Some of the dates and events coming up in Thanet in 2024

2024

January

Cinema screen – a work in progress

Kent Film Foundation has been transforming a shop in Ramsgate High Street into a community cinema which will open for screenings in the new year.

The Thanet-based foundation has taken over the former Cats in Crisis premises for a nine-month pop up with plans progressing for a move to a bigger, permanent location.

The main ground floor area will have the Ramsgate Town Council funded mobile cinema screen and projector  while upstairs will be a green screen and studio for young people involved in film and media workshops.

Also taking space at the venue will be Ramsgate International Film Festival which will be holding events through the year.

A private launch takes place on January 3 and the cinema will then open to the public.

WHSmith in Ramsgate (Image PrimeLocation)

The WHSmith store in Ramsgate High Street will shut at the start of 2024.

The retailer, which has some 600 High Street stores and another 800 travel stores, says it has been “unable to trade viably” in the town.

Staff will be redeployed to other stores “where possible.”

A WHSmith spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the WHSmith store in Ramsgate will be closing at the start of next year.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to continue to trade viably from this location and the decision has been taken to close the store in January 2024.”

Boots chemist in Cliftonville is also due to close on January 20.

The pharmacy chain’s US-owners said they would be shutting around 300 branches in a bid to consolidate the business.

The stores affected are generally within 2km of another branch. Boots has outlets in both Margate town and Northdown Road in Cliftonville.

Owners Walgreens Boots Alliance previously said a “transformation plan” was being put in place, adding that there had been a rise in people shopping online and choosing own-brand labels.

Louie On Sea cafe will launch at Turner Contemporary in January

Westgate residents and Louie Louie café co-owners  Chris and Lena Greenwood will bring their restaurant and café to Turner Contemporary with the launch of Louie On Sea in January.

Partnering with isle chef Julian Brown, of Love Café, Samphire and Streets, Louie on Sea will open on Saturday 20 January  in time for the Spring Exhibition – Beyond Form: Lines of Abstraction, 1950-1970.

A café by day and restaurant by night, Louie On Sea will serve lunch and brunch offerings during the day, and aperitivo with music in the evenings.

February

Full Council will meet for budget approval on 8 February and council tax approval on 22 February.

Thanet council’s draft budget for 2024/2025 includes plans for more open spaces and street cleaning staff, increased spending on playground maintenance and parks and a £180k spend for harbour dredging.

The budget for the 2024/25 financial year is estimated at £23.601m for 2024/25, representing a £2.189m increase on net revenue spending compared to 2023/24.

The increased funds are boosted by additional retained business rates income (£1.667m); increases in fees and charges (£0.350m) and council tax income (£0.590m).

Kent Police Panto

The Police Panto takes place at St Lawrence College theatre.

Treasure Island is being performed from February 22-24 with shows at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets prices from £12.50 adults and £8.50 children plus booking fee [prices depending on seat locations].

Book your tickets by visiting www.thepolicepanto.co.uk

Image GPM/Margate FC

Margate Football Club has confirmed  the first phase of works on the North Stand at Hartsdown Park will begin in February 2024.

The works will be undertaken by Coniston and will begin with the foundations of the new stand, and building behind, being laid.

The club says that after a prolonged process, that has been years in the making, this news will serve as a significant landmark for all those that have played a huge part in the redevelopment of Hartsdown Park.

In May 2021 planning approval was granted for a 120-bed hotel, new stands, restaurant, café, club shop and increased car parking at the club following consultation with the Secretary of State.

On February 1 it will become a criminal offence to own an American XL Bully dog in England and Wales unless the owner has successfully applied for the dog to be exempt.

Plans for the renovation of Ramsgate’s former fire station, now known as Radford House, are predicted to begin early in spring next year.

Ramsgate Town Council, which bought the former fire station building in 2019 following a bequeathed estate from resident Mr Radford, aims for the site to be turned into a community centre with offices, events space and storage and a second floor rear extension.

The plans were granted permission by Thanet council in 2021.

The building has been in use with regular community events, larger events hiring the hall and a full house with people and small businesses hiring the upstairs workspaces and  Ramsgate Town Council is keeping it open until the end of February 2024.

March

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has commissioned the Office for Budget Responsibility to prepare an economic and fiscal forecast to be presented to Parliament alongside his Spring Budget on 6 March 2024.

April

Minster Nursery, in the grounds of Minster Primary School, shut its doors with the loss of 18 staff in 2022. But it will re-open, and the out-of-school club return, in April 2024 thanks to investment from The Manor House Nursery Group.

