Carl Freedman Gallery plans for Margate’s former Thanet Press site get the go-ahead

The Thanet Press site

Planning permission has been granted for part of the Thanet Press site in Margate to open as a second venue for London’s renowned Carl Freedman Gallery.

In October Mr Freedman submitted a planning application to create the gallery, offices and one-bed flat at the site in Union Crescent/Princes Street. Permission from Thanet council was confirmed yesterday (December 4).

The 1960s commercial building  will also house Freedman’s print publishing business Counter Editions.

Planning documents, from architects Matheson Whiteley, say: “Carl Freedman Ltd also operates ‘Counter Editions’ a fine art print publishing company. It works with the world’s leading artists making limited edition, signed prints in different media.

The gallery will be in the Princes Street part of the premises

“In the print studio at Union Crescent there will be primarily two kinds of printing presses – screen print and litho press. Both these methods require small scale, manually operated presses and employ artisanal techniques.

“The people working at one time on producing a print are typically a master printer, the artist and a printers assistant

”It is therefore the case that the proposed mixed use will include creative production processes that have an inherently close historical relationship to the industrial heritage of this specifc site.”

The gallery will be open from 10am to 4pm and will create 6 jobs, 3 full-time and 3 part-time.

Speaking to The Isle of Thanet News when we exclusively revealed the story in March, a gallery spokesman said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to present larger scale solo presentations by our artists as well as more expansive curated shows.

“Margate is going through an amazing transformation, led by a growing art community, and we are excited to be a part of the future of the town’s creative-led regeneration.”

Artist Tracey Emin confirmed in October that she will move to Margate and open a studio at the Thanet Press site by next July.

Speaking at the launch of her My Bed installation at Turner Contemporary Ms Emin said: “I have just bought a big studio here and I’m going to work here.

“The studio should be finished in July so I am hoping to come back (to Margate) by then.”

A planning application for Ms Emin’s studio is being prepared.

Thanet Press closed in 2011 with the loss of 74 jobs following financial troubles.

An application to turn the site into 64 flats, made by BHD Architects on behalf of GTL Property Management, was refused and an appeal against the decision in 2015 was dismissed.

Jonathan Viner, who is a director of Union Crescent Property Limited, which paid £635,000 for the historic building last year, has sold the 10,000 sq. ft space to Carl Freedman and intends to open his own second gallery within the remaining 20,000 sq ft of the building.

Speaking to The Art Paper earlier this year he said he is in discussions with partners and aims to create an “arts district” in Margate.

A planning application for Mr Viner, who is also director of Jonathan Viner Galleries and Margate natural skin and body care firm Haeckels, is being prepared.