Margate to receive £22m Town Deal funding

Margate Photo Frank Leppard

Margate is set to receive up to £22.2million of funding following the Government’s Town Deal programme announcement in the Chancellor’s Budget yesterday (Wednesday 3 March).

The funding was awarded after Thanet District Council – working with a dedicated Town Deal Board made up of Chairman Graham Razey OBE, the Cabinet Member for Economic Development, MP Sir Roger Gale, senior figures from business, education, the voluntary sector and members of the council’s management team – submitted its Town Investment Plan to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in December 2020.

The Plan outlined a string of interlinked investments around four key themes:

Scaling Margate’s Creative Production and Skills sector

Investment in Coastal Wellbeing

Investment in Public Realm and Connections

Investment in Supporting and Diversifying Heritage Assets

Thanet council leader Rick Everitt said: “I am delighted that Margate has been awarded up to £22.2m to support ambitious plans to reinvigorate the town centre economy, boost local skills and level up our visitor economy. This substantial investment is testament to the collective hard work and innovative thinking that went into the Bid and I’d like to thank everyone who contributed.

“The Towns Deal funding will not only provide a much needed economic boost as we recover from COVID-19 but also provide opportunities for each and every member of our community. I firmly believe that, by working together, this will provide a lasting legacy and make Margate a better and brighter place for residents, businesses and visitors.”

Margate was one of 101 places given the opportunity 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.

Graham Razey, Chair of the Margate Town Deal Board, added: “Today is a day for real celebration in Margate, as the Chancellor’s announcement means that we can now begin the real work to help create the even more thriving town which this community deserves.

“I’m immensely proud to have been able to work with community partners and business stakeholders to deliver a Town Investment Plan that has resulted in this Government funding, and greatly look forward to seeing the projects get delivered in the coming months and years.

“Margate is a genuinely fantastic and amazing place, and this investment will help to translate that into a town that is able to keep growing and flourishing for the community’s future.”

Jonathan Pearson, Member of the Margate Town Deal People’s Panel, added: “Margate is a very special place with a rich history, wonderful coastline and completely unique heritage assets. This funding will help the town realise its full potential, support residents and ensure it continues to be an exciting place to live and visit.

“We look forward to working with the Board as we move into the next stage of business case development and creating something that the people of Margate can be proud of.”

Next steps

The Government is expecting signed Heads of Terms by Wednesday 24 March, paving the way for the next stage which is to develop detailed business cases for selected projects in the Town Investment Plan (TIP). This process could take up to 12 months.

The funding will then be spent over a five-year period, steered by the Margate Town Deal Board. The overall programme is managed by Thanet District Council as the lead accountable body.

For more information about the Margate Town Deal, go to the website. Here you will find a summary video of the TIP, FAQs, and a full report outlining the feedback, suggestions and ideas from the community which helped to shape our Plan to drive economic regeneration.

The projects put forward to link across four themes:

A £9m investment in Margate’s Creative Production and Skills 

Theatre Royal Margate

This involves establishing a Creative Land Trust to support projects stretching from the high street to the Theatre Royal, for creative production and education. The investment aims to support and safeguard the creative sector and focus on innovation and job growth. Investment will create a new linked route through the town centre from the coast to the historic Hawley Square.

This potentially includes the former M&S, Primark buildings and the Theatre Royal, which will be transformed to create new jobs and education opportunities.

Establish and Capitalise Creative Land Trust – £3.1m

Refurbishment of buildings for workspace and education – £2.9m

Improve Theatre Royal and Hawley Square – £2m

Development of new forms of outreach, engagement, and education – £500,000

Business Equity fund for growth enterprises – £500,000

A £6.5m investment in Coastal Wellbeing

Walpole Bay Photo Clive Hart

This focuses on supporting a series of capital investments for wellbeing across the whole Margate coastline and creating new experiences for visitors. It builds on its ‘heyday’ as a popular centre for wellbeing and tourism. Creating better links between the town centre, Northdown Road and the coastline and an improved network of connections between assets beyond the ‘tourist trail’ are planned.

