Wednesday 24 November 2010

12-15 Cliff Terrace - to be sold ay auction

What a journey it has been for 12-15 Cliff Terrace. Heralded a resounding success in May 2008 as a flagship project for KCC No Use Empty Scheme, the building stood empty until January 2010. The developer, Wards Renovation and Construction Limited (Company Registration No. 5166962), owned by Ramsgate FC's Jim Ward, has gone into receivership.

The whole site has is being sold at auction on December 15th with a guide price of £350k-£360k. The series of buildings remains under one title and has not been divided into separate leases, no matter how many banners were displayed advertising the sale of 'luxury flats'. The details of the sale at the auctioneers state there are 10 flats with rents as low as £60 per week. So just how much of a success is this site? The grave risk is now that with annual rental income of £54k that this stacks up for bottom of the market rental investors.

Is this really the best outcome for a grade II listed building that was hailed as a major success of regeneration?

One would hope that a building control completion certificate has been issued, given the fact that young families are tenants in the building.

And for the future? Well, the interior renovation being far from luxury, then perhaps someone will come along to return the building to it's rightful glory as a restaurant with letting rooms for tourism.

Here are photographs we have taken of the building in the last few years.

Search this blog for 'cliff terrace' to find the story on how this has happened.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Is this Margate? You're invited to discuss Monday 29th November

Invitations have been sent out from Creative Margate to an event to discuss the Countdown to Margate 2011. Details:

"Join the conversation...

Please join us:

Monday 29 November 2010

6-8pm | Harbour Cafe | The Parade | Margate
6pm | Welcome
6.30pm | Conversation begins
8pm | Conversation closes

This is a free event, light refreshments will be available.
Anyone is welcome to attend but please RSVP by 5pm on Wednesday 24 November as places will be
booked on a first come first served basis.

Call 01843 609336
or email

Many Thanks
Sharon Sebastian
Creative Margate"
At first glance I had thought, given the absence of logos or other information, that Creative Margate was Margate Creatives (the collective of Margate based creatives that has been meeting monthly since the summer). But it isn't. Here's the info from the horse's mouth so to speak:
"Creative Margate was set up in 2008 to steer the work of the The Cultural Vision and once the work was complete, continued to meet to steer the Delivery Plan. Those documents are below and can be found on the Margate Renewal website.

Creative Margate sits within MRP, but is a partnership that includes local authorities, ACE, English Heritage and cultural organisation representation. It has been variously chaired by TDC, Turner
Contemporary and currently by KCC."

Leslie Fuller's Margate Ped'lers at the Clifton Concert Hall 1932

My lovely friend Matthew builds wonderfully useful websites. His Theatricalia site helps build an archive for theatre. And look what turned up! A 1930 production of Leslie Fuller's Ped'lers at The Clifton Concert Hall. Brilliant!

Monday 22 November 2010

Arlington House residents meeting with Freshwater December 2nd

We've been reliably informed that a letter was sent to "occupiers" of Arlington House over the weekend, from PPS media relations consultants for Freshwater.

They are going to hold meetings at 4pm and 6pm on Thursday 2nd December at the Nayland
Rock hotel.

They state, "We intend to explain how the scheme has been revised since the last time we saw you and to run through what progress has been made on the various issues that were raised back in March".

A concerned resident states, "TDC have pretty much said that whatever Tesco wants Freshwater/Tesco will get, as it's a question of "if we don't take Tesco, then nothing will happen to the Arlington site for the next ten years." The latest
gossip on the Tesco store is that it will be a 70,000 sq ft monster superstore. ( not 60,000 sq ft. as originally proposed.)"

Onwards and upwards!

Interesting report from CABE on the effect of supermarkets on towns in the long run.

Sunday 21 November 2010

CABE Urban Panel - Observations on an Urban Panel visit to Margate, December 2009

Sometime ago we contacted CABE to ask for a copy of their observations on their further visits to Margate. Here are the comments from the December 2009 visit.

Observations on an Urban Panel visit to Margate
December 2009

We agreed that this was a time of special opportunity for Margate. The completion of the Turner Contemporary in 2011 will hopefully be paralleled by the realisation of the Dreamlands project in the same year. In addition there is now the distinct possibility that the Tesco/Arlington House proposals will add to the regeneration of the key beachfront between the station and the Turner. Lastly there are significant sea defences planned for the same place and with careful integration this work could make a further contribution to the creation of a real sense that Margate has turned a corner. Thus we emphasised that there was a vital need to “Seize the Moment”.

