Traders form group to improve ‘forgotten’ top end of Margate High Street

Stuart and Lewis run Mill Place Margate cafe and interiors

Traders are working together to improve the ‘forgotten’  top end of Margate High Street with ideas  to bring in customers and tackle issues such as cars parking across business fronts and the lack of bins and seating.

Traders from businesses including Mill Place Margate, Petals, Dive, Covell’s Tavern and Go Create pottery studio have formed the Margate High Street Group and  are appealing to Thanet council to help them put plans in place.

Mill Place cafe and interiors

Ideas include planters for the length of the top High Street, more bins, some seating, pop-up market stalls outside empty shops, bollards to stop vehicles during through during the pedestrian only hours, tackling street drinking and festoon lights all year round instead of the defunct Christmas lights.

Planters could help with parking issues and make the High Street more welcoming

Stuart Parkin and partner Lewis Mitchell head up Mill Place café and interiors shop.

The pair took over the former vape store last April and have worked to transform the space from front to back.

Stuart, who is a trade interior and store designer, used his skills to create an eclectic mix of lighting, furniture, mirrors and plants for sale amid the seating for café clients to give them “a feast for the eyes.”

Mill Lane Margate

Lewis is in the music licensing business and involved in major productions with his passion being for opera and classical music.

Stuart, 52, said: “Last week the town was deserted, especially with the Post Office and WHSmith gone. The group has formed to look at how we can regenerate our end of the high street.”

High Street

Stuart says he has contacted councillors and detailed when cars have been in the high street despite there being pedestrianised only restrictions between 10am and 5pm every day.

He said: “I have asked what we can do as a community and as traders to help sort this out.

Night time parking

“If the council is not willing to do anything then we just want them to help us to work out how to go forwards. Let’s work together instead of just saying it is Thanet council’s fault, it’s not although they do have the vehicles, knowledge and funding that could sort some issues out.”

The traders want:

  • Bollards or gates to stop cars entering the town during the day
  • Planters the length of the top High Street to make the town look attractive and stop cars from parking outside businesses
  • More bins- Stuart said: “There are bins by Boots and by us but nothing in-between so that can be a problem.”
  • Benches- Stuart said: “When the benches are broken they get taken away rather than repaired or replaced. There is a problem with street drinkers which is why High Street seating has been removed but we also have elderly people that need to sit down.Police do act on street drinking and there is a PSPO (public spaces protection order) and now we have tables and chairs out the front they don’t seem to be sitting around so much.”
  • Beautifying – Stuart said: “The mayor (and Charter Trustees) pay for all the flowers at the Piazza and seafront, TDC do Cecil Square and so we would like the mayor to do the same for our High Street.”
  • Festoon lights for the length of the High Street
  • Market stalls outside empty shops on a temporary basis to generate footfall.

The Margate High Street Group is now looking to form as a community interest company.

A response to the traders’ suggestions has been requested from Thanet council.

Margate Mayor Jack Packman and Mayoress Karen Brinkman Photo Frank Leppard

The group is in contact with new Margate mayor Jack Packman who has been looking at ways the Charter Trustees might be able to help.

Cllr Packman said: “One of my pledges to Margate as the Town Mayor is to support the regeneration of the high street. It is important that we give our high streets the attention they deserve and support the business already in the high street but attract new traders too.

More bins needed

“We will work alongside community led organisations such as the Margate High Street Group and Margate Town Action Group linking in with Thanet District Council and I am confident working together we can achieve this.”

Find Mill Place cafe on facebook here


  1. i have a novel idea thats not been tried before , what about art gallerys and overpriced coffee shops ? = no hold on a minute

    • You honestly moan about everything. Moan about people not taking pride, then moan that they take pride. Your world seems a little miserable.

    • Delivery drivers have tried parking round the back at night and they just get tickets. They have to park somewhere. The anti social behaviour up there is a much bigger issue

        • You don’t even live here Peter, you just love posting under multiple pseudonyms how much you detest the place. You are obsessed. Plus those protestors were probably Palestine not anti Jewish there’s a difference but you know that don’t you.

          • Well, they gave me abuse when I said I’m a proud Jew. Sounds like anti-Jewish racists to me. Sad thing is, they were walking over rubbish to get there. Why not use bins? I couldn’t Adam and Eve it!

          • And, I only post under my own name. Face it, many people detest what Margate has become. I loved the place 25 years ago!

        • That sounds very dangerous Peter. Can you tell us exactly when it happened? There are several premises close to this area that now record CCTV 24 hours per day.

