Ramsgate scoops £1.1million High Street Heritage Action Zone grant

Ramsgate town Photo Brian Whitehead

Ramsgate is one of 68 historic high streets to be awarded with cash under the  High Street Heritage Action Zone fund.

The award of £1.1million is aimed at helping the high street to recover from declining footfall and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by turning disused buildings into homes, shops, workplaces and community spaces.

The £95 million government-funded High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme, which is delivered by Historic England, unlocks the potential of high streets, fuelling economic, social and cultural recovery.

The lead partners, which are mostly local authorities, are working with Historic England to develop and deliver schemes that will transform and restore disused and dilapidated buildings.

The High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative is funded with £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund and £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. A further £3 million will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme.

Up to 48% of the nation’s retail stock was built before 1919 and the loss of business occupiers in these historic buildings is placing them at risk and undermining the character, local identity and viability of the high street.

The HSHAZ scheme also includes £7.4 million to fund four years of cultural activities to engage communities with their local high streets, and celebrate the role and importance of these historic areas as hubs of the community. The Cultural Programme is led by Historic England, in partnership with The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England.

The money will fund two arms of the programme, the first is grants distributed through cultural consortia set up by Local Authority partners. These will work with artists and creative organisations local to the high streets to develop their ideas and deliver activity.

The second part of the programme is a series of national cultural commissions. Historic England is asking creatives to respond to briefs that include capturing the everyday spirit of high streets, and connecting high streets across the country; this includes a large-scale outdoor arts celebration of the high street and a four year photography commission to document the changing face of the high street.

‘Picturing Ramsgate’ – an outdoor exhibition of photos celebrating the town’s rich architectural legacy – was installed on September 7 around the town.

The images are from Historic England book, Ramsgate: The Town and its Seaside Heritage. The book is part of the Ramsgate’s Heritage Action Zone (HAZ), first launched in April 2017.

Ramsgate: The Town and its Seaside Heritage combines documentary research with insights from the town’s fascinating architectural legacy, illustrated with new and archival photographs.

Written by Historic England architectural historian Geraint Franklin, it features a foreword by writer, architectural historian and President of the Ramsgate Society Clive Aslet, and contributions from Nick Dermott, conservation architect and heritage advisor to Thanet District Council, and Allan Brodie architectural historian and seaside specialist at Historic England. New photography throughout is by Historic England photographer Chris Redgrave.

The study is the first publication to come from the Historic England and Liverpool University Press partnership, and is part of the Informed Conservation series.

Ramsgate: The Town and its Seaside Heritage is available to buy from the Liverpool University Press website for £14.99.


  1. Ramsgate high street needs a “pull factor” as it’s not long to Christmas the high street should have a massive display of Multicoloured lights from the Royal end of Harbour Street to Chatham Street and the plains of Waterloo to Addinton Street thousands of LED lights not Necessarily Christmas themed because they can stay up all year round. Thousands would come to see them which in turn would pull the shoppers in.

  2. From what I have heard about Ramsgate the first thing that money should be used for is to drive out all the little s***s selling drugs and causing havoc. Same could be said for the whole of Thanet, even the overrated Broadstairs has its issues.

    When I drive through Ramsgate it always looks like it has so much potential. Viewed a few decent properties there over the last couple of months, but as it is I dont think I could move there.

    • I lived in Broadstairs for 7 years after I retired, big mistake! The problem was foreign students by the hundreds blocking the pavements, making it impossible to do a bit of shopping, or go for a pint! Also thousands of people descending on the town in the summer, and especially during Folk or Dickens week, again making it impossible to do a bit of shopping etc. Many older people ended up eating out of the Budgeons shop,in the petrol station at the Broadway!

      I decided to move to Ramsgate, and have never regretted it, because its pedestrianised! Yes, you do see a few foreign students now and again, but its easy to walk round them when they are mob handed! What Ramsgate needs is more security, especially at night! The town and harbour are a big tourist draw, but there is a lot of lawlessness, and during the day it could dissuade the occasional idiot on a bike, or an illegal electric scooter! The money won’t go far if its intended to try and turn empty shops into accommodation, the first thing that will be required is exterior fire escapes, and their own front door, and that won’t come cheap!

    • Walking through Ramsgate is much better than driving through it. Apart from causing pollution, you will have missed a lot of interesting things.

  3. Whilst it was in the past.
    Ramsgate was always known for is hanging moving displays and lights from St Augustines though to the harbour and throughout the town both in the summer and at Christmas.
    A recreation using modern technology would certainly help and of course all the craft in the harbour with their lights at Christmas would bring in more visitors and money into the town.
    Perhaps voluntary designers for displays etc rather than overpriced advisors and installers would make full use of the grant.

  4. first thing to attract people is making the pavements from car park to high street suitable for disabled people they are a nightmare, Next is clean and redo the high street bricks paths/roads perhaps then you may get people coming back

  5. Oh no if Ramsgate Town Council get their hands on the money they will give to their friends who want to keep the unemployed as down and outs and stopping MANSTON Airport reopening. RTC give taxpayers away, keep a close eye on the money folks. We don’t want the money to just disappear and nothing to show for it.