It was encouraging that several of the issues that we highlighted in March have seen real progress. Dreamlands has received a major grant from the Sea Change programme. Margate has its first boutique B&B in Hawley Square which exemplifies what we had in mind when urging that Margate needed to raise its offer in the hospitality stakes. In addition, the severe problems caused by excessive out-borough placement of vulnerable single people and children, is beginning to receive appropriate attention from senior civil servants.

However Margate remains a place with many serious challenges, and the tantalising signs of success around the corner should not be allowed to deflect attention away from the need to nail down real progress. Maintaining the attention of the wider public sector on Margate will be crucial, achieved perhaps by constant reminders that the quality of the underlying fabric of the town and its significant place in the early development of the seaside resort, provide a strong skeleton on which renewal can be built. The willingness of the many agencies involved to meet on a regular basis to coordinate activity is encouraging, but concern was expressed at apparent “Partnership proliferation” and the danger that coordination is mistaken for action.

Housing Margate enjoys some most attractive suburbs with a wide range of sizes and styles of home. Built on spacious plots with plenty of space for in-curtilage parking, the result is streets fairly free of parked cars, with mature trees and hedges. The many bungalows must be popular with older residents, but what might be a rather bland environment is enlivened by the visual interest provided by the odd modernist villa and occasional glazed pantile roof.

However away from the suburbs Margate desperately needs to make better use of the large and fine terraced housing in the central area, because their visual prominence at the heart of Margate and along the sea front sets the tone for the whole place. To the private sector they have proved ideal for multi-let low investment renting. The problems this creates for the wider community are well understood, and in particular the resulting highly transient population is a major financial and social burden on the wider community.
It seems improbable that owner occupation will become established in these properties without major public sector leadership and direct financial investment. But without the establishment of a majority owner-occupied community it will be exceptionally difficult to create social stability and regenerate the heart of Margate.

This challenge is clearly understood by the council, and they have sensibly identified Dalby Square as a place to start. In particular as a town planning set piece it has the visibility to stimulate reinforcing activity elsewhere.

The key question that faces Thanet and Kent is what housing strategy should guide the public sector intervention. In our discussion we observed that in many ways the challenge that faces Margate is not dissimilar to that which faced inner London Boroughs forty years ago. Large properties in multiple occupation, absentee landlords, disrepair, poverty. The solutions applied then were either, slum clearance and redevelopment, or municipalisation coupled with improvements and conversion. In both cases the end result was an increase in social renting, but in the latter case the stigmatisation now associated with large estates has been avoided, and those areas where the pre-existing terraces were retained are amongst
the most desirable places to live, with the majority finding a natural and comfortable balance of tenures. This success was achieved by public sector intervention following the declaration of General Improvement Areas, and Housing Action Areas. Both allowed investment into privately owned property as well as that acquired by the Local Authority – but on a planned area basis allowing the impact of the investment to be maximised.

We were given to understand that there were some 800 empty homes in the two central wards – Margate Central and Cliftonville West. This is both a major opportunity and a stark illustration of the scale of challenge facing the town. Given wider regional housing targets this would seem a major opportunity to meet housing growth targets without releasing previously undeveloped land. However reference to lessons to be learned from the Housing Market Renewal programme undertaken in the midlands and north should be regarded with caution. It is too soon to tell whether those programmes have achieved lasting regeneration, and early feedback suggests that the volume house builders engaged in these programmes have only been able to build their cheapest products in such low value areas. Surely the last thing that Margate needs. A focus on improving existing properties rather than redevelopment would surely be better, combining respect for Margate’s heritage with a responsible recognition of the need to prioritise environmental sustainability via refurbishment rather than new build..

In undertaking a multi-agency survey of residents in Dolby square the council has made an excellent start in establishing an objective base from which to plan their programme. We understood that they were well advanced in visiting every property and with achieving their target of meeting every resident. By using a home improvement agency they had assessed that about a third of the properties warranted the serving of a repair notice, and eleven houses had been singled out for specific action. It was particularly encouraging that the Leader was able to give categoric assurances that the serving of notices will be energetically
implemented. This is a key step, as it is unlikely that the council will achieve it’s goals without resort to compulsory purchase, and building up a case by the use of repairs notices is an important part of such a strategy.

When visiting Dalby Square we discussed plans for the cleared site at the southern end which has been temporarily landscaped and for the burned out hotel which abuts it. It was easy to understand and sympathise with the keenness of officers to bring forward a redevelopment scheme for the site as it is the focal point of what is a most impressive urban space. However we were unconvinced that the development proposals that were immerging from the current local and wider economic environment would do justice to such an exceptional site. Perhaps it would be better to demolish the adjacent and derelict hotel and invest in some reasonably good quality temporary landscaping, in order to give time for
the designation of a Conservation Area, coupled with intervention to repair and improve the existing buildings, to raise housing values in the square sufficiently for a genuinely high quality scheme to come forward.

