Cllr Rick Everitt, Leader of Thanet District Council, said:
“We appreciate that the people of Thanet are passionate about the Winter Gardens, and with good reason. The well-loved venue has been a landmark in the district for decades and it has a fantastic pedigree of attracting some of the nation’s favourite performers.
“You may have seen that we have started to clear the Winter Gardens of its contents. This clearance was always part of our planned activity, to prepare for the renovation process ahead of marketing the venue to potential operators, in order to bring the Winter Gardens back into use.
“We have engaged a professional contractor and council officers are overseeing the clearance process. Any items of cultural value have already been removed, and are now in safe storage. This includes artworks, posters and other irreplaceable memorabilia.
“The rest of the contents, which include miscellaneous pieces of wood, crockery and old furniture have no heritage value. The alternative to disposal would have been for the council to incur costs for remote storage of these items which are unlikely to be needed in the future.
“The majority of these items will be recycled, to ensure that the council’s commitment to sustainability and responsible environmental practices is being met. Some of the better items will be sold by auction and we will publicise details when arrangements have been finalised.
“I want to reassure residents that we are making steady progress on bringing the Winter Gardens back into full use. Our aspirations are to restore this significant heritage asset for many more people to enjoy. I have said this before and will continue to stress that we will not be using the building or the site for housing.
“There is a great deal of work going on behind the scenes, and we expect to be making further announcements next week.”