Margate’s moving forward…
Margate is more than just a place to live or work. It’s an iconic town, with a huge and rich historical tapestry that chimes with hundreds of thousands of people across the UK and beyond. And whilst in recent months it hasn’t played host to as many tourists as would ordinarily flock to its sandy shores, make no mistake, Margate remains a heavy-hitting destination many would dearly like to visit.
I recall being appointed to the Margate Town Deal Board as though it were yesterday. And to many outside observers right now, not much appears to have happened since that time. I can appreciate why you might think that – after the initial flurry of very public activity, and the excitement about Margate sharing in this significant funding boost, things quietened down as the Board set about its business of planning how to extract maximum benefit from the funding.
However, the slow burn is about to reach a powder keg, as the Board is now set to start unleashing a flurry of activity as we move towards October.
What activity? I hear you ask. Well, as part of our work to develop the Town Investment Plan, we’ll be looking to work with people, businesses and organisations across the area from early September. We have just appointed a specialist community and stakeholder engagement organisation to plan and deliver a consultation programme to inform the Plan and provide the backbone of our strategy to drive growth. There will be a range of ways that people can get involved from taking part in digital focus groups, to filling in questionnaires or to visiting a social distanced exhibition. Watch this space on how to have your say very soon.
So it truly is an exciting time for Margate, and I’d like to rally as many of you who are as passionate about the place as we are, to get behind the Town Deal Board and the project we’re undertaking. Growth and regeneration is about so much more than simply building shiny towers, or investing money and resources. It’s about the people who make the place. And that’s why we recently asked the people of Margate for project ideas that fit the Fund’s three themes (Urban regeneration, planning and land use, Skills and enterprise infrastructure and Connectivity).
We’re passionate about giving you the opportunity to help drive this process and understand your priorities for change. We need your creativity and assistance to get to where we need to be. So, for Margate’s sake, please jump off the bench and get involved next month. Due to the scope of the Fund, we can’t promise we’ll be able to do everything that everyone wants, but we can promise that your views will help shape the plans for the future.
And for those who’d rather just wait and see, I’d like to make a commitment. In line with the Board’s belief that we should keep all residents up to date with what we’re doing, in the most transparent way possible, there will be more Blogs from the Board where we’ll let you know what activities we’re undertaking and how the Plan is progressing. We’re all ardent supporters of the place and now that we’re primed to start making a difference, we’re really pleased to keep you all apprised as we move forward towards a reborn, revitalised and reinvigorated town centre. I look forward to having you all along on the journey with us.
Graham Razey OBE
Margate Town Deal Board Chair