Projects for £22m Margate Town Deal scheme on show at Turner Contemporary pop-up event

Getting ready to open the town deal pop-up

Some 250 people have booked to visit a pop-up exhibition at Turner Contemporary today (February 26) showing projects being developed for the £22.2million Margate Town Deal.

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. A bid amount of £22.2milion was granted.

Successful projects were chosen under four themes:

Scaling creative production and skills

  • Establishing a Creative Land Trust
  • Improvements to the Theatre Royal

Coastal wellbeing

  • Improvements to Walpole Bay and Oval Bandstand
  • Skatepark

Active movement and connections

  • A series of highway and public realm interventions

Heritage assets

  • Repurposing the cinema building at Dreamland
  • Winter Garden future options appraisal

A business case for the creative lands trust has been submitted to government outlining plans to “provide safeguarded affordable workspace with high-quality digital connectivity; free enterprise space for young people; further and higher education; centres for digital and theatrical production; civil society activities; and a permanent cultural centre focused on the black and brown community.”

The aim is to support Margate’s creative sector by repurposing long-term vacant buildings and creating low cost spaces and enterprise support.

Business cases for the other Town Deal projects must be submitted to government by April before any funding is released.

Among the projects on display at the pop-up were the Margate skatepark, earmarked for the former putting green at Ethelbert Terrace, People Dem Collective which has been working with Dreamland and The Oval Bandstand and Lawns which will undergo improvements to make the area available for use all year around.

Nic Powley and Dan Cates, from Margate Skateboard Club, were at the event to talk to people about their proposal.

The skatepark is to receive £750,000 in town deal funding, £100,000 from artist Tracey Emin and £59,000 from Thanet council.

Many projects are having their business cases drawn up with help from Thanet council but Nic and Dan have done a large part of the work themselves because of the specialist nature of the project and the need for a design t be in place for costings to be worked out.

Their aim is to get all ages involved. Dan said: “Skating can have a positive effect on mental health for all ages.  In the 80s, as a newer sport, is was seen as something for kids but now it goes across all generations. Things like being in the Olympics have helped change perceptions and there are people who started skateboarding in the 70s and 80s who still do it to a certain level now.”

Nic added: “It’s not just a young people’s sport, there are now guys in their 50s skating and surfing.”

The Margate Skateboard Club plans include a toilet and a kiosk with the kiosk having a hub for staff of the CIC to support community engagement activities and deliver health and wellbeing programmes.

Income from the kiosk will be used to maintain the toilets and the Skatepark, covering running and maintenance costs.

Also showing plans at the event were Simon Bell and Stephen Darrer, of Grass (Gordon Road Area Street Scheme) Cliftonville.

Grass took on the lease for the site last year and have been working on a number of improvements.

Under the Margate Town Deal there is an allocation of £500,000 which will be used to continue that work and create a Pavilion.

Stephen said: “We need to make the site work 365 days a year, so think Ellington Park and the fantastic results they have achieved.

“It’s about repurposing what’s on the site, honouring the heritage and making a useable, accessible space for the community.”

Grass want to also include training and education in their plans and are talking to mental health charities about involvement to build on community wellbeing uses.

The aim is also to reconfigure the bandstand area so it is a 360 space – a “theatre in the round”- which will mean moving the toilet facilities. The pavilion will be wheelchair accessible.

There will also be wildflower meadows, lawns, a mini wetland, a mini-forest, and paths lined with wildlife-friendly plants to create a “coastal eco-park” alongside artworks, social and activity spaces.

Cllr Pugh, Cllr Ashbee and Brian Horton

Margate Town Deal chairman Brian Horton also attended and was joined by council leader Ash Ashbee and Cabinet member for economic development Reece Pugh.

Brian said projects are headed by local people and have been created through engagement with residents in Margate.

He added: “Hopefully (town deal projects) will inspire others to come and work with us and invest in this.”

Cllr Pugh said: “The pop-up gives people the opportunity-to meet those from the projects and the project team and get an understanding of how big this is for the town. It  is just about the £22million, it is expected to kickstart 5,6, maybe 10 times that in private, inward investment, the proposals across Margate are the catalyst for that.”

Cllr Ashbee added: “It is confidence building and this is the foundations. Projects like the skatepark are tangible and people can see things developing.”

Once business cases are signed off and funds are released there will be five years to deliver the projects. On the ground work is expected to start by mid to late 2023.

The pop-up event is open until 4pm.

£4million Town Deal cash towards entertainment and conference centre plans for Dreamland Cinema

Find out more about the Margate Town Deal here


  1. How will £4 million gift to build privately owned dreamlands new cinema out of taxpayers money when there will be NO free or reduced rates for local people create the inward investment. NO money to be invested on the Millmead estate where money was originally earmarked for.

