Pedalo concession plan for Margate seafront tidal pool

Concession plan for Margate's tidal pool Photo Carl Hudson

Thanet council aims to offer an £11,000 concession for Margate’s seafront tidal pool

The pool, at the rear of the TS Elliot shelter, has been the site of numerous injuries and does not have RNLI lifeguard cover.

It was previously used for pedalos and that is the aim of a new concession deal.

Previously RNLI lifeguards had to warn against people using the pool for swimming, In 1996 a diver was awarded a financial sum after diving into the pool left him paralysed.

The proposal for the new concession is part of Thanet council’s 2023-24 budget plans.

Speaking at a meeting earlier this week council leader Ash Ashbee said: “The tidal pool is not covered by the RNLI lifeguards that look after the main beach.

“It is not for swimming, it is a tidal pool but designated by default from a boating pool as it used to have pedalos on it.

“It has not had a concession for a long while.

Photo Carl Hudson

“As a council we have a risk element that we have to solve. The only way to solve it is to find revenue to have an own employ lifeguard to look after the pool otherwise we would have to close the pool and the only way you can close the pool is to open up the back end of it… to actually lose the pool of historic value. Maybe a concession could be found for it to have its own independent lifeguard to be put there.”

Cllr Ashbee said if the cover was provided via a concession, the council could stipulate the hours this would be required.

She added: “It is imperative, we cannot have that pool open without any attendance of a lifeguard this summer because we are at risk. We have to find a solution for that, the last thing I want to do is put a bulldozer through the back wall so it is no longer a pool.

“But it is not a swimming pool, it is actually meant for boating.”

The town’s Walpole Bay Tidal Pool, which opened in 1937 and is Grade II listed , is safe for swimmers.

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  1. It was always a swimming pool in the 60s and 70s when I was a kid and spent my summers on the beach by the sundeck. The boating pool was at the Clock Tower end of the beach. And the toilets there were open too – even if you did have to put 1d in the slot!

  2. Terrible idea. It’s the only halfway safe place for families with inflatable toys and is safe for swimming usually. Twice a day it’s not safely accessible for non swimmers anyway. Better to have a plan for enhancing family use of that and westbrook, including a tap to rinse swimmies and kids. Help the excellent small businesses and encourage folks to come by train as its close to the station.

  3. Who supplies the pedalos. The poor person who has to pay the £11000 ?
    I see we still have a load of ‘nonsense-heads’ in Cecil Street. For that sort of pax, I would need a guaranteed income of at least £25,000.00

  4. I am far from clear as to why the ‘risk element’ that is seen to exist for the pool is any different to that for any other part of the coastline. Accidents can happen in millions of places around our coastline that are without lifeguards. Even the Main Sands have only seasonal and fixed hours cover. Who is covering the risk element there after 6pm?

    • Animal cruelty and rating women by order of perceived hotness. Surprised a bloke like you has misogynistic views and pasttimes…you don’t seem the sort, at all.

  5. So let’s assume somebody wants to set up a pedalo business. First of all they would need some pedalos. These start at around £5k each. You would need about a dozen so £60k in total. You would then have to pay £11k for the concession and about another £10k to employ a lifeguard for the summer season. Altogether £71k initial outlay not including insurance etc. The summer season is very short in this country. Literally the school holidays plus a few weekends. In total, about 60 days. Half of that time, the pool is underwater and therefore out of use. So 30 days roughly. Then there is the bad weather days when you will get no business. The concessionaire would then need somewhere to store the pedalos when they’re not is use as they will almost certainly be vandalised if they are left on the beach. On top of that, the concessionaire will also be responsible for policing the pool and making sure that nobody swims in it.
    When the pool was built, it was a swimming pool. Because there have been a few accidents which have resulted in TDC being sued, they now want to stop people swimming in it but pass that responsibility on to someone else.

  6. Peter absolutely agree there they had pendilos for years before COVID the donkeys were run by a long running family who in the end forced of the beach by local animal rights idiots the donkeys were well looked after it would be good as well punch and Judy for the little kids definitely beuty queens then someone would moan about women they already use the beach in there costumes.people used to swim in the pool when the sun deck was there but that was managed by the sundeck management that’s before health on safety rules these days there are people who run pendilos who would jump at the chance does time fly there is people in the town who don’t want anyone use there beach it’s crown estate for everyone to use this is not Spain when you have to pay for use of there beaches

    • When I first moved from London to Herne Bay in 1985 (I came to Thanet 2 years later), they had pedalos in the pond in the park, great fun! But yeah, we need to bring back traditional things like that, as art clearly hasn’t done anything to improve the area.

    • There is no room on the beach for all that these days due to gangs of moron youths drinking and fighting, then party groups down from London with music blasting out all day with all the resulting litter everywhere. Not that TDC are bothered about that ! The pool hasn’t had any lifeguard for decades and just the odd accident so why now must it be bulldozed without a concession taking it on? Seems anything historic in Thanet has to go under this shambles of a Council, just in case something bad should happen !!

      The donkeys that used to work on the beach for decades were always well looked after until they were forced to retire. They knew where to go and how far to walk on their own accord. They were given shelter and water as well as hay.

    • The radio One roadshows were always a lot of fun when they came to Margate .
      I remember popping down to see them live broadcast during my lunch break and seeing Kim Wilde and Tony Blackburn , and also the late great Dj Mike Smith and Chas & Dave .
      Afterwards people queued up to get their autographs . I remember Kim Wilde catching the train back home from Margate railway station
      These shows WERE the good old days .

