15 October, 2021

Exciting milestone for Margate Town Deal: First business case summary submitted to government to release funds

Plans to establish a Creative Land Trust in Margate have taken a step forward with the Accountable Body, Thanet District Council, submitting its £6.9m business case summary to the government today (Friday 15 October 2021).

A Creative Land Trust is an asset based approach to regeneration. It involves acquiring underused or empty properties through outright purchase of freehold properties or long leases, or through properties gifted or transferred to the Trust by public or private partners. These will then be used as affordable commercial space for creative practitioners and support services. The Trust in Margate will provide wider benefits to the community by bringing empty properties back into use, generating investment in the town centre and creating jobs and training opportunities.

Margate’s Creative Land Trust will support the broadest range of creative industries including design, music, publishing, architecture, film and video, crafts, visual arts, fashion, TV and radio, advertising, literature, computer games and the performing arts.

Dan Chilcott, artist and Co-Founder of Resort Studios said:
“I’m really excited by the Creative Land Trust. Margate is buzzing: freelancers turning out top quality design, art, music and culture; small businesses driving innovation and leading their fields; not-for-profits with a social mission to open up access and nurture talent.

“Much of the visitor offer is underpinned by culture, and the potential of creativity to empower individuals and communities cannot be underestimated.

“This investment ensures a brilliant and sustainable future, putting creativity at the heart of the town’s collective development.”

WorkWild Ltd and PRD Ltd were commissioned by the Margate Town Deal Board to help set-up the Creative Land Trust and to draft the business case. Work includes the development of governance arrangement and all the other requirements for a new entity, including setting it up as a charitable company and putting together a Board of Trustees. The Creative Land Trust will be independent and will appoint a Board that has the right skills and expertise to deliver its vision and agreed programme of activity.

Prior to submitting the Summary Document to The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) the business case was tested with the Margate Town Deal’s People’s Panel and the Town Deal Board to ensure it delivered against the aspirations and priorities of the Town Investment Plan. The Business Case also went through a local assurance process, as required by DLUHC, which involved a review by an internal group to check it met the Government’s ‘Green Book’ requirements.

Once approved by DLUHC, the Council will start to receive funding to begin delivery of the Creative Land Trust project, which is expected in January 2022.

Thanet District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development Cllr Reece Pugh commented:
“This is an exciting milestone in Margate Town Deal’s journey. We’re confident the Government will recognise the Creative Land Trust’s ability to bring new life to the town centre and act as a catalyst for regeneration and future investment.

“Repurposing empty buildings and providing genuinely affordable long-term workspace will not only support our creative industries but will also provide job opportunities, education and skills training. Margate already has a thriving creative community and these plans will cement its status as a cultural capital.”

Sara Turnbull, Managing Director of WorkWild added:
“Margate and the surrounding area has a well-known dynamic and committed creative community. It is wide ranging too – including technology, design and crafts as well as traditional arts and culture. However, the sector is vulnerable to the impact of rising rents and property values. These conditions make it uncertain and unaffordable for many creative practices.

“Without intervention Margate could lose some of its iconic spaces. The Creative Land Trust will help the creative community to be sustainable and grow, and, at the same time, enable more people to benefit from new job and enterprise opportunities.”

Following the submission of this first business case Summary Document for the Margate Town Deal, the project team is now working towards submission deadlines for others in April 2022.
More information about the Creative Land Trust and the Margate Town Deal process can be found on the website and the FAQ section which is updated regularly.

If you would like to be among the first to hear about news and updates around the Town Deal, please email the Project Team and request to be added to the Margate Town Deal Mailing List.

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