  2. Interesting comments about the skate park

    “Income from the kiosk will be used to maintain the toilets and the Skatepark, covering running and maintenance costs.”

    So the skate park will need to raise its own money for up keep. It’s being built for the local kids.

    Yet the TC doesnt need to raise a penny for up keep it just keeps getting our taxes.

    Can people not see that this isnt fair ?. The kids have to spend money in the kiosk yet the well off arty people dont need to do anything for their TC.

    Why cant it be maintenance by our taxes for our local kids ? But never mind to arty people are alright.

    • Kids aren’t compelled to spend in the kiosk anymore than people have to put cash in the T C donation box.
      Though to make it look as though TC is less dependant on the taxpayer , the taxpayer has just given it a spanking new carpark to generate income.
      No doubt the skateparks hub and toilet will be excuse enough to attract further TDC, KCC etc funding if required.

    • The skatepark has to generate some income and enable it to be free to use.

      If the kiosk is selling cans of Coke or coffee that can be bought anywhere, it’s not exploiting anyone is it? Plus as already pointed out no one has to buy a thing there but for many people having somewhere to get a drink and an actual toilet is a bonus.

  3. ”. . . and a permanent cultural centre focused on the black and brown community.”

    Is this not somewhat discriminatory or racist or both ?

    (I am not questioning the reporting. The quote is from the business case submitted to government).

    • Hopefully all will go ahead I don’t think GRASS should have been given a look in after the tricks they pulled over the Cliftonville residents association who ran it for years the other comment about the cultural center could be seen as the correspondant said could be seen that way a cultural centre should be for all.

      • Agree 100% with what you say about Grass.
        The last group put on concerts, week long events and the superb farmers’market.
        Got the funding for the new bandstand and kiosk.
        Why could it not have stayed with them.
        TDC handed it over to this group who run it more as a business.
        They already have a bar at their few events they have held.
        They set out from Day 1 to get rid of the incumbent group.
        TDC are as much to blame, particularly the people who gave consent for this and other community asset transfers.
        All the Oval site needed was painting of the bandstand and maybe updating the toilets.
        They would have handed funding somewhere for that.

      • What many have said about the Oval Bandstand is true.
        For 25 years Cliftonville Residents Association ran all the events on this site.
        We funded everything ourselves.
        My late husband Keith Chadband, one of the founder members of the CRA, in 2006 accessed the funding for a new bandstand. As many have said already it is only 15 years old. Although we accessed the funding and the same with the kiosk & toilet shutters, they all remained the property of TDC and should have been maintained by them.
        In 2001 we decided to try a farmers’ market for the area and it was very well supported.
        Fast forward to 2021 when TDC handed this prime site to another group in a community asset transfer. We on the committee of CRA did not know it was freehold like many others in the community.
        We even gave this group a letter of support and donated £1,000 towards their crowd fumding for their solicitors fees. How foolish were we.
        From July 8th, when they became the legal owners, in my opinion, they set out to in effect ‘oust’ the market which they succeeded in doing, by cancelling the August market, saying that it was being run illegally.
        On August 20th 2021, I received a solicitors letter by special delivery
        from this group GRASS threatening Ann Smith & myself the named licensee holders, with legal action, as we were using the storeroom illegally. We were not, as we held a licence from TDC until March 31st 2022.
        They then cancelled the August farmers’ market, depriving the artisans and small businesses of trading that month. For some farmers’ markets are their livelihood.
        Cllr. Rob Yates even commented on the feature IOTN ran on August 20th, 2021, saying that TDC had allowed us to run an illegal market. He did not contact me the market manager for clarification.
        We are affiliated to Kent Farmers’ Market Association and adhere to their strict rules.
        We requested a Freedom of Information request to see if this was so that we were illegal using the store room. It clarified that we were legally running our market.
        The fact that they employed a solicitor, to threaten another group I will never be able to understand.
        So there it is, we had to fight tooth & nail for the site we are now on at £250 per month and they GRASS wanted £10 per stall and to sign up to their own lengthy market licence for us to stay there.
        GRASS are rewarded with a prime 4 acre site freehold at no cost. Their solicitors fees were crowd funded and now they are once again being rewarded with £500,000 from the MTDB, I am sorry for what?
        We still do not have a permanent storeroom for our equipment from March 31st.
        When this all happened back in July last year, I wrote to the Chief Executive, the Mayor of Margate, the Leader of the Council, many other councillors and not even one answered my emails.
        The only councillors who have helped the market are Cllr. Cedric Towning & Cllr. Horace Shrubb.
        As far as TDC are concerned we do not exist.
        Our 25 years of events account for nothing, our multi award winning farmers’ market voted ‘Best in Kent’ on 6 occasions and 3 other prestigious awards apparently count for nothing.
        When I recently contacted the TDC’s Surveyor, to ask if they had another storage site in Cliftonville, the reply was very curt, no we haven’t, sorry.
        So if I come across as sounding very bitter, I have to say that I am.
        We are and have always been unpaid volunteers from the community working for the community.
        Last year, before the transfer, we asked the group GRASS if we could hold a concert in September in celebration of our ’20th’ anniversary of the market and also in memory of the man who had run all the concerts for 25 years and was a big part of the history of the Oval, the late chairman Keith Chadband, they came back with an estimated cost of the event of over £1,000. The band we had picked had offered to play for £350, the rest of the cost was for security for a bar we had not asked for and other costs. Needless to say we had to cancel.
        We always had a good working relationship with TDC until this Community Asset transfer. Words now fail me regarding them

