Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a number of questions that we have been asked about the Margate Town Deal. You can also read the Towns Fund Guidance and find out more at the Government’s My Town portal.

If you think we’ve missed a question, or if there is something you would like us to clarify please email the project team at Margate-town-deal@thanet.gov.uk

What is the £1.1m early prepayment for?

As the Accountable Body for the Margate Town Deal, Thanet District Council has received a 5% capital funding upfront payment which amounts to £1.1m.

This early funding has been released to support project delivery. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is releasing these early payments of 5% of town’s total Heads of Terms offer in the form of Section 31 grants. These payments are being made once DLUHC is satisfied that towns have completed the project confirmation stage. 

The payment will be in the form of a capital funding and it will be for the Section 151 Officer to agree eligible costs for each town, working with the Town Deal Board. The intention of the funding is to enable early-stage activity in project development, for example to work with specialist cost consultants, and obtain surveys and plans to inform and develop the details of the town deal projects. 

Funding should only be spent on projects listed in the Grant Offer Letter. This includes projects where business case summary documents have not yet been submitted to DLUHC. 

The 5% prepayment is an early release of money, rather than new funding, so it is the first payment of Margate’s allocation of up to £22.2m.


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.


Does the Sale of Margate Estates Limited (MEL) alter the decision to award money to Dreamland’s Cinema Building?

The Margate Town Deal Fund awarded Sands Heritage Limited (SHL) £4m for the purpose of supporting the restoration of the Grade 2* Listed Dreamland Cinema Building. The money will contribute to the transformation of the building into a state-of-the-art entertainment and conferencing venue and will ultimately benefit the local Margate economy by attracting visitors far beyond the current summer season.

 The sale of the SHL parent company, Margate Estates Limited, does not alter The Margate Town Deal’s decision to award this money.

The need to restore buildings on Margate’s seafront was highlighted by those who took part in last year’s community engagement carried out by The Margate Town Deal project team. 

The specialist work required to transform the building will cost significantly more than the money awarded by the Margate Town Deal. Repurposing the building without public seed funding is simply not viable since there is a heritage deficit due to the buildings listed status and long-term vacancy. This is the funding gap that the Margate Town Deal investment will fill, making it a far more attractive investment opportunity, acting as a catalyst in securing the significant additional private investment required to complete this historic project.


How soon will funding be released?

MHCLG will review summary documents received by towns following the development of full business cases, and, provided the Department is satisfied and there are no outstanding issues to address, payments will be made to the accountable body (Thanet District Council) following this review. There is an indicative timeline provided by MHCLG until March 2022, and we are awaiting further information on this, we expect them to be by financial quarter. Initially, payments will be made to towns as summary documents are approved. Thereafter, payments will be made at the beginning of each financial year. Towns will be expected to report regularly into MHCLG on the spend and delivery progress of agreed projects.

Further information about the draw down of funding and other information about the Town Deal process can be found within MHCLG’s Stage 2 FAQs on the Towns Fund website.


What should business cases include?

The Towns Fund business case guidance sets out general guidance on business cases. Green Book compliant business cases should be developed for each project in order to allocate government funds. We expect business cases to include: 

  1. The evidence for the intervention using rigorous analysis of quality data and the application of best practice. 
  2. An assessment of value for money, including showing how different types of projects will be compared and assessed. 

Typically, this would include the following considerations at a level proportionate to the scale of funding required for the proposal: 

  • a clear economic rationale that justifies the use of public funds in addition to how a proposed project is expected to contribute to strategic objectives
  • clearly defined inputs, activities, outputs and anticipated outcomes, ensuring that factors such as displacement and deadweight have been considered
  • appropriate consideration of deliverability and risk along with appropriate mitigating action (the costs of which must be clearly understood). 

No minimum value for money threshold is set for Towns Fund projects. However, to follow best practice, all business cases must contain robust value for money assessments. If value for money is low, then additional justification should be provided. Business cases should address, in a proportionate manner, the five cases set out in the HM Treasury Green Book. 


