£6.9million business case for Margate Creative Land Trust submitted to government

The Creative Land Trust is part of the Margate Town Deal Photo Steven Collis

Plans to establish a Creative Land Trust in Margate have taken a step forward with Thanet District Council submitting a £6.9m business case summary to the government today (October 15).

The Creative Land Trust will take on underused or empty properties through outright purchase of freehold properties or long leases, or through properties gifted or transferred to the Trust by public or private partners.

These will be used as affordable commercial space for creative industries and support services. Thanet council says the Trust will be bringing empty properties back into use, generating investment in the town centre and creating jobs and training opportunities.

Margate’s Creative Land Trust will support creatives including design, music, publishing, architecture, film and video, crafts, visual arts, fashion, TV and radio, advertising, literature, computer games and the performing arts.

The project is the first business case to be submitted as part of the £22.2million Margate Town Deal.

Margate was one of 101 places given the opportunity in 2019 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 successful of the bid  was announced as part of the Government’s Town Deal programme in the Chancellor’s Budget in March.

Members of RESORT

Dan Chilcott, artist and Co-Founder of Resort Studios said:“I’m really excited by the Creative Land Trust. Margate is buzzing: freelancers turning out top quality design, art, music and culture; small businesses driving innovation and leading their fields; not-for-profits with a social mission to open up access and nurture talent.

“Much of the visitor offer is underpinned by culture, and the potential of creativity to empower individuals and communities cannot be underestimated.

“This investment ensures a brilliant and sustainable future, putting creativity at the heart of the town’s collective development.”

WorkWild Ltd and PRD Ltd were commissioned by the Margate Town Deal Board to help set-up the Creative Land Trust and to draft the business case. Work includes the development of governance arrangement and all the other requirements for a new entity, including setting it up as a charitable company and putting together a Board of Trustees. The Creative Land Trust will be independent and will appoint a Board.

Prior to submitting the Summary Document to The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) the business case was shared with the Margate Town Deal’s People’s Panel and the Town Deal Board. The Business Case also went through a local assurance process, as required by DLUHC, which involved a review by an internal group to check it met the Government’s ‘Green Book’ requirements.

Once approved by DLUHC, the council will start to receive funding to begin delivery of the Creative Land Trust project, which is expected in January 2022.

Thanet District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development Cllr Reece Pugh said: “This is an exciting milestone in Margate Town Deal’s journey. We’re confident the Government will recognise the Creative Land Trust’s ability to bring new life to the town centre and act as a catalyst for regeneration and future investment.

“Repurposing empty buildings and providing genuinely affordable long-term workspace will not only support our creative industries but will also provide job opportunities, education and skills training. Margate already has a thriving creative community and these plans will cement its status as a cultural capital.”

Sara Turnbull, Managing Director of WorkWild said: “Margate and the surrounding area has a well-known dynamic and committed creative community. It is wide ranging too – including technology, design and crafts as well as traditional arts and culture. However, the sector is vulnerable to the impact of rising rents and property values. These conditions make it uncertain and unaffordable for many creative practices.

“Without intervention Margate could lose some of its iconic spaces. The Creative Land Trust will help the creative community to be sustainable and grow, and, at the same time, enable more people to benefit from new job and enterprise opportunities.”

Following the submission of this first business case Summary Document for the Margate Town Deal, the project team is now working towards submission deadlines for others in April 2022.


  1. i wonder how long this cash will last , with meetings – expenses and consultancy fees bla bla bla , i expect they are rubbing thier hands already

    • Current Tender out for Consultancy services part2 £40k
      Previous tender awarded value £70k

      Tdc having a spending spree, £75k environmental impact assessment ramsgate port berths 4/5
      Awarded to a london company.

      Google ‘bidstats thanet’

  2. Dan chillpot ! Sadly wouldn’t know his arse from elbow… resort campaigned for money to save its cliftonville space where did that money go…..

  3. The best thing any money for Margate could do is provide better toilets around the clock tower, harbour area and old town.
    Portaloos on the seafront for the number of tourists that visit the area plus the less said about the ones on the harbour arm…
    I am sure that Margate doesn’t need empty shops being used for anything to do with art or diverse groups as there is enough of that. What needs to be done with empty shops is lower the rates and put them back to retail use and provide some parking incentives and bring people back to the towns rather than Westwood Cross.

