‘Art box’ installed at Newgate Gap shelter

The box will be used for outside art exhibitions

An ‘art box’ has been installed at the Newgate Gap shelter in Cliftonville.

The application, lodged by arts charity Stretch which took on the structure as a community asset transfer from Thanet council last year, was granted in September.

The organisation works with marginalised groups to deliver art projects.

The ‘art box’ is due to be in place for up to two years and will be used as a base to display art.

Benches are also due to be installed, said Dean Stalham, from Stretch arts charity. He previously told The Isle of Thanet News: “The art box will be covered from top to bottom, on all sides with art every day for two years. The art will be on vinyl posters. From the sea walk and road it will be visually amazing.

“The change of art will be made every three weeks. so it will be an everchanging landscape. We want people to walk up to it and be amazed.”

Dean says an initial line-up will start with an exhibition from the Albion Rooms this month, Next will be posters from the Stretch Inside Out Project which took place in 2019. This consisted of some 70 Thanet based artists having portrait photos taken.

Then will come Charlie Everisto- Boyce and his ‘Amazing’ collection, that is featured and sold in Turner Contemporary and this will be followed by an exhibition from Margate’s new Love Café which is run by Libertines co-frontman Carl Barat, chef and restaurateur, Gizzi Erskine; partner and Cruel Hearts Club’s’ front woman Edie Langley and music industry insider Ronnie Traynor. It is based at the old Black Cat site in Marine Gardens.

In 2018 the structure had been earmarked for demolition but Thanet council reversed that decision following a Save the Newgate Gap Shelter campaign.

The shelter was then subject to a building control notice and in October 2019 the roof and seating were removed. The same month it was listed for asset disposal by Thanet council.

Four expressions of interest were received, including community group the Friends of Cliftonville Coastline. The Stretch bid and five year plan was chosen by the council to take on the shelter. That bid included proposals to create the first national museum for ‘outsider’ art via projects with groups such as prisoners, ex-prisoners, rough sleepers, mental health groups and young people in care.

Long-term plans for the shelter include the first national museum for Outsider Art and are said to include a rebuild “that will be sensitive to the original features and incorporate as much of the roof and iron work as is safe and possible,”


  1. 20 odd sheets of plywood and some studwork to create a wall to stick posh posters on and its there for two years, did someone get splinters scraping that barrel? I can only assume that thequest for funding has been a bit unproductive.

    • This is stage one in a ten year project – yes obviously it is a huge job to raise money for a building – we will be holding plenty on community consultations as the plans develop

  2. It should be brought back and rebuilt as a shelter after TDC took it apart to stop people using it as it was intended. There has been a shelter there for decades since the Edwardian times. It has changed in look but been kept in good condition all that time until it was abandoned by the latest administration. There is something very wrong with a council that cannot secure funding for the towns heritage upkeep, that will rather let assets rot away than give them maintenance for their future enjoyment by locals and tourists. What have we got left? Everything is torn down and left derelict until some developer builds another ugly unimaginative block of flats there to make another pot of money for themselves. Is that all we can have now?

  3. Meanwhile, here in Birchington/Minnis Bay we have people lovingly restoring the shelters.

    I feel so sorry for the people of Margate/Cliftonville who don’t subscribe to all this “art” nonsense but just want a decent place to live in (i.e., the vast majority of them).

    • Absolutely agree. It should be restored. If the Gordon Road Area Street Scheme, GRASS CIC they now call themselves and handed the 4 acre site of the Oval Lawns in Cliftonville
      FREEHOLD, they seem to be able to get funding for everything they put on, including half a million pounds from The Margate Town Deal Board in the next two years, why can’t the funding be found to restore the shelter.
      Why give all the funding to that group.
      I know the bandstand is only 15 years old and the kiosk not much older, so why give them all that money? What will it be spent on? Put some towards the shelter.
      We need the history of the area to be preserved.

      • Grass are amazing the new market and Christmas event were brilliant! Anyone that says that grass aren’t doing good need to look at themselves cause the effort hard work they put in is nothing but good for Margate ! You are being unkind and jealous.

          • Yes, it is the same group who ousted the incumbent group of 25 years. I have looked on their social media sites and everything I have said about grants and funding is on there. I am certainly not jealous or being unkind about this group which I think consists of eight streets. I see on their social media that they have purchased a sit on mower. Where did the money come from for that?
            They are certainly not cheap.
            So, if there is funding out there I hope it can help to rebuild the shelter.

          • Question to Carlotta,
            Will they be helping to fund your project from all the grant funding, crowd funding and every funding thats going then?

      • being restored was never an option it was deemed unsafe and to be pulled down – take it up with council please

        • There is no such thing as unrestorable as long as the main fabric of the building, the frame, was re-usable.
          The will to do so was sadly lacking by our atrocious council, meaning the various incumbent councils of all political parties.
          What is it about Thanet that gives us such inept leadership all the time? Too many self interests is my guess.