The Margate Renewal Partnership is preparing a Housing Strategy for central Margate in partnership with the HCA and others. The key elements outlined in the briefing we received make a lot of sense. It is important that it places the emphasis for action on the local authority, supported at least initially by one or more Housing Association. Following on from the survey work referred to above, a programme of Housing Notices is to be implemented, coupled with the Landlord accreditation scheme now established and the proposed discretionary licensing scheme for rented accommodation, landlords should be in no doubt that the council means business. It must be hoped that a substantial capital budget will be established (Perhaps with the HCA using investment funding rather than traditional grant) which can support CPO acquisitions. Once property has been acquired I would recommend that it should be converted by Housing Association partners predominantly for sale. (To
ensure that purchasers actually reside in their homes consideration could be given to selling on shared ownership leases but with only minimal unsold equity but a five year bar on staircaseing out.) Proceeds from sales can be recycled into the acquisition programme thus utilising the investment as a revolving fund. Given the weakness of the local housing market this process may result in some losses in the early years but this should be reversed in due course as the market recovers, and should be accepted on the basis that the real return on the investment is a reduction on other local authority budgets as the social make up of the area is modified.

Out-placement of vulnerable single people and children. This was one of the key issues we highlighted when we made our first visit to Margate last year. The town is currently trying to support a far higher proportion of vulnerable single people and children in care than similar sized towns elsewhere. Both the wider community
and those individuals placed there are suffering unnecessary stress as a result. There is therefore an urgent need to reduce the number of such placements and to allow a more normal social balance to reassert itself. This means that the tap needs to be turned off as soon as possible. A clear directive from central government to those local authorities currently referring cases to Margate would seem likely to be the most effective strategy. In the meantime it is important for Thanet to analyse how these placements have impacted on the wider economy of Margate, and to consider how the very significant income that they bring with them will be replaced, so that those who have depended on this trade for their livelihood are not disadvantaged. This is an economic issue as well as a social one, and will need careful handling. It would seem to me to be bound up with on the one hand improving the hospitality offer (as in Hawley Square) and on the other promoting residential development via improvement and conversion to allow owner occupiers to take the place of the transient. The latter process will allow landlords to extract their equity if they wish,
while the former could provide an alternative source of income. However to stimulate sufficient demand for boutique accommodation the town will have to rebrand itself as a quality holiday destination. As pioneered in other struggling resorts, the arts, heritage entertainment venues and food have the potential to be at the core of the new brand.

Arts led Regeneration
A number of seaside resorts have turned to the arts and the cultural sector to lead their regeneration strategy. The Turner Contemporary is a brave investment in the future of Margate. The commitment shown by Kent CC and it’s partners is impressive. Crucial to success will be the role of local champions, and the expansion of the existing artistic community. Outreach events, such as we saw in the High Street on our previous visit, are an excellent way of building local support and interest. However sustained success will need to draw new players into Margate and in that regard there are lessons to be learned from the work of the Arts Trust in Folkestone.

Public Realm
We had too little time to reflect on the public realm. Previously we had drawn attention to the need to establish a programme of improvements. There is a sense that other towns are making real progress in improving their image by sustained intervention in improving key parts of their public realm. Margate needs to emulate what others are doing. In particular the key route from the station to the Turner Contemporary, and beyond along the seafront, needs to be given a higher priority. This space has great potential but is threatened by the impact of new sea defences, and by inappropriately over designed highway changes generated by the proposal for a Tesco supermarket as part of the Arlington House project. Margate has shown what it can do on a small scale in the old town, and now needs to build on this achievement.

It was gratifying to be invited back to Margate, and to experience once again the
considerable efforts which are being made by members of Margate Renewal Partnership to transform their town. Progress is being made, and all involved seem to be clearer about the actions which need to be taken. The potential of Turner Contemporary and Dreamlands to send out a powerful signal that Margate is on the way back is understood, and is clearly highly motivating. Notwithstanding the success in attracting the Sea Change funding, the fragility of the match funding is a cause for concern. With the shape of a wider strategy emerging it must be hoped that the symbolic importance of Dreamlands will enable all concerned to hold the ring so that real regenerative momentum can be established.

The new Cupcake Cafe

Cupcake Cafe, originally uploaded by margatearchitecture.