        • Mrs.Chadband, I do feel so sorry for you and CRA at your treatment by TDC and the Grass group.
          Those of us who have lived in the area a long time, know of all that your group has achieved over the last 26 years.
          The farmers market is bigger with a larger selection of stalls and I much prefer the new site.
          You are the driving force of the market and should be rightly proud of all your awards and achievements.
          I hope you find a new storage site soon.
          Please dont lose heart!

    • All of those things John.
      Everything has a racial element these days. The expression ‘well being’ is used in relation to any funding these days.
      What on earth is going on with this world!

  4. Quickly looking at the plans I see that while they appear accessible they are not inclusively accessible. In the bandstand amphitheatre there is a ramp with access to one of the levels but not all. In the 21st century we need to be creating fully accessible inclusive spaces. I was planning to move to Margate some years back and engaged with the council and local businesses. As a disabled person myself, a full-time wheelchair user and one of the UK’s leading experts on inclusive design, I offered free advice and input on how to make Margate a shining example of fully inclusive access but after a number of years I saw little change. This input of investment could be used to place Margate as a world leader and I hope it does. Again I am happy to help.

  5. Correction required to: “Grass took on the lease for the site last year” as Grass were given the freehold to The Oval and Lawns by TDC. All FOI requests have failed to show the community’s use of that area is protected in perpetuity.

    • When we, the CRA applied for a Freedom of Information request, regarding the community asset transfer of what was a public site, to this group Grass, freehold, we were told by TDC to contact the Land Registry with a Freedom of Information request, which we are in the process of applying for now.

  6. Co-incidentally, or otherwise, I have in the last few minutes received copy of the registered freehold terms and covenants, with which I am largely satisfied, assuming they are enforceable.
    e.g. Permitted Use: use as green open space for the public including the use of the lawns, pathways, amphitheatre, public toilets and kiosk as they are in use at the date of this Transfer, together with carrying out of events such as community events charity events or active recreation sessions provided always the central circular bandstand is kept secure during evening usage.
    5. Restrictive covenants by the transferee
    5.1 The Transferee covenants with the Transferor, for the
    benefit of the Transferor’s Retained Land and each and
    every part of it, with the intention of binding the Property
    and each and every part of it:
    (a) not to make a Disposal of any part of the
    (b) not to make a Disposal of the whole of the
    Property unless the Transferee has complied
    with the terms of the Option Agreement;
    (c) not to use the Property for any reason other
    than the Permitted Use and any reason
    ancillary to the Permitted Use provided that
    such ancillary use does not interfere with the
    Permitted Use;
    (d) not to use the Property for any illegal or
    immoral purpose;
    (e) not to do anything at the Property that would
    cause loss, damage, injury, nuisance,
    annoyance, disturbance or inconvenience to
    the Transferor or the owners or occupiers of
    any neighbouring property ;
    (f) to access the Property on foot only;
    (g) not to demolish any existing building or
    structure on the Property or carry out any major
    works on the Property in any way without the
    Transferor’s prior written consent such consent
    is not to be unreasonably refused so long as it
    falls within the Permitted Use of the Property;
    (h) not to cut down, damage, neglect or remove
    any existing tree or hedge on the Property or
    any other plant planted pursuant to the
    requirements of the local planning authority;
    (i) not to leave any rubbish outside the Property
    except in proper receptacles at such times and
    in such manner as accord with the
    arrangements for the collection of refuse from
    the Property by the local authority;
    (j) not to keep any animals or livestock on the

Comments are closed.