Government funding of £750k for Margate High Street building to be used for ‘necessary repairs’

The former Marks & Spencer building in Margate

A government award of £750,000 to bring the former M&S/ Store 21 building in Margate back into use will be used for repairs to the property.

The grant was allocated to Thanet council by the Government as part of £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery.

The money is to be used to drive economic development, focusing on urban regeneration, improved transport, better broadband connectivity or skills and culture.

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.

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The proposal delivers specifically against the government’s criteria of ‘improvements to town centres including repurposing empty commercial properties’.

“The timescales for submitting our proposal as part of this process were very tight, but we were clear that this asset provides a significant regeneration opportunity for the town. The government’s accelerated funding is to support local areas and bring forward regeneration projects in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on town centres. This is in addition to the work we are progressing with the Margate Town Deal Board on the development of the Margate Town Investment Plan.

“Now we have received the funding we will be working at pace to flesh out the specific details of the project. Our ambition is to use the funding to carry out the necessary repairs required to make 53-57 High Street Margate secure, restoring a significant space within a key part of the town centre.”

The money comes from the government’s Towns Fund but is separate to the bid being made under the Margate Town Deal which could see up to £25million granted for projects to rejuvenate the town.

Margate’s Town Investment Plan for government funding to be submitted in December