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        On 14 May 2021, members of the Margate Town Deal Board agreed the list of projects that will be put forward under the Town Investment Plan to secure a Town Deal for Margate.

        The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has offered up to £22.2 million in response to the initial Town Investment Plan submitted at the end of last year for £29 million.  In response to the reduced funding offer, the Board commissioned independent consultants PRD Ltd to develop a framework to help assess how each project originally put forward would deliver against key criteria including the Government’s Green Book.  

        In 2020, the Board developed the Town Investment Plan which included projects to transform Margate’s economic growth prospects and ‘help it thrive 365’. Projects are grouped into the following four categories:

        1. Scaling creative production and skills
          • Establishing a Creative Land Trust
          • Improvements to the Theatre Royal
        2. Coastal wellbeing
          • Improvements to Walpole Bay and Oval Bandstand 
          • Skatepark
        3. Active movement and connections
          • A series of highway and public realm interventions
        4. Heritage assets
          • Repurposing the cinema building at Dreamland
          • Winter Garden future options appraisal

        The provisional Towns Fund allocations are set out below:

         

         

        Creative Land Trust

        In October 2021 the first of the Margate Town Deal Summary Documents was submitted to the government for the Creative Land Trust business case.

        What is a Creative Land Trust?

        A Creative Land Trust is an independent entity which is set up to secure buildings through outright purchase of freehold properties or long leases to support the sustainability of the creative sector and enable the community to benefit. Its property portfolio may also involve properties gifted or transferred to the Trust by public or private partners. 

        Creative Land Trust’s support the creative sector to be sustainable, often offering subsidised rents for creative tenants in return for social and economic impact in the local community. 

        They take different legal forms but are charitable in nature.

        What is the creative sector? 

        The creative sector covers a broad range of industries including; design, music, publishing, architecture, film and video, crafts, visual arts, fashion, TV and radio, advertising, literature, computer games and the performing arts. Many people who work in creative industries support mainstream industries too, for example, marketers, web designers and advertisers provide support to professional services like accountancy, construction and legal firms or the tourism industry.  

        Why has this been chosen for Margate?

        Margate has a lively creative scene and a relatively high volume of creative industries in the area. Research has shown that the creative industries accounts for a large part of the local economy, through direct employment and enterprise and through in-direct impact to tourism and visitor demand. However, there is a vulnerability to the sector. Many creative operators are on short-term leases and have little capital to buy long-term leases or freeholds. Creative sector is in effect at the whim of landlords. 

        The aim of the Margate Creative Land Trust is to provide security for the sector and help it to grow. By buying buildings the Margate Creative Land Trust will secure long term, affordable space for creatives and ensure a future for this critical industry. In securing space, the Margate CLT will also expect the creative industries to deliver opportunities for local people to benefit from the creative industries. 

        What does Margate’s Creative Land Trust seek to achieve?

        The Margate Creative Land Trust will have its own aims and objectives to meet depending on the needs of the community and the aspirations of the Trust’s Board. However, one of the objectives in the Town Investment Plan for Margate was:

        “To establish Margate as one of the most prominent creative production hubs in the UK, bringing opportunities for employment, diversification, innovation and inclusion.”

        An extract from the Town Investment Plan that was submitted to Government and which secured and investment of up to £22.2m for Margate through a Town Deal was:

        “The Creative Land Trust will provide safeguarded affordable workspace with high-quality digital connectivity; free enterprise space for young people; further and higher education; centres for digital and theatrical production; civil society activities; and a permanent cultural centre focused on our black and brown community.

        This will scale Margate’s creative production and skills repurpose long-term vacant buildings and bring new life to the town centre – driving footfall towards Margate’s high street, benefitting surrounding businesses as well as those directly involved in the intervention. The aspiration is to create an ecosystem where any early-stage business can access low cost spaces and enterprise support (including a new equity business investment fund). They will graduate from affordable accelerator spaces provided by studio providers to higher end facilities offered by operators in new developments. 

        By bringing vacant high street premises back into use we will be maximising the value of public investment through supporting high street vibrancy alongside the creative economy. A successful CLT model is able to generate an income to reinvest into business and new projects, therefore continuing the regeneration benefits into the future.

        As well as space for enterprise to grow, we will provide space for education from early outreach to Master’s degrees. This will start with a new collaboration of civil society partners involved in outreach and youth engagement.”

        More information about the Creative Land Trust will be published as the project develops and there are updates to share.

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