Invite to help shape plans for £500,000 Town Deal revamp of The Oval Bandstand and Lawns

Simon Bell and Stephen Darrer with plans for The Oval Bandstand

GRASS Cliftonville CIC has received £25,000 of funding from the Margate Town Deal to begin its development work at The Oval Bandstand & Lawns.

The group, which is earmarked to receive a total of £500,000 from the £22million fund, plans to remove the old toilet block at the site and replace it with a pavilion with café, community room/s and public toilets.

Displaying the plans at Turner Contemporary earlier this year Simon Bell and Stephen Darrer, of Grass (Gordon Road Area Street Scheme) , said the proposal is to create a facility for 365 days of the year.

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

The aim is to reconfigure the bandstand area so it is a 360 space – a “theatre in the round.” 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.

Grass took on the lease for the site last year under an asset transfer from Thanet council and have been working on a number of improvements.

The CIC is now asking people to help develop the plans by filling in a survey

A statement says: “The Oval Pavilion will be for the benefit of the whole community and the guiding principle is to create a modern, eco-friendly, sustainable, all-year-round facility that is an inclusive and safe environment for all to enjoy, as well as offer training and long-term employment opportunities.

“The purpose of the survey is to help us further identify the needs of our community and ensure they feed into the development of the new facility. We are about to start the design process so we are seeking the views of residents in relation to key issues, concerns, and priorities, as this will help shape the brief and set a firm direction for the project architect.”

The Oval Bandstand

All surveys which are completed and submitted by May 31 will be entered into a prize-draw to win VIP tickets to a Cliftonville Outdoor Cinema screening this summer.

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.

Find the survey at


  1. I think many of us have walked past some of these places and felt like the waste of potential for it, so great news. Be good if Ramsgate monkey rocks, ramsgate bandstand, westbrook cafe and above building and westgate pavilion could find similar passion and funding.

  2. These two men and the group Grass have been handed a business on a plate by not only TDC with the asset transfer, but also £500,000 allocated from the Margate Town Deal Board.
    Is it not a conflict of interest, when a serving member on this board, who is also the secretary of the said group, is in line for this big pay out and they will be beneficiaries of such a vast sum of money?
    It just beggars belief!
    This group, who took over the Oval Bandstand & lawns last July and in my opinion, set out to oust the incumbent group of 25 years, which they eventually did, by cancelling the very popular farmers market, which had been running for nearly 20 years at that time.
    The market organisers were accused of running an illegal market, which did not have the correct documents, which I know was totally untrue. This was supported by Cllr Rob Yates who also accused the market of not having the correct paper work. This is the same Rob Yates who is now Deputy Mayor of Margate.
    In addition, the market manager was sent a threatening solicitors letter. Whatever happened to community spirit that they could do this to another group.
    They got what they obviously wanted and made it intolerable for the farmers market to stay. In my opinion they (the F.M) were ‘ousted’
    Thankfully the market is now running at a new home.
    The actions of TDC in this asset transfer, handing over a 4 acre site that belonged to us all, FREEHOLD to this group, was absolutely disgraceful. They should hang their heads in shame for their actions.
    From what I can remember over the 25 years that the residents group ran all their events, concerts and the market in fact everything was FREE.
    Something I have never been able to understand with this new Grass group, because it is certainly nothing like the old one, is that they have never made any mention of all that the previous group had done for the area over the 25 years, even to obtaining the funding for the bandstand that stands there today and also the kiosk.
    I have read quite a lot of their news reports and have never seen anything mentioned about the previous group.
    They come over as the ‘saviours’ of Cliftonville. Obviously as fairly newcomers to the area they do not realise that Cliftonville was a thriving area, with Butlins, events at the bandstand and many other things.
    And I have to mention the absolutely awful ‘Art Box’ in the Newgate Gap shelter. Some friends who used to live here for many years came to visit and could not believe what they were seeing. It is an absolute eyesore,full of graffiti, the so called plant boxes full of weeds and it is supposed to be ‘ART’ Now that is where some of the MTDB money should have been allocated to, the repair of the shelters that TDC allowed to fall into such disrepair over many years.
    Returning to the Oval Bandstand, I for one, will never patronise anything that they (Grass) put on at the bandstand, for their treatment to the previous group.
    No doubt many will, as some people have very short memories.
    As for TDC, they are incompetent!

  3. I agree with everything that you have said.
    Their actions towards CRA was unforgivable.
    They now have 3 Directors of the Grass CIC Cliftonville, as they are now called. Does that mean that they will be able to take a salary, as apparently according to google, directors of CIC’s can?
    Will they?

  4. I also totally agree about the ‘Art Box’
    I have been to many seaside resorts in my life and I have NEVER seen anything like it.
    What a council we have. Incompetent is an

  5. We always welcome new initiatives to Cliftonville given how deprived the area is and wish this all the best.
    We are sure some would have liked to have seen this HUGE sum spent on the Theatre Royal and The Winter Gardens and a far smaller sum on the Oval?

    I have very similar thoughts a CIC (you don’t have to produce accounts) is NOT a charity (a registered chartiy does have to produce accounts). There have been some plans shown on how to spend the £1/2 million. They may not change much, this is NOT a revamp this is a complete change with a pavilion. A building gives them a “base” which GRASS hasn’t got. It could use the Cliftonville Community Centre that ABC use which is in the centre of their “patch” but choose not to? So this is a “Tick Box” exercise. The many faceted plan will take a lot of resources to maintain it. From experienced Residents Associations you start off with a large group of volunteers but they gradually shrink away to sometimes less than a handful. Who will take up the COST and the baton then>?

    • I find it very strange,that whenever anybody asks, will they (GrassCIC) pay themselves a salary, the article is taken off IOTN online and I have had to come on facebook to find it.
      The same thing happened months ago in another article, when somebody asked the same question. Within a short while ‘comments were closed’
      Surely, there is nothing wrong in asking this question?
      With such a huge sum of money involved, the expenditure of it should be in the public domain.
      After all, it is taxpayers money, is it not?

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