Council plan for property purchase in Ramsgate to create offices, creative studios, café-bar, gallery and arts shop

Ramsgate town Photo Brian Whitehead

Proposals by Thanet council to buy a Ramsgate town centre property to create meeting rooms, offices, creative studios, café-bar, gallery and arts shop will be discussed by Cabinet members next week.

Members are expected to give approval for property and regeneration directors at the authority to complete negotiations for the purchase of a town centre site within a £1.31million externally funded budget.

The money is allocated out of a £2.7million Future High Street Fund which was granted for Ramsgate in 2020 and secured in May 2021 and the £19.8m Levelling Up Fund granted in 2021.

The aim is to provide more workspace in the town centre for creative industries, bringing an empty building back into use and providing a community hub.

This would include 96 workspaces specifically for use by individuals and businesses in the creative industries sector. The site will also provide a central focal point for creative and cultural enterprise, education, training and community engagement.

Proposals were initially for Thanet council to take the lease for Celandine Hall in Harbour Street but there were delays. The property, whose owners had received Heritage Action Zone funding for property renovations, was subsequently leased to The Modern Boulangerie which opened at the site in November.

A report to Cabinet members says two further sites were identified to lease and purchase but the attempts “have been frustrated, with the property owners citing unacceptable rental and purchase offers for one, and the landlord becoming unresponsive on the other asset.”

An issue had been due to property owners deeming the council valuations to be below market value. The figures had been based on data relating  to sold prices from 2019 and 2020;.

Thanet council says offers will now be made using wider metrics, such as rental income or residential development potential.

The report adds that another property has now been identified and a valuation undertaken. The next steps would be to make a formal offer, subject to a structural survey and instructing the council’s legal team.

A design team has been commissioned to develop a scheme for the building, in anticipation of an acquisition, with a March 2024 deadline for delivery.

A Ramsgate Town Centre study undertaken by Oneday Regen in May 2022 and included in a previous Cabinet report, said: ‘The exceptions [to Ramsgate’s progress in lettings across the high street] being the largest units, in particular New Look and Argos. With the decline in the chain retail market and current leases in place with the former tenants these units are likely to remain vacant unless the council intervenes… uses should be considered to address the shortage of alternative uses such as culture and leisure.’”

Cabinet members will discuss the purchase at the meeting on March 2.


  1. i saw and read a very interesting poster online, it said “art is whatever you can get away with “, i think it sums thanet up perfectly

  2. Generally speaking, I like this idea.
    But it’s curious that ,after decades of Councils and the national government selling off every scrap of land, building or enterprise to private owners, this Council (under Conservative control!),as well as many other Councils I notice, are now busy BUYING new buildings and facilities.
    Though the Conservatives still repeat their dogma that privately-owned provision of goods and services is best, in practice they know that ,if they wait for local “entrepreneurs” to provide facilities, they will be waiting a very long time.
    So, bit by bit, without admitting what they are doing, they are increasing the Council’s property portfolio again.
    And, nationally, while still telling us that we cannot expect the state to develop our economy, they have been using taxpayers money to subsidise the railways (who payed for Thanet Parkway station? The private railway owners?) or the £300K given to the creation of an electric car battery factory in the North-east. (Oh dear, a poor example, maybe).
    Is the wheel of history slowly turning again? Might we return to the common sense position that realises that private investors will only spend money where they get a large and immediate return? But if you want your economy to function long-term, you need investment directed by the national and local governments to sectors that are needed.
    The Tories are hamstrung by their blind “privatisation” dogma. And Labour are too terrified to challenge anything major that the Tories have been spouting for years.
    But, in the end, if they want anything to actually happen with the economy, they are going to have to start spending money on industry and public services again.
    But none of the major Parties will admit they are doing it. Thatcherism has sunk into our brains too deeply. Thatcher’s “Free Enterprise” ideology is truly the “nightmare that weighs on the brains of the living” and we still cannot shake it off.

    • The proposed property purchase in Ramsgate sounds similar to the previous property purchase in Margate of the former Marks & Spencer building. TDC has poured millions of pounds of public money into it but it has not made any difference to the High Street overall. As a ”loss leader”, it ranks pretty highly.

      I predict the same will now be the case in Ramsgate.

      TDC has a pretty poor record when it comes to the acquisition of property. You only have to look at Dreamland which was sold for less than half the price that TDC paid for it . . .

    • Iirc there was strong rumour Pilgrims hospice opposite will move in there as pilgrims and that corner will be demolished.

      Hope pilgrims hospice stay in ramsgate.

  3. The only thing I am curious about is the flurry of reports and “good news” stories being rushed before Cabinet and in press releases 2 months before the local elections.

    It’s almost like the local Conservative party now want everyone to believe they have been a positive force for good for Thanet residents over the last few years.

    • Plausible argument until you remember that the conservatives only took over about eighteen months ago. And in that time they have cleared out the rotten senior management team. Credit where it’s due even if it hurts me to say it.

      • Paying people off isn’t the same as clearing out rotten management.

        Lest we forget, this cost just shy of £1m of taxpayers money to do this.

        I agree with you on the outcome but don’t think it was the best process for the local residents.

        • Nor do I and I wish dismissal with only statutory payoff had been possible. But I’m glad the clear out was achieved and understand the practical arguments for doing it this way. Nevertheless many of us I’m sure would have liked to see justice done as well.

  4. A cash straoped council using money for what.. Debts in the port alone are £30m

    Ramsgate council is Thanet council… Stealing out of the mouths of hungry and poor. You have no idea.. Money that should have repaired The Granville theatre. Where did repair money go? Ramsgate never had any for any asset.. Wake up

  5. TDC withheld support for Ramsgate for years and the conservatives have controlled if controlled is the right word twice in the council, cycle, so Tony Uden, don’t kid a kidder. It has been all about the TIGS and who they supported.
    The conservatives created Homer, supported Homer and allowed her and her gang to operate for years. Only at the end when things got so bad that they acted. Sure Labour ought to have acted sooner, but they were constantly looking over their backs at what the TIGS wanted.
    TDC is not the Ramsgate council and they have stymied any new ideas for Ramsgate because they want to own and control them.Election fever is running high, how much of this hype will remain post May is anyone’s guess

    • I think you need to check who appointed Ms Homer. I’ve no problem with your supporting Labour but you really shouldn’t try to rewrite history.

        • Labour leader Iris Johnston just before Labour lost control of the council to UKIP. The cynics among us think that just maybe, since we all anticipated a Labour wipeout at that election, Labour thought that Maddie was one of theirs. Whatever the motivation, the people of Ramsgate were the losers – as so often.

          • Homer knew where the skeletons were and Labour knew if they employed a new CEO they may well expose their grubby plans. Remember, at that time Iris was schmoozing with Grant Shapps over the airport and a lot of backroom dealings were going on with Dreamland and other bits of real estate in Margate and here in Ramsgate.

            All very third rate.

            And Scobie the elder part of the LP clique who are currently rising above CLP democracy in helping support Labour HQ’s shoo-in Polly Billington as the new PPC, to the disadvantage of local candidates, publicly stated that Madeline Homer was the best CEO they’d ever had. That’s what socialising with your officers can lead to.

  6. No I could never believe the old torys would only hit us with good news before the local elections ….wait till the general election comes around
    …rishi awash with money that he cons from us daily

  7. Someone mentions the old Argos here, but that’s already been taken over by the local arts community, so I am presuming its some other spot in town?

  8. Great news… .any chance you could pick up all the litter in the back streets and dig out turfs of grass everywhere.Then if you weed annd dig out turfs along with all the litter down the hill to harbour,it might look presentable for your new venture.

  9. It just goes to show how difficult it is to rent a leasehold property on that high st. Tdc would have the best experienced property negotiator’s on the case but they lost out after possibly paying fees (our cash).
    Some properties are purposely left unoccupied for many reasons, hopefully tdc have noticed that fact and will act to end that practice.
    There is a lot of so called ‘footfall’ in that area But its people walking down the pedestrian high st to do what they do in the harbour area and walk back again. Shops need to be concentrated at the junction of high st-harbour st-king st and queen st. The remainder properties be demolished if they are unsuitable for habitation.
    (inadvance sorry if my spelling an d grammar is pish)

  10. Yes Iris might have made a boo boo over Homer but nobody else replaced her when they got control.I have no truck with any of them and electing the same old donkeys on either side makes no sense.However, electing good capable candidates on either side is difficult as the public found out by voting UKIP.
    There are so many armchair experts and trolls that put off capable thoughtful candidates that we get the same old lags,with their same old ideas time after time.
    It’s not helpful because we encourage reactionary behaviour from our politicians by always looking backwards to our great and glorious past. Where’s Checksfield he knows what I mean he as he is the epitome of rear mirror thinking.
    Iris was/is a nice woman but I would not put her in charge of a bring and buy stall.
    Generally in Kent we are stuck in a rut of reaction, decline and procrastination, because no one wants to offend the over 65s,and guess what! Reaction, decline and procrastination harms the silver citizens.

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