The nursery will care for babies and early years children from 4 months to 5 years, and the out of school club for children aged 4 to 11 years, will provide childcare before school and after school and during school holidays.

Stuart completed three marathons this year and is now getting ready for his next challenge

21 April – The 2024 London Marathon is scheduled to take place. One of the runners will be a Cliftonville dad-of-four who took up running two years ago to relieve his fibromyalgia symptoms.

Stuart Adams, 42 , aims to complete the London Marathon in April to raise funds for the Versus Arthritis charity and then the Berlin Marathon in September in aid of Get Kids Going.

The Southeastern facilities maintenance worker has already completed marathons in Brighton, Edinburgh and Amsterdam this year, as well as numerous half marathons and coastal runs, and says it all stemmed from trying to combat his own health issues.

May

Photo Frank Leppard

From May to September 2024, Margate Summer Series returns to Dreamland – now owned by Live Nation subsidiary LN Gaiety Ltd.

Acts will include JLS, Busted, Byan Adams, Status Quo, Paloma Faith, Manic Street Preachers and Suede, IDLES and Jess Glynne

Southern Housing residents in two Margate blocks must move out by May due to structural issues. The company will then demolish their homes.

The formal process to end tenancies for those living in Weymouth House and Stratford House in Eaton Place will begin in the new year due, says Southern Housing, to the ‘significant structural repairs’ that are needed.

The landlord says all tenants of the 78 flat site must be out by May 2024.

Stratford House has 36 one and two-bed flats that are rented as social housing. It is expected that Southern Housing will rehome these residents.

However, Weymouth House, which has 42 one and two-bed flats, is market rental and Southern Housing will not be relocating these residents to new properties.

June

A man accused of murdering mum-of-one Claire Knights in August is scheduled to go to trial on June 4, 2024.

Harrison Lawrence-van Pooss, of Craven Close, Margate, is currently held at a psychiatric unit in Maidstone.

Claire, 54, was initially reported missing from the village of Upstreet on Wednesday 23 August.

Shortly after 7pm on Friday 25 August, Kent Police officers attended the scene between St Nicholas At Wade and Minnis Bay where Claire was found deceased.

On September 18, Harrison Lawrence-van Pooss was charged with murder.

He was also charged with voyeurism following an investigation into a separate incident in which ‘upskirt’ images of a woman were covertly taken on Tuesday 22 August in Birchington.

August

Margate Soul Fest will move main stage location next year and become the first multi-day event to be granted a license at Newgate Lower Promenade in Margate.

Newgate Lower Promenade will act as one of the main locations for the festival, hosting a range of headliners, locally sourced food and drink outlets and community groups and activities raising awareness about the environment.

The 2024 Margate Soul Fest takes place from August 2-4. Organisers say there will still be events at all the usual venues in the Old Town but Newgate Gap  will be the big main stage outside, as Margate Winter Gardens used to be.

Early 2024

Hollywood Bowl aims to open at Westwood Cross

Work begins on the Westwood Cross site previously held by Debenhams which will then open with a new Hollywood Bowl, Jump Inc and Lounge café/bar. The revitalised area will offer customers of all ages a place to shop, eat, socialise and be entertained.

The UK’S biggest indoor trampoline, inflatable and ninja park, Jump Inc, will offer activities, events, parties and hours of fun. The 35,000 sq. ft site will feature interconnecting trampolines, an inflatable park, Freedom Gaming, Laser Tag, an interactive footy cage, drop slides and a Jump Kitchen with seating for 200 guests and much more.

Hollywood Bowl will span more than 24,000 sq. ft, boasting 22 ten-pin bowling lanes including 4 VIP lanes, a new Hollywood bar and diner serving a selection of food and drinks, including American classics such as hot dogs, burgers, shakes and signature cocktails, plus an amusement area.

Loungers, which operates more than 200 sites in England and Wales, will be opening ‘Riparo Lounge’ which will cater for all tastes with a varied and innovative all-day menu including full kids’, gluten-free and vegan menus.

Public toilets

The first wave of the project to refurbish Thanet’s public toilets will begin with completion due before the Summer season.

An initial budget of £279k will be used for repairs. Additionally, £571k of capital funding has been identified for new build works where public toilets may be end of life or require a new accessible toilet.

There is also expected to be £650k of additional external funding. This is made up of £250k from Southern Water – if agreed – and £400k from the Margate Town Deal.

