Thanet council plans to buy the former haberdashery shop in Ramsgate’s Broad Street to provide workspace for creative industries and a new skills and careers hub.
The purchase will be funded out of £2.7m awarded to the council from the Future High Street Fund back in December 2020 with funds received the following year.
The haberdashery shop trades from new premises in King Street.
The Broad Street property will be refurbished to provide workspace tailored to creative businesses and will also be home to the skills and careers hub as part of the Ramsgate Levelling Up Fund Access to Opportunities project.
The council has appointed Jan Kattein Architects to develop the design of the new facilities. A planning application will be submitted over the coming weeks, and the scheme is expected to be completed in spring 2024.
Cllr Ruth Duckworth, Cabinet member for Regeneration and Property, said: “Thriving towns is a key priority for the council. Revitalising this former retail property will help to improve the look of Broad Street, and encourage more residents and visitors into the town centre. At the same time, it will provide much-needed premises for local creative businesses and community activities.
“This project is a step on the path to breathing new life and vibrancy into Ramsgate. By improving the look of the town centre, residents and visitors will be encouraged to further explore the town, discovering the businesses and attractions that give Ramsgate its unique character.”
Douglas Chapman, owner of 5A Broad Street, said: “Following the Haberdashery & Fabric Shop’s move to our new home at 13B King Street, we are very pleased that our former premises on Broad Street will be used to provide a key space for the community.
“The plans for the building retain its creative history whilst offering a great opportunity for local organisations and individuals to progress their skills, opening them up to new possibilities.”
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.
Thanet council then submitted a revised project outline to government and is negotiating terms for the new site. The plan is to provide around 96 workspaces.
A second project using Future High Street funding is a highways improvement scheme. The aim is to make it easier for pedestrians to walk to the town centre from the Harbour, by reducing the dominance of the road. This project is also due to be completed by spring 2024.