Improved facilities and access to the coastline at the Walpole tidal pool area and surrounds – £1.8m

Improved coastal environment including upper promenade, Newgate Gap, Oval Bandstand  and lawns, skatepark and
playground area – £3.7m

Testing new uses, participation and skills programme – £1m

A £4.5m investment in Public Realm and Connections

Cecil Square

Investment in better connections and routes through the town centre to capitalise on heritage assets. Improving public realm and connections to encourage active travel and links throughout the town. A particular focus is to better connect Northdown Road to the town centre and with the coastline with attractive public realm, cycling and walking infrastructure.

Town centre improvements to include improved public realm on the High Street and better links to Queen Street
junction, Cecil Square, Bilton Square, open up Andrews Passage, Town Centre toilets and feasibility study for Marine
Drive – £2.9m

Improved active travel options and connections along Northdown Road to the Town Centre and from Northdown
Road to the coastline – £1.6m

A £9m investment in Supporting and Diversifying Heritage Assets 

The former Sunshine Cafe site in the Dreamland cinema building

This is about developing high impact and surprising activities around the Dreamland Cinema Complex and the Winter Gardens to support footfall and income.

Redevelop the Dreamland Cinema to include building refurbishment and asbestos removal, Sunshine Cafe
and ground floor seafront fit out, support curation of cultural centre by People Dem Collective, support planning
and design work – £4m

The Dreamland Cinema is now owned by Sands Heritage Ltd following a £7million purchse of the amusement park and neighbouring car park.

Refurbish Winter Gardens to improve environmental performance through heating refurbishments, support
inclusive access through improved and accessible facilities and support a greater diversity of uses through repair
and decoration – £4m

Undertake feasibility studies for longer-term options – £1m

£29 million plan for Margate investment submitted to government


  1. The Group in charge of these monies should show – openly – when & where every penny of the £22,000,000.00 is going, with all corners of this account covered.

  2. I mean, not that I don’t trust anyone… it’s that I DO NOT trust anyone. (Where this sort of money is involved).

  3. Totally agree with Robster. These opportunities come up rarely. Please please please spend it wisely 🙏🏻

  4. If you think of it 22 million sounds alot but infact it’s less than what’s been spent on the Turner Centre from building to needing a updating.

    You find get much for your money perhaps another big shed.

    • That is because it is the Margate Town Deal not Thanet or Ramsgate Town Deal Dave. Every time Margate is mentioned you come on whinging about it. Never anything constructive to say. But you keep your mouth shut when Ramsgate is mentioned, funny that !

      • You say its margate town deal , yet in the report it says TDC applied. Confused so who gets the money the town deal team or TDC

        • Margate not Ramsgate not Broadstairs but Margate was given the opportunity to bid for some of the money from the 3.6billion Towns fund provided by the government the backers won 22million from that fund so well done to them now it is down to TDC to waste that money and like other people I’m worried they will.

    • Curiously Dave, this morning I read in my newspaper “Mr Sunak (The Chancellor) has been accused of naked pork barrel politics after it emerged 38 out of 45 places receiving £1billion of town grants are represented by his Tory MP’s”. Margate is in Roger Gale’s constituency isn’t it, and isn’t he a Tory MP? Remember, governments don’t have any money, they get it from taxes, so this will have to be repaid somehow, probably by cutting public services!

  5. Please please do something about public toilets in Margate before thinking about anything that will bring more people in that haven’t got somewhere to “go”.

  6. Why is Ramsgate neglected? This year is the 200 anniversary of Royal Harbour status and yet we get the crumbs.

    Ramsgate is a jewel, and deserves equal focus. Good for Margate, it must be marvellous but why is Ramsgate overlooked time and time again when we have the largest economy in Thanet and largest visitor numbers?

    All we get is to go round and round and round in circles on the port, and the airport. Round and round and round. Meanwhile, the High Street is almost empty of shops and our bins are overflowing.

    Depressing. Come on TDC! Ramsgate Rocks.

