Sunday 27 December 2009

The story of Cliff Terrace continued

Let us cast our minds back to where Margate Architecture began as a blog. The planning application to develop the corner site of Cliff Terrace into flats via the Empty Property department of TDC caught our attention. This was back in 2007. As we come to the end of 2009, it is only fitting we take stock of the success of this project. oh dear, the building is still standing empty. Only now it has lost the retail shops on the ground floor and they are now the tiniest, most exposed living space in the whole of Cliftonville. One only hopes that no grant money has been spent on getting this empty building off the empty building list and onto the... oh empty building list.

But on a cheerier note, one of our faithful readers has sent us a link to an image of Cliff Terrace in happier days.

Thursday 17 December 2009

Spacemakers - community use of empty shops in Brixton

I've found the organisation that have set up uses for empty shops in Brixton. They're called Spacemakers. It looks like they are working in other areas too. Not had time yet to go through the site, but thought I would post straight away.

Time is ticking on. The Turner is opening in spring 2011 and we're still struggling with empty shops and a lack of affordable studio space and retail for creative projects. These guys seem to have found a way round the old problem of rates payable as soon as a property is used, which makes it difficult to attract people to rent them out in areas where there might be low foot fall and also low sales.

Monday 14 December 2009

CABE's Dickon Robinson on the March 2009 Margate visit

"Robinson believes that visiting a town centre is like taking a person’s pulse – it tells you about the health of a place. Take Margate, which he visited in March with the urban panel: “I went for a walk up High Street, it’s a complete disaster zone – M&S and all the other large shops had gone, more than fifty per cent of the shops are empty.”

It’s true that Turner Contemporary, an art gallery and cultural centre designed by David Chipperfield Architects and inspired by JMW Turner’s long association with Margate, is being built to boost the town’s appeal – and that its community outreach arm has re-opened the M&S building . But Robinson has his doubts that such flagship developments can save a place. The gallery will not primarily be home to Turner paintings and major cultural regeneration projects can often play out more like Sheffield’s National Centre for Popular Music than Bilbao’s much admired Guggenheim."

Interestingly, the Turner Project Space at the M&S Building closed not long after the CABE visit and then of course there are the TDC plans to let the Upper High Street go to residential. i.e. to destroy the shopping centre of the High Street from Boots upwards up the hill. It will be interesting to see if these plans from TDC have been submitted to CABE in their response to the report drafted after the March visit which is still pending.

Recently, I was at a friend's wedding and was chatting to people who live in Brixton in South London. They were telling me of the work done in Brixton Market to allow artists to take on empty units via a charity set up. Apparantly this way, rates were able to not be charged. Or at least it was rent free and the rates were paid. I'll dig out more information and feedback. I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Robinson. I look forward to hearing more from CABE.

Coastal Handbook Launch Event Flyer Released

Hot of the press from TDC's Events, Leisure, Culture and Tourism Department. The flier is available to download from the Coastal Communities Alliance website:

The event will take place at The Winter Gardens on the 27th of January and will be chaired by the Chair of the Select Committee enquiry into coastal towns, Dr Phyllis Starkey MP.

There will be a series of talks and tours. The flier states the day will be:

"An opportunity for all those concerned about the future of our seaside resorts to contribute to the national debate on new approaches to Coastal Regeneration while taking a first hand look at the approaches and success stories in Thanet."

It goes on to say:

"Dear Delegate,

We are pleased to announce the Coastal Alliance Conference on 27 and 28 January 2010 when Dr Phyllis Starkey MP will attend as keynote speaker for the national launch of the much awaited Coastal Regeneration Handbook and website."

The two tours on offer to delegates are:

1. Entertainment, past, present and future. Cultural regeneration in Margate.
2. Economic regeneration in Thanet, industrial estates, shopping developments, port, airport, university.

Any mention of tourism for economic regeneration?

So far typing 'Coastal Handbook' into Thanet's wesbiste comes up with nothing. TDC haven't publicised the event in Thanet that they have put together and are hosting.

Speaking to the Coastal Community Alliance today, they confirmed that the cost of attending is £75 for two days and £40 for one day. There are no discounts, but that individual authorities are funding indivuals and groups to attend. We will contact TDC to enquire if this is going to be offered in some way to people or groups in Thanet wishing to participate. We'll also feedback on who are the success stories that will be put before delegates and how they were chosen.

Saturday 12 December 2009

The Reading Rooms Boutique Bed & Breakfast in today's Guardian

Nice review by The Guardian's Sally Shalam on The Reading Rooms boutique bed and breakfast. She's bothered to do her historical research, which makes a real change for journos comiung to Margate. She goes into detail on the history of Hawley Square and the surrounding area gives a nice heads up to the Theatre Royal and The Indian Princess restaurant.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Launch of the first Coastal Handbook in Margate

"The IDeA, through its economic development and healthy community’s programmes are supporting the Coastal Communities Alliance (CCA) in producing the first Coastal Regeneration Handbook. The handbook will be launched in Margate on Thursday 28 January 2010 by Dr Phyllis Starkey MP, who chaired the Select Committee Inquiry into Coastal Towns."

The website goes on to say they're welcoming contributions from the public:

"The CCA would welcome your presence, and contributions, at an event that seeks to stimulate new debates and directions in addressing the socio-economic problems and the public costs of our seaside resorts. We would appreciate if you could advise of your early availability, in order to inform the programme, to or 07500 992115. The details of the full launch programme will be distributed in December."

Margate seems to be lacking in a communication network to publicise these events.

The event will take place at the Winter Gardens. The press release is online here:

CABE are coming back to Margate

Next Monday (the 14th of Decemeber) the delegation from CABE are coming back to Margate. We were enquiring when the response from TDC was going to go back to CABE following their report in the spring earlier this year. At the time of reporting this it was stated the TDC response was due in June. Instead CABE are coming back.

So, what will they do when they visit?

And what will they think of TDC's proposal to remove the protection of the retail shops in the Upper High Street so they can go residential?

More on CABE and Margate: