Following the submission of a Town Investment Plan for Margate in December 2020, with an ambitious ask of £29m investment for the town. The Margate Town Deal was allocated up to £22.2m as part of the Chancellor’s Budget announcement in March 2021. Following the signed Heads of Terms business cases were subsequently approved, securing the funding for the town.
This is a really exciting opportunity to drive long-term economic and productivity growth in Margate, particularly as we meet the challenges presented by Covid-19.
The funding will deliver the aspirations of the Town Investment Plan and help Margate prepare for the future with a focus on creating jobs, supporting town centres, boosting businesses and connecting people to where they live and work either through infrastructure or digital.
The Fund is a capital fund, which means it has to be used for tangible assets such as buildings or public space. Whilst the funding is being used to pay for buildings or developing assets, the Government wants to see the money being used to deliver outcomes such as more young people and adults having the skills they need to find work and / or more businesses starting up and staying in Margate.
Alongside the Town Deal for Margate, in October 2021, the Government announced that the Margate Digital project to create a specialist, industry focused training space on the High Street had been successful in its £6.3m bid to the Levelling Up Fund.
Thanet District Council, in partnership with the EKC Group and the Margate School aims to create 2,000 sq m of cutting-edge, industry-relevant training space which will focus on digital technology.
A package Levelling Up Fund bid worth £19.8m was also submitted and approved for Ramsgate. For more information, visit the Ramsgate Future Levelling Up Programme.
The diagram explains the organisations, groups and communities involved in the development of the Margate Town Deal. Four key groups are responsible for delivering the investment plan, explaining decision making, sharing information, and keeping the community informed:
The Town Deal Board
The Board is responsible for producing and delivering the Town Investment Plan, including putting forward suitable projects which align with the objectives of the Towns Fund.
The Accountable Body
The Government’s Towns Fund Prospectus explains that all Town Deals need to have an Accountable Body which will be a council through which funding will flow. Thanet District Council is the Accountable Body for the Margate Town Deal.
Project Delivery Partners
Representatives from the Town Deal projects who will work with the Accountable Body, the Board and a team of consultants to develop business cases.
Groups and organisations who will contribute to the development of the projects in collaboration with project delivery partners.
There are number of ways in which local people, organisations and businesses can ask questions and share ideas to support and inform decision making:
The Margate Town Deal People’s Panel
Made up of 66 members of the public selected to reflect the demographic of the local population. The Panel meets on a regular basis to discuss and comment on key topics and themes.
Throughout the lifetime of the Town Deal, the Board and Accountable Body will have conversations with the community through methods including questionnaires, public exhibitions and meetings.
Engaging with local businesses to understand their ideas and questions about how we can work with them to deliver the Town Deal.
Collaborating with wider stakeholders including statutory organisations and community groups to inform the Town Deal and its delivery.Permalink
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
Before the funding can be reallocated to other projects, the council’s Cabinet will need to give formal approval. The Margate Town Deal Board has requested that the funding is reallocated to existing Town Deal projects. As these projects progress, we will have a better understanding of the impact of inflation and any specific challenges that they face. This will help to identify where the funding could be used with the greatest effect.Permalink
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.Permalink
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.Permalink
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 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.Permalink
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, and Council as the Accountable Body by 24 March and subsequently signed by the Central Government which essentially formed a memorandum of understanding for the Town Deal. It was at this point that we had 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 would produce.
We had up to twelve months to develop and sign off these business cases, which we did with the support of external consultants and experts. Stakeholder, business, and community engagement took place throughout the business case development stage.
The Council now has until March 2026 to deliver the various Town Deal projects although the timescales will vary between projects with some being completed much sooner than the deadline set by the government.Permalink
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 has therefore been used to carry out the necessary repairs required to make 51-57 High Street, Margate secure. Works included refurbishing the roof and a full strip out, including asbestos. A Listed Building Consent application was approved relating to the roof as the facade facing Cecil Square is Grade II listed. These works help to 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.Permalink
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.Permalink
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.
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.Permalink