Each business case should be assured by the Accountable Body prior to submitting summary documents. MHCLG recognises that each case will be proportionate to the scale of investment – for example we would not expect the same level of detail in a business case for a £100,000 scheme to that of a multi-million pound project. It is for the Accountable Body to determine proportionality.


How much funding will Margate get and what is included in the Heads of Terms for Margate?

A letter outlining the Heads of Terms for a Town Deal for Margate was received on 9 March 2021. 

The Heads of Terms state that the Government will provide up to a total of £22.2 million from the Towns Fund

This is not a contractually binding document and the offer is subject to various conditions being met. The Heads of Terms will act as a Memorandum of Understanding for the future development  and delivery of Margate’s Town Investment Plan and project proposals. It sets out joint 

expectations as Margate enters the business case development phase. 

Margate will need to prioritise the projects in the Town Investment Plan within the funding envelope being offered.  Funding for individual projects will be subject to successfully completing Phase 2 of the Towns Fund process. This includes detailed project development and business case assurance at local level. 

Once the Heads of Terms have been agreed by the Chair of the Margate Town Deal Board and Thanet District Council as the Accountable Body, they were signed and returned by 24 March 2021, where they will be signed by a Minister on behalf of the Government.  Once this has happened, they will be published on the Margate Town Deal website.


What are the new governance arrangements now that Graham Razey is no longer Chair of the Margate Town Deal Board?

Following news of the success of the Margate Town Deal Board’s Town Investment Plan, the Chair, Graham Razey OBE stood down from the role on 10 March 2021. 

Graham has led the board since its inception in February 2020 and his resignation comes at a time when many Town Deal Boards across the country are reviewing their governance structure and board membership in preparation for the next phase of the Town Deal process, which will involve developing full business cases.

Whilst the future governance structure and Board are being considered, David Smith CBE will be standing in as the Interim Chair.  

Once the Governance arrangements for the Margate Town deal Board are finalised and agreed, an open recruitment process will take place to recruit a new Chair for the Board.


What are the government’s priorities for the Town Fund?

The overarching aims of the Towns Fund are to drive the sustainable economic regeneration of towns to deliver long term economic and productivity growth. This will be done through urban regeneration, skills and enterprise infrastructure and connectivity.

This funding is principally capital. Town Investment Plans should focus on capital spend on tangible assets. In some towns, there may be a particular need for a small amount of revenue funding – perhaps to support implementation of a capital project. However, this will need to be fully evidenced and will be the exception.


The Council was allocated £162,019 as capacity funding - how has this been spent?

The Government provided the capacity fund to help local authorities to:

  • Convene a Town Deal Board as per their guidelines
  • Run business and wider community engagement events
  • Develop the Town Investment Plan
  • Provide technical expertise for business case development

The budget was an agenda item for the Margate Town Deal Board meeting on Friday 18 September, 2020 and information can be found in the published minutes.

Funding was allocated to stakeholder and community engagement, and developing the evidence base and the Town Investment Plan itself. It will also be utilised for technical support and expertise in the development of the business cases for the projects that have been put forward as part of the £22.2m Town Investment Plan.  

In April 2021 the Council, as the accountable body, was successful in applying for a further £70,000 of further capacity funding from the Towns Fund to support the Margate Town Deal process. The Board decided to allocate this to two distinctive pieces of work delivered by specialist consultants.  These are further community and stakeholder engagement during the business case development phase, and to establish the Creative Land Trust and develop the full business case for that project.


How were the members of the Town Deal Board chosen?