          • Here in Birchington we have the hard-working and enterprising “The Friends of Birchington Shelters” group, resulting in some of them being completely rebuilt. Unfortunately, the DFL “art” mob are making decisions on behalf of Margate/Cliftonville…

        • Carlotta Alum.
          Looking at your various replies listed in the following comments leads me to say you seem to have one repetitive answer to all the concerns expressed viz. and to paraphrase, “do it yourself”.
          We did, or other groups did, take it up with the council. One group wanted to take a lease and restore it themselves. TDC preferred it to be demolished and would have completed the deed without serious intervention.. Now it appears it was given to a private group who have so far installed a wooden box for the locals on which to practice their graffiti talents. NO, graffiti is not bloody art in ninety nine times out of a hundred!

          • I look forward to working with you – open to collaborations – I’d like to get benches and planters – I think the council should pay for them, everything takes forever – if you can help, get in touch

  4. It is very nice of this Charity to spend all of this money on a ply box for the locals to Graffiti and use to urinate on. I hope no one building it drove though The Lido carpark. Or parking fines for them. As they will fine anybody.

    • It is a shelter, not sure if it is Victorian or Edwardian and not an art centre.
      It shold be rebuilt as such, a shelter.
      I have been hoping for the last few years that this would happen.
      Nobody is knocking art projects, I just don’t think this is the right place.
      TDC, find the funding to return it to what it was intended for.

        • I recently had a tenant return to london. Having spent 3 years in cliftonville , they worked as an agent in the “creative industries “ , when i asked what they’d made of Margate and all the arty hype, their reply was that it was just that hype, in reality whilst ok in the summer the area was nigh on a ghost town in winter. And that whereas london had its pockets of undesirables and problems cliftonville had far too many of those that did nothing and contributed less and who had no interest in being otherwise. The vocal groups of londoners moving into the area were themselves very insular and self serving , as they put it lots of little “vibrant communities” that had no interest in mixing with others and wanting everyone to bend to their vision. They were very happy to depart.

      • As the article states it’s already been transferred to a community group, so having been abandoned for many years by successive tdc administration they ‘ve finally offloaded it.
        The group that now have control will have by now discovered how expensive it will be to do anything meaningful. As for the heritage aspect it rather looks asthough all that remains of the original structure are the 6 or so blue painted columns, the steelwork on top to me looks pretty modern.
        In the absence of a chunk of “free money” from somewhere , it’s probably safe to say that very little will happen and even that will be slow. No doubt the new owners have great plans and ambitions fingers crossed it comes to fruition for them.
        As for the references to the shelters in Minnis area, a lot of effort went into these and hopefully there’ll be the funds and willingness to keep them in fine fettle.
        Whilst it would have been nice to have has the newgate gap shelter rebuilt by the council it was never going to happen and would have been a focal point for some of the areas least desirable characters activities.
        The council needs to be doing something about the Margate shelters, by the lifeboat statue, marine parade ( seats regularly smashed up by the rough sleepers) and the concrete structure above the turner which was boarded up to hide its embarrassing state before the turner prize came to margate.

  5. I don’t have a problem with art or artists. But this thing is basically a monument to skewed priorities. Let’s hope some artists have the cojones to make that political point.

    It’s not clear to me who is responsible for implementing the ‘long-term plans’ for restoring the shelter. Long-term tends to mean ‘never’ around here.