    • There will be NO Ramsgate if Manston reopens! Why can’t you see this! Filthy polluting cargo aircraft will fly in over the Harbour and town at less than 300 meters height, would you like to sit out eating a meal overlooking the Harbour, with this happening 2 or more times an hour, Duurh!

      • Yes, but save Manston wanted this

        The four previous owners never made it a going affair full of promise all of them.

        Its okay when others come to attack us Ramsgate be gone that’s why it was made there.

        Heritage fund… Gosh more tax payers money thrown at a failing council

      • No one asked what you are full of! Its self evident low flying four engined cargo planes arriving from out at sea, over Weatherspoons, at less than 300 meters high, scraming over the town at 250/200 meters, and much less at St Lawrence, and the Nethercourt estate, two or more an hour, will rip the heart out of Ramsgate, and the CT11 postal district, although all of Thanet will suffer noise and air pollution! And for what, to make American Hedge Fund managers richer, Duurh! Its not too late to contribute to the Judicial Review to stop this madness, go to Crowd Funding Justice!

  6. Ramsgate has huge potential and is a wonderful community. Of course it has its issues, like everywhere in the UK.

    A good wash, scrub up, some nice lighting and festive displays and some creative use of empty shops is ‘all’ it would take.

    I am always pleasantly surprised how any people are in the town shopping most days,it shows not everyone wants to, or can, go to Westwood and our town still has many wonderful independent shops.

    Go Ramsgate. Let’s brighten up.

  7. I only hope the money is more wisely spent than the ridiculous situation Westgate and other Thanet Towns have found themselves in with the new impractical, unnecessary and total waste of money one way systems that have been set up. All decided upon in a hurry because of a claim deadline and handled in an uneducated way by KCC Highways.
    One other thing, £1,100,000 may sound like a lot of money but sadly today it isn’t which is another good reason that the way in which it is spent should be considered very carefully by TDC and the Ramsgate Town Council and not decided upon until the opinions of Thanet people are taken into consideration.

  8. I would like to see one of the disused shops turned into a community space for the over 60s,and retired people of any age , where we could have Knit and talk , Bingo, cafe for dinners and teabreaks, crochet workshop at entertainment and information area , I would not mind paying a reasonable admissions charge , It would bring a lot of people into the town to shop each day , the loss of age UK was very upsetting 😁

  9. Leaving aside the point that, if Ramsgate NEEDS this money(and it does) why far more money than this has been REMOVED from Thanet by Westminster governments for the past ten years. This sounds like a large amount but it is peanuts compared to the amount Thanet, and Ramsgate, have LOST from the Support Grants that should have come AUTOMATICALLY from central government.
    But, hidden away in the idea, is a little nugget of sensible opinion. It talks of using empty buildings in the centre for housing. For too long, it has seemed totally sacrosanct to keep commercial/retail premises as shops and only shops. But the out-of-town shopping centres, large supermarkets, and , now , home deliveries, have reduced the need for town centre shops.
    Why not accept this and convert to houses and flats?
    This will bring more people into the town centres. People who will just pop to the local grocer, baker or pub without much problem, thus re-invigorating the shops that remain.
    It will make the town centre more of a community , even after dark, so that the streets do not just echo to the shouts of yobs and drug dealers.
    More actual residents means more eyes watching the streets and informing the Police of events. Drug dealers will be uncomfortably aware that there are flats overlooking every corner.
    So why not use the money to convert derelict shops into homes?

  10. I’d love to see the old Busy Bees shop (opposite the junction between High St and Chatham St) converted into a community space of the like mentioned by Lorraine. It’s huge and one of the only eyesores left unoccupied. The tall one next to the post office is surely a contender as well. I’m loving seeing the regeneration slowly creeping along the High St these past few years. We’re all sick of the dealers and troublemakers but Ramsgate is still a fantastic place to live. Love bringing my kids up here.

    • Hi Liz the shop next to the Post Office has a buyer found by us and Busy Bees has had an offer from cash buyers put forward today. Your dreams are coming true but the PP isn’t for a Community Centre.

  11. So many closed down shop’s on the high st and neighbouring streets.some of the shops have relocated or just gone out of business.
    Maybe offer developers a grant to convert the empty shops to decent residential use,some of the hs shops are not suitable for residential and would need demolition then build decent residential.
    Tdc need be more proactive when dealing with developers.

    If Tdc dont allow change of use.

    Offer grants for shop front shutters, premises cctv,smartwater and other appropriate security. Really need permanent shops,offices on the high st. Not pop up’s or any more bar’s.
    The shutters will help reduce the amount of high st shop windows smashed over night,its usual to see new smashed windows on a daily basis.
    Oh and ensure the £1.1 is actually spent on regeneration, not pocketed.

  12. Community spaces for old and young would be good. P.s I don’t fit either of those demographics but the town would benefit. Encourage some creative shops and also some practical shops to open in the centre. A thriving, interesting, useful and safe town centre would be a huge benefit to the town.

  13. Nice, hopefully the council will invest wisely unlike the last 50 years of curruption, which has plagued this lovely old town

  14. Jo Hanchett – that’s exciting news about both properties. Fingers crossed both sales go through. It’s all progress 🙂

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