31 May 2019
submitted by Coombs (Canterbury) Limited
Sunshine Café, Dreamland, Margate - submitted by Coombs (Canterbury) Limited
Enduring relationships developed over 7 years have built a great team with a common aim: to provide a beacon in the town’s regeneration by bringing the iconic symbol of Margate to life.
The Sunshine Café is the most recent in a number of phases Coombs (Canterbury) Limited has undertaken at Dreamland since Thanet District Council purchased the dilapidated site in 2011. Had Thanet District Council not stepped in, the building would have worsened until demolition was the only option – the corrosion of the steel frame was creating cracking and blowing brickwork, allowing more water ingress thereby exacerbating the problem.
A brief overview of the Dreamland’s recovery:
In more detail
Thanet District Council undertook the project management of Phase 2 directly, led by their Heritage Advisor. This helped build ever closer working relationships between client and contractor. Members of Coombs' established supply chain, known for their quality and performance, such as PA Grant, Prima and Judge Architects also continued their involvement from previous phases.
The Sunshine Café built upon Dreamland Phase 1’s use of local subcontractors – Phase 1 captured almost 95% of subcontractor spend within Kent. Phase 2 captured 96% of subcontract spend in Kent, excluding highly skilled/specified specialists (with a limited number of companies nationwide with the required skills) and manufacturer-approved installers.
Phase 2 involved many people with a personal connection with Dreamland. For instance, their site assistant's father was the strongman “the Great Blondini” during the 1950/60s and their surveyor’s grandfather was once responsible for the building’s maintenance. And there were a number of subcontractors with local staff such as All Access (next to Dreamland), Prima Systems (Nonington), Signscope Ltd (Thanet) and Town Carpentry (Broadstairs). Coombs' contracts manager, as a local resident (living half-a-mile away), found it particularly rewarding to be involved in the ongoing regeneration of the town and directly contribute to the positive effects on his local community.
The works at Dreamland have contributed to:
A great sense of personal “ownership” was generated because a lot of the team have been working on projects at Dreamland for nearly a decade. The Coombs team are proud to have worked on the iconic Sunshine Café, and the wider park. This pride and personal “ownership” has already been shared in a variety of ways, such as presenting the project as best practice to the Kent Construction Focus Group and hosting a variety of tours for local interested architects, quantity surveyors and other consultants.
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