The 38 projects shortlisted for Margate Town Deal funding

Proposal for an arts, education, and retail centre at the derelict Arlington arcade Photo John Horton

Thirty-eight projects have been chosen to go through to the next stage of bids for Margate Town Deal funding.

Margate was one of 101 places given the opportunity last year to bid for funding of up to £25 million as part of the government’s £3.6 billion Towns Fund. The fund aims to support urban regeneration, skills development and improved connectivity by giving each place its own Town Deal.

The money is not guaranteed and the first stage of the Town Deal is to have a Town Investment Plan. The plan sets out priorities for Margate’s future, summarises investments already known to be taking place in the town as well as proposing new projects which have been submitted by the community and could be funded by the Town Deal.

In all 86 projects were submitted to the Town Deal Board and these were filtered down to 39 for the next round.

A number of the shortlisted projects involve Margate’s Theatre Royal with proposals to combine the theatre in a scheme with The London Tavern and other neighbouring properties. Schemes for Margate Winter Gardens, the Lido and Clifton Baths and Arlington Arcade are also included.

The 38 schemes (some sites are subject of more than one shortlisted project)

A proposal to bring back into public the Andrews Passage footpath which provides a pedestrian link between the seafront and the High Street. A second accepted bid suggest using a CPO or remedial works charged to any legal owner discovered.

A multi-purpose arts, education, and retail centre at the derelict Arlington arcade, formerly home to a selection of small shops.

Conversion of one of the old coach parks near the Viking playground into an outdoor, vandalism proof, basketball court for public use.

Central Margate redevelopment including the council offices, Gateway Building, Magistrates Courts, 53-57 High Street, Adult Education Centre and other surrounding buildings

Regeneration of Clifton Street in Cliftonville by Thanet Community Land Trust Ltd (TCLTL), established to buy or build housing as affordable accommodation, for those wanting to stay in their communities, but unable to afford the rents.

The Cliftonville coastal project to create new and sustainable growth by upgrading both protected spaces and assets on the Cliftonville coastline leading to mixed-use leisure led development.

Cliftonville Upper Promenade project to bring back facilities to Cliftonville upper promenade which is part of the Viking. The bid is for the reinstallation of kiosks along the promenade at locations with existing power and water. This will provide multiple points along the Viking Coastal Route in Cliftonville for the sale of refreshments, goods and an RNLI kiosk. Facilities to allow people to spend more time at the Walpole Bay pool and beach.   Upgrades to Hodges Gap Promenade including beach huts (social enterprise), information point and shared work/exhibition space and further changing facilities for swimmers.

The historical inner harbour of the Clifton Baths Photo Thanet Hidden History

Lido and Clifton Baths renovation to its original function of providing health and wellbeing to all  The Clifton Baths were carved out of the cliff face next to the extreme western boundary of Margate during the 1820s. The facility later had multiple cafes, bars, dance halls together with observation and sunbathing terraces, and could accommodate up to 7,000 people. The Clifton Baths are lIsted Grade II, and the site is within a conservation area. Until recently, the underground parts of the site were full of rubble. In 2017 the Wellcome Trust gave Thanet District Council a grant of £15,000 to carry out research into the site. In March 2019, the Coastal Revival Fund awarded £45,000 to clear rubble from the site and carry out photographic, topographical and structural surveys. These works are now completed. Structural surveys have revealed that the structure is repairable.

Further shortlisted Lido submissions include proposals for -Education+Health+Fitness 2) Retail-bar & hospitality 3) Performance-platform stage 4) a naturally heated outdoor public pool. The aim is for the redevelopment to become a publicly owned asset

Margate Creative Arts Quarter including the Theatre Royal with additional buildings, purpose Built Arts School / Hawley Square (KCC owned ) and the remaining undeveloped 50% of the Former Thanet Press.

Theatre Royal Photo Sheradon Dublin

Another Theatre Royal proposal suggesting plans to make it a self-sustaining centre of a Cultural District Margate along with adjacent Grade II Listed 19 Hawley Square. The freeholder of both properties is Thanet District Council. Attached to No 19 is a public house, the ‘London Tavern’ which is currently for sale for £475,000. Adjoining the backstage of the theatre are the Grade II LIsted 15 & 16 Hawley Square; The proposal is to restore the historic theatre and provide new foyer, box office and backstage spaces, to restore 19 Hawley Square and its pub to create a 12 bedroom hotel together with 250msq of restaurant and bar space, and to create 550msq of community, office and rehearsal space at 15/16 Hawley Square. A business plan, costings and proposals to RIBA Stage 1, has already been developed for the Theatre Royal complex by The Soho Theatre.

Further theatre proposals with Living Arts Margate (LAM) to revitalise a  significant grouping of underutilised and vacant buildings to create an internationally-significant cultural asset. Centred on Margate’s Grade II* Listed Theatre Royal, an expanded site encompasses Grade II Listed 19 Hawley Square and public house the ‘London Tavern’, reunited to become flexible accommodation for visiting creatives and guests, a restaurant and events space. Georgian houses 15 & 16 Hawley Square as office, back-of- house and studio space for LAM and its partners, with technology suites and training / learning facilities; and a portion of the Thanet Press site currently owned by Nicholas Kirkwood. This extension into the Thanet Press site would provide flexible rehearsal and performance space and create a new front-of-house area connecting the theatre building and larger site .