  6. It’s a wonderful initiative, full of hope and generosity. It will educate, energise and entrance us. We are grateful,

  7. https://lm.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fmargatetowncouncil.co.uk%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR12DkrOTHWvFbSHvPC6ZrWkTXw8Ea1DrirAD9YP_cwZodHOo9Kw7DYGHSY&h=AT2G7SzHW1OT2-6UIj2wU3p4MY3WLzPUgEY2_wSMKN1AxNKwy9fj11rVUDv2OGWht3A3BRUN7OVrKuMOIF8EraGNQ1B2JZJVqw2VbJJmF_O884I4hW3yW0D7Wl1XPVatwuuwQBR6d8YCCbwkzBADZQTTCXJieBvQJ8byQoFHKNXTf5_8JmM7PnW8NbBLSX2PfnHBoJEF7Jwkl2_adnU1zosNP4pU_dSXuBISBP-ew5tE8zFQMWV5asByYSHYQjtQjfu0UCnJlnMdqeJixr4bWxTodCZWwhntQue0oiJUyeJ7lWZy5RC0pFmUWYCjKpa8_h3TJR6yfkUrf_6ZYNv5gA5abshp2LYk9b3wOxe14IBeVPSw2q4h-3lfjqR8UZP5GNfwHp9cO8ELnxTcv5SEJQoIrYkEGGnUkMB7hZlfD7Bv42XJHOrFX03WFonb9YForTMaGjrcnpP-Xu2nYzQqkuZm6on0eK4N0O0x4gzZKBY1igz1npLb7VhrWxzIlroT-k_h3U8-RmGCdKJqlv0fX1iqedJq0zTjqypnTfD91gHSxM2-RpJVxmApAwQaPzpT65yru0_JVuYk-9aHhPeYxp4Mf7iYqm_Ofc8S97IH5QPkUbqA45p6fmhMAXhXiTcso9VccxEB11e6SUB7wlEzf2P8aHwHnrqwW9cberwLcFHEONWwreXGEh7Lc_oI7Wj2QrEKPegX5gX-VywBaxO5ymMYCkHam6-6MSnRwNmlPfIkDmDaqBgYQSW9PtnecUO3g3mehi1XtYBPt4LC3ionCQJ9itZuVaNq9iC8bpNrnXmDhUtzGG5ENr2iOoxuF1zxKTt7RZsbUE_acJVJ2f2krRER77SsVJQ-QcwfxmrAed6kEEs_OhVg5olDG5bp36tguktLfFSQErDVS3sRPypGpBfAaMc_WBRKnwXwEDtXt4cQdEBmOvEFixOS74FRnLWzT9JAZ0jWE-TG3jse5JwvN5E1KpetvZ2rf5S_Vpl0ysMVCyBuM-c2aW18afVZHcQc-I86x4os8qQZcyoZH2XCuY-67AWT7ep2rY6UADvpF3kpWSiIVEo2d9pQyzHwzlJUy79vMPO_scrVnNeKAbuBvRri-t6PIIU_7vIl-Zn-Fl-xqq3aOAJcucsoCp7ZC-m8lxBFONo0HsSftRiMUX1SkPcWuqVLVAUmlW91RIxMh4CJqvIrB3x0bTGEKYZYAsc6PN_5pHhncMCgjTtoMxcpp6tc3Mvv_rq1tJ-lwP0KMJFtM8PeuTWJ4r8nyNWlUczB4LiDEtq0HMn49FNq0FktdFrbmvlzvHMBT-yq8FVEcTOjLI6_QKhDUPK5Gu1xTGwQJ0UNCssSl6Y4UqkKPzL–FM4XlvlkcSHWvWPORx3NCiWsEWYhE25cZwWSPC3GI1ZL8YNTx43bzfs-vR0r8sVzlv7xGJMzfxAyyEciitOlx1mXXtDooX4HRsJ0EyJYyl0gbXQ5-Tl5XHskHun-SGcqotRLVziJ-pi-134CmtEV59w5nsOUXuUGudXjRRSGH7O1cUnYwHtylG3rdJIEbGBr3HZ72Izmwfl7znK2arRYaZH0mvxSMHWNfSMUb4fH86A7Y9YExUWgUy8YXAoA5E

  8. Well done Stretch. Thank you for doing something. I look forward to seeing some interesting and thought provoking images on the Art Box.

    • Chris, we employed local carpenter Elouise Farley to build the box, she did an excellent job – so pleased. We have paid local solicitors Boys and Maughan to prepare the lease with the council at quite some expense. We use local printers. Prisoners from HMP Standford Hill will be helping with the upkeep and some designing – in the summer we will host events for the community on lawn – do your
      Ins me asking how you contribute to the Cliftonville economy ? Be great to get some tips

  9. And, Stretch, what on earth have the likes of the Libertines, Carl Barat, Gizzi Erskine et al (i.e. those who will TRULY benefit from this thing) got to do with got to do with ‘prisoners, ex-prisoners, rough sleepers, mental health groups and young people in care’?? Stop boosting trendy celebs’ social capital rating by loosely associating them with marginalised groups.

    A lot of people will see straight through this project. Why not just make it out of perspex given how transparently exploitative it all is?

    • If you look at the work Stretch has done over the last 15 years you will see that we have worked with marginalised groups successfully for our whole life, why not enjoy the support and patronage of successful artists in Margate? If you have a better, more ambitious plan for the space then get working on it? There are so many more things to complain about in Thanet, Im surprised x

  10. Sorry to say but regardless of whether or not this is a good cause I am becoming blind to all this art stuff.

    Its art this art that I am fed up to the back teeth with all this art stuff.

    TC millions of our taxes have gone into that shed, now we have a plyborad box along with the lollipops at ramsgate. Most if not all this arty stuff gets a free ride and is supported by our taxes.

    Yet we have foodbanks, homelessness, drug problems, sky high pvt rent, low paid jobs, thanet earth with its huge light pollution and people who think manston will be an airport again lol. And all thanet seems to be interested in is bloody art projects and a defunct airport.

    People need to wake up and sort out thanets really problems. Has TC in its ten years helped any of these problems ? Does it donate our taxes to food banks etc. If the TC was to charan entrance fee perhaps it could donate money to the local community. Instead TC just takes our money for the small section of the art community in thanet.

  11. The bandstand was rebuilt by the Cliftonville residents association in conjunction with TDC soon after refurbishment it became a victim of vandalism once again it’s not the case of being left to rot it cost money all the time to maintain.i was a long standing volunteer with the association who worked hard all these years this has become political now the farmers market was run with full support from TDC now the dfls push people out who have lived here all there lives the original grass people were pushed out by these people.The money would be better spent on restoration of our shelters when these people realize they are not making money they will soon disappear out of town this has been going on for years.