Toilets to be refurbished in the first wave are:

St Mildred’s Bay, Westgate (£18k)

West Bay, Westgate (£36k)

Joss Bay (£21k)

Broadstairs Harbour (£72k)

The Centre, Margate (£13k)

Ramsgate Pier Yard (£39k)

Viking Bay (chalet block) (£80k)

Manston airport Photo Frank Leppard

A request to appeal the outcome of a legal challenge against the granting of a Development Consent Order for the Manston airport project is expected in the early part of 2024 in relation to an application to the Court of Appeal made by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes.

This follows a lengthy journey of the DCO being approved by government in July 2020  and then quashed in the High Court in February 2021 following a legal challenge by Ms Dawes. It was again granted in August 2022 followed by a second Judicial Review bid by Ms Dawes.

The judicial review application was initially dismissed by Mr Justice Lane in January but then allowed on partial grounds in a review by Mrs Justice Lieven in March.

At a hearing before Honourable Mr Justice Ian Dove in July the focus was on the process for two areas -whether need for the airport was correctly assessed and  whether due consideration was given to what impact the scheme might have on the Government’s ability to meet its future carbon reduction targets.

Mr Justice Dove issued a lengthy judgement dismissing the application in September. Ms Dawes applied for permission to appeal against the judgement but this was denied by Mr Justice Dove in October.

Ms Dawes made an application to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal. The outcome of this action is still awaited.

Polls

December 17: Assuming the next general election has not already taken place, the Parliament elected in 2019 must be dissolved, with the general election taking place no later than 28 January 2025.

And, of course, there are so many events we can’t mention them all but 2024 will include carnivals, Margate Soul Festival, Broadstairs Folk Week, Minster Show, Thanet 5K Colour Run, food festivals, Ramsgate Festival of Sound and Ramsgate Week, Monsterslam, festivals at Quex and more.

Town Deal/Levelling Up schemes

Further progress is expected on schemes with Town Deal and Levelling Up funding.

Thanet District Council has been allocated £51m from the government across the three programmes since 2019 –  Margate Town Deal £22.2mRamsgate Levelling Up £19.8mMargate Levelling Up £6.3m and Future High Street Fund £2.7m.

The money is for long-term regeneration and growth projects in the district. Some of the projects will be delivered by Thanet District Council and others by local project partners. The council is the accountable body for all the programmes and responsible for funding and overall management.

Margate Town Deal

The Winter Gardens Photo Frank Leppard

£300,000  Margate Winter Gardens – currently searching for an operator

£2m Theatre Royal – currently searching for an operator

£750,000 Margate Skatepark

£4million Dreamland

£6 9m Margate Creative Land Trust

£1.1m Access Walpole

£900k for outreach/education programmes

£5.3m highway/public realm schemes

Levelling Up Fund

Margate Digital Image Lee Evans Partnership

£6.3million Margate Digital (timeline delayed)

£19.8m Ramsgate projects – Green Port’ with a Green Hub training centre for apprenticeships and training – currently searching for an operator- and improved port infrastructure including revamped ro-ro facilities.

Training hotel and restaurant at the Smack Boy’s building at Ramsgate harbour,

A brasserie and a fishing facility for the local fleet to store and sell catch from;

A new town square on the current pier yard car park,

A refurbished clock tower building

Two community sites in Newington and Ramsgate with training kitchens, community teaching.

Future High Street Fund (Ramsgate)

An artist’s impression of how the haberdashery building could be used

Provide workspace in the town centre for the creative industries – TDC purchase of Broad Street property

Highways improvement scheme 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 due to be completed by spring 2024.

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10 Comments

    • I don’t know what is most concerning.
      A local councillor has commented on something without reading fully what they are commenting on.
      Or that they didn’t understand that a General Election next year is not a certainty.

  1. Can’t see the WHSmith staff being sent to Margate-barely enough room to swing a cat in there, stock run down to the lowest level & looks to have about two or three staff nowadays. Amazed that one hasn’t gone yet.

    • Also, I’m surprised that Boots aren’t closing their Westgate branch. Almost everyone uses the nearby Paydens instead.

  2. E. Gestetner

    When I was a young reporter I worked for editors who were literate, fair, balanced, thorough, and understood journalism inside and out. Later, when I was the MD of a news agency, I wanted to hire staff capable of all those things plus being able to handle the customer interface. I would definitely have hired Isle of Thanet News’s Kathy Bailes, whose handling of comments is always sure-footed.

    But I wonder if the people who comment on Kathy’s stories realise that, although the news is local, that their comments are potentially being read worldwide? Do they know that when they comment, their social media views are being read by companies thinking about relocating? Or that public and private finance projects will research comment sections to work out how to make decisions about investment? Every negative comment is likely to create unfavourable attitudes among researchers and impact decisions that might otherwise be beneficial for Thanet. It would be better for us all if we kept our comments positive.

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