Thursday 21 January 2010

Coastal Handbook In the Press

The Coastal Regeneration Handbook launch in Margate makes Kent Online.

"Thanet council plans to use the event to showcase local success stories, with delegates offered a tour of key regeneration sites including the Turner Contemporary, Westwood Cross and the Port of Ramsgate."

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Seasider Project - The Reading Rooms in Margate as case studies

The Reading Rooms boutique bed and breakfast in Margate were invited to speak at a national conference on Seaside regeneration in London last week. Here's the press release from the event (text also below) and also a 2MB pdf of the presentation with research on the marketing of transitional coastal towns. Interesting reading, so do have a go at downloading the pdf of the presentation.

More info will later be posted here at the Seasider website which is about to start development. I'll also post info on the other delegates who are working on interesting projects in other coastal towns such as Blackpool, Yarmouth, Scarborough, Dover, Folkestone.

That wonderful youtube viral from Blackpool last year. Lovely.

Press Release Jan 14th 2010


Key figures from seaside towns, culture and regeneration specialists, London organisations and the private sector gathered in Shoreditch on the 11/12 January to consult on innovative ways of promoting the seaside cultural offer to a new generation of 'Urban Creatives' through the Seasider project.

Private and public sector joined together to hear the now famous operators of The Reading Rooms in Margate, Liam Nabb and Louise Oldfield, give their exciting perspective on a changing market for the coast and where they feel current promotional activity falls short in speaking to this key future market. Kate Staley of Blackpool, a town which is leading the field in smart seaside promotion, agreed with the identification of this group as the key new target market for seaside towns, saying, “There's great value in being specific....I have to say I think you have got [the target market] spot on.”

Conference attendees, including representatives from RDAs, Local Authority Partnerships, Town Regeneration and Cultural Advisors and the private sector were united in identifying the need for an independent approach to attract the 'Apple Mac' generation to the growing seaside offer where their spending power, enterprise and long term investment potential could reap huge dividends both in terms of tourism and long term regeneration plans. Chenine Bhathena, London 2012 Creative Programmer at the Greater London Authority suggested “the programme could play a key role in bringing to light alternative cultural activities that already exist in coastal towns, creating new cultural trails”. Nick Taylor, Renaissance Manager for Scarborough, currently Europe's most enterprising place, said “we need to speak to this group now to bring enterprise to the fore in Seaside towns, and for them flourish in the next decade and beyond.”

The meeting proposed that Seasider should reposition the seaside as an aspirational and interesting destination for this group to explore and potentially move to, with a number of attendees noting that an incomplete, or 'edgy' offer is actually attractive to this group, ideal for seaside towns in transition. Early thinking for the project was met with enthusiasm, with the suggestion that it would complement more traditional target markets and marketing strategies.

There was also agreement that the timing is absolutely right for this type of initiative, “it's a question of now,” said Liam Nabb of The Reading Rooms.

The Seasider team (Eddie Bridgeman and Hidden Cities) are now investigating sites in London for creative partnership projects between the Seaside and the capital city, a wide ranging PR campaign and peer to peer website. For further information please contact

Monday 18 January 2010

Coastal Regeneration Handbook Launch Details

In case anyone hasn't downloaded the flyer for the launch event of the Coastal Regeneration Handbook Launch (previously referred to as the Coastal Community Handbook Launch on this blog).

Below is the text from the flyer. The event is £75 for two days and £40 for the one.

Here's what what the flyer says:

Keynote speaker
Dr Phyllis Starkey MP
Chair of the Select Committee
enquiry into Coastal Towns 2007
Presentations and Q & A
on coastal regeneration by the main political parties
Presentations and Q & A
on coastal futures, enterprise and health
Leaders, CXO, practitioners
on coastal futures and coastal solutions

" 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."

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.

Conference Objectives
Nationally launch the handbook and website

Consolidate the considerable evidence on coastal resort issues

Establish national coastal regeneration topic groups

Establish post launch events for enterprise, planning and health

Media coverage for coastal resort issues

Delegates Can Expect
The launch of the first Coastal regeneration Handbook and the related Website

An update on national coastal regeneration developments by Dr Starkey

The views on coastal resort regeneration by the three main political parties

A full debate on the future of coastal regeneration

Help form national coastal regeneration topic groups

To help consolidate the CCA

The Coastal Communities Alliance
The CCA is a virtual group of coastal local authorities and organisations that came into being in 2007 in response to the Government’s initial rejection of the recommendations of the Select
Committee Inquiry into Coastal Towns.