  12. Yet another slap in the face for residents who would dearly love to see the area restored to even a fraction of it’s former glory.
    This is such a shortsighted idea and doomed from the start.
    It will be trashed,graffitied and urinated upon in no time, which would probably be fair comment on yet another monstrosity!
    If the iconic concrete shelter overlooking the harbour is still in it’s plywood box why couldn’t they use that?
    After all, it’s close to the so-called artistic quarter of Margate.

    • Everyone knows who Ella is …obvious displays of negativity aimed at groups of people making a real difference in the Cliftonville community ( I wonder which group they are associated with ? It’s obvious now and getting embarrassing) these comments are coming from a place of jealousy and envy .Ella behaviour trying to put down community projects down that’s are trying to do good improving Cliftonville. Ella has negatively commented on posts about the Cliftonville shul project, stretch and grass. . Showing their true colours ..

        • id love to meet you for a walk and chat Ella- Im meeting Margate born and Bred Artist Charlie EVERISTO BOYCE THERE ON WEDNESDAY – why not join us? hear us first hand- give us the chance to change your mind- if we can manage that – i’m sure it would lead to others dx

    • Find that hard to believe Ella, you have plenty to say – its visually striking, its work in process, Im thrilled at tis lively debate – long may it continue

  13. By TDC giving away public assets to strangers, this is what happens:
    First Class Post from solicitors.
    Date: 19 August 2021
    Dear Mrs Chadband and Mrs Smith,
    Our Client: Grass Cliftonville CIC – Licence to Convenience Block, Eastern Esplanade. Cliftonville
    We have been instructed by Grass Cliftonville CIC who recently acquired the freehold of The Oval
    Bandstand & Lawns, Eastern Esplanade, Cliftonville, Margate CT9 2HL, a property within which the storage area which was the subject of a licence with Thanet District Council dated the 1st May 2021 is situated.
    Putting to one side the fact that a licence is personal as between the licensor and licensee and that the transfer of the freehold to our client had the effect in law of terminating the license (on which our client reserves their position) we are instructed that notwithstanding the fact that the property description in the licence was to occupy the storage area that you have been running a monthly farmers market not only in contravention of the terms of the previous licence but in so doing are occupying land belonging to our client which amounts to a trespass and nuisance.
    In the circumstances we have been instructed to write to you to inform you that you must immediately desist from such activities and to put you on notice that if you do not and continue to run these unlicensed events this will amount to a trespass and nuisance on our client’s land for which they are entitled to apply to the local County Court for an injunction. Should such a court application be necessary then our client will also be seeking die court costs of that application against you personally.
    In the circumstances, will you immediately confirm acknowledgement of this letter and that you will desist in running the monthly farmer’s market or indeed undertaking any other activities which encroach onto our client’s land outside of the storage area.In the circumstances, we would also advise that you may wish to seek your own independent legal advice on the contents of this letter and we await hearing from you or your solicitors by return.
    Yours faithfully

    • WhatNext, GrassCliftonville CIC are such a bunch of philistines. Word on the street is that the purveyance of food & drink in an outdoor setting is in fact THE most avant-garde form of performance art. The Farmers’ Market should therefore immediately receive a hefty grant from TDC.

      There again, these poor solicitors can’t even afford punctuation.

      What a repugnant letter to receive.

        How could a so called community group send that threatening letter to another group and pay expensive solicitors fees to do it.
        Have a good read Janice Green.
        For the record, I am not a paid up member of any group, but am very supportive of the farmers market. No wonder they had to find somewhere else.

        • I don’t want to take anything away from the article about the arts council Stretch.
          This is in answer to some of the comments about Cliftonville Farmers’ Market and the solicitors letter.
          I am on the committee of Cliftonville Residents Association who founded and run the market.
          This is to confirm that we have a legal licence to store our equipment in the storeroom of the toilet block, running from April 1st 2021, until March 31st 2022.
          We also have a letter received last year from TDC Estates Department, informing us of the asset transfer and stating the building will be sold with the licence unaffected.
          We took out a Freedom of Information request to make sure this was correct as we could not get a reply to our dozens of emails. It was!
          We are legally allowed to continue storing the equipment for the market and have always paid TDC
          Sadly, 28 arisans and stallholders lost their August trading through the cancellation by this group.
          We are on a new site now and TDC now charge us
          £250 per month to hold the market, which is roughly what GRASS were going to charge us.
          Unfortunately the last three markets have been running at a loss and we are not sure what is going to happen.
          The CRA have been covering the shortfall but obviously are not in a position to do this every month.
          We are a community volunteer group and not a business.

          Once again apologies to STRETCH.

      • GRASS are doing a fantastic job bringing ideas, imagination and business to the bandstand area – we stand shoulder to shoulder with them, the skate park, the Lido and all the redevelopment ideas – you should be proud of the investment Cliftonville attracts instead of pushing it away, I honestly don’t understand why everyone is so bitter

        • Several people have explained that on here already: the appalling treatment by GRASS of Cliftonville’s Farmers Market. Seems like you and others in the art community seem perfectly happy with the knock-on impact on hard-working independent stallholders.

        • Carlotta, why do you assume, because people voice their thoughts on something they disagree with, that they are bitter?

          I have lived in Cliftonville for over 50 years. Sadly, in that time things have changed for the area.

