The Margate Town Deal is an exciting, long-term programme of government funding that has the potential to transform the town and improve the lives of all its residents. Totalling £22.2m, the Town Deal was developed with input from the people of Margate to ensure the projects proposed (officially called Interventions) reflect the needs of the local community.
The Interventions aim to achieve a range of significant, tangible, long-lasting improvements to the facilities in the town which will positively benefit not just the people living there but everyone in Thanet.
Intervention 2 is focused on Coastal Wellbeing – in total £3.55m is being invested in projects along the Cliftonville coastline and is designed to improve the wellbeing of all the residents in that area. As well as plans to upgrade the Oval Bandstand and Lawns, the funding includes the creation of a brand new skatepark, improving access to Walpole Bay by reopening the lift and repairing the steps, as well as adding new facilities to Walpole Bay itself.
The other Interventions support improvements to key heritage assets, the growth of a creative community and encouraging active movement in the town. All of these initiatives are progressing in line with plans.
For each of the interventions, or projects, the government agreed to provide a certain amount of funding. In order to receive funding, the council had to prepare and submit a Town Investment Plan. The plan needed to show, with evidence, why every project had been chosen. It also had to look at how the proposed projects would help to improve the economic fortunes of the local area in the coming decade.
Public groups were invited to submit capital funding proposals, to be spent on lasting assets – things that are permanent or significant such as building something or refurbishing an existing building or space. Revenue funding can be used to cover things like day-to-day running costs, one off events or staff salaries. Due to central government restricting the use of the Town Deal funding to capital works, revenue funding was not available to be bid for as part of the call for submissions under the Margate Town Deal.
Within the Town Investment Plan, some revenue funding was specifically included for engaging with communities, encouraging participation (creative industries and health and wellbeing) centrally, across all of the approved Interventions, rather than for any specific project.
While the funding comes from central government, it must be distributed locally by a body that is accountable for its use. For the Margate Town Deal, Thanet District Council holds that responsibility. It acts on behalf of the government to make sure that these public funds are spent appropriately and in line with what was proposed when the application was made.
For everyone who receives funding, a grant agreement is put in place. The agreement sets out the expectations on both sides and means that there is clarity, transparency and accountability at all times. The agreements are standardised to safeguard how the funding is used, what will be delivered and how that will be communicated, monitored and audited.
Thanet District Council Leader, Rick Everitt said: “Being selected by the government to receive a Town Deal for Margate is a game-changer. We’ve been given a golden opportunity to deliver some much needed improvements that will benefit some of our most disadvantaged communities. That’s the priority and officers are steadfast in their commitment to achieving this.
“We have to make sure that every penny of funding is spent wisely and accounted for. We welcome scrutiny, locally from residents and other stakeholders, as well as from central government. The funding agreement sets out parameters that need to be observed, by everyone.
“Each of the Interventions we’ve committed to delivering will make a difference and make Margate, and Thanet, better in the long run. We’re all working towards that goal and are currently on track to achieve it by 2026 as set out in the funding requirements.”
Thanet District Council continues to support all of its delivery partners as well as leading on a number of regeneration projects directly. To date, the Margate Creative Land Trust has signed its grant agreement.
Read the previous update on the Margate Town Deal published on Friday 16 June 2023.