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.


    • The RNLI are the (or were) the richest charity in the country, if they want to move, I don’t think they need KCC to cover the cost.

  1. Hmmm . . . interesting that a need for a car park with 86 spaces has been identified at the Turner when, at the same time, the nearest car park at Market Street is earmarked for closure and housing development.

    Surely with steadily increasing visitor numbers to Margate as a whole, there is a need for both car parks ?

    • Bang on Mike! Hasn’t enough Tax Payers money been spent on this project already? Surely there is something more worthy it can be spent on, for all of our benefit, and not just a few arty folk (oops nearly spelt that wrongly!) The Turner gallery should be self funding by now! And please everyone, don’t give me all that stuff about it bringing tourists to Margate, for what to buy a few more ice creams, or glasses of wine in one of the more up market hostelries!

  2. Sm I the only person who is fed up with all our money going on the arty people ? Most of them I would guess are middle class and not short of a few quid. Yet we have families needing food banks, or people providing free meals in school holidays for families that have free school meals, or homelessness or not enough affordable housing. This money should going to the less well of people of thanet not on the well of middle classes or the party people from London.

  3. Stop wasting our money on arty rubbish to appease those who want to enhance their own pleasure.
    Be realistic, the Turner name was useful to create Shorditch on sea but has outlived its appeal. In the 7 years i have lived here i have seen little art there other than pieces that attract derision.
    Margate is aligned to the Dreamland culture not arty London weekenders.

    Please stop wasting our money on your vanity projects. Should you need something useful to enhance then look at the covered seating area near the clocktower where there were six pathetic bundles of bedding yesterday belonging to desperate homeless people even though our councils have been running a winter shelter scheme – get your priorities right, poverty before vanity art. Just think how 1.5 million could help those in need.

    • I was visiting the Turner a year or two ago when Rodin’s “The Thinker” was on display. A Margate geeza, clad in string vest and tracksuit bottom, plus baseball cap wearing gum chewing son were gazing at the statue. They were talking, actually talking, with each other about the piece. For one brief moment, father and son were lifted from the daily grind to a Higher Plain. Just for once, their conceptual horizons had been broadened.

  4. Rather than spending money on an 86-space car park, KCC should be using their money to improve public transport in Thanet, and indeed Kent in general.

  5. What ever happened to the proposal for KCC to build a hotel next door to the TC and lease it out bringing much needed income to both KCC and Thanet by way of additional tourism and revenue.

  6. So, we’ve had almost 10 years of austerity because the tories had to make difficult decisions in the economy, but we can let posh arty folk from London have free entry into the Turner Centre, who now want more of our money to make a car park etc. Not to worry, if you vote Boris back in this will be nothing compared to what he has planned. What have we done to deserve this. Stupidly vote for the money men and have sold out to right wing dogma. Think on folks!

  7. I am in total agreement with comments by “Confused”. Yes, the Turner has attracted more tourism to Margate but not many local residents benefit from that. In fact is more DFLs who have come down and established their own art scene. I would like to know why a car park wasn’t included in the original plans when the Turner was built – very short-sighted at the time. Margate needs signs to direct people to the car parks we already have – as in other towns, names of car parks and spaces available – how many visitors to the town know or even use the car park at the Lido? And that’s a short walk along the prom to The Turner. The £1.5 available needs to go to causes which will benefit those truly in need or even a majority of Thanet residents – such as good public toilets!!

Comments are closed.