    • All part of Thanets ebbs and flows, ramsgate received lots of attention back in the late 90’s, there were several grant schemes that ran to try and improve the sea front/ harbour area, not that you’d know now as no one looked after the buildings once they’d got their freebies.
      No doubt eventually the focus will return to ramsgate , but with the pavillion having been half sorted by wetherspoons and the pleasurama site site making proper headway , it’ll probably be hoped that a bitof a revival is in progress.

    • Emmeline: Ramsgate was knocked off the ‘favourites list’ when it started the JR on Manston. You never learn, you never go against a Government decision.
      Gives the Government a bad name. Ask Corbyn.

    • Good point Kenny. 1.1m for Ramsgate. 22m for Margate. 0m for Broadstairs, Westgate and Birchington. I can see how seems a fair and balanced approach to some

  7. Keep TDC away from the money until they open the aforementioned toilets.they have allocated fund and almost 2 years later …nothing!ditto old m and s building.forget more consultants and backhanders which TDC are famous for get the tradies in!

  8. Hopefully now TDC have sold the Dreamland complex off to a private company the Margate Town Deal board will hold back on handing them £8 million of this fund and use it wisely elsewhere.
    £8 million is a huge chunk of the fund which can make a big difference to the clock tower toilets, the rotted away Viking ship childrens playground, the seafront shelter at top of Fort Hill still boarded up, replacing the historic Flagstaff on the promenade near Hodges Gap, trees and hedgerows planted back in the area, the old town vacant plot turned into a community garden. There is so much that could be done to improve the area for the public instead of the organised corruption to give it away to private organisations to waste lining their pockets on worthless projects. Was this really the best they could conjure up? Well with members on the board from those businesses it is not surprising really.
    Those on the Margate Town Deal board may be celebrating their success at getting the fund but the public and residents living there are not. Business chums win again, you can just see the walletts bulging with the backhanders! There will be no difference to Margate as all will be fritted away as usual.

  9. They tdc will hide and lie about the amount of money given to the turner centre, this should be controlled by none of tdc and should be voted by local people who have a better understanding of what should be done. Let the locals vote

  10. Let’s have a full breakdown on what this money is going to be used for and not frittered away. As a Margate girl born and bred I hate to see my home town looking so drab and depressing and let’s have some style in what is done. The Turner building is awful – just a big shed and a blot on the landscape. A wavy roof would have added a bit of style and be more fitting to the seaside.

    • The Turner building is fine as it is. It’s an architectural version of chalk cliffs, very simple.

  11. Wintergardens, Theatre Royal and Toilets , all done properly and to ensure a decent future could happily use the whole lot and would to my mind be the best use of the cash to give a firm foundation for the future. These would cater for all and sundry. But no doubt given the political leanings of our current leaders it’ll be frittered away on poor quality , transient projects that fullfill notions of equality etc.

  12. Just out of curiosity why did TDC push margate ? Why not broadstairs, ramsgate, Westgate, birchington etc.

    TDC represent thanet not just margate !

    It’s not a moan just a question

  13. It will be interesting to see how much is handed back to Sands as a rebate by way of an improvement grant for the Cinema/Cafe which is no longer council property. One penny would be one penny too much

  14. For Gods sake do not let this bunch of idiots get their hands anywhere near this money otherwise they will be managing the projects from Monaco living it up in their new villas, i have no faith in them at all

  15. As a member of the Peoples Panel, I am asking MTD board for total transparency in how every penny is allocated and actually spent. There is no technical reason for us all not to know on a weekly basis, from a suitable website, where it is all going. It cannot be long before all community projects and finances have to be transparent and accountable in this way. Will Thanet be the first or last to do this?

    • If you can put some pressure on to stop the payout to Dreamland of a big majority of the fund it would be welcomed by Margate residents I am sure. The scheme they have is a wastful one that will only benefit the few. £8 million could be much better used elsewhere. There are plenty of projects that should be put into use to improve the town, which is what this is all about.
      We stated we did not want the funding wasted on vanity projects associated with members on the board when this fund was announced but it is evident that that is exactly how it will be spent when you read this article. The ordinary residents of Margate were not considered when sending their wishes in. Only those who were supposed to represent the residents but who instead voted their own companies to get it. Scandal after scandal and nobody taking control to stop the corruption.

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