A government award of £750,000 has been made to bring the former M&S site in Margate back into use.
The grant has been made under the Towns Fund from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Margate was one of more than 100 towns in England given a share of an £80million pot to kick start regeneration projects.
The funding is to be used to support projects that will make a difference to the area, such as new green spaces, the creation of pop-up businesses spaces, pedestrianising streets to encourage walking or cycling and creating new community hubs to support those living alone.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: ”Our Towns Fund will help to share prosperity across the country and level-up. This £80 million funding for immediate investment is a real boost for our towns and will help them thrive with investment in transport, technology, skills and culture.
“It will give towns across the opportunity to drive economic growth and improve prospects for their communities, which will be vital as the country respond to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We are fully behind our high streets and will support local areas to build back better.”
The funding is part of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund. In September last year, Margate was shortlisted as one of 101 towns in England that could potentially benefit from up to £25million of funding from the introduction of the new Government Towns Fund.
The funding for the M&S building is understood not to come from the possible £25million earmarked for Margate.
The money is to be used to drive economic development, focusing on urban regeneration, improved transport, better broadband connectivity, skills and culture.
The council has brought together a Board, including representatives from public and private sectors, that is required to develop and submit a Town Investment Plan by the end of October. The board did not put forward the M&S proposal.
The plan needs to focus on urban regeneration; planning and land use; skills and enterprise infrastructure and connectivity.
A People Dem Collective cultural centre at the former Primark building in Margate, skateparks, pedestrianision and rewilding the coastline are just some of the other ideas that have been put forward to be considered as part of Margate’s Town Deal funding bid.
This first tranche of funding has been released with the aim of kickstarting regeneration projects under the scheme.
The Margate M&S has been shut for some 14 years. The building freehold was bought in 2006 by Thanet council for £4.5 million with grant funding.
It has since been used by Turner Contemporary and then Store 21 until its closure in 2017.