          • We had a big hovercraft roll up on the beach one Saturday morning during the live Radio One broadcast.

            Someone should write a book on how many Roadshows they had in Margate and who all the stars were who came to perform on stage. They even had some up on the green by the Winter Gardens some years. I remember one later year Bob Geldof and his wife Paula Yates. Their children sat in his Saab car waiting for him to finish. He seemed very friendly back then signing autographs through the window before driving away.

  7. I was brought up im Margate in the 50s and into the 60s. This was always a swimming pool.
    Many old postcards show hundreds of parents and children paddling and swimming in it.
    Why on earth do these ‘modern’ times place so many obstacles to people’s enjoyment?
    As for the Pedalos, clearly this proposal could never be financially viable.
    Once again TDC have not thought this through…………..totally bonkers!

  8. Profit Driven narrow minded TDC Strikes Again. Be Nice If Us Locals were allowed input. What about the Clock Tower Toilets 2023 Still dilapidated And Closed!!

  9. Seems like almost everyone wants the pool to be available for swimming. It’s a good place to swim in the evening when the tide is out when it feels like an infinity pool (not that I’ve ever been in one of those – but you get an eye line view of horizon, it’s dreamy). Like others I’m thinking ‘please not even more stuff to pay for’. Plus pedalos are more fun in the sea, in the pool it might be more like dodgems.

  10. Always was a well used swimming pool in my teens, late 50s 60s.
    No accidents or any problems ever, but it was the period of mutual common sense and responsibilities for your own actions being accepted as read.
    The sue culture imported from America has changed so much here in Great Britain, for the worse.

  11. Other than a money launderer who in their right mind is going to set up a pedallo business in a tidal pool in the uk. Say at best a 6 month season, of which you might get a good number of visitors on 50 days, then on how many of those will the pool be underwater for the majority of a 9-7 working day? 11k for the concession, provision of pedallos, insurance, staffing costs, storage of pedallos out of season, presumably a lifeguard requirement ( though what happens outside of the concessionaires working hours / season) .
    If we live in a world so full of ignorant idiots that are unable to understand the hazards associated with swimming , perhaps the only real option is to demolish the pool ( not a move i would support)

  12. Leave it as it is for people to enjoy. The council can cover themselves with a few well placed and prominent signs saying “not suitable for swimming”, “caution, shallow water, “no diving” etc. One could even say “WARNING,might be too cold for people”. TDC seem to be hellbent on being inept.

  13. Nothing wrong with trying to inject a bit of fun back into the place if someone can make this work, in this litigious age.

  14. The Marine Terrace tidal pool was designed as a bathing pool and only later evolved into a boating pool, which is incapable of furnishing any viable economic return. Threats of closing the pool by bulldozing the back wall seems to be the only plan of action that our unimaginative council can come up with. This won’t resolve TDC’s fear of litigation because the remaining walls will still pose a hazard for careless swimmers – as will all the other concrete or rock formations on our coastline if they are misused.

  15. How can the Walpole Bay pool be considered safe for swimming when it is deeper and bigger than the tidal pool at Nayland Rock and it doesn’t have a lifeguard either. The idea to bulldoze the pool is sheer vandalism and yet another way TDC are destroying a local asset.

    • TDC, as ever, have neither thought this through, nor done their homework… usual.
      Shame that you reminded them that there’s a pool at Walpole, they’ll want to bulldoze that next!

  16. “The tidal pool is not covered by the RNLI lifeguards that look after the main beach”
    Why not extend it to cover the pool?

  17. This is TDC acting entirely in character – too difficult to work out a decent solution, neglect it then find an excuse to knock it down. Repeat.
    Where does the need for £11k come from?
    If a consession takes it over at no cost and provides a lifeguard for the pool, surely it’s a win-win? The faux risk is covered off, there’s a new attraction in Town and the pool is saved.
    If there is no consession, then a demolition job is required (£’s), there’s the eyesore remnants of the pool (still a danger to swimmers) and the first thing visitors to Margate see is a shabby shelter and a bomb site on the beach!

  18. Councillor Ashbee, as leader of Thanet District Council should not be telling fibs. This has always been a designated Swimming Pool since it was installed in 1937, at the same time as Walpole Bay pool and for the same purpose, SWIMMING at all states of the tide. It was only much later that Pedalos were used for a short time and then went again. Designation did not change. The actual designated boating pool is up the other end of the main sands off Marine Drive and is smaller and shallower.
    The leader really needs to get her facts correct before issuing press releases.
    To be clear, very few accidents have occurred on the Tidal Pools in all these years, but they could because of council neglect without the necessary maintenance and upkeep. Sand needs removing from time to time and the walls need cleaning and clearly marking ‘Danger’ so unfamiliar beach users can identify where the walls are located when under water. Councils must hold Public Liability Insurance to cover all accidents, and whatever a situation there will always be accidents. It would also make better sense to put a lifeguard at either end as well as in the middle of the main beach to cover the whole length of sands during the season.

    There has been and still is an awful council disregard for Thanet’s historical structures and buildings of importance, even at grade ll listings. The casual threat of even more destruction by Cllr Ashbee is just against everything she should be doing to keep Thanet the tourist and holiday attraction it has always been.

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