Frequently Asked Questions
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 Margatefirstname.lastname@example.org
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.Permalink
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 has been allocated to stakeholder and community engagement, developing the evidence base and the Town Investment Plan. It will also be utilised for technical support and expertise in the development of the business cases for the projects that are put forward.Permalink
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 being appointed. In his role as Chair, Graham was responsible for bringing together the Board in line with the guidance and to ensure that the group represents the community and harnesses a diverse range of perspectives.Permalink
Are members of the public able to come to the Margate Town Deal board meetings?
How is Thanet District Council involved in the Town Deal?
The Town Fund guidance sets out the “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 a set up the Board and take responsibility for ensuring that decisions are made in accordance with good governance principles.”Permalink
What is the Town Investment Plan?
The Town 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 the 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.
What happens now we have submitted our Town Investment Plan?
The Town Investment Plan and the projects contained therein will be assessed by a multi-disciplinary panel comprising officials from the Towns Hub (i.e. Policy, Project Management, Finance and Area Teams), other government departments and others including economists and finance specialists. Where the Town Investment Plan is of the required standard, the Government will assess the projects listed in the plan to decide on an initial funding offer. Final decisions will rest with ministers.Permalink
How long will it take to agree Heads of Terms?
The Government has said it expects it to take around two months from the submission of Town Investment Plans to the offer of Heads of Terms. This is not guaranteed and in some cases may take longer.Permalink
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 Fund has been “developed with input from the community, who should feel a sense of ownership.” Community engagement will be a key part of the evidence that the Board and its partners will consider when developing the Town Investment Plan.Permalink
You put out a call for projects - what projects will receive funding?
The value of submissions received exceeded the £25 million potentially allocated to Margate 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 have been taken forward 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 Town Investment Plan.
Read more about the projects included in the Town Investment Plan.Permalink
Is the £25 million ring fenced for Margate? Could the town lose out on this money for any reason, other than the Investment Plan not being up to scratch?
As identified in the Further Guidance if a town fails to submit a TIP of sufficient quality, they will be given one more opportunity to do so. If they fail a second time, they will no longer be eligible for a deal. It is not a competitive process where Towns are competing for the funding.Permalink
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.Permalink
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 will then analyse 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. At this point, the Town Investment Plan will either pass to the second review stage or, if the Plan has not met the required standard, the Margate Town Deal Board will receive clear feedback and the chance to re submit again at a later date.
The second stage of the review is focused on the project proposals put forward and this is when the Government will decide what amount will be allocated to Margate. At this point in the process, a Heads of Terms will be agreed – this is essentially the Town Deal. Following on from this, projects will be developed into detailed plans and business cases before the Government signs off on the final projects and funding. This process could take up to 12 months. Only at this point will funding be released and work on the projects themselves start.Permalink
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
- Identifying of potential private investors
- Engaging and negotiating with investors
- Developing and implementing a stakeholder engagement plan
Was there an opportunity to review and comment on the draft Town Investment Plan?
There has been significant stakeholder engagement; the People’s Panel, meetings with project sponsors and the Margate Town Deal Board meetings which have all helped to shape and inform the development of the Town Investment Plan. This sits 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 has been 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.Permalink
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.
This capital project is a distinct piece of practical work to an asset in the town centre. The work we are progressing with the Margate Town Deal Board is on the development of a Town Investment Plan which could see up to £25million granted for projects to rejuvenate the town, which should continue the benefits of past public and private investment.
The government asked all 101 towns for a “shovel ready project” that could be started immediately. Another 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 timescales for submitting a proposal as part of this process were very tight but now we have received the funding, we are working at pace to flesh out the specific details of the project. Our ambition is to use the funding to carry out the necessary repairs required to make 53-57 High Street Margate secure, including a full refurbishment to the roof and stripping out of asbestos. There is currently a Listed Building Consent application in progress 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 Project team for this accelerator fund is working with the Margate Town Deal Board on the delivery of this project.Permalink