The all new, bigger, roomier Cupcake Cafe at 4-5 Market Place in Margate's Old Town is proving to be really popular. Really tasty daily hot dishes of the day that won't break your lunchtime pocket. Of course there are cakes and more cakes. But personally I do love their chunkt cheese on toast. Moving from much smaller premises next door was a great move and really excellent for The Old Town.

For Sale: Old Town Gallery

Old Town Gallery, originally uploaded by margatearchitecture.

We were really sad to see that Margate's Old Town Gallery closed down a few months ago. Stephen Roper was one of the first traders to stick it out and open a business in the Old Town. It's such a shame that things didn't work out, so close to things seemingly starting to really work in The Old Town.

The building is now for sale.

Friday 19 November 2010

Tudor House opening for Christmas

Very happy to report that Margate's oldest building, The Tudor House, will be open over the Christmas period. This 500+ year old building is one of Margate's treasures. When it is opened on the odd occasion, it is miraculously full. So one can only imagine the success for a restored and regularly opened Tudor House. So if you can help and would like to volunteer support of any kind, contact Sophie Jeffrey (MACH) who is working to co-ordinate future events at The Tudor House.


Dear All,

I am pleased to confirm that we are going to open the museum on 3 dates in December and are therefore seeking volunteers for the following:
Friday 3rd December, 4.30pm - 7pm
Saturday 4th December, 11.30am - 4pm
Saturday 11th December, 11.30am - 4pm

If you are able to participate, please complete the attached form and I will draw up a timetable for everyone.

Many thanks,


Please note, this event aims to complement the activities at Tudor House which are being organised by the Arts Development Officer at TDC ( as well as the Christmas light switch-on which is being organised by Margate Charter Trustees (01843 221704).

Sophie Jeffrey
Project Manager
Margate Arts, Creativity, Heritage
The Media Centre
11-13 King Street
Kent CT9 1DA
Direct Line: 01843 609342

Monday 15 November 2010

We're back! And lots happening!

I know, I've been a really bad blogger. I've neglected to update Margate Architecture for ages. And what makes it worse is that loads of exciting stuff is going on in town. There is a perceptible buzz in the town for many reasons. A few of which I will endeavour to mention in the coming days. But for today, the big news on the Margate horizon (that has of course been covered very well elsewhere), is that Turner announced their actual opening date and details of their first exhibition.

It's the 16th of April, people! Spring will be well and truly sprung and a sunny summer season will lie ahead. Allow this thought to warm your cockles during the winter. Imagine next winter when you're being rained upon in November. You'll be able to take shelter, take in some art and if that isn't your thing, there is also the amazing view of our amazing sea scape through the huge plate glass windows. Can't wait.

I couldn't as a self respecting Margate blogger miss this turning point. So here's the statement from Victoria Pomery herself:

Turner Contemporary Opens on Saturday 16 April 2011

Today we are delighted to announce the opening date for the new Turner Contemporary gallery.

The doors will open to the public on 16 April 2011 and we will be celebrating with a series of activities and events around the gallery over the opening weekend, details of which will be released nearer the time.

The opening exhibition, Revealed: Turner Contemporary Opens Saturday 16 April - Sunday 4 September 2011 explores the themes of imagination, discovery, wonder and the creative spirit.

Centred on JMW Turner-s extraordinary but little-known painting The Eruption of the Souffrier Mountains, in the Island of St Vincent, at Midnight, on the 30th of April, 1812, from a Sketch Taken at the Time by Hugh P. Keane, Esqre, 1815 depicting a dramatic volcanic eruption that Turner himself never witnessed, the exhibition will feature new commissions by Daniel Buren, Russell Crotty, Ellen Harvey and Conrad Shawcross, alongside selected works by Teresita Fernandez and Douglas Gordon.

The opening show will be followed by:

Nothing in the World but Youth
17 September 2011 - 8 January 2012

An exhibition exploring how youth experience has been reflected in art, culture and the media from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

Hamish Fulton
14 January - 13 May 2012

His first one-person show in the UK since 2002, will include new work made as the result of group walks in Kent commissioned by Turner Contemporary.

Turner and the Elements
28 January - 13 May 2012

Our first major show of works by JMW Turner explores the important role that the depiction of the elements played in Turner's landscapes, watercolours and late paintings.

For more information about our opening programme, please visit

( ) .

We look forward with anticipation to welcoming you on Saturday 16 April when the doors of Turner Contemporary open.

Best wishes

Victoria Pomery, Director and John Kampfner, Chair of Turner Contemporary Trust