Specialist agency appointed to market Margate Winter Gardens

Margate Winter Gardens Photo John Horton

A specialist agency has been appointed to find potential new operators, investors and/or buyers for Margate Winter Gardens.

Commercial Real Estate firm Colliers will carry out a marketing exercise, promoting the Winter Gardens and gauging interest in the venue. The goal is to attract investment proposals from organisations with the experience and expertise needed to make it a successful leisure venue for Thanet.

The Winter Gardens shut in August 2022 for an in-depth survey of the structure of the building and to look at long-term plans for the future. An allocation of £300,000 was made for the survey and marketing work from the Margate Town Deal.

The decision to identify a specialist commercial agency to work on the Winter Gardens project was approved by Cabinet in March 2023. Since then a procurement and selection process has taken place with submissions received from four agencies.

The selected agency will now create a detailed marketing information pack and launch a campaign to attract proposals from serious investors.

The Winter Gardens is currently closed Photo Frank Leppard

Thanet council leader Cllr Rick Everitt said: “We are excited to partner with Colliers on this important project. Their expertise in the property market and extensive knowledge of the entertainment industry will be instrumental in finding the right buyer or operator for the Winter Gardens.

“We recognise how important this project is to many residents and are optimistic that this partnership will lead to the timely completion of the current process, creating a reinvigorated cultural landmark that will enrich the community and attract visitors for years to come.”

Nigel Ball, director in Colliers Licensed & Leisure team, said: “We’re pleased to be working with Thanet District Council to explore a range of opportunities for this historic site. We expect to identify partners who can deliver a long-term commercial solution which contributes to the wider economy in Margate.”

Courtesy MWG

The council has started to prepare for the renovation process, beginning with clearing the contents and removing debris from the Winter Gardens building.

The majority of items will be recycled with some sold by auction. When confirmed, details of the auction will be made publicly available.

The Grade II listed building hosted its last performance on August 7 last year during the Margate Soul Festival before the lease was returned to Thanet council by Your Leisure and the doors were shut in readiness for an appraisal report on the venue and its future uses.

Margate Winter Gardens

The lease hand back came after Your Leisure faced a substantial shortfall in its income as a result of Covid with trading income down by £1.28million in 2020 compared to 2019 and outstanding liabilities in the region of £8m in terms of loans for Hartsdown and Ramsgate leisure centres.

The council, as guarantor for the leisure centre loans, could have faced extra penalties if the loans were redeemed early.

The initial Town Deal bid included a £4million allocation for works to the historic venue but this fell down when the government Department for Levelling Up – which issued the funding – asked for more detail on long-term plans which could not be supplied.

The council has appointed consultants Counterculture to put together a night time economy review and strategy for the district, and explore options for the future of the Winter Gardens.

All options for either lease arrangements, operator agreement or sale for the venue are being kept open

An immediate cost of £2.5m is needed for structural , building and mechanical and electrical works with a further £3.5m estimated over the next 10 years, meaning total costs are estimated at £6.25m.

Council leader pledge to do ‘everything possible’ to restore Margate Winter Gardens despite estimated £6m cost


    • It’s certainly not a just a conspiracy theory that Dreamland, Turner Contemporary and Cliftonville bandstand have got a lot of funding why the Margate and Ramsgate theatres have been allowed to rot.

  1. At what cost, I’ll say again, why doesn’t Ramsgate get the same treatment with the motor museum?
    Two face council.

      • Due to a council which didn’t want to invest in the motor museum while it didn’t need much and when a private investor wanted to regenerate the site, the council obstructed it, as usual with good ideas that would actually work for the community.

  2. that old chestnut – consultants fees . they will probably be more than what it would cost to rebuild it anyway , meetings , fact finding – trip abroad to visit a similar building blah blah blah

    • Could the reason be that town and county council’s are no longer controlled by elected councillors but by incompetent local government employees where their only target is to achieve their maximum gold plated pension.
      Elected councillors are not allowed to criticise these incompetent woke idiots or they face suspension.

  3. Doing regular maintenance saves millions in the long run. TDC doesn’t have any money so stops doing proper maintenance.
    Than the building gets shut and needs millions spent on it which TDC dont have.

    Now that homer and her mates have gone with their pockets full of our cash, it will decades for TDC to get back on track.

    TDC have a habit of supporting all the wrong projects which waste our taxes. An airport, a port, lots of arty things. The port could be a great leasure area with shops and cafes etc. Manston could have been a great area for housing and leisure, country park or even the huge theme park that was meant to be built on marshland near medway. As for the arty community they are just a group of free loaders ( not all ). It does bring much to the areas the arty community stick together with their begging bowls. The millions wasted on the Turner Centre and for what ? 4 million given to dreamland as a heritage park which has now turned into a music venue. Is that 4 million being returned as it seems it was given on false pretenses.

    TDC needs to think out side the box, stop living in the pass. Manston wont work. The port wont work. Make the arty community stand on their own. This would save millions to be spent on the wider public.

    • My understanding is that the allocation for Dreamland is linked to matched funding and details of what is proposed and that no momey has been handed over yet, if that is incorrect then i’d happily be corrected.
      There was also a post a few weeks back from someone who seemed very well informed , which suggested the whole scheme had become a bit of a circus and that there was a risk of the funding being withdrawn.
      Which when you consider,

      Skate park , at one time said it had a websiite but didn’t, has support from T Emin, but no publicised updates for a long time.

      Bandstand, apparently a standoff over contract details

      Old M&S building – seemingly come to a stop

      Theatre Royal – hardly a lot of news on that front

      Winter Gardens – a bit of action but that’s 12 months since its last event.

      Dreamland – no news on any intended use of the grant money .

      You’d think that a town with only buttons to play with money wise would be keener to make good use of free money.

      • I agree that it is really worrying that many of these projects seem to be going nowhere fast.

        This is a once in a generation opportunity to invest in Margate and some serious questions need to be asked – not only of the TDC officers leading on this, but also to the organisations who lobbied and influenced TDC to bid for cash to on their behalf.

  4. This money should be spent on the wintergardens and the theatre royal that create jobs all the year around instead of any msd cap plans by some to waiste over £5million pounds spent to turn Cecil square into a garden with only one two way lane for traffic hope TDC won’t let this happen trees could be planted at a fraction of cost where the hanging baskets are placed that are not there as the proposer of this scheme says not there for health and safety reasons what nonsense they have been there for years

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