Tuesday 23 August 2011

Don't miss a Blink!

Margate is gearing up for this weekend's event of the summer. Blink is coming. The event info states:

For one very special night, Margate's seafront will undergo a miraculous transformation. Watch as buildings come alive, the beach is lit up with stunning flaming structures and ONE HUNDRED local people take to the beach to perform. BLINK Margate is a celebratory event that re-imagines not only the seafront, but also the sea, the sky and beyond.


Screen shot 2011 08 23 at 17 41 13

Screen shot 2011 08 23 at 17 42 36

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Event: Studio Two presents: Pop-Up City

Those lovely people, Studio Two, based in the Pie Factory in The Old Town, are putting on an event on the weekend, that really will be a showstopper of all show stoppers here in Margate on the 26th and 27th of August. Private view starts at 7pm


Group Show:

Anna Baranowska

Daniel Tollady

Marlies Vermeulen

Tiina - Liisa Kujala

Alex Procter



Also happening the same weekend in Margate:
26 August 6 -10pm -
Late Night Live: Nocturne @ Turner Contemporary
26 August 6.30 - 9pm -
Group Show / Solo Show (Robert Barry) @ Crate
27 August 9.15pm -
Blink Margate @ Margate Sea Front


POP UP City Email

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Steve McPerson's 'Siren Signal' sound installation evokes the Kent Coast

Screen shot 2011 08 16 at 10 21 17


Margate based artist, Steve McPherson, is exhibiting his sound sculpture installation 'Siren - Signal' on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd August within Light Vessel 21 (LV21), now moored at Gillingham pier on the river Medway.

The weekend is International Lighthouse Weekend and the 3 works that constitute 'Siren - Signal' will be installed in this magnificent 40 metre steel-hulled Lightship which saw active service at stations around the Kent coast between 1976 and 2001.

'Siren-Signal' references Steve's experience of growing up on that


coast, where the Fog Horn sound was a seasonal event that signalled the warning of impending and seemingly infinite cloud conditions. The Horns mournful cry echoed along the cliffs, yearning and piercing the visually impenetrable fog and thick sea mists that curtained the land and turned days into eerie twilights.

Vocally creating all the sounds and manipulating them digitally; Siren - Signal aims to reawaken slumbering memories and experiences which are no longer a part of our coastal environment, whilst  at the same time reflecting on and echoing my own and LV21's lost pasts.

Gillingham Pier
Pier Approach Road
Kent ME7 1RX


Saturday 6 August 2011

Campaigners succeed in halting final decision on Freshwater application for superstore at Arlington, Margate

One imagines there was an almighty kerfuffle at Cecil Square on Wednesday when Richard Buxton solicitors, acting on behalf of a group of Margate residents and businesses, sent a letter informing TDC, that for them to issue a Decision Notice on Freshwater's application for a superstore as big as two football pitches, it would be unlawful. The reason?  As detailed on the Arlington House blog, the Scenic Railway at Dreamland was upgraded to Grade II* on July 7th. This is considered a 'Material Consideration' requiring the whole application to come back to Planning Committee to be reconsidered.

Conversations with English Heritage and other consultees indicate that greater scrutiny will be placed on the sensitivity of the site, now nestled between a number of Grade II and now two Grade II* structures. Importantly the Scenics recent upgrade cited the importance of 'Group Value' of The Dreamland Cinema, The Scenic Railway and the Menagerie Cages that run along the perimeter of the Dreamland site:

"The Scenic Railway at Dreamland, Margate, built in 1920 by JH Iles for his new American-style amusement park is recommended for listing at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Rarity: it is the oldest surviving roller coaster in Britain and is of international importance as the second oldest in Europe and amongst the five oldest in the world of this prominent C20 entertainment structure; * Design: Scenic railways are amongst the earlier types of roller coaster design and it is an internationally important surviving example of this technology; * Townscape value: as an important and evocative aspect of the seaside heritage of Margate, one of the earliest and foremost English seaside resorts, and Dreamland, its principal amusement park ; * Group value: it groups with Dreamland's other listed buildings the Grade II* cinema and Grade II menagerie."

Perhaps this time round we will actually get a S106 agreement that works for the town and not to refurbish the applicant's own property and a traffic survey conducted not in winter but in summer and to also include a fully functioning Turner Contemporary with revised visitor figures and projected figures for the reopened Dreamland.

And what great timing. There is a piece in today's Guardian about Tesco's influence as an 'amighty conglomerate' and urging Mary Portas, who will soon be visiting Margate, as part of the Government Funded review into the future of the high street.

Tesco has become "an almighty conglomerate" abusing its unfettered market power to dominate towns at the expense of small retailers,Labour claimed as it called on the government to confront the chain.

Labour also warned that a government- commissioned review into the future of the high street, led by the broadcaster and retail guru Mary Portas, is likely to involve other supermarket chains lobby for tougher competition laws to prevent the further dominance of Tesco.

The shadow local government minister, Jack Dromey, said: "Tesco want to rule retail, in particular the southern swath of England. It is simply not right that you can have one almighty conglomerate using its market power at the expense of the high street, and other retailers, particularly small struggling retailers."

