Stone Pier leaseholders ‘willing to invest’ if lease is extended

The Stone Pier Photo Frank Leppard

By Jodie Nesling

The leaseholders of Margate’s Stone Pier say they willing to invest money and take over responsibility of the run-down toilets should their contract be renewed.

Margate Harbour Arm Ltd headed by Dr Fiona Sheriff and Graham Knight took on the lease from freeholder, Thanet council in 2008 on a £1 per year peppercorn rent

This was extended in 2014 and is due to expire in February, 2021.

Dr Sheriff say they have tried to engage with Thanet council on numerous occasions and offered to take responsibility for the dilapidated toilets in 2018  after they were temporarily closed due to vandalism.

Vandalism was one of the reasons for the overnight closure of the loos

She said: “We would welcome a competitive tender exercise so we could invest but we have had little response from them (TDC) so far. It is a fantastic place and we are proud of the work we have achieved so far. It has vibrant businesses, galleries and bars. We would like to do more.”

The company claims they have every desire to invest further to improve the area but can’t invest at the moment due to the short amount of time left on the lease.

Thanet council currently has responsibility for the toilets and walkways and invested £100,000 to install new railings following several accidents and a fatality.

It follows rumours that the pier’s lease was to be taken back by the authority.

But, according to Dr Sheriff, officers have recently confirmed it is their intention to tender the contract out.

Thanet council says it can not comment on the lease due to commercial sensitivity. The issue of toilet maintenance was raised at a Thanet council meeting last night (July 11).

Margate councillor Rob Yates put forward a petition to get the clock tower toilets reopened. He also commented on the lack of door locks on the harbour arm facilities.


  1. Not only disgusting toilets but whoever allowed the current leaseholders to let the red telephone box stay in the prominent place it is ‘advertising’ Margate but in reality with broken glass and used as a litter bin and alternative public convenience.
    Let someone else take over the lease and run the Pier properly.

  2. What happened to the maintenance of the coloured lights on the edge of the harbour arm? Each year over the past 4 yrs they’ve conked out one by one – I was told teh Harbour Master at RAmsgate is responsible, lost count how many times I reported it and now we are down to only 3 or 4 lights working out of over 20, how poor is that!

  3. Take it back under local authority management as whoever is responsible is not upkeeping it on the peppercorn lease. Grab, Grab, Grab without giving anything back.

  4. Yes totally agree with the comments above. Take it back and make it an area for Margate to be proud of. Not the litter strewn, dirty ‘landmark’ it has become.

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