The CCA objectives are to articulate, lobby and promote new thinking and solutions for the complex socio - economic problems existing in coastal areas.

The “Coastal Regeneration Handbook in progress!” is part of that process
and, like coastal regeneration, has been produced on a shoestring!

The Coastal Regeneration Handbook
The primary objective of the Coastal Regeneration Handbook is to reduce deprivation and improve the quality of life in coastal resorts by increasing the effectiveness of coastal regeneration practitioners. The handbook will seek to achieve this by:

• Stimulating new thinking and approaches for the development of local solutions
to entrenched coastal resort problems.

• Clarifying “who’s who” and “who’s doing what” in coastal regeneration.

• Improving the knowledge, effectiveness and cooperation of coastal regeneration practitioners and the national, regional and local organisations that support the development of coastal communities.

Conference Programme
Wednesday 27 January
1.00pm Delegates Assemble Winter Gardens,
Seaside Bar (Parking available on lower
promenade – 5 mins taxi from Railway Station)
Buffet lunch
2.15pm Tour
(Delegates to pre-book their choice of tour)
a) Entertainment Past, Present and Future.
Cultural regeneration in Margate
b) Economic Regeneration in Thanet,
industrial estates, shopping developments,
port, airport, university.
4.00pm Delegates return Walpole Bay Hotel, Cliftonville
Afternoon Tea
7.00pm Reception: Networking & opportunity
to ‘meet the authors’
7.30pm Dinner (Venue to be confirmed)
Welcome by Richard Samuel (Chief Executive,
TCD) and Ivan Annibal (CCA)
Response Professor John Walton,
(Co-Editor Coastal Regeneration Handbook)
9.45 pm Close

Thursday 28 January
9.00am Coffee/pastries and registration:
Margate Winter Gardens
9.30am Welcome by Conference Chairman
Richard Samuel, (Chief Executive TDC)
and Ivan Annibal (CCA)
09.45 am Keynote speech Dr Phyllis Starkey M.P
Q and A to Dr Starkey MP
10.15am Presentation x Conservative MP
10.30am Presentation x Labour MP
10.45am Presentation x Lib Dem MP
11.00am Q and A to the three MPs
11.15 am Coffee and biscuits
11.45am Plenary.
Review of handbook and website, creation
of topic groups, CCA structure and
resourcing, Q & A session.
12.30pm Break for lunch.
+ Opportunity to visit exhibitions
1.30pm Presentation and Q & A
Coastal Health - a spa too far? Kent PCT
2.00pm Presentation
Can the resort be enterprised?
CCA and Wood Holmes Group
2.15pm Presentation
What future the resort?
CCA and Handbook Contributors
2.30pm Plenary.
3.15pm Closing remarks.

Both of the hotels listed are within walking distance of the Winter Gardens, Margate and
offer a delegate’s rate of £50 single and £60 double occupancy including full breakfast

Smith’s Court Hotel
43 Rooms, Victorian Hotel 3 Star

Walpole Bay Hotel and Museum
41 Rooms, As featured on the Hotel Inspector
To book or to find our more about places
to stay in Thanet Visit
or call 0870 264 6111

Margate is situated on the southeastern tip of Kent. Excellent road and rail links from London means that getting here is quick and easy, even the continent is just a hop across the Channel, as we are closer to France than our county town of Maidstone.

By Road
Excellent road links with the M20 and M2 motorways close by provide easy links from London and its airports via the M25 orbital motorway. Adequate parking to the rear of the Winter Gardens on the Lower Promenade.

By Rail
There are frequent trains between London Victoria and Margate as well as Charing
Cross, and Ramsgate. Journey times are approximately 1 hour 50 minutes (Victoria) and 2 hours (Charing Cross).

