Council to move forward with plans to buy Ramsgate town centre site for studios, cafe and gallery hub

Ramsgate town Photo Brian Whitehead

Cabinet members at Thanet council have agreed to move forward with plans to buy a Ramsgate town centre property to create meeting rooms, offices, creative studios, café-bar, gallery and arts shop.

At a meeting last Thursday (March 2) councillors gave the green light 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.

A property has been identified, although not publicly revealed, and a valuation undertaken. The next steps will 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.

Speaking at the meeting ward councillor Tricia Austin (Green) said: “The proposed employment and skills hub in the town centre is extremely exciting.”


  1. Such positive news and noticed work has started on the old Rooks site for it to become an indoor market

    • Is that what its going to be? I didn’t know. Good to see the building being reused rather than staying empty.

    • So hopefully that will be run on a commercial basis with a view to somebody making a profit – rather than just another funded ”art” enterprise that relies on taxpayers handouts and cannot even be self-funding. . .

  2. If it’s anything like the money for Margate high street fund nothing has gone into the high street not for Dreamland one again to benefit labour councillors in Ramsgate timed in time for local elections TDC is supposingly got no money part of Thanet’s problems with jealousy between the two major towns.

  3. Curious that a creative-enterprise-in- being at the old Woolworths in Margate Lower High Street which includes education and international and wider social outreach should have been overlooked by ‘Regeneration’ and be in danger of going under – I thought it was advertised as a ‘pilot project’ for High Streets in the Thames Creative Estuary ? Perhaps someone will advise on the ‘incoherence’ ?
    And why TDC/MTDB are happy to waste the investment to date – c £500,000 from the Coastal Community Fund not ‘followed through’. Is The Margate School considered a failure – or does TDC prefer yet more AirBnBs ?

  4. Please, Please, Please don’t get RTC involved in this project at present. Many residents will remember for a long, long time to come the mismanagement of public YES Public Funds.

      • Robo is airport obsessed as we well know and taken in by RSPs pie in the sky promises and doesn’t like that RTC can see through it !

    • They have the ex fire station in ffingham st. They have plans for it to be a community space,art’s and other shared space.
      Atleast that property has some parking for people that really need that assistance.
      They seem to have cash to splash

  5. Why is this area obsessed with art ?

    Surely by now the arty sector has had more than it’s fair share of our taxes.

    Cant TDC come up with new ideas instead of just boring arty sector ?

  6. Nice to see that Tory-led TDC are finally admitting that regeneration of our town centres will NOT be brought about by private enterprise. If that had been true, we wouldn’t have our boarded-up shops. They would all be thriving.
    But TDC, in getting excited by this publicly-funded project, is admitting that the local Council administration has to spend tax payers money to get things going ,in the hope that private investors will jump on board once the heavy-lifting ,and heavy spending, has been done by the local tax-payers.
    The hopes for Ramsgate Port are similar. The local Council forks out to explore the opportunities and to maintain the facilities, and ,once it becomes a sure-fire money spinner, private businesses will step in, take over, make loads of cash for a while……and then close it down again!
    I just wish that die-hard Tory supporters would admit that the Thatcherite ideology of believing that “private enterprise” will solve it all, has failed.
    From Johnson to Sunak, to humble Thanet District Council, Tory leaders are good at spending huge amounts of public money just to keep the sorry show on the road. Before handing it over to their own friends to enjoy bumper incomes because the initial costs were covered by the public.
    We don’t have to keep bailing them out, you know!

  7. This is great news. The whole area benefits. Ramsgate needs to offer these spaces, attract tourists and artists. Margate has benefitted greatly in this area. The creative sectors attract investment, encourage other startup businesses, local shops, boutiques, cafes etc. Or perhaps the local philistines would be prefer another vape shop?

  8. The Ferry now leaving Ramsgate Harbour will be the May 4th special election service ,calling at castles-in-the-air, unicorn land, nostalgia city , and all points to a Tory election victory.
    Do they seriously think anyone will buy this fantasy?
    Sure, buying up some of the dead parts of the Town Centre and repurposing it, will do some good, but not if TDC attempt it.
    Last time out the waterfall and Albion gardens were up for transfer. Did it happen? Nah!
    There is always some blithering idiot in the background interfering , who is often off sick, on holiday, on a course (take your pick), who will throw in obstacles, and will slow everything to a crawl. It is always about control and working with the ‘right people’,(those who will let TDC control everything)
    Good luck, but don’t get your hopes up!

  9. Tdc have been allocated high street funds (its actually money we have already paid to them) Think tdc should ditch the plan to buy a lease or freehold and distribute the cash to all ramsgate residents in form of vouchers to be spent in the existing high st properties.

    • I know at least two areas of the country James where the council is using the same government grant funds to help independent businesses. Established shops who want to spend to improve or new start-ups have to spend 50% and the council provides match funding of the other 50%. That to me is far more beneficial overall to the vitality of high streets, ensuring low vacancy rates, than nearly every penny always seemingly going to consultants and arty farty projects all of the time. Some is fine, but not all of the time. And what about other COMMERICAL art places already in CT11? How can they possibly compete with grant funded art places?

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