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.
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.