National Rail enquiries
Tel: +44 (0) 8457 48 49 50
Tel: +44 (0) 845 000 2211
(impaired access information)
Textphone +44 (0) 845 605 0600

Booking Details
Reservation forms and payment must be received by: 12 January 2010 latest.
An earlier call indicating your intentions
to 01843 577638 or 577167 or e-mail
to or
would be very much appreciated.
Two day conference fee - £75.00.
(10% Reduction on bookings for two or
more delegates from the same organisation)
One day only fee - £40.00
(no discounts apply)
Please return your reservation form with
your cheque made payable to Thanet
District Council at the address shown on
the reservation form or call us on 01843
577638 to pay by credit or debit card.

Sunday 17 January 2010

Munro Cobb Building

Part of TDC's Window of Opportunity project that organises colourful shop window displays and hoardings has moved to Cliftonville. Here is the artist Dan Bass and the 140ft work at the old Munro Cobb building on Northdown Road.

Margate and Cliftonville Housing Renewal Strategy 2009

Another housing strategy document is up for consultation until Feb 19th. Email comments about the Margate and Cliftonville Housing Renewal Strategy 2009 to

Again, hardly any mention of tourism and the reverting the use of ex-guest accommodation to guest accommodation from HMOs. Which is quite odd, given this would solve the lack of quality guest beds in the area and be a solution for what to do with houses that are empty and or badly used because they were built for that purpose.

I've posted the 1MB PDF file of the 28 page document for download here.

The Margate Renewal Partnership Framework and Implementation 2009-2011 document is available on their website here and as an archive here.

Have Your Say: Core Strategy Preferred Options Consultation - Closes Jan 18th

Last chance to comment on the 200+ pages that passes as consultation on Thanet's Core Strategy document.

If you too, like me, feel overwhelmed and a little phased at the trouble it takes to print off a whole document of this size. Perhaps you might like to edit your own version of what other residents have put together. Obviously, your own words and views are better. But to give you an idea:

In a complex environment that has to take into account county, governmental and global issues. Yet locally, it could be quite simple – if only we persist in utilising the enthusiasm and energy of people who choose to live in Thanet.

As the Thanet Local Development Framework states, we too are keen to live and work in a Thanet that we are proud of – one that is vibrant, interesting, and fun to be in. Such a Thanet would embrace diverse groups of people, be forward thinking and have, at its core, the concept of sustainability. It would therefore have a “green” outlook, making the most of its natural environment, safeguarding its natural assets including making better use of, and developing, the people who live here. Our Thanet would have, at the forefront of its policies and actions, the needs of permanent residents and workers. Anything that works well for these groups will attract tourists, often family and friends, and so be an attractor of more people who would contribute to “Our Vibrant Thanet”, thus improving the life experience of all.

We believe that the typical consultation exercise, including this one, inherently has too many barriers. It becomes rhetoric when the people who live and work in Thanet are asked to read through a document of approximately 250 pages, on a screen – if they have a computer – or print it out themselves using a whole printer cartridge. Essentially, it’s an invitation to become cynical, feel excluded from decision-making, and become mistrustful of the Council. We would like consultation to happen in a way that engages people and allows them to input positively into the vision for Thanet.

We feel irritated that major decisions are often presented as almost a fait accompli eg developing Manston Airport for commercial flights. Then, “consultation” seems empty. We recognise that, at this stage, it might be difficult to overturn such major decisions. And, if “Our Vibrant Thanet” is to come about, with an engaged population, then any future changes must come from a well-informed community.

To understand the situation we experience in Thanet, consider the metaphor of the sea. Iconic developments, such as Dreamland and the Turner Centre, are the big ships sailing on the sea’s surface. They are very visible. When movement happens in such iconic developments, it’s easy for them to become the sole focus of a Council’s attention. Meanwhile, life on the ocean bed, and the coral reef, can become damaged by the big ships. The ocean bed and the coral reef are far less visible, and therefore less attention is paid to them. So too, we experience a lack of day-to-day action on key things that make a difference to the lives of local people eg rubbish collections, support for small businesses through the interpretation of the grey areas given over to Council discretion. We are keen to hear what will be done to ensure this focus on the big ships will change very soon – so that protection and enhancement of the sea bed and the coral reef, ie our experiences as enthusiastic and skilled residents and workers, becomes as important.

