Artist Tracey Emin gets go-ahead for Thanet Press studio and flat conversion

Tracey Emin, at the launch of the My Bed installation at Turner Contemporary

An application from artist Tracey Emin to convert part of the former Thanet Press site in Margate into an artist’s studio and one bedroom flat has been granted.

The ‘My Bed’ artist  will convert part of the complex of buildings on the southern side of Union Crescent to the east of the junction with Cecil Square and opposite the junction with Pump Lane.

The studio and flat will be at the Union Crescent frontage, together with part of a 1950’s section of the former printworks complex, which lies at the rear of the site with frontage onto Prince’s Street.

The artist confirmed plans to move to the town during the opening of her My Bed exhibition at Turner Contemporary in October.

The Isle of Thanet News had exclusively revealed her intentions for renewing Margate connections following an interview when she switched on the Dreamland neon sign at the park’s reopening last May.

In October 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.

“Margate has real energy and fantastic architecture, sunsets and seascapes and beaches. I think it has a really good chance of becoming a fantastic epicentre. London feels like it is completely crushing me.

Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty

“In Margate Turner Contemporary has boosted the whole economy and where there were boarded up shops in the High Street there are now fantastic boutiques, vintage shops and interesting restaurants.

“I do not want to wake up to London, I want to wake up and be inspired by the same things that inspired Turner.”

Documents lodged by planning agent John Elvidge, stated: “The proposed change of use to incorporate artist’s studio and residential uses…(is) bringing back into beneficial use part of a vacant, commercial building, creating employment in a sustainable form when combined with residential accommodation, as well as contributing to the cultural diversity of the district, entirely appropriate to the site.

“The industrial character of the building enhances the streetscene, reinforces local distinctiveness and adds to the telling of the story of Margate. Industrial buildings are not well represented in this conservation area, and this is therefore a rare survival that tells its own important story about historic Margate that adds another layer to the town’s typical associations with elegant residential developments and seaside entertainments.”

A section of the building within the centre of the site will be removed to create a full height space from ground floor to the roof, providing an impressive, atrium above the centre of the ground floor studio space.

The 54-year-old’s studio will be alongside the new Carl Freedman gallery which received planning approval in December.

The  building  will house Freedman’s gallery and a print publishing business Counter Editions.

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

The rest of the Thanet Press site is owned by Jonathan Viner. Mr Viner is a director of Union Crescent Property Limited, which paid £635,000 for the historic building in 2016.

The Thanet Press site

Mr Viner sold a 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.

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.

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.

Ms Emin’s application was granted on Thursday (April 5).


  1. Great news for Thanet and especially Margate. Good to see that outside investors can see the benefit of realising a good return on their investment and creating a benefit to all.

  2. Good luck in this new venture you really deserve it for all the work you have done in bringing life back into tired old Margate

  3. The local creatives seem to think that isn’t a good, good thing for Margate-which it certainly seems to be a positive thing to me!

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