          It was a thriving area for visitors, with a great shopping road, Northdown Road, With first class shops and even a large departnent store.

          It had streets of lovely well cared for B & B’s and hotels, with some of the roads with lights stretching from one side to the other and very colourful at night.

          Unfortunately, the demise of the area started when cheap flights and packages to warmer climes came in. The B&B’s were sold off and started to become homes of multi occupancy.

          You obviously do not know too much of the history of the bandstand over the last 25 years.
          It was run by a local community group CRA who used to run band concerts every summer and all sorts of different events which the community and visitors embraced. They were the group who got the new bandstand (found the funding) for TDC 15 years ago. They also did the same with the kiosk.They are also the group who run the farmers’ market, which I really enjoy shopping at and supporting.

          You are talking as if nothing good has ever happened here and that is not so.

          You do have to listen to the people who have lived here all their lives. They too have a voice.
          You are looking at it from a different perspective and we all need to respect each others views young and old alike.

          You say you are right behind GRASS and endorse everything they do, well that is your prerogative as I am sure you do not know the full story.

          We all know you cannot go back and things have to change but lsurely that doesn’t mean that we all have to agree, does it?

          • No we dont have to all agree and this is all fascinating stuff – Im happy to be educated and hear your views, lets meet and be friends – agree to disagree. Neither of us are monsters and we all want what is best for the area. Unfortunately Thanet Council HAVE run the are into the ground over the past 50 years, we have done our homework and worked to study the history of the area, once a bustling park and destination. Fingers crossed we see the area retruned to its former glory. There seems to be some confusion over ‘the locals’ who one minute are being ‘ignored’ and the next minute are urinating and tagging all over the place … Im not sure which ‘locals’ are being ignored x peace out everyone – Ive work to do

        • Carlotta, you did not make any comment on Peter Checksfields comments, about all the stallholders who lost their trading because of the cancellation of the
          market, or is that not important to arty people?
          I seem to remember reading in a previous article that it was 30 artisans and stallholders, surely their livelihood is just as important as yours and Dean’s?

          • Hello James, I do not know enough about it to comment confidently, obviously I think it would be wrong to cut of the market and stop the trading, from the little I understand they have been offered a similar deal – but yes – sounds messy – and wouldn’t surprise me if it was TDC red tape at the heart of it, I very much hope the Farmers Market is part of Cliftonville’s revival – it seems TDC are ham fisted and they are the ones that need to be more ‘on the ground’ – If there is anything I can do to help Im happy to

          • Thank you Carlotta for your reply. It was NOT THanet District Council who cancelled the August farmers market but your friends from what you call the exemplary group GRASS. After reading the very threatening solicitors letter which I think is a disgrace and the comments from Hazel Malik it would appear the market was running legally. All those artisans and small businesses like all throughout the pandemic had been struggling to make a living, but that meant nothing to your friends who still cancelled the narket and also accused said stallholders that they did not hold correct documents, you will be able to google this on Cliftonville Farmers markets site. So that is why I asked you, if you condoned their trading loss. I also don’t think you are aware that the market has been running for 20 years and has won many awards. It is a huge asset to Cliftonville.
            Perhaps you should speak with the founder of the market with her late husband Keith and CRA June Chadband, She will be able to give her side of the story, she is also the Chair of Cliftonville Residents Association who ran all the bandstand events for 25 years so you see Carlotta Cliftonville has been alive with events over the last 25 years.
            I just hope the market will continue as I, like Ella, enjoy visiting it each month, chatting to the stallholders
            and meeting friends.
            Long may it continue!

  14. I’m so happy the ART BOX has had such an impact all ready! The first installation will be up on the 19th December- I met with a local gardener with regards to benches- hanging baskets etc- please will all of the haters and knockers open up your minds- art is everywhere- its all around us- art is more than a picture on the wall- The plywood box is up- and its the first stepping stone to something great- something visually pleasing – something far nicer than staring at blue cast iron columns and a non existent roof – there is beauty in simplicity sometimes….

      • Why Peter- we’re not roofers- we’re not restorers – within two years time it will be a land mark feature- it was condemned and derelict- we are bringing a dead site back to life- just coming at it from a new contemporary angle- The Art Box is a simple concept- nothing more nothing less- a box that will have a monthly change of art and colour- something different to come and see- Newgate Gap pavilion bought into the 21st century- would be great if everyone be a little less angry and hateful – dx

        • “coming at it from a new contemporary angle”? “bought into the 21st century”?

          So, we should aim for dereliction instead of renovation? No wonder Cliftonville is in such a mess if that’s your attitude.

          As for you not being roofers, why don’t the various charities/groups try to raise the funds to hire some? That’s what happens elsewhere in Thanet.

          • I’m not a Cliftonville local (thankfully), but living within a few miles from there for 36 years, I’m more than familiar with the area, and have seen first hand the complete lack of real benefit from these endless “art” projects. Apologies if I’m wrong, but I’m assuming by your association with Stretch and Central Saint Martins (etc) that you’re based in London? I do hope though that you’ve actually visited the area and spoken to ordinary people in the street rather than just deciding from afar what will “improve” Cliftonville.