    • You will see the same names coming up every time, which is why the money always finishes up being spent on the same clique of self-styled creatives. The rest of us can only look on hopelessly as the loos are closed, the Winter Gardens disintegrate and the towns decay. Until we learn how to play the system, the smug minority will continue to call the shots.

      • Exactly put into words what I was feeling. Sick of this nepotistic, self congratulatory, “creative ” faciscm.

        • And what is “creative” anyway? Furniture restorers, gardeners and car customisers are all creative, so do we start throwing money at them too? This is why I believe that ANY “arts” funding should include a business plan – otherwise, let these struggling artists fund their hobbies with jobs like everyone else has to.

  4. Do a web search for “creative land trust” hardly awe inspiring in whats been achieved so far and the amount being asked for in margate is a massive leap up in the financial stakes for them. Not saying it won’t work but Margate is piling a huge number of “art eggs” in the same basket.

  5. Whilst I totally appreciate art and creative projects and believe they bring an essential element to the area, i am concerned that the empty buildings could have been used instead for local accommodation (if feasible) as there is such a shortage of affordable housing stock.

  6. “…not-for-profits with a social mission to open up access and nurture talent…”

    It’s almost like “profit” is a dirty word for many of these people. Surely this should be their ultimate aim, to create something that people will want to buy or pay to see?

    • It’s all part of the “community” language , there’ll be lots of paid rollsmin the organisation that wil have (by thanets standards) very good renumeration packages, “not for profit” creates an illusion of worthy work being done, where as in this instance it’s little more than a tax payer funded property company, the grants being the working capital to purchase /lease and prepare buildings to be let out on lowish rents (made possible because of the said funding) there’ll be lots of fingers in the pie making sure no profit is made .


      Julie Nicholsons comment may well be very apt.

  7. It was interesting to see the numbers of people who stopped visiting the fountains in Trafalgar Square when they were switched off against the numbers of people who go there when the fountains are operating normally. [ 347 visitors in 2 hours when fountains were not working Tuesday 10 am to 12 mid day] One week later [ 1657 visitors when the fountains we’re working 10am to 12 mid day Tuesday] It just goes to show the increase in footfall by having fountains if Margate / Ramsgate had some fountains the increase in footfall along with cheap / free parking would draw so many more visitors into our towns that the empty shops could be brought back into use. The waterfall in Ramsgate is a lovely thing to see if only it was allowed to keep running instead of keep turning it off.

    • The fountain in Dane Park was great too, but having recently visited both Hastings and Brighton, it is obvious that Margate should’ve had a rebuilt pier rather than throwing money at an art gallery.

      • I asked about that at one of the Turner consultation meetings, a sizeable chunk of the funding had an arts oriented caveat, so it was something like the turner or nothing.
        However like yourself my guess is that a traditional seaside pier would attract far more people to the area.

  8. We often go for a walk along Deal pier it’s got an excellent restaurant and clean toilets at the end it’s always nice and clean and to park for an hour near by cost just 60p. Not like the pier yard in Ramsgate when we go to weather spoons that is a rip-off at £3.40 per hour.

  9. When I first started reading this story, I thought they might be doing something useful, like providing extra housing, especially now we are being overwhelmed with migrants. But no, just another crazy idea.

  10. I’ve got an idea that requires a fraction of this funding and provides much more benefit to the local area. Hear me out…They’re communal spaces that are particularly useful for the young and old and help communities function properly. They’re called public toilets! I know…crazy concept eh?

    • David Holmes, that would never work. It’s a common sense idea, that would be easier to implement, therefore those in charge would not be interested.

      You need to have ideas that are more of a fantasy, with very little chance of working, to gain any interest.

  11. It’s interesting that whenever the IOTN runs stories on arts funding, no-one comes on here to defend it. Either they can’t justify it, or they don’t care what us plebs think (or both!).

    • Plus they know that all the backroom glad handing and cosy chats mean that its all pretty much a done deal. So no need to communicate with the rest of thanets residents. They have their own clique and are quite happy there, not a million miles different from the way the labour party has allowed itself to be controlled by its own clique and made itself politically irrelevant to most of the country, which is good for nobody, a country without a viable opposition party is a bit lost.

      • Particularly offensive is the way they present themselves as community champions, when their intention is to reshape parts of Thanet in their own image. This could be dismissed as meaningless self-importance, were it not for the fact they have become proficient in attracting grants which further their own niche ambitions while doing nothing to tackle the real needs of residents.

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