A ten-year ‘Town Investment Plan’ has been submitted to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The Plan identifies £29m of investments that together will be transformative for Margate and act a catalyst for future investment. The projects link across four themes to ensure it both responds to community needs and provides a nationally significant visitor offer.
How was the Plan developed?
As part of the Town Investment Plan’s development, people living, working and visiting Margate were asked about their vision and priorities for the town. An online survey was launched with 682 respondents, 233 people took part in engagement events, more than 30,000 people were reached on social media and there were over 2,000 website views. A People’s Panel was also established to give the community a voice and ensure that a representative group of 50 people living in Margate work alongside the Board for the lifetime of the project.
Based on the community and stakeholder engagement; a project call out; detailed data and information about the town, its community and visitors; the Town Investment Plan sets out Margate’s ambitions, opportunities and challenges. This forms the basis of the £29m application to the Towns Fund. The Plan includes a long term vision and strategy to help address the social and economic challenges that the town has faced, to ‘level up’ the economy and to create jobs.
What’s included in the Plan?
The Town Investment Plan outlines four project interventions that will address the challenges facing the town, help to provide long-lasting benefits for local people and create a nationally significant visitor offer to support its recovery from COVID-19. The Plan includes funding proposals for £29m of interlinked investments:
- A £9m investment in Scaling Margate’s Creative Production and Skills
This involves establishing a Creative Land Trust to support and scale projects stretching from the high street to the Theatre Royal, building spaces for creative production and education. This investment will support and safeguard the creative sector, enabling entrepreneurs and practitioners to focus on innovation and job growth. Investment will create a new linked route through the town centre from the coast to the historic Hawley Square, creating a focal point of activity around creative production and skills. This will drive further town centre investment to benefit residents and create continuity through the town.
- A £6.5m investment in Coastal Wellbeing
This focuses on supporting a series of capital investments for wellbeing across the whole Margate coastline and creating new, surprising experiences for visitors. It builds on its ‘heyday’ as a popular centre for wellbeing and tourism. Creating better links between the town centre, Northdown Road and the coastline will support access to the coastal wellbeing offer, and an improved network of connections between assets beyond the ‘tourist trail’.
- A £4.5m investment in Public Realm and Connections
Scaling investment in better connections and routes through the town centre will allow the Investment Plan to capitalise on heritage assets. Improving public realm and connections will encourage active travel and links throughout the town. A particular focus is to better connect Northdown Road to the town centre and with the coastline with attractive public realm, cycling and walking infrastructure.
- A £9m investment in Supporting and Diversifying Heritage Assets
This is about developing high impact and surprising activities around the Dreamland Cinema Complex and the Winter Gardens. These two under-used heritage assets bookend the main promenade and re-activating these much-loved buildings will support footfall and income, further boosted by improved public realm and connections.
All of the projects included in the Plan evolved from an open call to the community for proposals that met the Government’s criteria and would deliver the maximum positive impact for the town’s economic future. The proposals were considered in themes for delivery and then reviewed by the People’s Panel.
Graham Razey, Chair of the Margate Town Deal Board, which comprises representatives from public, private and voluntary organisations and was created to bring the funding bid together said:
“There’s real optimism for Margate’s future. We believe we have an exceptional and compelling case for investment and that’s why we’re targeting £29m. I am delighted that so many people and businesses have got involved to help shape our bid and create a Margate that works for everyone. It has been a privilege to listen to the community’s views and ideas on ‘coming together to help Margate thrive 365’.
“With all of these views in mind, we are asking the Government to support a range of targeted investments across four project areas. It is clear that people see the benefits of scaling creative production and skills; coastal wellbeing; improving the public realm and our heritage assets.”
It is expected that the Government will take several months to respond. If Heads of Terms are agreed, the Board will have up to 12 months to complete comprehensive business cases for selected projects.
During this project development phase, the Board will continue to work closely with local partners, stakeholders and the People’s Panel, as well as key national organisations and funding partners such as Historic England, Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund, in order to complement the Plan and unlock the town’s full potential.
Cllr Ruth Duckworth, Cabinet member for Estates and Economic Development at Thanet District Council, said:
“The people of Margate have come forward with their time, ideas and enthusiasm. Their ideas, which have been incorporated into the Town Investment Plan, have given the process a tremendous boost. This is a once-in-a generation opportunity for the town and Margate deserves to be successful with its submission. This Plan has the potential to put us on the map, both nationally and internationally, at the same time as improving the quality of life for those who live here.”
View the Margate Town Investment Plan and video here.