          • We held a very well attended community consultation at Faith in Strangers where we spoke to local councillors and residents – we heard about the plans for the area, the skate park, the wonderful work that Grass do at the band stand. We are so excited to be party of this rapidly changing area on Margate, the whole Cliftonville Park will be destination in its own right. Yes Stretch director is based in london but other staff live in the area. I am buying a property in the area. It may well be the start of a new life for a stretch and myself in the the area. I swim in the Walpole, I love Margate. I’m very excited about joint you all. Change is inevitable – better we work together than dived

          • According to their website, “Faith In Strangers is a work­space for indi­vid­u­als and col­lab­o­ra­tors work­ing in cre­ative, artis­tic, design and well­be­ing sec­tors.”… which means you were simply preaching to the converted rather than getting out in the wider community. As for GRASS, they’ve upset a lot of locals by their appalling treatment of the Farmer’s Market (I am one of many who will boycott anything they do).

            What Cliftonville really needs are decent shops, as well as decent parking (I don’t drive, but cars and parking a modern reality). Art spaces and Cafes are very nice, but go to Margate High Street and see what attracts people the most: chances are it’ll Poundland and The Works.

          • As you know Peter, making decisions over shops and carparks is completely the councils decision and I agree that there should be more.The more that goes on in Cliftonville the more the area will grow. Our consultations was open to the public. Perhaps you would be happy if we turned. Newgate Gap into a carpark and 7/11 ?

    • So excited , can’t wait to enjoy the new installations it will really bring some interest to that tired little area, great there’s going to be a bench or two so we can sit and view.
      * if you need any plants I’m sewing lots of seeds for spring. And have quite a few low level interesting evergreen very happy to help with gardening around. 👍

  15. The council had decided that it was not ever going to be restored for its original purpose. Love it or hate it, that decision is a fact. Therefore, people have to compromise and accept change. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but at least something unique and interesting is being done there. I’m shocked by how unkind some people can be. Stretch charity does a lot for a disenfranchised community and they should be supported in their efforts to make a difference. It was not their decision to not restore the shelter. As a side note, the influence of art and artists to this town is putting Margate on the cultural map, which will ultimately improve things for everyone.

    • Ask people on the Loop bus or shopping in Westwood if they care about being “on the cultural map”. I can guess what most of their answers would be.

      You “artists” need to listen to the rest of Thanet – including the comments on here that you just dismiss as “hateful” because they disagree with your point of view.

      • AS you may well know Peter – CliftonVille was in a vile mess years ago – probably still is for all I know – my attitude? Listen to your own? before you criticise change that is only for the better – none of you have really stopped to think before you’ve written – i dread to think if my children ever read the crap you are throwing at their dad-

        • “probably still is for all I know” – you mean you’re not even familiar with the area???

          If you did, you’d know that (a) “Art” has done absolutely zero to improve the area, and (b) It is actually in a far worse mess than it was 10 years ago.

      • you should immortalise them by writing their comments in graffiti on the art box – that was a suggestion from a fan BTW – I wouldnt waste the ink

      • Peter, so true and the point you’re making is far wider than the offence being taken by some.
        I’m the one that got kicked off the Margate Town Deal Peoples Panel for asking why Dreamland being “for sale”, was still getting £4m of our money?
        TDC swiftly got rid of me before I could ask about the £6.9m going to the self-appointed “creative land trust” and £500k going to GRASS who found it necessary to threaten pillars of our community, with “trespass and nuisance” for doing what they had been doing for Cliftonville for the last 20 years!
        The bulk of £22.2m is being allocated to projects as remote as the moon for most of Thanet. This is all part of TDC senior officers and their few allies being as unaccountable as possible. Thanet has paid a dreadful price and there seems no end to it.

        • It was disgusting that you were banned from the Peoples Panel for asking
          pertinant questions about where vast sums of money are being allocated to.
          What is the point of a
          Peoples Panel?
          I also do not think it is right for any serving member on the Margate Town Deal Board MTDB to be awarded vast sums of money for their group.
          I am alluding to the member of GRASS who is on that board and they are in line for £500,000 over two years. Any serving member should not, in my opinion, be a recipient of any funding.
          To me it all stinks!

        • My understanding is that any of the funding has to be matched by the the various applicants/ projects and its use needs agreement from those overseeing the scheme. So effectively the 4 million becomes an 8 million investment in the project in ,Dreamlans case. That this is a bonus for any possible purchaser is no different to the” bonus” the current owners have.
          Or is my understanding incorrect?

      • Would you like to meet us for coffee Peter?, I think these things are much better dealt with face-to-face instead of hiding behind internet sniping?
        We are not looking to make enemies

        • Thank you Carlotta for the kind invite, but I think I’ll give it a miss.

          I have no doubt that art has turned around the lives of Dean, yourself, and many others – and I’m genuinely glad it has. I admire your enthusiasm and positivity, and I’m sure your projects make a difference to some areas. It’s just that Margate/Cliftonville seems to have no “Plan B” beyond art, and the lack of other visions are in my opinion actually damaging the area rather than reviving it. I would LOVE to be proven wrong though! Good luck.

