals included a scaling back in of units from 42 to 38 and increased parking provision from 18 to 34 spaces plus changes to create landscaped frontage and ‘setting-back’ from Northdown Road -particularly at the corner with Holly Lane.

Appeal documents state the development will contain 30% affordable housing and “would provide a stimulus for further regeneration within the area, particularly given that the application site occupies a ‘gateway’ position into Margate and Cliftonville.”

Holly Tree site proposal

Homes and micropub proposal.

The document adds: “The problems of delivery of housing in Thanet is a particular issue acknowledged recently by the Secretary of State which this statement represents a further material consideration.

“The mismatch between housing need and delivery is of greater significance in Thanet where scheme viability is critical and meeting policy requirements of 30% affordable housing provision as well as other infrastructure contributions and in the case redeveloping a brownfield site must be balanced against lower than average sales values relative to the rest of Kent.”

Thanet council says permission was refused due to the scale of the build being “visually dominant, obtrusive and incongruous,” and failure to enter into a legal agreement to secure affordable housing – now rectified – as well as “increased recreational pressure on the Thanet Coast and Sandwich Bay Special Protection Area (SPA), and Sandwich Bay and Hacklinge Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).”

Holly Tee plans

On appeal the Planning Inspectorate concluded the “building would not have a material adverse effect on the character and appearance of the area,” and imposed several conditions including the need to to limit the servicing hours for the micro-pub.

Suggested developer contributions are 30% affordable housing, £1,824.76 towards the additional bookstock for Cliftonville library, £ 11, 728 towards the Special Protection Area and£28,872 towards the extension of The Limes Surgery, Margate.

The Holly Tree shut its doors in 2016, never fully getting back up to strength after a blaze in 2014 started in the kitchen and ripped through the building.

The pub, formerly "Ye Olde Charles," was built in 1926 by Russell’s Brewery of Gravesend. A typical 1920s roadside inn, it was aimed at motorists visiting nearby Margate. It was named after local architect, Charles Reeve.

During World War II Ye Old Charles was used by pilots and ground crew of RAF Manston.

It is said that actor John LeMesurier used to drink in the pub when he was seeing Carry On actress Hatty Jacques, who used to live in Laleham Close.

In 2013 "Ye Olde Charles" became The Holly Tree until it shut for good in 2016. In April 2017 a fire ripped through the building.

Some 20 firefighters and six engines, including the specialist height vehicle, were used to tackle the blaze which was finally brought under control after some four hours.

The property was so badly damaged that DDS Demolition were on site in the early evening to take down some of the parts of the structure which had become dangerous.



COOKE Lisa 2013-Apr/16


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