Café/kiosk, loos and seating plan for Northdown Park pavilion

Refurb plans for Northdown Park pavilion Photo Scott Manclark

Thanet council has pledged to  reopen the Pavilion at Northdown Park in Margate with refurbished changing rooms and toilets, a café/kiosk for light bites and refreshments and  additional sheltered seating.

The plans have been revealed in response to a petition raised by Palm Bay dad-of-two Scott Manclark asking Thanet council to work with a private operator to fund, open and run a café with some covered space.

The petition, which was launched in June and gained 539 signatures, asked for the café to also provide much-needed toilets in the park.

Scott created the petition after the café idea was raised by Reverend Stuart Gay, from St. Philip’s Church in Summerfield Road.

Photo Frank Leppard

Rev Gay, who regularly takes his four children to the park, said a café could help reduce anti-social behaviour incidents.

In a letter outlining the idea, he said: “Some type of café or small kiosk would increase the playground’s popularity with younger parents especially, but also provide a good weather space for older folk to meet, drink, eat and chat.

“It would provide somewhere parents could keep an eye on their children whilst meeting and sharing stories with other parents. It would make Northdown Park the sort of place that more people could look forward to visiting.

“I do believe that it would be a valued community asset and perhaps help reduce incidents of antisocial behaviour in the daytime. There are good examples of similar enterprises in other parks in Thanet which have now been sustained over a number of years.”

The petition, which has been backed by ward councillor Barry Manners, is due to be discussed at a Thanet council meeting on Thursday (October 12) with a response to Scott from the authority’s head of property, who says: “We are pleased to inform you that we are already working on reopening the Pavilion at Northdown Park, Margate.

“This will incorporate refurbished changing rooms and toilets, as well as an outlet for light bites and refreshments (subject to necessary consent). There will also be seating available under a sheltered area to encourage a more social atmosphere. If this is well-received, there may be potential to explore the idea of a full-scale cafe in the future.

“Your petition manifesto aligns with our goals to improve the facilities within the park, making it more inviting for sport users, parents and children alike.”

Scott with wife Donna and children Holly and Sophia

Scott, who is also a member of the Palm Bay & Northdown Community group, said: “I’m so pleased to hear that Thanet council share my vision of creating a social hub for those who use Northdown Park.

“The café and facilities that will be opened are long overdue so I’m really pleased that my petition helped in some way to bring these plans forward. Thank you to everyone who signed and supported me.

“Children and parents will certainly welcome the toilet facilities for sure. I’m hoping to see seating overlooking the play area so parents can keep an eye on their children whilst they enjoy a cuppa and chat with other parents.

Northdown Park

“It’ll be a great pit stop for dog walkers to stop and socialise with others also. I’ll be keeping in touch with Thanet council about the plans, including security of the site, in the hope that we can bring about something that is beneficial for all who use the park. “This will bring our community together in a way that hasn’t been seen in our park for many years. Exciting times ahead for us all.

“My hope is that after the success of the pavilion, more Northdown Park assets – like the Secret Jungle – are bought back to community accessible spaces.”

An update on the pavilion plan is expected next month.

Photo Scott Manclark

The Secret Jungle has been shut to the public since July 2018.

The all-inclusive play area designed to allow disabled and able-bodied children to play alongside each other closed when Your Leisure announced it would no longer be responsible for the site.

Manor House Nursery was announced as the new operator from September 2018.

The nursey originally took on the play area saying it would be made available for community use but it was not reopened due to a spate of vandalism at the park. The prolonged closure prompted questions over public access from former interested parties and families who had previously used the play area.

Manor House Nursery handed the site back to Thanet council in 2021 blaming the ongoing vandalism.

Photo Scott Manclark

At that time Thanet council said work to clear and make repairs would begin followed by exploration of future options for the site to ensure it remained a community space.

In July Thanet council said it would carry out a review of Northdown Park, including the facilities and buildings within it.

The authority says until the review is complete there will be no decisions made about renewing leases at Northdown House or the Secret Jungle play area.

Council to carry out ‘full review’ of Northdown Park, including Northdown House and Secret Jungle


  1. Well done to those pushing this forward. No longer a Palm Bay resident, but use the park for dog walks and bringing visiting grandchildren. Fingers crossed it gets the go ahead.

  2. How appalling that people even need to petetion to have toilets in a park. Even dogs are treated better!

  3. Maybe some of the Margate Town Deal funding which has been withdrawn from the Oval Bandstand and Lawns funding could be directed to this worthy project.

    • I would like to see designated art walls available in parks for artists and proper graffiti artists (not taggers) to display bright colourful works.

  4. Not another hole in the wall refreshment “cafe” , we need a proper cafe similar to Kersney in Dover with seating and patio for all year use, not just packet snacks bot hot food, come on TDC build an investment and while your at it return the park to something like it’s former self, walks , flower gardens etc

  5. Should have said another hole in the wall like the one near Bethesda that place is sadly lacking imagination and effort.

  6. The all-inclusive play area designed to allow disabled and able-bodied children to play alongside each other closed when Your Leisure announced it would no longer be responsible for the site.

    How can Your Leisure just say we arent looking after it any more ? Surely they would have signed a contract with TDC with the terms and conditions in. Your leisure were meant to run this area how can it just close it ? That must be braking its T&C and TDC so sue

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