It is unusual for Labour to pick out one supermarket for such fierce criticism, but Dromey said Tesco was the worst offender involved in a chain of events that is destroying community life. He said: "High streets have become like ghost towns with local retailers out of business with dire consequences for communities, the poor, the elderly and those without access to cars. This is a deeply felt issue all over Britain."

Dromey called on the Portas review to recommend a "competition test" to prevent grocery retailers acquiring a dominant position in a locality.

He said: "I think Tesco may find themselves in a minority of one trying to object to that, and the government have got to have the courage of their convictions to face Tesco down."

Dromey said the government was facing furious lobbying by Tesco. But he added: "If you want a healthy diverse high street then you cannot have a dominant retailer acting in its own interests, and not the interests of the high street."

He challenged the way Tesco "sell themselves as a major creator of jobs". He argued the net effect of its expansion may have been to reduce total jobs in the retail sector. "We are not anti-supermarket, but one in six shops are standing empty, so this is serious," he said.

Since the general election the big four multiple retailers have opened 407 new stores, and added more than 5m sq ft of selling space. Many would have received planning permission before the election.

Labour's intervention follows Ed Miliband's argument that the revival of communities must be underpinned by preserving institutions, including the high street, through competition law.

The government announced the Portas review in May, with a report due in October. It is possible that Labour's call for a competition test will feature in her report, especially if rival supermarkets, such as Asda and Sainsbury, support the measure.

Two months ago, Portas revealed her determination to act, saying: "The rise of the supermarket giants – and our love affair with them – is killing Britain's small shops. We're sacrificing not just our greengrocers, our butchers and our bakers, but also our communities for convenience."

Dromey remained open-minded about the review, saying: "The thing is we want real shops, not talking shops. At the heart of the decline of high streets all over Britain has been the unchecked flight of the supermarket to out-of-town shopping malls."

In a sign of government concern, the Department for Communities and Local Government announced a ''town centres first'' policy in their national planning policy statement last week. The communities secretary, Eric Pickles, has relaxed centrally imposed rules on parking restrictions so that councils can create additional spaces to attract shoppers from the free car parks of supermarkets.

Dromey said the measures were a start, but that planning authorities should have to devise retail diversity schemes that put as much emphasis on small shops as big chains, and control the trend to smaller supermarkets in inner city areas, pushing independents out of business.

In autumn, a cross-party group of peers will try to insert a version of the clause in the localism bill.

The government minister, Lord Taylor, appeared largely unsympathetic to the idea, saying: "Town centre planning policy is not pro- or anti-supermarkets.

"Planning cannot seek to restrict lawful competition between retailers; in fact, planning policy is blind to whether the operator of a retail proposal is a supermarket or an independent."

Tesco contends that its inner city convenience stores are good for the high street. "We have brought back into the heart of many towns and district centres the benefits that shoppers expect from a supermarket, that were previously available only in the large out-of-town stores. Supermarkets have increased choice, and hence the attractiveness of local centres as shopping destinations. Tesco stores have been demonstrably good for the high street and neighbourhoods, not a threat to them, just as the planners envisaged."

Tesco added: "Studies have shown that an investment by Tesco in a town or high street means that the town and high street benefits. The reason it benefits is because people stay in the area, they do linked trips and those linked trips cause other retailers to open".



Thursday 4 August 2011

Please write to the OFT before Monday 8th to save The Thanet Gazette

The Thanet Gazette and Thanet Times are under threat by a bid from the KM Group to purchase them. It's outlined in detail by Tony Flaig:


You will need to write to Mr Raúl Nieto at the OFT: raul.nieto@oft.gsi.gov.uk

As a Thanet resident, small business owner are you concerned that the purchase of the Isle of Thanet Gazette and the Thanet Times by the KM group will have a detrimental effect on the quality of journalism in the area and lead to loss of jobs?

If yes, you need to muster 2 minutes to write to Raul.

Reasons could be:

- If the bid goes ahead, all printed news will be under the control of one company.
- There will be no commercial competition.
- There will be no competitive reporting and resulting in less variety of opinions voiced.
- Local democracy will suffer as there will be fewer journalists and resources to scrutinise local government and public bodies.
- The amalgamation into one company will lead to the loss of jobs in an area where unemployment levels are exceptionally high.

In the press: After 35 years away: Roger Boyes on a changed Britain

A rather miserable article on Margate. But he has a point? What is the hope the seafront will improve along from Arlington if the planned amount of traffic that will come with the Freshwater Superstore? You don't get a better seafront from more traffic. People don't enjoy walking or sitting near traffic. Period.

