A report setting out the next steps for the Margate Winter Gardens Project will be considered by Cabinet members at their meeting on Thursday 22 September.
The management of the Grade ll listed Winter Gardens in Margate returned to Thanet District Council on Friday 12 August. Previously it had been leased to Your Leisure who were responsible for operating it as an entertainment venue, an arrangement that began in November 1999. Bookings at the venue temporarily ceased in August to allow an appraisal of the building, which requires significant investment and repair, to take place.
As part of the Margate Town Deal, a request was made for revenue funding to support the development of a long-term plan for the Margate Winter Gardens. As a result, £300,000 has been allocated for the Winter Gardens project. The funding will be used to examine the structure of the building, conduct an assessment of the market, and look at the venue’s future.
Cllr Ash Ashbee, Leader of Thanet District Council said: “With the Winter Gardens back under council management, we are in a position to determine the best future for the venue. It is vital that we understand the structural status of the building in order to determine the commercial viability in the current market. This will also be informed through engagement with people in Thanet, and further afield, to understand how the Winter Gardens would be used in the future.
“Everything that we are doing is with the best interests of the Winter Gardens as its primary purpose. We are confident that the Winter Gardens has a fully viable future ahead.”
At the meeting on Thursday 22 September, Cabinet will consider the next steps in delivering the Margate Town Deal Winter Gardens Project. This includes commissioning a costed structural survey, a complete set of site drawings and engaging a team of consultants to conduct a review of the Margate night time economy, and understand the Winter Gardens’ role in that.
This first phase of studies will help inform the council in order to go out to the marketplace to understand the interest for a leisure provision in the Margate Winter Gardens for the future.
It was previously agreed at a Full Council meeting on Thursday 14 July that a petition presented to Councillors calling for a public meeting about the Winter Gardens was to be referred to Cabinet for discussion – said petition will be discussed at this meeting.
In order to protect and preserve the Winter Gardens while bookings at the venue are paused, temporary security screening and fencing have been installed. Additional security measures will include daily patrols, internal inspections and increased CCTV.