          • They were protesting outside McDonalds (the poor minimum wage workers looked terrified, as if their job wasn’t bad enough as it is!). I tried to have a polite discussion with them, and as soon as I mentioned that I’m proud to be Jewish, some unshaven bloke with halitosis went ballistic, shouting in my face. Fortunately, a policeman witnessed this, and after threatening to arrest him, he calmed down… trouble is, the left accept this because (in Adam’s words) they’re “Pro-palestine”. Can you imagine if a some “Pro-England” skinheads started shouting in the face of someone of Pakistant descent who (quite rightly) said that he/her was proud of their heritage? Anyway, that’s my most recent experience of Margate High Street, terrifying enough to put me off going there again.

    • Exactly. Businesses are not failing because the council have supported the local tenants by removing the drunk riden benches. The londoners forget people actually live on the high street. I’m grateful I can leave my property without stepping over drunk men with parts exposed. I personally do not miss the vomit, human faeces, stench of urine and alcohol cans that littered my door way for many years. Please don’t bring that back simply to appease Stuart at the cafe

  2. The photo of the bins with the caption “more bins needed” could also be captioned “bins need to be emptied more often”

  3. And how about giving the streets a good scrub and force the shop owners to maintain the shop fronts, by the way that should apply everywhere.

  4. Well done and thank you for improving the top part of the high street it is really beginning to look great. It’s heartwarming to hear your aims to improve the area and local community with or without support from TDC. I noticed the usual suspects on this comment page voicing negative or unhelpful views but there are lots of people working hard to get Margate looking good again. I hope you get the support and encouragement to move this forward best of luck

    • Exactly Margarita, people are really beginning to take an interest and to create more civic pride, it’s great to see and yes the same old names posting the same old drivel!

  5. I wrote to the council last year about the cars using the high street outside of business hours and the lack of bins with not much of a reply. Reading this gives me hope some might be done of others have also raised the same issues.

  6. Great to see action and ideas for our end of the high street. I’m very happy this is taking place and the community are taking ownership.

    • About time the Margate “community” did something. Now, how about raising money to renovate the shelters and volunteering to plant flowers in public grounds, as they do in the Birchington you’re so critical of?

      • Peter, Birchington high street is really not something to crow about. Just face it you can’t stand anybody doing anything positive for Margate that doesn’t fit into your narrow view. It’s wonderful that further life, civic pride and opportunity is being introduced into the town, long may it continue.

        • Four supermarkets (two Co-ops, Sainsburys, a brand new Morrisons), greengrocers, butchers, 2 florists, domestic appliance shop, hardware ship, D.I.Y. shop, off licence, 2 fish & chip shops, 3 pubs, fabric & curtain shop, women’s clothing shop, pet shop, carpet shop, several great restaurants and cafes… not bad for a village high street in 2024.

          OK, your turn, what has Margate High Street got?

          • …and, if you actually visited Birchington, you’d know there is no “high street” as such. It’s called Station Road… and, did I also mention the opticians, dentists, card shop, aerial/cable shop, deli, dry cleaners, launderette, 2 furniture shops, antique shop, and dance wear shop? And as you’re from Margate, yes – you can have a haircut, get your nails done, buy your vapes and get a tattoo, too!

    • Indeed.

      Margate finished the day the (f)art gallery opened, and everyone moved to cloud cookoo land, thinking everything is wonderful.

        • How about turning your computer off and tidying the place up a bit? Better still, start fundraising to renovate the shelters… just like normal people do, in normal towns.

      • Totally agree. Margate and Cliftonville have become a third-world toilet.

        Fortunately I no longer need to visit either.

      • As far as I recall – apart from persuading Chas to play a couple of songs (I guess their budget didn’t quite run to Dave as well) – Mary banged on incessantly about how some old boy with a sweet shop was an example to us all.

        It closed down soon afterwards.

        • Would have thought that with your extensive knowledge of the music scene (well, old listings of ToTP lineups) you might have known why Dave wasn’t available to play. Nothing to do with money.

  7. Are the people who made this article and the people visiting from london with their rental businesses aware that people actially live on the high street and own vehicles they park outside their properties ?

  8. A certain someone has alot to say for someone who has been renting a space on the High Street for only a few months. He is so knowledgeable and quite frankly hilarious. Wakey wakey

  9. Reply to Mrs Pink for the last three years wilderness to wonderland a volunteer gardening group have planted hundreds of plants by Margate station , the shelter by the toilets and several other areas which look stunning if you have the eyes to see them!!!!

    • Yes, they’re lovely. Shame about the crumbling tower block, boarded up shops, broken up shelter and filthy toilets though!

      Remind me again, what shops are in the high street.

  10. Walked from King Edward to Coffin Corner, never again, absolutely filthy and disgusting, rubbish and dog poo all the way as well as weeds and overgrown bushes . Cars parked half on the pavement and half on the yellow lines. Added to this the lack of pride shown by households unattended gardens with old furniture etc . That’s what Margate is like if councilors take a walk and look.

    • You fool, those “unattended gardens with old furniture” are ART, and the area has been totally regenerated – I read it in The Guardian!

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