Margate Young Creatives to develop the Queens Hall (Winter Gardens), to a space for “Young Creatives”, mirroring a similar initiative at the Camden Roundhouse This would be a way the venue could give back to the community by offering opportunities for young locals. The plan allows people aged 11-25 to get involved in music, media and/or performing arts, whilst learning teamwork and other interpersonal skills. The hall would become; 8x studio pods, 2x meeting/rehearsal rooms, 2x recording studios, 150 capacity performance space/rehearsal studio. Part two of the plan would be to create a new kitchen and function space. The function business will move from its previous space in the Queens Hall.

Employing a Funding and Philanthropy Manager

Request a ten-year lease from KCC for the promenade space at the back of the venue, to operate as a private car park.

Create 12 new permanent jobs and protect the current 26 established and 124 casual jobs currently supported by the venue.

Open School East (OSE) which provides free arts education programmes and creative pathways to communities least likely to access traditional provision due to financial, social or cultural barriers. OSE works with schemes including East Kent Mencap, Garden Gate Project and Quarterdeck. In July 2020, OSE moved into 39 Hawley Square, a 5-storey Grade II listed building, however this does not have disabled access and OSE would like to carry out works to make the site accessible to all.

Destination Dreamland – a culture and arts centre hosting public and private conferencing, mixed entertainment (music, theatre, cinema interactive etc) exhibitions and restaurants within a (currently derelict) Art Deco, Grade II listed seafront property

Former Crazy Golf Site. Ethelbert Crescent – a football/volleyball pitch

Brutalist architectural concrete stairs leading from the Queen’s Promenade clifftop  down to the Walpole Tidal Pool to be listed and properly preserved

Margate Enterprise Centre to help young people start businesses

Margate Museum and Tudor House expansion to include Old Town Hall – Curating a Margate Timeline, housing Mayor’s Parlour, Margate Town Council, Permanent exhibition, community centre, Visitors’ Centre and cafe (indoor) and outdoor hospitality expansion

Margate Skatepark -Street area obstacle course and a classic bowl/pool section, as well as a beginners area where lessons can be given and also room for a possible cafe area. The proposal is to have a parking structure built above it to avoid losing valuable parking spaces and also to double as a roof with flood lighting fitted to the underside of the first floor to illuminate the skatepark in the evenings.

National Seaside Heritage Centre, Margate – The new centre would be a national centre of excellence for British seaside heritage and home to the Dreamland  Heritage Trust and its archive. A place for visitors to understand the social and cultural significance of the British seaside and the role it played in the development of tourism, transport and the economy. The centre would serve the local community as a focal point for the development of current youth culture and provide opportunities in work and training in partnership with local educational establishments and businesses. The centre would also appeal to older Thanet residents as a place to remember their experiences of Dreamland and the seaside. A community hub to provide volunteering opportunities and to help improve mental health and wellbeing and help to combat loneliness in a fun and happy environment. There is also scope for exploring the need for archive services for a range of other projects, museums and organisations for storage, cataloguing, expertise and access for the range of smaller organisations who are not able to fund their own archives.

Newgate Gap building and kiosks – The proposal is to construct a five-storey green hybrid arts and digital learning building with café and restaurant on the footprint of the former club and to restore the two lower kiosks as units providing hire and food and drink retail. Initial business plan, costings and design proposals have been developed by Newgate Gap Gallery with Studio Gray and Leask Architecture.

How the centre could look Illustrations by @greenpencil3d

People Dem Collective National Cultural Centre at the former Primark building in Margate. To encourage dialogue and ultimately, bringing local people together to facilitate systemic change, promote healing and continue the work of ancestors with the creation of space, engagement and inclusion for Black, Brown & Diaspora communities, with wide-ranging economic and social benefits for the town, its residents and visitors. A holistic, year-round programme of events and activities including workshops, educational courses, drop-in sessions, a library and art gallery and exhibition space. In the off-season, the Centre will be a hub of connectivity and development for local residents. This will have a demonstrable impact on the community, local youth, the unemployed and the economically disadvantaged.

Members of RESORT

Resort creative workspace -Multi-purpose creative industry workspace as flagship for regional networks, new businesses, and relocators, encouraging footfall to key location (Margate Central or Cliftonville West). Stand alone units for anchor tenants. Public space for use by studio holders, collaborators and community groups. Socially-engaged programme designed to support place-making and creative industry growth. Public workshops enable skills transfer and expanded tourism offer as part of town’s year-round experience economy. As a CIC Resort’s core income from space licenses and programming is re-invested delivery.

Rewilding Cliftonville’s Coast – to create a rewilded coast that includes linked spaces that are sympathetic to wildlife and enhances the community’s experience.

