County councillors to discuss £1.5million funding plan for Turner Contemporary

Turner Contemporary Photo Frank Leppard

Kent County Councillors will discuss legal requirements related to the £1.5million grant towards a £2million project to reconfigure and update Turner Contemporary (TC) and the Rendezvous site in Margate.

The project, which will be carried out in two phases in January and then September next year and now appears to be above the previously announced £1.7million, will include creation of an 86 space, fee charged car park to bring income into the gallery.

Cash will used be used to upgrade the kitchen and shop, install LED lighting to reduce running costs, carry out a broadband upgrade and introduce AV equipment .

There will also be automatic front and gallery doors to improve access, and Increase and upgrade to toilets, new signs, a CCTV upgrade and external storage.

Arts Council England will contribute £495,000 to the scheme.

A report to councillors says: “Since opening in 2011, Turner Contemporary has received over 3,000,000 visits, double the estimated annual figure of 150,000 for which the building was designed.

Photo Frank Leppard

“Investment is required to make the building fit for purpose, improve the visitor experience and to enable TC to grow the business of the gallery to ensure it is sustainable into the future and, in turn, enable KCC to reduce its revenue funding over a phased period.

“KCC has continued to support the gallery as part of the arts infrastructure across the county in recognition of the contribution made to community wellbeing, regeneration and quality of life for Kent residents.”

Kent County Council invested £6.4 million of the original  £17.5 million spend on the art gallery. Other funders were Thanet District Council, which provided the land, the now defunct South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), with £4 million, Arts Council England with support to the value of £4.1 million as well as fundng from the European Union.

Margate RNLI

The work includes the need for a Memorandum of Understanding and Collaboration Agreement with Turner Contemporary, the RNLI, Margate Yacht Club and Arts Council England.

Margate RNLI and Margate Yacht Club both use the Rendezvous site.

Margate Yacht Club recently put its Fort Hill property up for sale with plans to reinvest into facilities.

Margate RNLI has been investigating options for a new base.

The RNLI will be served notice on the site, at latest when the lease expires in April 2021, for the current boathouse which is based behind Turner Contemporary.

Tai Shani, Turner Prize 2019 entry, courtesy Turner Contemporary and the artist. Photograph by David Levene 

The current site will become untenable as Turner Contemporary carries out the expansion plans RNLI investigatory works at the harbour were carried out last year.

Councillors at the meeting on Thursday are expected to recommend entering into the necessary legal agreements for the project.

A suggestion for approving a large scale capital programme proposal –  estimated at £6million – was previously included in options for KCC but was not as the preferred course of action.

Turner Contemporary is currently hosting this year’s Turner Prize.