We believe that, in order to get these day-to-day changes, a review needs to happen of the systems within TDC. To date, when the Council isn't attending to the iconic developments, the focus seems to be on “deprivation”. It is this that is used to measure everything else. For as long as deprivation is the focus and the measure, then “deprivation” will continue. For example, we did a search for “bed & breakfast” on TDC’s website and the Lewisham Council website. (The London Borough of Lewisham is one which has been successfully regenerated.)

TDC’s website lists – 9 entries including

1. Accommodating homeless people

2. Help with rent

3. Homelessness

4. Housing benefits

5. NO mention of tourist / visitor accommodation

Lewisham Council’s website lists 17 entries including

1. Guest house and accommodation for overseas visitors and students

2. Tourism and travel

3. Where to stay in Lewisham

4. ONE mention of using empty homes to rehouse homelessness families

So it becomes in the interests of those with jobs in “the deprivation industry” to have deprivation continue. Thanet would lose a great deal of funding if deprivation were to vanish soon. We are therefore concerned that a substantial proportion of people in Thanet are missing out on day-to-day connected and positive initiatives that focus on the wealth of Thanet and not its deprivation. Unless systems are changed to include more positive actions to accommodate the vision of “Our Vibrant Thanet”, we are concerned that we will simply find ourselves where we are now … no matter how many years down the line.

To view a copy of the full Core Strategy document and complete our response form:

· Visit
(Simply register your details once for access to this, and all future planning policy consultations)

A summary of the Core Strategy is also available - view the Core Strategy Summary

Friday 15 January 2010

How to get around Margate area on foot

I've been thinking about how car based Margate is in terms of access to the main tourist spots. How does one get from Margate seafront to Botany Bay, Kingsgate and Joss Bay without a car?

The bus routes take people on shopping trips to Westwood Cross and serve housing estates so meander a lot in land.

If we had a lovely sea walk the same standard as Minnis Bay to Reculver, we would be able to provide a great pedestrian offering to visitors. The walk along by the Cliftonville Lido and Palm Bay leaves much to be desired. It's no wonder that families are not attracted to use it. Yet this stretch of seafront used to be a quality beach experience. It boasts stunning views and is a nice length of walk for day trippers. If we can join up the attractions people will open businesses such as outdoors sports and also find it more appealing to move to the vicinity.

Are there any plans to improve the seafront from Margate to Botany Bay?

This would presumably fit with the overall regeneration plans for Margate and Cliftonville.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Meanwhile Space - Creative Use of Empty Properties

Following on from the recent discussions of Space Makers in Brixton, we recently met up with the people from Meanwhile Space, who find ways of facilitating creative use of empty properties in between them being developed. They also have a ning network that you can join here: They have also been funders of TDC's window scheme.

Tuesday 12 January 2010

John Kampfner looking forward

Nice piece in The Guardian from Turner Chair, John Kampfner. The Turner is on budget and on schedule. He also likes the new vintage shop openings in Margate Old Town. Nice to see he's taking an interest and spending some leisure time here too.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Cliff Terrace - the sorry state of the building

So, I paid a visit to Cliff Terrace a few days ago to check out how successful and how high quality the works have been to this iconic and now Grade II listed building. How utterly depressing and sad is the reality. The building still bears the estate agent banners offering flats for sale from £99,000. But it is instantly clear why this whole block stands empty. It isn't finished. And not only is it not finished, it has been left standing open to the elements in such a state that there has been water ingress and the building is very much unsecured. The building does not have connected services and no Building Control sign off. This is over two years since the development began. Not quite the success story put out on page 8 of the Margate Renewal Partnership press release in April 2008. Download the PDF here The article declared:

"Work is finally underway to transform a beautiful group of empty buildings in Cliftonville, after intervention from Thanet District Council."

The article states that the alternative course of action to the Cabinet Approved funding for CPO under the "No Use Empty Campaign" was for a voluntary sale to take place from the owner, (Mr Houghton) who had let the building stand in disrepair for over a decade to a developer (Jim Ward of Ramsgate FC's Ward and Partners) who would then apply for planning permission to convert the building to residential use.

But according to the Land Registry, the building has not yet been sold to the developer, yet Planning Permission was granted and works started and then not finished.

Did TDC stipulate a timeframe for this development to take place?

Perhaps TDC should revive the threat of CPO and to take this building back into care as was the wish of many people in the area. The building is still very much at risk as it was in 2007. We are now in 2010.