Margate Bookie

The Margate Bookie Hub – turn a derelict space into a literary centre with:

  • Training Centre – a fully equipped educational centre for courses and conferences
  • Community Space – a space for readings, meetings and exercise
  • Hot Desks – monthly desk rental for local writers
  • Retreat – a space for overnight visitors to rent
  • Shop and Café – selling new and old bLooks, drinks and snacks
The Margate School

The Margate School – An independent not-for-profit art school in and for Margate that operates out of and has repurposed the former Woolworth building. As a hub it would house and support other ‘creative resident organisations’ (Genetic Moo, POW, Margate Made) to develop their artistic, professional and social provision in Margate helping them where appropriate to migrate to other empty premises in the High Street and Town Centre The former Woolworths building, empty since 2008 and only occupied by The Margate School in 2019, requires extensive renovation and re-purposing  Discussions with East Kent College, Bon Volks Studios, Marine Studios, Margate Made, the Darkroom Project at Resort Studios as well as Quarterdeck Youth Centre, with the aim to create a coordinated platform to access skills development, internships, maker spaces and facilities, a creative trading platform, whilst in the longer term establishing a framework for creative apprenticeships. Also in discussion with the Mental Health Commissioning of the NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group with Mental Health Matters to find ways to establish a ‘safe haven’ in the town centre whilst developing an art offer in conjunction with this provision.

The number one asset– Information Boards to be refurbished and expanded – all the way to Minnis Bay Shelters need to be restored – mural potential Westgate Pavilion

Town Trailing – a wider heritage trail to include Battle of Margate + Spanish Armada, Napoleon, Karl Marx, Royal Sea Bathing, Countess of Huntingdon, Margate Caves, St John’s Church, Tom Paine, Lord Sanger, The Lido, Man Who Swam.

Walpole Bay (Cliff) Lift & Cliff Top area – To refurbish the Grade II listed Walpole Bay Lift and repurpose the cliff top rotunda area, comprising of covered structure rotunda/shelter and cluster of concrete benches. Repurpose to make an all year round community resource.

A popular Project Combat Westbrook scheme for Mixed Martial Arts, Fight the Demon HQ ( Charity for mental health), Hot Yoga Infusion, Mr Sport Nutrition Kitchen and Westbrook Water Sports did not make it through to the next stage. Nor did a bid for refurbishment of Dane Park fountain.

Cabinet member for Estates and Economic Development, Cllr Ruth Duckworth said: “It was very encouraging to receive so many proposals as part of our call out for projects for the Margate Town Deal. People were certainly bold with their ambition when considering what Margate’s future could hold and I’d like to thank each and every person who took the time to participate in this process.

“The value of all of the projects submitted exceeded the potential £25m investment for Margate, so we knew that sadly it would not be possible for all proposals to progress.

“Ultimately to achieve the potential funding for Margate, the projects put forward as part of the Investment Plan need to meet the required criteria from Government. They also need to be deliverable and based on evidence from social and economic data and views gathered through community engagement.

“The 39 projects selected will now progress to the next stage of review for a more detailed assessment. Project sponsors are already meeting with our Town Investment Plan consultancy team to progress this.

“I’d like to thank everyone again for taking the time to contribute and helping us to ensure we secure the best possible outcomes for the town.”


  1. TDC sell Westgate Pavilion to a private individual – who is also an out of Westgate resident – business man with the alleged aim of having it as an asset for residents of Westgate but in reality it would be used by a local school of English from June – October both during the day and evening for which his son and daughter in law are owners/directors. Of course the school would hire the Pavilion from the father.

    In reality the only benefit to the residents for the use of the Pavilion would be in the winter months for putting on perhaps a pantomime. So the building would be used for rehearsals evenings and weekends with the odd jumble sale, exhibition, bingo session etc for a limited number of people who would be brave enough to venture out in the winter.

    The school of English would therefore occupy the Pavilion during the period that visitors are more than likely to want to see a show, hold a dance or disco or even an art exhibition or when a private individual would want to hire the building.

    The present owner chose to purchase the building knowing the condition it was in and knowing the amount of investment he would have to make to bring it up to present day requirements and standards.

    Why should I as a tax payer pay to line a private individuals pocket through government funding. If TDC were to repurchase the building and lease it back to the present owner I would have no objection to this government investment.

  2. Like the pop-up ‘art’ displays obsession we have seen the last decade just how many art studios/cultural hubs/community centres etc can one small area have?

    • It seems you are correct and my assumption of the two part project being counted separately was wrong. I’ve now amended the article

  3. What a waste of money on privately owned buildings by aquaintances of those on the board as suspected would happen when the board was made up. There could have been good use on publicly owned historical structures such as Dane Park fountain and the Flagstaff on Hodges gap promenade in Margate. Both have been left to derelction by TDC.
    These funds, if won, will just be wasted now with nothing to show for it to the public and visitors as usual.

  4. Westbrook seems ignored, with no attempt to include elements of those projects pitched and rejected with ones that have got through. The coastal initiatives could do this. Feels like levelling down, not up sadly. Suggest you publish all projects that did not get through as well for better transparency.

Comments are closed.