      • Peter- I am not an artist. I do use the Loop bus service. I shop at Westwood and I definitely see a benefit to Margate being on the cultural map. I would’ve liked to have seen the shelter restored as well. The council decided not to do that. Perhaps if you feel so strongly about an area in which you do not live, then you should attempt to be on the council yourself, which is a way in which you might actually affect change, rather than at times in your arguments being somewhat rude in the way you respond to people.

  16. It was either derelict or nothing. Feel free to bring benches, flowers, rebuild the shelter – we are not part of some massive conspiracy to ‘ruin Cliftonville’ – look forward to your contributions folks – be the change 🙂

    • Ton, your last paragraph
      “As for the Farmers’ Market words fail me’
      are you supportive of the
      market or not?

      • I will always support it Hazel.
        Hope to see you at the next one on December 19th
        I must go and have another look at the Art Box, as I might have missed something.

  17. So far I’ve viewed the burgeoning art scene in Margate as bringing an interesting added dimension to the town but scepticism is creeping in. I think those involved in promoting art in Margate should read this thread with open minds because what it illustrates is the despair and frustration many Margate residents feel when art is used to paper over the cracks. There is an awful lot of that going on and the deepening cracks just do not affect the majority of well-heeled London escapees as much as the rest of us.

    There’s such a thing as killing the thing you love. I see that happening here, in this town. Many who move here are attracted by Margate’s heritage and its shabby beauty. The latter doesn’t last, it turns to rot & decay and is then replaced, all too often, by something soulless which serves primarily to make money for those who are already well-off.

    I do not think the box is GREAT or AMAZING and just using those words again and again won’t make it so. As such projects go, this isn’t the best. I see it as great big sticking plaster – the town’s falling down but ‘Oooh Look – ART!!’ The only way to justify it would be for the work displayed to furiously draw attention to the dereliction around it and demand that our heritage, the heritage that serves one & all, be maintained.

    • Thank you for your considered message Carina, I actually agree with a lot of it. Thanet Council have let the area go to rack and ruin, we make no claim to be fixing any of those problems, and yes, it IS a temporary ‘sticking plaster’ while we work on the extensive further plans. We hope it will be somewhere interesting to come and enjoy the vista. Some exhibitions you may like, some not – it will be a talking point, some may be local artists, or architect plans for next stages – a focal point for discussion – to raise points in the area, for collaboration – we are already thinking of printing out all these comments and plastering them on the wall for the next two weeks!! we all want Cliftonville to thrive. Its temporary – and in 2 years time we will in planning stages of a completely different building and structure. I look forward to your input

  18. Carlotta’s non reply to the questions I asked about her friends GRASS, speaks volumes.
    Why am I not surprised.

    • I did not see it James, not sure what you are implying? We have nothing to do with the finances of GRASS, we have not benefitted in anyway from their fundraising, totally their business – we struggle ourselves to raise any money, its competitive out their. – Once again, I invite you to meet me and my trustees face to face and discuss this sensibly ?

  19. I think art instead of bringing people together is in fact driving a wedge between the arty people and non arty people.

    Because art seem to be getting an unfair share of public money. Its art this art that. TC over 20 million of our taxes and counting and from a non art person I fail to see how it gas improve margate and the surrounding area. What has that area got for the 20 million in Estes in the TC ?.

    Plus alot of the art to mist people isnt really art, paints by 5yr old standards, lollipops in ramsgate now a wooded box.

    There is alot wrong in thanet but the groups that seem to benefit from our taxes is the arty sector. A sector which on the whole could support its self.

    • Do local boxing, footy swimming youth clubs etc receive our taxes to help the youth ?

      All read read about is yet another arty thing getting our taxes.

      Art will not on it’s own solve thanets problem. But its getting an unfair share of our taxes. If I look in any arty shop the price they sell stuff at is so expensive. That tells me that the arty people can afford to pay these prices but taxes support their hobby. That isnt fair. I was an ‘art’ in thanet it looked like dusty bin the price was 600quid! Arty people should pay towards art the TC should charge an entrance fee

  20. As pointed out in a previous post Cliftonville’s demise is well documented and it was used for too long as a dumping ground for some of societies least fortunate/ desirable people, one of the most telling points is that even having thanets cheapest property very few thanet first time buyers would even consider living there.
    We now have an influx of those happy to live there as one remarked, “ people think its edgy here, but unlike parts of london you won’t get mugged or have your phone nicked if you use it and the kids can go out and not be threatened”.
    These incomers have their visions , abilities, contacts and in some cases money, to effect change and not surprisingly the change is what they want.
    Anything that displaces the anti social, drug and substance abusers, the benefit dependant petty criminals, etc is fine by me. There’s a bitof a disconect in that the self same “ improvers” are unwilling to accept that there too many of such people especially if they come from foreign climes.
    The area has the appearance of improvement, hopefully it is on firm foundations, but it remains to be seen how firm they are and whether they can support further change. Cliftonville is becoming very cliquey with on “ American werewolves in london” reactions if one of the unworty enters oneof the incomers enclaves.
    On the flipside some events are bringing people from around thanet into cliftonville which they’d previously bever have consideered doing.
    The proof in the pudding will be what happens when all the external funding moves to another area and cliftonville has to stand on its own two feetand whats been built uptil then.
    The next economic downturn ( as and when it happens) will also be telling as historically thanet and cliftonville in particular have never weathered such events well.