The Government asked each of the Local Authorities responsible for the 101 towns across England to convene a Town Board, in Margate’s case this was Thanet District Council. The Towns Fund Guidance, from the Government, sets out the type of people and organisations that should be on the board including:

  • The Local Council and other tiers of Local Government
  • Members of Parliament
  • Local businesses and investors
  • Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP)
  • Representatives from the Community

Thanet District Council put out a job description for the role of Chair of the Town Deal Board, with Graham Razey OBE Chief Executive Officer for the EKC Group was appointed and stood for the first year of the Margate Town Deal Board. In his role as Chair, Graham was responsible for bringing together the Board in line with the guidance and to ensure that the group was representative of the community, harnessing a diverse range of perspectives.


Are members of the public able to come to the Margate Town Deal board meetings?

These meetings are not open to the public but all agendas and minutes can be found on our website.


How is Thanet District Council involved in the Town Deal?

The Town Fund guidance sets out that “all Town Deal will need to have an Accountable Body which will be a council through which the funding will flow.” For the Margate Town Deal this role is fulfilled by Thanet District Council who, in accordance with the guidance, “have  set up the Board and take responsibility for ensuring that decisions are made in accordance with good governance principles.”

The Council will also be responsible for agreeing to the Heads of Terms and for the local sign off of the business cases.  Throughout the Town Deal process, the Council will work with the Town Fund Partners to ensure the projects go on to deliver against the outputs and outcomes.


What is the Town Investment Plan?

The Towns Fund asks the Board to work with the community and partners to develop a vision for the future of Margate. The Town Investment Plan is the roadmap for how this vision will be achieved and what impact it will have. It:

  • Sets out investment priorities that could drive economic growth, supported by clear evidence, building on the strengths and assets of the town
  • Demonstrates how investment will be targeted into the economic infrastructure listed around the objective of the Fund
  • Builds on and adds to existing partnerships and plans for the town, and complement pre-existing strategies such as Local Industrial Strategies, Skills Advisory
  • Includes Panel analysis, spatial strategies and local transport plans.

Why should I take part in community engagement? Haven’t the decisions already been made?

The Government wants to see a Town Investment Plan that is based on a vision for the future that is shared with local people. We need to show that the Town Deal has been “developed with input from the community, who should feel a sense of ownership.” Community engagement was  a key part of the evidence that the Board and its partners considered when developing the Town Investment Plan. Please check the website for future engagement opportunities.


You put out a call for projects - what projects will receive funding?

The value of submissions received far exceeded the £25 million potentially allocated to Margate at the time, so not all proposals were successful. The submissions were reviewed using a standard format to assess eligibility against the Government criteria and this process was led by a panel, including representatives from the Margate Town Deal Board.

Everyone who submitted a proposal was informed as to whether they were successful or not.

The projects that featured in the Town Investment Plan were selected not just on whether they meet the Government’s criteria but also on how they will deliver on the communities vision and priorities for the future and support the Plan.

Read more about the projects included in the Town Investment Plan.


Was there be a public mechanism for commenting on the projects at any point?

There was not a ‘public vote’ on the proposals. Submissions were all reviewed against the government criteria. After an initial filtering, remaining proposals were considered alongside the data and evidence gathering work that took place as part of the development of the Town Investment Plan. This was to ensure there is a golden thread between the economic need in the town and the projects proposed.


What are the timescales for the Fund?

Initial community and stakeholder engagement took place in September 2020.  Independent consultants worked on the Town Investment Plan which was submitted to the Government on 11 December 2020.  The Government then analysed the Town Investment Plan based on the impact it will have, the strength of the vision for the future, the  strategy for delivering that vision and finally the strength of collaboration between the community, private sector and other local stakeholders. 

Margate received a Heads of Terms (offer of funding) for up to £22.2m of investment on 9 March 2021. The Heads of Terms were required to be signed by the Margate Town Deal Board (Graham Razey), and Council as the Accountable Body by 24 March.  Once these are signed by the Central Government, this is essentially a memorandum of understanding for the Town Deal.  It is at this point that we have two months to reprioritise our projects and submit our final project list, spending profiles for each project and outline the number of business cases we will be producing. 

