Security measures and ‘screening’ to be installed at Winter Gardens during closure

Margate Winter Gardens Photo Frank Leppard

Temporary screening and other security measures will be installed at the Margate Winter Gardens while it is closed and awaiting an “appraisal” on its future.

The Grade II listed building hosted its last performance on August 7 during the Margate Soul Festival.

Management has now returned to Thanet council which says it will be closed “for a period of time.”

During the closure, the security screening and fencing will be put in place on and around the building. Additional security measures will include daily patrols, internal inspections and CCTV.

The heritage building is owned by the council but was leased to Your Leisure from November 1999 until this month.

The building requires significant investment and repair.

Margate Soul Festival at the Winter Gardens Photo Frank Leppard

Thanet council plans to use Margate Town Deal funding of £300,000 to create a fully developed plan for the site. This would include a detailed project delivery plan with public and private sector engagement. Specialist services would be needed to help test the market and identify the opportunities available. Specialist architects would also be used to scope out the required works and develop a fully costed scheme.

Initially operator Your Leisure was to retain the lease which ran until 2024 but agreement was then made for an early surrender. Your Leisure’s annual rolling lease at Theatre Royal also ceased on 28 April. A refurbishment of that venue is planned under the £22.2million Town Deal fund but a date for this is yet to be announced.

Thanet council says the closure and appraisal mark the next phase for the venue, adding: “The Winter Gardens has an impressive past and we are confident of its potential for a significant and flourishing future at the heart of Thanet’s already thriving mix of culture, heritage and tourism.”

Thanet council leader Cllr Ash Ashbee, said: “Now that the Winter Gardens is back under council management, we can start to determine the best future for the venue.

“We need to understand what is commercially viable in the building alongside public engagement to ensure that we hear from the community as part of this process.

“Everything that we are doing is with the best interests of the Winter Gardens as the foundation. We are confident that the Winter Gardens has a fully viable future ahead.”

Winter Gardens protest Photo Frank Leppard

In July some 200 people attended a demonstration organised by Thanet resident Jack Packman in support of a  Thanet Labour Party petition asking for a public meeting to explain the current situation, and future, of Margate Winter Gardens.

Margate Winter Gardens has been open and supporting the Thanet community for 110 years, with the last time it was closed during World War II. The 2,000-capacity venue supports local jobs and has entertained hundreds of thousands over the years.


  1. Let’s hope they use marine grade stainless for the screens and security, it’ll save replacing stuff that would otherwise rust away as go into an interminably process of actually doing something.

  2. Demolition coming soon ?? sell if off to the Blueberry Homes who have built the luxury flats on the sea front in Ramsgate. To fully refurbished the Winter Garden. It would cost £2.5 million. It could be sold off for £4.5 / 5 million.

  3. it will go the usual way of doing things in thanet – leave it until its too expensive to repair , hope in the meantime it goes up in a mystery fire ( thats never solved ) spend a few hundred thousand on meetings and consultations , the councilors go abroad to look at a similar project – bla bla bla

  4. Topical local authorities killing off what little attractions Thanet has to offer. Once a booming holiday resort to a deprived run down town in Kent within 40 years is shameful.
    English holidays are on the up with everything that’s going on now days.
    So why not invest it the area.
    Guess it’s too easy to turn a blind eye in hope of a back hander just like they did with Manston air port.
    Somebody should be held to account for the way tax payers money is wasted, and what once was a thriving seaside resort killed off

    • Channel 5 would have a field day recording what TDC has done to this town over the past decade or so. What a pit Margate and Cliftonville has become under their authority.

  5. Meanwhile , Along in Herne bay Canterbury Council are upgrading the Kings Hall , Nice venue that attracts some good artists.

  6. Whatever future it has is compicated bybthe Dreamland site, they will effectively be competing against each other, the council wants dreamland to be a success, Dreamland already has a fortune invested in it , has 4 million of grant money sitting waiting to be used and could be up and running way before anything is done at Winter Gardens. Dreamlands owners must be chuckling uncontrollably. None of which bodes well for winter gardens as a council run venue.
    Anyone care to bet against a disposal and promises of using the money to save the Theatre Royal? Putting the Wintergardens right is a 20 million plus venture , no way thanet is going to be able to do it.
    I would like to be proved wrong in 5 years.

  7. If the apparent fiasco that is Ramsgate’s Granville Theatre is anything to go by we can all guess what the future of th Winter Gardens holds fo Thanetonians.
    The future is not bright I suspect, but in the meantime there will be a few making a lot on ‘consultation fees’ and similar exercises.

  8. TDC are good at wasting money on expensive appraisals then selling the asset of for less than market value. They should be getting any repairs done with such money then putting these assets back into use for future generations. The building in Westbrook on the promenade is another one with money being wasted then it sold off. The Cliftonville promenade shelters being ugly boarded up costing thousands of pounds instead of having any repairs done that would cost less. The toilets by the clock tower still boarded up. These are essential for visitors and residents alike and should be maintained by the council. They had the chance with the Margate Town Deal Board to make the area better and attractive for tourism but instead – because of who was on the Board – they give the funding away to businesses which will not benefit the majority of residents or visitors who are still charged heavily to use such amenities. It seems TDC have no clue how to run a council and intend to board everything up, they need evicting from their jobs soon as possible. They work against the town not for it !!
    And the filthy mess on the streets, don’t get me started ughhhh.

  9. Why not allow a “property guarding” company to Yes guard the place before its sold off to possibly a landbanking company.

    Why require local council tax payers to pay for security hoardings, cctv, private patrolling guards and other measures (for an unlimited time) seems like an idea of the kremlin.