This is still one of the finest buildings in the area and if returned to it's original use, would provide quality guest accommodation in the exact location that TDC and the Margate Renewal Partnership site as being a key area to encourage the development of quality guest accommodation. Whereas Mike Thompson from TDC's Empty Property scheme claimed at the time, that this building at this location is 'not viable as commerical use'.

How out of step are some council departments with the authority's own stated regeneration plans?

And just how viable are tiny flats butted right up to the main road in Cliftonville?

Clearly not very, given the wealth of vacant flats on the ground floor and basement levels throughout the area. The whole point of this building is the view and the fact it raises the occupants up above the level of the street. It was constructed for this very purpose. You would have gone in through the ground floor into the shop and then up to the tea rooms on the floors above. There is balance achieved throughout the whole building. Carve it up and cut off the basement and ground floor you do nothing but provide more blight to the high street. And what is it like to live inside a tiny room in a shop front? Obviously not attractive or there would have been a queue of people wishing to take it on.

Let us not also forget how the planning permission was granted to convert from commercial to 100% residential. It was granted under delegated powers against the advice of TDC's own conservation architect. A fact that lead the conservation architect to lodge an official complaint:

Brian White – Head of Development Services
Thanet District Council
Cecil Street

21st December 2007

Dear Mr. White,

L/TH/07/1527 – 14-15 Cliff Terrace, Margate

The above building was listed on 15th October 2007. This necessitated the submission of a listed building consent following the previous granting of planning consent for the conversion of the building in to flats.

The building is a purpose built shop with a tearoom and letting rooms over. The list description notes the remains of the historic shopfront.

In common with the planning application, the listed building consent application proposed alterations to the ground floor to facilitate a domestic conversion. Whilst such an alteration might be acceptable in a building that was not listed, it departed from the original form of the building in a manner that would be detrimental to its historic character. Any alteration to this building should serve to re-enforce that character – as stated in policy HE1 of the Thanet Local plan.

I gave my advice on this application to the case officer by e-mail on 7th December. Upon discussion, the case officer told me that she did not intend to follow this advice. When questioned as to why this might be the case, she responded that she was the planning officer.

I am employed by both this Authority and English Heritage to advise on matters concerning the historic built environment, especially listed buildings. I am a chartered Architect and a full member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.

In a situation such as this, one affecting the character of a listed building, my advice should be the paramount consideration in the determination of the application. There is no point in employing me if my opinion, on matters that I am uniquely qualified to opine, is ignored.

On the face of it, it would appear that the decision to grant this consent was the unilateral decision of the planning officer. This being the case I wish to bring a formal complaint against the case officer for professional misconduct.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Dermott IHBC RIBA

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Sign up for Community Matters - Residents' Panel

From TDC's press office:


Thanet residents are needed, who are interested in having their say on things in the future and making a difference to council services.

Thanet District Council is now looking for residents from all walks of life to say what they think about the issues that affect them and about the local services they use to join the council's new residents' panel.

Community Matters, the council's current residents' panel, made up of around 1,000 residents, has given their views on a range of subjects over the last four years, including:

* What they think of Thanet as a place to live
* The major crime and anti-social behaviour issues in their neighbourhood
* How much they recycle and how satisfied with they are with recycling
* The state of the area's beaches
* The condition of housing in the area
* How they want to be communicated with
* The opportunities to get involved in helping to shape council decisions

Community Matters also helped to shape the council's high-profile Thanet is
Beautiful campaign, which aimed to promote the beauty of the area and discourage people from dropping litter.

The new panel will run for a total of four years and people will be able to get involved in issues that particularly interest them.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel, said: "We're always keen to hear what our residents think and want to get them involved in the decisions that we make. If you want to have your voice heard, then joining the Community Matters panel is a great way to do that. It gives you the chance to put your views forward on a variety of issues and, in the future, you'll also be able to get involved in the things that really matter to you.

If you're interested in what happens in your local community, then I'd urge you to join Community Matters."

If you are interested in becoming a member of Community Matters, you can send your details via e-mail to or write to Hannah Thorpe, Communications, Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, CT9 1XZ.


Hayley Eversfield
Corporate Communications and Marketing Officer

Thanet District Council
Direct Dial: 01843 577615
Fax: 01843 296866