Thanet council will be carrying out an assessment of the Newgate Gap sea shelter after concerns were raised about its dilapidated state.
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.
In 2019 Stretch arts charity, which delivers arts projects to marginalised groups, was the successful bidder for a community asset transfer of the site by Thanet council.
The charity revealed plans to create the first national museum for ‘outsider art.’
Stretch was one of four groups to put in an expression of interest for the shelter and the charity’s founder Carlotta Allum said proposals were for a sensitive rebuild costing approximately £500,000 and an outsider arts trail, workshops and exhibitions.
Thanet council granted permission for a temporary ‘floating’ wooden art box inside the shelter in June 2021. The ‘art box’ was planned to be in place for up to two years.
The box was installed by December 2021 and the first exhibition of portrait photos of Thanet based artists/residents was put in place in February 2022. This was vandalised almost immediately.
The same month Broadstairs College students made planters and trellises for the site. A further exhibition by artist Catherine Chinatree was put on the box in June 2022.
But the remnants of these displays are now covered in graffiti and there are concerns about the cast iron column bases being in planters with wet soil, causing damage to the structure with rust and a general air of neglect.
A letter to Thanet council on behalf of some residents says: “(There are) extremely serious concerns over the ongoing neglect and inevitable deteriorating state of the Newgate Gap Sea Shelter, of which the asset transfer holders appear remorselessly oblivious.
“This significant coastal architectural heritage asset needs to be protected from yet further neglect, so it doesn’t quite literally rust into oblivion… so it can be resurrected as a viable community and heritage asset, by an organisation that’s actually in a legitimate position to deliver.”
The letter says action must be taken before the Edwardian shelter is lost forever.
Isle architect Sam Causer had previously called for the shelter to be listed. He said: “It’s understandable that local authorities are keen to lease out responsibility for the maintenance and management of our shared public space and heritage, to ensure they’re used, looked after and meaningful in contemporary society, especially since their budgets are slashed to the bone by central government.
“However, the terms of these leases, and the care taken at Planning and Building Control should be more careful to ensure leaseholders don’t inadvertently cause harm to the structures and places we’ve entrusted them to care for. Looking after a publicly-accessible structure, especially in a harsh coastal environment is tough, and should not be undertaken without the right team in place to make sure the venture is a success for decades to come. It’s complicated, expensive and takes determination and passion to properly care for the public realm.”
Matt Shoul, of Athelstan Road Tenants & Residents Association, said “It must surely be time for TDC to reassess the situation afresh and rescind the asset transfer and either apply for a major grant for a complete historic restoration or be passed to an organisation with real forward looking vision, energy and the financial clout to create a 21st century shelter for the next century of Margate to enjoy,
“It is so very sad to see what’s become of what ought to be a stunning and valued community asset – it has such incredible potential.”
Cliftonville West ward councillors have contacted Stretch for an update on future plans for the shelter and Thanet council to see if there are conditions or requirements as part of the asset transfer.
Carlotta Alum, of Stretch, says efforts have been hampered by bad weather but work to tidy up will start “in the next couple of weeks.” She added: “We have a few plans afoot but the weather has been debilitating. We have two exhibitors lined up.”
She said a schedule will be put together shortly.
In a post to social media Stretch added: “On the 22nd Feb we will be painting over the box and getting ready for the next installation.
“It’s been incredibly hard to do anything and please anyone, the winter was hard, artists couldn’t do anything. The vandals are out in force whenever we try, it is disheartening.
“Stretch is going to try this year to gain some traction in fundraising but if it doesn’t work we will return the asset transfer – so it will be up for grabs again, and I wish you luck with your plans – obviously we had plans for something more robust, a kiosk and display space – but while we fundraise all we can afford is the box.”
A Thanet council spokesperson said an assessment will be carried out and Stretch will be contacted f repairs are deemed necessary.
They added: “We are aware of concerns relating to the condition of the Newgate Gap sea shelter, and officers are in contact with Stretch regarding the upkeep of the structure.
“Our priority is to ensure that the shelter is maintained and that all agreements made during the lease agreement are being adhered to.
“We will be conducting an assessment of the shelter and, if necessary, requiring Stretch to carry out repairs.”
A bit indicative of TDC, rusting away by the sea with out much perceivable benefit.
I see the harbourmaster from Ramsgate has left are they closing the port for housing and the post is surplus to requirements?
“We will be conducting an assessment of the shelter and, if necessary, requiring Stretch to carry out repairs.”
Good luck with that! “Artists” don’t like real work.
Well there’ll really not much left to assess, so won’t take long. What did they expect the whole escapade was a non starter. As for possibly requiring repairs to be made, does the irony not escape tdc that it was their lack of care for the shelter that set us on this current path?
This is the original posting from December 4th 2021.
It has 124 comments.https://theisleofthanetnews.com/2021/12/04/art-box-installed-at-newgate-gap-shelter
Ars gratia artis!
Bit rich of TDC to be accusing others of neglecting assets until they start to decay.
Just like when they give lectures about being good landlords.
That will be demolished then
If TDC could have demolished it, I’m pretty sure they would have done so but I suspect it may be listed building.
TDC are not fit for purpose. From the top, to the bottom.
Can we make the shelter Thanet’s first art-free zone?
Fortunately, Birchington/Minnis Bay is still pretty much Art-free. They even REPAIR shelters!
That’s true although let’s not forget that there is artwork done by local folk in the shelter on the top of Epple Bay which always brings a smile to my face when I see it .
The shelter in West Bay ,Westgate was also full of locally submitted art until late last year when I think the parish council got involved with it and wanted to remove it .
Last time I looked there last month, there was still a small sample of said local artwork ,which I believe is being rotated on display
Regardless of whether or not I personally like or dislike the art, the big difference with Epple Bay is that it is still also a SHELTER – i.e., somewhere to shelter from the sun/wind/rain. Also, it is a modern structure, not something from our Victorian/Edwardian heritage.
Is there any news / update on the shelter that was dismantled by the beacon ,Minnis Bay being rebuilt ?
You need to get out more – it was rebuilt and opened last Spring.
Sadly in Cliftonville there are 5 remaining shelters and every one of them is in a dilapidated state.
Ditto Margate, such as the boarded-up one just up the hill from the TC. The people there can organise functions for art and music projects (such as the Margate school and that venue in the Centre that was threatened with closure), but no-one seems willing to do the same for the shelters. So it’s not a matter of people having no money (not everyone in Margate/Cliftonville is starving!).
The money goes to the wrong people unfortunately.
Of course repairs are necessary,it doesn’t take a genius to work that out,but will stretch pay for it, never,they will ask for a grant from TDC,Art should pay its own way, a mantra, I will never change,just like most sports and music clubs and centre’s have to
Thing is, it is volunteers who do fund-raising events such as quizzes and jumble sales to get shelters repaired in Birchington/Minnis Bay (and I’m sure the same is true in Ramsgate and Broadstairs). The art set of Margate are happy to tell everyone how wonderful the place is while everything rots around them.
Sadly I think this particular shelter is past restoration. It’s positioning and design leaves little that it can be utilised for. The beautiful carved wooden seating should be displayed in a safe environment elsewhere. It doesn’t help when you have a senior Labour Councillor (Cliftonville West) supporting a business owner in Northdown Road who ripped out their original shop in a (Conservation Area) without planning permission and was forced to apply for retrospective permission as said previously supported by a local Councillor!!.
Sadly it is in the middle of one of the most poverty stricken neighbourhoods in the South East. Most of the people who live near it can barely raise enough money to feed their kids let alone restore a shelter.
I thought there were loads of arty DFLs in Margate/Cliftonville, bringing money to the area? Meanwhile, the place in Thanet with the highest concentration of pensioners manage to raise money. I suggest it is more a matter that older people take pride in their surroundings. I do.
another waste of tax payers money i expect
I like the art on the last picture it looks like graffiti so fits in well
I saw it up close a while back, and I couldn’t work out what is “art” and what is vandalism. Seriously.
Is there a difference?
Well, one they boasted about, the other they did a poetry protest(!) about. So I guess THEY can tell the difference, even if us plebs can’t.
Oh, I just assumed it was more of the local Emin/Turner/Dem Collective etc ‘art & culture’ brigade marking their territory. Rather like the cleaners who keep throwing the supposed exhibits away at art galleries because it looks like junk.
Assume the dog shooting rainbows out of its arse like Matt Riddle is by one of the local luvvies, rather than a random yahoo?
I’m not an expert on dogs but I think the dogs arse is a bit higher up. You can see its tail so I think the arse would be nearer that. The rainbow looks like its coming from arounds its belly. It’s nice.
I think the art sector need to tell us non arty sector when its art and when its graffiti. It’s so bloody confusing
It was handed to Stretch in 2019 and what have they done with it so far ? Put up a box around it and complain about the weather. 3.5 years later none of their promises have been followed through albeit some posters stuck up.
There were at least 3 other groups desperate to take it on and get it back to it’s purpose again as a shelter but TDC thought this group were more worthy being an arts group. Years wasted in getting it repaired and put back into use, but that is about normal in Margate. Where has all the Town funding gone? Yes, we know just don’t we, and nothing for our heritage assets rotting away in disrepair.
This was meant to be ‘Amazing!’. That was the word used again and again by Stretch and their associates to describe their plans for the shelter. Lots of commenters here were sceptical.
I recall voicing concerns about surrounding the column bases with soil. I think it was Carlotta Allum who reassured me on that score … not a problem apparently.
I guess there are more important things to worry about but this sad little tale shows that arty hype is highly suspect and TDC is stupid/incompetent/cynical.
If only this group had won their bid instead:
Perhaps ‘Stretch’ underachieving its declared intentions for the shelter and its undeclared intentions for the funding money has created an ‘art piece’
Even those who dislike art are commenting on the ‘piece’
My husband says he would happily remove the planters and remove wood & soil free of charge. Serious offer. Stretch then need to ensure the integrity of the structure at the very least.
I wonder who’s bright idea it was to put soil around the base to the shelter.
You dont need to be a brain surgeon to know put the columns in soil will cause them to rot out. That’s bordering on vandalism.
Given that one of Stretches then main people has multiple convivtions for fraud ( including in respect to art) it’s hardly a surprise that grand ideas have not been fulfilled , how many of those giving grants/ donations would be willing to be involved after a bit of due diligence, especially if they’d seen one of said persons social media posts ( soon deleted). Quite what was going through TDC’s mind when they handed over the shelter i don’t expect we’ll ever know.
There should be much greater scrutiny in respect of such transfers, proof of available and guaranteed funding, agreed timelines and clauses to have assets returned when agreements are breached.
The proposed skate park on the former mini golf site is seemingly another project that has stalled.
Regarding your first sentence doesnt that refer to manston airports well. But people believe TF is going to be in charge of a 500million investment !
I dont think being a good honest business person has ever been necessary in thanet or TDC!
I’ve no knowledge as to the wrongdoings or otherwise in relation to those involved in manston. But as that was/is a privately owned asset for the owners to do with as they see fit, i’m not quite sure what the similarity is with public property being transferred to an organisation with questionable leadership.
The point I was making is TDC support manston airport reopening. Therefore support TC with his career CV
I would like to know who sat on the panel, agreeing to this asset transfer to STRETCH.
I would also like to know who at TDC handed FREEHOLD not leasehold, a prime 4 acre site to GRASS.
It was bequeathed to the public and should never have been transferred freehold.
They now have posts all around the site.
It looks nothing like it was, a piece of open land.
The bandstand is a 16 year old replacement which clearly the council did not want to maintain by painting.
Can anybody tell me how I can access this information please?
A F.O.I. request to TDC?
James there are bollards next to the shelter and all up the coast for safety stop cars driving on.
The real disgrace is that the original bandstand was actually removed 16 years ago and thrown in landfill, shame on all those involved destroying our seaside heritage the replacement is a cheap off the shelf Bandstand. Those people involved in destroying the original bandstand should be held accountable ripping up and demolishing our heritage look how wonderful Ellington park bandstand is beautifully restored they should have restored the bandstand 16 years ago. I’d like to know who was involved in those decision can anyone help?
I live opposite the bandstand and it’s so much better since the new group took it on, it looks lovely in the summer with all the new flower boxes and hanging baskets. there’s so much less trouble from vandals and now the cars can’t race around the footpaths it’s much safer for children playing on the lawns.
I remember it well Sharon, it was was an original wrought iron bandstand with beautiful railings, I was so upset when the Cliftonville Residents Association replaced it, so much history, and to think the new one cost hundreds of thousands! Where did all that grant money go? I do agree with you James about the repainting, it’s shocking that it was not repainted in over sixteen years!
At least GRASS are doing something to make The Oval better than it was. 16 years ago, TDC had the bandstand rebuilt and started having live performances there on Sundays until some people in Queens Court complained about the noise.
The performances were stopped and for more than 10 years it was just left to decay (sound familiar?). Fortunately, GRASS have rescued it and are investing in making it better for everyone.
I shouldn’t worry too much about the transfer of the freehold as TDC will always have the final say on what the land is used for. GRASS is a not-for-profit organisation so any income generated from The Oval will be reinvested in it. It was necessary for them to obtain the freehold as TDC would have been obliged to charge them as concessionaires for the use of the site.
Thank you Peter. I will give it a try, but knowing TDC, I am sure I won’t get anywhere.
They tend to close ranks, when they don’t want the general public to access certain information.
Is it a surprise that this project is a monumental failure?
Reply to Sharon Paige & Gerty R.
The original Victorian bandstand had fallen into disrepair and was dangerous, it was in the local papers.
It was also owned by TDC.
Cliftonville Residents Association was asked to access the funding on behalf of TDC for a replacement, as they could not do this themselves.
Get your facts straight before you start attacking this group.
Clearly, if nothing had been done at that time it would have ended up like the Newgate Gap shelter.
The money had to be accessed by a community group.
Any local would know this, as it was also in the local press.
This group did not own the site or receive grants for anything that they did or held.
TDC were very strict about anything that was held there.
So to blame them for not looking after a heritage bandstand is very unfair.
Probably if they had been awarded a grant of £500,000 and all the other grants the group that run it now have/will receive, things might have been different.
I know their events gave great pleasure to the residents over many years, funded by quizzes, coffee mornings, raffles and other things.
They never charged anyone at their events, it was all FREE.
I applaud everything they did over many, many years. They still run the award winning farmers market which on their Face book page is in the Top 3 of Farm Retail Associations annual awards, in the farmers market category in the UK. It is also self funded and well worth a visit.
I as a local will always support this community run residents group.
As a local I just think it’s sad that a community group would choose to access funding that was used to destroy a 100 year old heritage asset. If it were still here it would almost certainly be listed, so it’s a huge loss to Cliftonville. I remember there were questions asked at the time about this grant money and why the new bandstand cost so much. I guess we’ll never to get to the bottom of it.
You are incorrect about them not receiving grants, as the CRA received thousands of £’s in funding to purchase all their gazebos, which I believe they are supposed to offer to other community groups to use.
The concerts they put on were funded by grants from the council too, as well as the Mayor’s Parlour, so I should hope they were FREE. The concerts stopped when the handouts ended.
I think you need to get your facts straight Jack.
Reply to Gerty R.
I have just found this article about the Newgate Gap Shelter and also comments about the Oval Bandstand. I am June Chadband the Chairman of the CRA. My late husband Keith Chadband was a founder member and Chairman until his death in 2017. I am also the Market Manager of Cliftonville Farmers’ Market.
Maybe I can correct you on a few of your comments.
The Victorian Oval Bandstand fell into disrepair. It was fenced off, as was the lower arena for quite a considerable time. If you live in Queens Court you would have been aware of this in about 2004.
It meant that no events could take place, as the bandstand was deemed beyond repair and very dangerous to the general public.
I seem to remember we even approached English Heritage about the situation, but unfortunately to no avail as we thought it could be listed.
We were invited by TDC to apply for European funding as it had to be by a community group, but on behalf of TDC
This is what we did and I seem to remember it was about £186,000 which went to TDC for a new bandstand. The CRA chose the design of the bandstand that is there, but it was never our bandstand but the councils.
Every penny of this was spent on the new bandstand which really was not that expensive for all the work that had to be done structurally. For the record, we did not detroy a 100 year old heritage asset. Age and lack of maintenance did. I take great exception to you, for implying that we did.
Of course you can get to the bottom of it. Contact TDC as it has to be in the public domain.
You are wrong to say all our concerts were funded by grants as they certainly were not.
Yes, the last 5 years of the concerts, TDC kindly gave funding towards them and yes in 2016 when the funding stopped we did not have enough funding to run 16 concerts each year.
The last few concerts in 2017 were funded by donations given at my husbands funeral. This enabled us to run some concerts that year.
Regarding the Farmers’ Market receiving funding from the Mayors Parlour towards our gazebos. You are correct and this was in the early days of the market when we had about 10 stalls. I think they gave us £500 to help, with no proviso as you say to let other groups use the gazebos we purchased. So I am sorry you are totally incorect in saying thousand of pounds. CFM funds all it’s own equipment and running costs.
You are sounding in your comments as if you were a committee member of our association. I do not remember anybody with the name on your comments. Maybe you can let me have your real name if this is not so, I will be happy to let you have all above details.
It is always best to get the correct information from the residents group you are commenting on rather than almost slanderous comments.
I heard from a little bird at St John’s that the CRA received a Covid recovery grant of nearly £20,000, perhaps you could confirm if there is any truth in that June?
You were the rates payer at The Oval during the pandemic weren’t you?
In answer to Truth Be Told, how much nicer it would be to reply to your questions with you using a real name.
Yes, you are correct, as we were rateable at the Oval, for usage of the storeroom for our equipment, we like other groups in the same situation were contacted about this recovery grant.
We contacted the department in TDC who were overseeing it and said we did not feel we qualified, as we were not a business.
It was checked by this department on our behalf on three occasions.
It was not £20,000 as you have said but £10,000.
We asked what it could be used for and was told, anything to do with our Residents Group or Farmers’ Market.
It has never been touched and is still in the CRA’s bank.
We decided we wanted to use it for charitable causes. One that we really wanted to share with the community, was the purchase of three defibrillators, good quality ones. On googling, we found there is a lot more involved than we first thought.
Initially we thought about having one at Smiths Court Hotel as it was open 24 hours. This did not come to fruition with their sale of the property. The Walpole Bay Hotel closes from December until April, so we are still not sure where they could be housed.
If anybody has any ideas, maybe they could contact us direct hopefully with a proper name?
The rest we would like to share with deserving charities who do not qualify for grants as they are not CIC’s.
The Cheerful Sparrows are a very worthy charity, nearly 100 years old in Thanet. We donated to them a few years ago, but not from this funding from our own CRA.
Something for the children would also be good and for the seniors within the community.
Have no fear it will all be spent on charitable causes.
You are more than welcome to contact me to see where it will go.
The CRA has it’s own funding. Luckily the Farmers’ Market pays for itself at the moment and we are a not for profit group.
I do not get paid and never have, it is my choice as market manager, neither does any other committee member who helps at the market.
I see you mentioned St. John’s, Ann Smith our treasurer attends this church and I am sure if you had asked her, she would have been more than happy to tell you what I hope clarifies your question/comment.
If you go onto our Facebook page you will be able to find an email address that will get to me with any further problems.
Thank you June for clarifying this and educating those of us who rely on hearsay for our information.
As the saying goes ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’, there is no value in simply planning to do good if you don’t actually do it, and you say that £10,000 has sat in your bank account for nearly three years! Just how long does it take to donate to a worthy cause?
I’m sure your treasurer will have made you aware that Covid recovery grants have a tax liability, even for community groups, have you declared this income to HMRC for the 2020/21 tax year?
I understand there are only two volunteers at the CRA, yourself and one other committee member, how can it be that so few people have oversight in a constituted group with such a large amount of money in its account? And if there are only two volunteers, how many people at the market are paid staff?
We have two committee members who help at the F.Market but 6 altogether.
Sadly one of our members died recently.
I really dont have to answer to you, you do not even have the courtesy to name yourself.
If the CRA have to pay tax on this £10,000, then of course we will.
We were never informed of this.
I will contact them on Monday
It will be used for charitable causes.
If that is not good enough for you, well that is your prerogative.
Regarding the market.
We have 5 men who prepare the site once a month having to go to the storage in Cliftonville that is very costly to us.
They also have to use a pick up truck to transport the 16 gazebos and tables.
They work from 7 a.m to approximately 1.45 to
2.p.m so, 7 hours for the princely sum of £30 each.
They all work during the week and give up that
Sunday once a month for the market.
Do you honestly think the Inland Revenue, where I once worked, would be interested in £150 a month? I dont think so.
If you don’t mind me saying, you come across very much as a mouthpiece for GRASS, I may be wrong.
They wanted all our bank statements for their perusal.
After the threatening solicitors letter I received by special delivery.
If you have anything else you would like to try and catch us out on, please feel free?
Mrs Chadband, take no notice of this person he/she/they/them without a name.
I will be contacting the council with my FOI request and will also be contacting the Land Registry, to request a FOI on the community asset transfer of public land, Freehold to this group.
Most of us in Cliftonville knew nothing about it.
Truth Be Told
In reply to your accusation that we are liable for tax on the £10K, we have been assured that we are not liable to pay tax on it.
It can be spent on anything for the CRA or farmers’ market.
As I said we will be donating to other worthy charities who do not qualify for grants because they are not a CIC.
We are a residents group not a CIC nor a business.
Contact TDC yourself if you do not believe me
Sorry to disappoint, but when we were on the Oval Lawns we never paid anybody to prepare the market or for anything they helped with. Everything was on site. No transportation. We are a volunteering community group.
Now as it has to be transported over the last
16 months, things are different as I said in a previous post.
We have to use a fork lift truck.
Unfortunately your calculations are conpletely wrong.
Clearly, you have no idea what our market has been
I think I will refrain from making anymore comments or posts.
You are entitled to believe whatever you choose.
Whatever I say, you will no doubt find fault in.
Gerty R, don’t you think you should be very careful of your comments?
You have actually defamed this group by saying,”or is it fraud”. Have you actually been privy to any of this groups bank accounts?
You are just like the GRASS group who asked to see the CRA’s bank accounts, when they took over the site.
They sought legal advice on this and were told that their accounts were private to their group.
Maybe you should also ask GRASS the same questions you have been asking the CRA.
With all the funding/grants they have received over the last few years.
£10K from National Lottery Awards,
£21,991 voucher scheme,
£30,000 plus crowdfunder,
£25,000 MTDBA with
£450,000 to come.
A bar at all their events.
Maybe direct similar questions to them?
You have definitely defamed the CRA.
Gerty R, do you not think we should be careful in our comments?
You have defamed this group by accusing them of
Do you have access to their bank statements?
They were asked by GRASS to see their CRA bank accounts in August 2021.
The CRA were told that legally, they did not have to comply.
Perhaps you should address the same questions to GRASS?
Approx £90,000 in grants, funding & crowd funding, with £450,000 still to
come. A bar at all their
But most of all, choose your words more carefully.
You can be sued for defamation and slander.
This is the original posting for the Art Box, on December 4th 2021
It has 124 comments.
It looks worse now than it did in Dec 2021.
I see the accusations you made to this group citing ‘is it fraud’ has been taken down.
I posted a reply comment about us all being careful on what we say with no proof.
Your comments were slanderous as you defamed this group with accusations of fraud.
I hope the CRA decide to take legal advice on this, as the group and particularly
Mrs Chadband had to go through a similar thing after the asset transfer.
I hope you enjoy looking out on the flowerbeds and hanging baskets.
With half a million pounds the world is their oyster.
No doubt this will be taken down or not even posted.
Reply to Sharon Page
It belonged to Thanet District Council who obviously made the decision to replace the dangerous falling to bits old Victorian one.
Cliftonville Residents Association accessed the funding, which I think was about £196,000.
It went straight to TDC.
Contact them to clarify.
You were obviously not living in the area in 2006, otherwise you would have been aware of the demolition of the old one. It was very dangerous and constantly vandalised.
The one there now was never maintained by the owners TDC.
Hope this helps.
It was all in the press at the time.
Who allowed it to fall into disrepair? Oh, I remember now: TDC!
Spot on Peter.
There were definitely better more organised bids to take the asset from the council however I was pleased that Stretch had been recognised buy the council and handed the opportunity and responsibility and was excited at first however its so sad to see the state of the place , for whatever reason they have committed very little money , energy, time or even common sense to the Shelter and have let themselves and the wider community down. Theres no shame in handing it back and letting another group take it on and its TDC themselves are responsible for having not done their due diligence in the bidding process. I really hope something is done quickly to make sure it isn’t lost forever …..
That’s a very balanced response Damian Bertoncello. Possibly too balanced. Stretch promised much, it was claimed that the basic wooden box would look as if it was floating. What the heck? How was that one concept ever to be achieved, let alone the overall (and more straightforward) aim of conserving the shelter? Sceptical locals were derided and portrayed as small-minded doomsayers by Stretch. I love art, including conceptual art. But it takes sincerity, dedication and hard work to make good conceptual art. There’s considerable fakery and opportunism in the art world as this pathetic tale illustrates. Margate has a great heritage which is being rapidly destroyed by cynicism, self-interest and incompetence. Perhaps the shelter should be left to rot – inappropriate cutesy planters and all – as an illustration of just that.
IIRC of the groups who bid for this asset, only one had – allegedly – anything like £500,000 in the bank. Coincidence? Or, when such £ were not supposed to be a requirement for successful bidding, was TDC more interested in the alleged £ than actual validity of plans and suitability of people?
IIRC only one was late filing accounts (allegedly – according to info publicly available when accounts are very late) and justifying that delay with ‘I’ve been very busy/having a hard time’ on social media when questioned.
Again, was TDC so interested in alleged £ that they failed to do due diligence? A simple search on a website was all it took. Failed to investigate? Or were they happy to accept the reasons given?!
Each time I’ve seen questions raised about Stretch, I’ve seen defensive, rude, even threatening comments in response, particularly from one person on FB. Their attitude in the statement within this article is disgusting. It reads as if they can’t be bothered and are desperate to hand it back. They talk about handing it back as something so insignificant but look what they’ve done!
It gets them out of a hole, yes, but they’ve delayed the shelter being properly looked after, respected, brought back to use. They’ve added to the damage already done to it. They’ve not followed through with their stated plans – there’s nothing ‘floating’ about a box on the ground! They’ve contributed to the feeling of neglect that TDC had already created all by itself (its hard to believe there’s not a policy document at TDC that *requires* them to get rid of assets by neglect rather than proper means!). They’ve set back the plans to save the shelter that decent, committed people had, and which TDC clearly never wanted. And for what? I wonder what Stretch actually got out of this whole affair? Why did they bother? Where’s their passion and ambition?!
To blame the weather, when they set their own timeline for doing the work is utterly ridiculous! They didn’t expect bad weather in Winter?!
The graffiti also could have been foreseen – by Stretch but also by TDC when considering bids and future use of the shelter! Back to my 1st comment…did TDC corrupt the bidding process by considering the alleged ‘reserves’ of one group over and above the determination, the vision, the care for the shelter and the area, and the future plans for use of the other groups bidding?
And finally, Stretch have encouraged people to think and speak about Artists as seen in the comments above. Thanks for that. We are not all as described above. And some people’s actions, TDC included, should not lead to a certain section of the population being generalised about, insulted, and all deemed worthless losers with too much influence and nothing good to offer the community! That’s like saying all men are violent, all youngsters are troublemakers, all elderly are racist. It’s clearly ridiculous. Take people as you find them, criticise a specific person or group if they offend, but please don’t lump all Artists in together as bad, useless people!
Ultimately, what has happened to the shelter on Stretch’s watch could not have happened without the aid of TDC in handing them this asset for reasons other than what was best for the shelter and best for the area.
Now we just watch to see if TDC act, if they take back the shelter, if they board it up at a cost of £16k+ like Fort Road, or if they destroy it completely, as the cheaper option.
Comments from Dean Stalham in 2021…”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”.
I’d argue you have made it worse by packing soil around the metal structure. Was this to speed up the deterioration of the shelter so that it could be removed to be replaced with a building?
It is a complete and utter eyesore.
Nothing has been done to improve it.
What visitors to the area must think when they drive past, goodness only knows.
Sharon Paige on this thread moans about the replacement bandstand,
saying she would much prefer to have the Edwardian, one which was falling to bits.
English Heritage were not interested in listing it and I am sure they certainly would not be interested in listing the shelter, sadly.
At the back of the old bandstand there used to be wooden changing rooms, which were destroyed by a fire started by vandals.
The residents group did a lot to keep the place operating.
The old kiosk was also wooden and falling into disrepair. The group did the same with finding the funding for the one that is there now.
So those of you who see fit to run them down at every opportunity, try to give them credit for some of the things they did on a shoestring.
Dean Stalham used this as a vanity project to boost his own ego and used the Isle of Thanet News as a source of free publicity. The “art box” has failed to deliver and he and his partner Carlotta Allum have clearly lost interest in this shambolic monstrosity. What have Stretch actually done to enhance and improve this site or to help the local community? They built a box, put some posters up, had it defaced by graffiti and held a poetry night at the Albion Rooms in protest. Then they had local college students make some planters and had the box painted by an artist in the summer and then what? Where’s the local talent being promoted, where’s the community spirit or engagement? Nothing..they’ve got bored and decided to leave it to rot. Onto their next Arts Council funded project elsewhere undoubtedly where they can cream off the money for their own pleasure. Their comments and remarks on many of the articles posted on this site illustrate their true nature as selfish, self-centred shameless self promoters.