Ramsgate to get share of £95million government heritage high streets fund

Ramsgate is one of the towns to be announced for funding Photo Damian Grady

Ramsgate is one of 69 towns across the country which will get a share of a government funded £95 million heritage boost for high streets.

Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced today (September 14) the locations that will benefit from the High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme.

Increasing competition from online outlets is putting high streets across the country under growing pressure. The funding is part of the Government’s drive to help high streets adapt to changing consumer habits by breathing new life into historic buildings and areas.

The initiative will be funded by combining £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund with £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. Some £3 million will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high streets.

F W Woolworth and Company Limited, 12-14 High Street, Ramsgate Photo Historic England Archive

The investment builds on the successful Heritage Action Zones programme, run by Historic England, and will turn empty and underused buildings into creative spaces, offices, retail outlets and housing to support wider regeneration in the successful areas by attracting future commercial investment.

Ramsgate was announced as one of the first Heritage Action Zone areas in 2017.

The funding amounts for each town will be announced in the New Year but a pot of  £14.3 million is earmarked for London and the South East; which has 12 towns with successful bids.

Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “Our nation’s heritage is one of our great calling cards to the world, attracting millions of visitors to beautiful historic buildings that sit at the heart of our communities.

“It is right that we ensure these buildings are preserved for future generations but it is important that we make them work for the modern world.

“This £95 million will help breathe new life into high streets all over England, benefiting businesses, supporting our much-loved buildings and helping to make our communities more attractive places to live, work and visit.”

Crowds at the Royal Victoria Pavilion and Ramsgate Sands, Ramsgate, 1947

The funding will be used for a variety of projects, including: essential repair works in historic buildings and revealing hidden and forgotten features of buildings by restoring shop-fronts and façades; stimulating commercial investment in high streets by demonstrating how historic sites can be successfully repurposed; developing education projects and bespoke events to help reposition historic buildings as community hubs at the heart of local towns and villages and helping to address the UK wide skills shortage of heritage professionals in expert fields like stonemasonry and conservation by providing local property owners, residents and businesses with the opportunity to train in these areas.

Odeon Cinema, King Street, 1936

Emily Gee, Historic England Regional Director for London and the South East, said: “We are delighted that the High Street Heritage Action Zones announced today mean that the historic character and local commitment to Chatham and Ramsgate are being harnessed for regeneration.

“Through partnerships like these, heritage can be a great catalyst for positive change and we look forward to working with the people and businesses of Chatham and Ramsgate to deliver these projects together for the future of the place.”

County councillor Karen Constantine added: “The cash is a bonus and is extremely welcome in Ramsgate. I would like to ensure there is no ‘double counting’ for instance, with the money already going into the Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone. We will need to wait examine the detail to be satisfied this is genuinely additional money. 

“This is part of a set of frenzied announcements by the Prime Minister, which certainly look like a pre-election give away to gain favour with voters. 

“However Ramsgate residents have less disposable income to spend with unemployment being higher than the national average. Unemployment in Thanet is 5.3 % compared with a national average of 2.7 % . An increasing number of people are on Universal Credit, which means less money to spend. 

“The real solution to the high street malaise is to ensure local people have money in their purses and wallets so that they can spend more cash locally. Thanet urgently needs more, better paid, secure employment. Without assessing these critical issues this is little more than a sticking plaster in a place of extreme deprivation.“

Successful funding bid London and south east towns

Chatham Intra










Tower Hamlets



  1. A genuine end to austerity would be the real boost that Ramsgate town centre needs, because peple would spend more in cafes, shops, restauranets etc if they actually had some spare cash to spend. As it is, lots of businesses struggle, especially when there are no day trippers here.

    I’m also interested in if this is really new money or not. Peter Chowney of Hastings District Council had this to say about their town recieving the grant. He thinks there has been some ‘double counting’:

    “Good news that Hastings is to benefit from this fund, with up to £2m allocated to Hastings for a Heritage Action Zone bid put in by Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust, supported by Hastings Council, for improvements to historic buildings in the Trinity Triangle area. And of course, we’ve also been identified as a recipient of funding under the new ‘Towns Fund’.
    However, there is a bit of double counting going on by the government here … or even triple counting! the Heritage Action Zone fund was set up by Historic England a couple of years ago. This announcement means that Hastings has been approved for an initial bid, but a more detailed plan will now have to be submitted, with the final announcement of the amount and exact nature of the project next January. The bid was for £2m, and there are good indications that the amount awarded will be at or close to that amount.
    The recently announced £3.6bn ‘Towns Fund’ appears to be a combination of the Future High Streets Fund (which we didn’t get in the first round) and something else that was announced back in March called the ‘Stronger Towns Fund’.
    Our MP said we’d got £25m under this re-badged ‘Towns Fund’, but the figure hasn’t been confirmed officially and is subject to ether Hastings Council or East Sussex County Council (we don’t know how the process will work at the moment or who will actually be leading it) now putting in a bid for the funding, in the shape of a ‘proposal’. It’s a reflection of a process Hastings Council had already embarked on with the government (via BEIS) several months ago, proposing the idea of a Hastings ‘prospectus’ as a basis for longer term funding, rather than having to depend on short-term, competitive bids. Civil servants had responded favourably to the idea.
    But overall, despite the frenzied announcements by the Prime Minister and others, there’s no real new money in any of this – it’s funding already agreed, but it’s good that some of it is coming to Hastings, even if the rest of the constituency, and Rye in particular, has been completely ignored.”

  2. the best thing for ramsgate would be to repair pavements and blocks in the high street so that disabled people can get round without falling, and a good power wash and rubbish pick up everywhere, that along will make the place more attractive,why would anyone want to open premises when its in such state of decay

  3. Hi Ramsgate & Margate both need help. For Margate I have solution for the upper section of the high st. Using skillful architects, turn it change each shop into a cottage with small front garden and wooden fence. Restricted vehicle access, then concentrate on the lower section connecting to the old town. Another solution that will be ignored by the people in power.

    • Lol concrete is not the idea.
      I saw planning for this was refused
      High streets need to be full of shops
      Shops that will bring tourists in.
      Charity shops don’t pull visitors in
      Our beaches do bring visitors here.
      There is no major shops they pulled out and went to wwx
      Plus the place is dirty unlike spotless broadstairs

    • Margate High Street needs viable shops, not cottages. It’s a long time since Margate was a village- what would be the point of cottages there now?

  4. Ramsgate was going to be developed
    17 years of no build on sea front
    A port that has dredged off that no one wants to do business unless its dodgy like seaborne
    Use the money to get rid of officers
    Money was given to dredge the port it was going elsewhere and the police did nothing I’ve read the report.
    Again Ramsgate has had money
    Builders were given money to build the sea front
    How can ramsgate councilors sit all smug saying it was ready to build have evidence of this yet look at it councilors.
    If you done your homework also labour party 2002 you would know what I know but you had to keep it all secret
    Council can be paid off please

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