Best of Britain

After 35 years away: Roger Boyes on a changed Britain

Roger Boyes
Last updated August 4 2011 12:01AM
Dreamland, that’s what Britain has become for me after 35 years across the water. A country left behind, whose slumbering rhythms are still dimly familiar, like Aboriginal songlines.
Brief return visits to the Mother Country were shock awakenings — the heaving, hustling crowds in London; the sheepish acceptance of slipshod service. And, everywhere, the New Bossiness, the fines and warnings and video cameras. Safely back at my various bases across the Channel, foreigners, even enlightened ones, would lather me with unctuous admiration for British fair play and British irony and Scottish golf courses and PM’s Questions and Jeremy Paxman. All I wanted to do was shout, treacherously, “No, no, no!” Fair play was now Dutch, e-government Estonian, and Newsnight viewing figures corresponded to the population of a Welsh mining village.
But I let it be. What did I know, after all? When I left Britain, Morecambe and Wise were still big. So were Wimpy Bars and Kenny Dalglish. Now, having returned from exile, I needed to reset my compass with a Great Britain Test. What has changed? What have we discarded? Is it better, ruder, more forgiving, more European?
It started badly, this trip. In Margate, a wheeling seagull raided my fish and chips and, in a frightening statement about the eating habits of a nation, ignored the cod and ate the batter.
We kicked off there because it was the last place in Britain that I had vomited — on the rollercoaster, one of the ruins of the defunct funfair that was called, yes, Dreamland. I can still remember the choral nagging of my parents, the stench in the car. Margate had been a treat just for me. Ramsgate was more sophisticated; the hovercraft for Europe taxied out of Pegwell Bay when the sea wasn’t too choppy. Ted Heath, still our most European of prime ministers, went sailing in nearby Broadstairs. But Margate was cheerfully downmarket and even then had an enveloping sense of decline.
“It was a wonderful place to be as a child,” says Sandra Cooke, 41, whose parents came to work at Dreamland in the 1970s. “There was the lido with its two pools, Tony Savage put on a show there — that’s gone now. Then there was the rollercoaster, the big wheel.”
The lido is desolate, whipped by the wind. There is a plan to make a few of the rides — still charred from a fire — into a heritage amusement park and maybe it will happen. In the meantime, a chunk of the seafront has to make way for a Tesco superstore.
This was, I was to discover as I tramped around the country, one of the great pitched battles of modern England. A dozen towns seem to be engaged in debates about the commercial use of urban space and the steady demolition of traditional corners.
“Yeah, that’s what Margate needs,” says Glenn Hall, 50, sitting on the doorstep of his boarding house. “Come to Margate and see Tesco’s.” Clutching a mug of tea, Mr Hall looks as if he has just got out of bed — but that can’t be right, it has turned 11am — the very model of the seaside drifter. Yet it turns out that he is writing an oral history of the York and Lancaster Regiment’s experiences in the First World War and upstairs in his room he paints pictures of the Somme. When it’s sunny he goes for a swim. Later he chases us down to the front — that’s Margate, not Ypres — and shouts out: “See that shelter, that’s where T. S. Eliot wrote The Waste Land.” And indeed, T. S. Eliot did write about the place: “On Margate Sands./ I can connect/ Nothing with nothing.”
No wonder that Margate doesn’t use T. S. Eliot in its marketing campaigns. For years, the place has had only one ploy and it has nothing to do with poetry: get people on the trains, get them off, put them on the beach, hope they spend money before they head back. “It’s the jewel in our crown,” says the woman who runs a souvenir shop that will have to shift for Tesco. “The station is so close to the sand, you can travel in your swimming costume.” It was ever thus. But not enough to divert holidaymakers from the Costa del Sol.
What has changed, though, is that British towns are learning to brand themselves and compete mano a mano. Margate now has a fast train connection from St Pancras and a magnificent new gallery, Turner Contemporary. Margaters have been flooding in. “We are running workshops to bring them in,” says Chloe Barker, of the spectacular gallery that looks out at sea and sky.
But the real hope is to make Margate a logical outing for culturally aware, deep-pocketed Londoners, to make the place posher than it has ever been, a gentrification of the British seaside.
Somehow I don’t have great faith in this new formula that is being tried out not only in Margate but in Liverpool, Wakefield and across the country: high-speed train plus cultural attraction equals regeneration and improved property prices.
On first coming back to Britain, I took the Heathrow Express — 15 minutes for £18 — and was astonished by what seemed to be a metaphor for the acceleration of Britain. Then came the letdown: a 40-minute queue for a taxi at Paddington as someone occupying the newly invented job of taxi marshal chaotically allocated the cabs. The Underground lines were undergoing engineering works, a phrase familiar to me from the 1970s. The cab drive across a clogged city cost more than the air fare.
That has often been the way of recent British modernisation. Every five years there is talk of a white-hot technological revolution, and then the country shoots itself in the foot. New, for me, is the British urge to catch up with Europe, and outperform, overtake it even. Yet on my whistlestop tour I found a different concern that has little to do with Pharaonic projects such as the Olympic Games and more to do with the shaping of communities, the return of local pride. That will be a theme of the next leg of my journey.
A predictable drizzle settled on Margate, awnings teased by the wind, and I felt almost guilty about abandoning it. A man got out of his car and threw away a ball of silver foil that had once wrapped his sandwiches. He had been watching the sea with his wife from the security of his sensible vehicle, sipping tea, opening the window occasionally to gulp some air. Now, apparently, it was time for them to head home.