  21. Carlotta, I like this idea: ‘we are already thinking of printing out all these comments and plastering them on the wall for the next two weeks’. I’m not sure what that would achieve but I like the spirit of openness.

    Back in 2019 you were reported as estimating that the shelter would cost about £500.000 to restore. Much as that’s an eye-watering amount for most of us, it is not a lot of money in relation to a historic structure. It’s quite a bit less than the current price of big houses in Cliftonville which, while they would have risen in price over the last 6 or so years anyway, continue to increase in value the trendier Cliftonville becomes. The irony is that the more organisations such as yours attempt to improve disadvantaged areas through cultural projects, the less likely the poor are to be able to afford to live in those areas. Such projects are therefore intrinsically problematic. By contrast, simply restoring a structure that serves everyone is simpler and has a subtle, long-term beneficial impact on the area around it.

    A restored shelter wouldn’t shout ‘look at me!’, it wouldn’t serve or advertise any one section of society, it would just make Margate better for visitors and residents alike. And that would not go unnoticed.

    • Absolutely ‘spot on’ Carina, I agree with everything you say about the shelter. It would serve the whole community and visitor far better being restored.
      Surely there must be some grant giving body out there that could help.
      What about the Margate Town Deal Board?

  22. So from what Carlotta has said, it seems the plan is to demolish the existing structure and build yet another gallery in Margate. Just what we need on our coastline.

  23. As the shelter is in the Cliftonville West Ward, are the Councillors of that ward not involved in finding a solution and maybe ultimately the restoration?
    I have heard through the grapevine that Cliftonville East Cllr.
    Cedric Towning is working towards the restoration of the Walpole Bay Shelter and the one past the Palm Bay Cafe. Admittedly they are not in the same
    state as this one.
    If Dean & Carlotta can hold their art projects there until the funds are found for restoration, well maybe that is not a bad thing. At least it will be keeping it in the public eye.
    Somebody has mentioned Margate Town Deal Board for funding, maybe the Cliftonville West Councillors could imvestigate this avenue.
    I hope it can all be resolved for all.

  24. Abraham Lincoln once said: “He has a right to criticise, who has a heart to help.”

    There’s a lot of hate getting channelled towards a project that seems to be trying make a difference to an area that everyone here is invested in.

    The new owners seem willing to engage with the community.

    Rather than waste time and energy finding fault with the idea, why not pull together and help make this project work?

    • And Winston Churchill once said on free speech,

      “Some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage”

      We should all be able to make comments on things affecting the area we live in.

    • Indeed, its a long process of consultation and fundraising – it might be that in 10 years time the shelter is returned to a shelter with art inside it, I actually quite like that idea, at the moment this is all we can afford so we want to make the most of it

      • Well, if nothing else, this article by Kathy Bailes has given us all a chance to air our views on Carlotta & Dean’s art project, the farmers market, Cliftonville and the Margate Town Deal
        It has been most enlightening.
        I look forward to seeing the cooments on the box.

  25. As an outsider, albeit connected to the project via Carlotta, I’m pretty astonished by the overall negativity coming through on this thread. The whole point of this endeavour is to create an artistic space for disenfranchised people to express themselves through art. Yet so many of you seem to want to reinvigorate the past – a Margate of 100 years ago when it was a glorious seaside town. Which is now long gone. The influx of wealth and creativity into the area is exciting and progressive and will attract tourism, interest and investment from afar. Beyond that, as far as I can tell, Margate has very little that is going to continuously stimulate the economy. You are all benefitting from the opportunities that the artistic and creative communities are bringing, I’m really surprised you are so resistant to that in favour of restoring an antiquated shelter, the benefits of which the charity would restore via the gallery and sensitive exterior planning. What’s so good about restoring a Victorian Shelter? Why is that not just a waste of space compared to a museum/gallery ?

    • What is wrong with wanting to reinstate an Edwardian shelter? It is part of Cliftonvilles’s heritage.
      It should never have been allowed to fall into such disrepair over the years.
      I think you will also find that there are covenants (rightly so) that cover the whole of the coastal open spaces in Cliftonville.
      As Somebody has already
      commented, show your art work in the shelter, that way we can have both.
      We must not lose the heritage of the area.
      From what I have read, the Margate Synagogue is going to be showing art, could you not be part of that?
      We have a wonderful coastline, sea views and beaches in this area and the shelters were built for people to rest and view the coastline, let us not lose them now.
      I do also hope, that the Walpole Bay shelter and the shelter past the cafe remain as shelters and are not allowed to just fall into further disrepair.
      I hope the councillor who is working on this gets funding towards it from TDC.
      Art, like music is universal!

Comments are closed.