    There again if tdc have cctv,private security static/mobile available, why are they not used to combat crime.

    So much could be done, so much better here on the isle

  10. Will not open again ,nor will theatre royal, tdc and your leisure run everything into the ground,just look at blue wave pool

  11. Sadly no one wants to invest here.
    Winter Gardens, Theatre Royal, Westcliff Hall, Granville Theatre, Westgate Pavillion all falling down. No one has come forward to fill the units at the old Ramsgate Pavillion, or the units under the new flats in Ramsgate (haven’t been there recently though).
    We need someone with billions, to make a sizeable investment in the area. It’s a vicious circle. Visitors won’t come to the area without something to attract them.

  12. Went to see a huge act at the De La Warr Pavilion last year in October, down in Bexhill-On-Sea. Fantastic, cheap parking next to the venue and the venue itself was brilliant. Clean, modern facilities but having maintained its period charm. It’s a much smaller venue than the Winter Gardens and, so far as I can see, not nearly as easy to get to by train. So, why in the name of all that is holy can TDC not make a success of the Winter Gardens, when other Local Authorities are clearly making a success of venues which, by rights, don’t have nearly as much potential.

    I think I could answer this in one simple sentence… Thanet District Council are a sack of sh…

    • You maybe didn’t read it but You’re repeating exactly what I said a few weeks ago on this site about my experience and comparison between De La Warre ,Bexhill and Margate Winter gardens .
      I’ve never understood why WG didn’t have a regular list of name bands playing there like at DLWP which caters for all tastes .

      • I didn’t see your comment, but I’m glad it isn’t just me who is perplexed by how the Winter Gardens can be failing so badly, yet has so much potential!

      • I had the pleasure of seeing Roger Taylor of Queen on his solo tour last year. A phenomenal night and cracking venue! The Winter Gardens would have been perfect, had TDC not run it into the ground.

        • Yep ! MargateJim , I give you that ….. That’s a good one ,Roger. Taylor is a huge act to see 👍
          Pity that we didn’t get to see him here at WG promoting his rather good last album as I’m sure that as soon as people realised it was Roger the drummer from Queen , tickets would have sold out very quickly which makes one wonder why did the last.owners of WG miss out on shows like this ?
          Btw. I saw Gary Numan at DLWP ,Bexhill where the venue is comparable to WG , and he too these days is very good in concert .

          • Exactly that, Rockstar! The Winter Gardens is a much bigger venue and I’ve seen cracking gigs there. They could have sold out with Roger Taylor as, like you say, just the mention of Queen is enough to sell a place out. Besides which, you’re right, his last album was excellent, as was his second to last, Fun on Earth.

            I had a great time a the DLWP, but would have been over the moon to see a gig like that in my hometown. Alas, doesn’t look like that’ll ever happen again! Good ol’ TDC!

        • Hi MargateJim , I’m sure that Roger Taylor ( Queen) would be aware of Margate Winter Gardens as a venue as his drummer son Rufus Tiger Taylor of the rock band The Darkness has played at WG on both their last UK tours , and as recently I think as last year , so if The Darkness would happily play here , why didn’t WG approach the promoter / management for Roger Taylor’s last solo tour especially as geographically it could have fitted in nicely with his tour schedule visiting De La Warre , Bexhill on sea .and then round the south coast to Margate ?

          • You’re not wrong! I’ve seen The Darkness every time they’ve been at the Winter Gardens (and everywhere else, for that matter), so it wouldn’t be beyond anyone at the Winter Gardens to have made the link, after all, that’s what bookings managers are for!

  13. Bexhill railway station is not all that far from the Pavilion, and Margate railway station is not all that close to the Winter Gardens.

      • Margate station is a mile from the Winter Gardens, no problem for me but I should think there are plenty of people who would find it difficult, and perhaps painful.

        • They may not be able to walk the mile, but if they can afford a gig ticket these days, chances are they’ll be OK to stump up for a taxi or bus. Plus, let’s use a literal lateral thinking here… Is it beyond the wit of a good venue operator to put on shuttle coaches on nights where they have big events? What a draw that would be! “Take the train to Margate station, be met by your free shuttle coach and taken to the door of the South East’s premier venue”. That could absolutely be costed into any decent business model for a venue with the size and potential of the Winter Gardens.

        • A very subjective assessment of peoples abilities or otherwise, the sort of opinion with which you’d take exception when expressed by others on subjects you disagree with. Plus there is of course the taxi rank outside the station.

          • I don’t care if it’s subjective or not. I don’t suppose anybody’s gone round Thanet with a clipboard surveying people’s attitudes and ability to walking a mile.

  14. I think we all understand that TDC most likely only have one intention for the future of the Winter Gardens and it involves the ker-ching of receiving money into their coffers. I don’t believe for one minute that they intend to do any renovations.

  15. I don’t think they have any ‘intentions’, they’re buying time for someone else to make a decision – they don’t have the £300k, they don’t have any consultants, they don’t have a strategy, they don’t have a clue. The politicians wantto get past next May and the officers don’t care as long as they have at job – ‘working’ from home!

  16. This is an absolute disgrace. Why was repairs not done when they were needed and not wait until it is in such a state that it will take too much money to make it useable again. Please explain where the Isle if Thanet people can go to for a good evenings entertainment and not travel too far. I have seen nany shows at the Winter Gardens and The Theatre Royal and it is goid to see people out enjoying themselves. Now no thanks to the closure thus is a thing of the past. We are on the way to becoming Third World Thanet. Every good thing we had is gradually being taken away. So sad!!!!

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