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.
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.