We will have up to twelve months to develop and sign off these business cases, we will be doing this with the support of external consultants and experts.  Stakeholder, business, and community engagement will continue throughout the business case development stage. 

Once the businesses cases are signed off, there will be five years to deliver the various projects, and Town Deal for Margate.


Do consultancy fees come out of the £25 million grant? 

The consultancy fees for the stakeholder engagement and the development of the Town Investment Plan are from the revenue capacity funding provided to Thanet District Council.   The £162,019 capacity funding is separate from the main grant and is intended to help fund:

  • Feasibility studies 
  • Drafting plans 
  • Writing business cases 
  • Developing and implementing a stakeholder engagement plan

Was there an opportunity to review and comment on the draft Town Investment Plan?

Yes, there was significant community and stakeholder engagement. We also formed a  People’s Panel and held regular meetings with project sponsors and the Margate Town Deal Board which all helped to inform the development of the Town Investment Plan. This sat alongside the evidence about the social and economic factors affecting Margate. 

Whilst there was not an opportunity to consult on the draft Town Investment Plan prior to submission, it was shaped by community and stakeholder engagement, as well as a robust evidence base and the funding guidance which sets out the parameters in which the funding can be used.  You can read the Town Investment Plan in full or watch a summary video here.


What is the £750,000 accelerated funding for 53-57 High Street, Margate?

The government’s accelerated funding is to support local areas and bring forward regeneration projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on town centres.

The criteria for this accelerated funding was ‘improvements to town centres, including repurposing empty commercial properties’ and this asset provides a significant regeneration opportunity for the town.

The £750,000 funding is therefore being used to carry out the necessary repairs required to make 51-57 High Street, Margate secure. Works include refurbishing the roof and a full strip out, including asbestos. A Listed Building Consent application has been approved relating to the roof as the facade facing Cecil Square is Grade II listed. These works will help restore a significant space within a key part of the town centre.

The Council’s Regeneration team is working with the Margate Town Deal Board on this project, and the renovation works started in November 2021.


Did paying for PRD Ltd to develop a scoring Framework come out of the £22.2m investment offer?

No. The cost of consultants is funded through  Towns Fund capacity funding There was £161,019 of initial capacity funding made available to Margate when it was identified by the government as a Town Deal area in 2020. PRD Ltd’s work to develop the Framework has been funded by additional capacity funding which the  Council successfully applied for in 2021, attracting a further£70,000 to support the Margate Town Deal process.


How was a decision made about what projects did, or didn’t get taken forward in the Town Investment Plan?

The Board had to go through a process to prioritise the projects and update the Town Investment Plan as a result of the reduced funding offer.  This process is based on an independently developed framework that takes into account the Town Investment Plan, Towns Fund Guidance and the Government’s Green Book. Full information about this process including the Framework that was used as a tool to help the Board reach their decisions can be found on the ‘projects’ section of the website.

It was important to the Board that the £22.2m public investment from the Towns Fund is an initial investment which should be used to leverage further private sector investment in the future which contributed to the Board’s decisions about projects being taken forward.


Will there be transparency about how the Margate Town Deal money is spent?

Throughout the Margate Town Deal process, the Board has been committed to being open and transparent about how the investment for Margate is to be spent.

Until the business cases are developed, the delivery of projects will not begin and the funding will not be passed to the accountable body.  Following the final project list being agreed by the Board on 14 May 2021,there is a twelve month period allocated for the development of these business cases.   In the meantime, the accountable body has been in receipt of Towns Fund capacity funding to support the Town Deal process for Margate, the details of which can be found here.

As the accountable body, the Council will need to submit spend profiles to the Government for each of the projects taken forward.  Throughout the delivery phase, all projects will be measured against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and there will be contractual agreements around the funding.  The Council will also need to report on these as set out in the Monitoring and Evaluation requirements of the Towns Fund.  There will also be assurance processes set out for each project at a local level and all financial spend over £500 is already published by the Council as a matter of course.


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