New plans revealed for The Centre in Margate

The Centre is set for a colourful new makeover designed by SJ from Margate Superstore

Report by Jodie Nesling and Kathy Bailes

Ambitious plans to rejuvenate The Centre off Margate High Street include pop-up shops, farmers’ markets, and trendy street food stalls.

New owner Sheet Anchor Evolve has agreed an investment programme which it sayswill transform the neglected area into a bright, vibrant and creative space for shoppers and business owners.

Managing director Joe O’Keefe wants to encourage visitors and businesses to spend time in the area. He said: “Our long term vision is to see national retailers and independent businesses grow and flourish with a fantastic, colourful community spirit that enhances the area as a place to work, shop and live.

“Working together with the council, local people and businesses we want to nurture a district of retailers, fashion, pop-ups, street food, farmers markets, workshops, lifestyle, studios, artists, events and designers. A place where collaboration is welcome.”

New design for Margate Superstore

The transition is already underway with record shop and gig venue Elsewhere attracting talented musicians and emerging Thanet talent.

Other independents include second hand clothing shop Margate Superstore and body piercing studio, Glitz n Gadgets. Mainstream stores include Peacocks.

Evolve has been working with Sarah-Jane Cook, best known as SJ, from the Margate Superstore to create a colourful scheme for The Centre. SJ has recommended isle artist, Jade Spranklen, to paint a large mural on the wall opposite Peacocks.

Evolve has commissioned Jade to design a beautiful and colourful abstract map of Margate which she will be painting once the area has been prepped.

SJ and Oscar

The Margate Superstore  was opened last year by SJ and Oscar Lowton. 

SJ has a background in  architecture and fashion while Oscar’s experience is also fashion and vintage wear.

They both have other fashion-related businesses and have run pop up shops over the last 6 years.

Stretch Outsider gallery, run by Dean Stalham, will shut its doors on June 5 and move to a new site in the town.

Evolve say the proposals for The Centre will mean large vacant units being split and made available as affordable work/studio and retail space on shorter rent leases or as pop up/markets and space being made available for local charities and community workshops to use.



  1. Hello. You can publish my eMail. I expect it is too late, to put my suggestion forward, but here goes, thinking outside of the box, which most people are frightened to take up. Let’s take the upper section of the high street, bearing in mind at present it is used for alcohol, and dealings. Cast the wasters aside and convert all the shops into small cottages with a twee front gdn and fence, all the way up to and beyond the old cinema. Did anyone else suggest this or is it down to lack of imagination, on money grabbing ideas heading the list of short sighted, projects. I do wish someone would contact me as my replies are always ignored. Regards very frustrated local

    • Or convert the Centre into houses and flats and encourage the return of small shops and businesses to the high street.

  2. Nice bright colours just right for spray paint artists in the dead of night. Margate and the sea front is slowly changing its image. Is this the right image we want to attract. ?

  3. I can’t see this being the success it’s hoped to be. I agree totally with what others have said about this project,in particular with making it into a much needed area for housing,be it flats or cottages with gardens. Margate’s old town seems to be doing well thanks to the Turner Gallery; the high street shops have had varied success since Woolworth and Marks and Spencer left, and Primark closed to join others at Westwood Cross. Public footfall to popular shops whether in or out of the season should indicate popularity and what sort of shopping experience works.

  4. Funny, I could have sworn they had market stalls & pop-up shops there just a few years ago, must have dreamed the whole thing. Sorry, but those shades are vomit inducing-guess the idea is to make it a hipster beacon like the old town.

  5. Put some floral decoration around the area. ( Too much bricks and concrete in the place. Maybe some hanging baskets. The toilets need to be refurbished with an attendant in situ and make a charge to use the toilets and to save them from the moronic vandals that would have field day with the revamped area. Finally the three entry points to the centre MUST all be gated entry points locked at nights otherwise it will soon revert back to the disgusting state it’s been for the last few years

  6. I fully encouragea any idea to get closed boarded up shops reopened, i often visit the old town but stopped using Margate centre and the high st years ago solely because of the greed of the council and the parking fees. Address the parking and i feel more visitors would return along with shop keepers.

  7. Whatever you do, without free parking Margate will remain a dead zone. Putting bright colours on the dead will not redirected them.

  8. Bring back independent shops in the centre, I welcome any scheme that encourages independent shops back to Margate. We should all be using more public transport anyway.

  9. Margate is being killed by greed. I can’t see what a splash of paint is going to do if the shops are still empty of quality traders with quality goods at decent prices. Lower rents and rates and put in place a couple of hours free parking. Another thought: we have many talented people in Margate (graffiti artists among them) why not give them the chance to put their work on the walls thus exposing their talents and giving them pride in their home town.

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