Wednesday 27 November 2013

Poll: Do you want Margate's Crown Post Office to close or stay open?

Last night's public meeting regarding the proposed closure of Margate's Crown Post Office in Cecil Square heard residents and councillors and union reps raise many concerns. From the loss of a valuable community resource and accessibility issues to the concern that moving the Post Office service to within an existing business that this would imply some kind of loss of service provision.

Representatives from the Post Office (the company that is) were keen to communicate that there would be no loss of services and that we would be best proceeding to consultation. They weren't able to provide any information on why the Margate Post Office had been chosen for proposed closure or where it might be considered to move it. The union reps then explained that the consultation would not ask the public their views on whether to keep the Crown Post Office or not. It would be merely to discuss service provision. Once it gets to consultation, it would be too late and closure would be decided. This was then confirmed by the Post Office company representative.

The meeting was chaired by Councillor Iris Johnston with councillors from all parties present. Interestingly, a representative from Margate Town Team stated that the Town Team had met with the Post Office and Thanet District Council's Chief Exec, Sue McGonigal earlier in the year with a view to procuring a suitable retail partner. The Town Team representative stated they felt the issue was now a 'done deal' and the best option was to work on the most viable option.

There were very many questions raised about how a post office service that currently has 6 positions and 4 open at a time could be transferred to operating within a shop would be possible.

The point that the current building owner is happy for the post office to remain as a tenant.

Would it not be possible for extra businesses to move to the post office site rather than close the post office and relocate to a shop such as WH Smiths?

I've started a poll over on the top right to run for a week. Do you want Margate's Crown Post Office to close and move or stay open in the current location?

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Public Meeting regarding proposed closure of Margate's Crown Post Office

There is a public meeting tonight regarding the proposed closure of Margate's Crown Post Office om Cecil Square. The meeting is at 7pm at the Baptist Church Cecil Square. 

It seems to be a car crash happening in slow motion. First Thanet Council's approved its own planning application to convert most of the grand Grade II Listed building to flats in 2012. Then the building went to auction and it was sold for £361,000. The proposal is now to close the Crown Post Office and move post office services to WH Smiths in the High Street. 

Tonight's meeting will be chaired by Councillor Iris Johnston (Labour). Guest speakers will include Councillor Mick Tomlinson (Conservative), County Councillor Mo Elenor (UKIP) and Councillor Will Scobie (Labour).

Wednesday 20 November 2013

More strange news from Thanet Council

Is this the week of strange Margate and Thanet news? It seems so:

More on Thanet Council's Corporate and Regulatory Services Manager Harvey Patterson over on ECR

And then the The South Thanet Conservative Association are keen to say more regarding the independence of the Independent Standards Committee. Is that enough independents for you?

Right. As you were!


Monday 18 November 2013

All change at Thanet District Council?

What a strange day it turned out to be!

First off, Eastcliff Richard posts on his blog about the alleged imminent departure of Thanet District Council's head of Legal Services, Harvey Patterson. 

Then, five minutes later I hear that the Thanet Conservative Group, via Councillor Bob Bayford, have decided to not only agree with the sentiments of the Independent Members of the Standards Committee, that the public have a very low regard for the Council and councillors alike, but that they, the Thanet Conservative Group, are now very supportive of the live streaming of council meetings and allowing the public to film. 

All I can say is 'well done, Bob' and that we'll see where all of this goes. I'm sure Eric Pickles and Laura Sandys will be happy with this shift in viewpoint. 

Follow the hashtag #righttofilm on twitter to keep up with the journey.

Independent Members of the Standards Committee Report - 21 November 2013

As the title of the report says in capital letters: RESPECT

Take it away Aretha!

Tuesday 12 November 2013

The madness of Thanet Council's 'improved' refuse collection service

This is the reply from Thanet Council following the sudden change of refuse service we received in Hawley Square. The day of collection was switched from Wednesdays to Mondays. No news of whether we would received the promised series of recycling boxes. Monday's general collection was much later in the day, resulting in rubbish being strewn across the square by seagulls. I'm sure residents in other parts of the isle have this experience. 

We once had a visitor who worked in waste who suggested an evening collection timetable for a seaside area. Would there be a problem with this? Barcelona cleaning crews wash down the streets at night.

Anyway, back to Thanet Council's reply. Our sudden deterioration of service is the result of an 'improved service' it seems. So what's the cost of the extra clean up and the cost of having an area covered in rubbish?

From: waste&streetcleaning@THANET.GOV.UK
Subject: RE: Hawley Square
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 17:06:41 


Thank you for your email.

I am sorry that you have had to email us regarding what is happening for Hawley Square with our improved service. I am afraid that for the time being Hawley Square is in our third phase and so we will only be collecting refuse on a weekly basis on a Monday from the whole square. We are having a review in the New Year and this is when it will be decided if Hawley Square will be able to join the scheme.

As the majority of properties in Thanet are on this improved service it means that the route for the daily rounds have been changed as so this is why your waste would not have been collected until later in the day then previous. I am afraid that this will not be able to be changed. In the mean time if residents are wishing to recycle there are various sites which they can do so, however this also depends on each residents individual accessibility.

I do apologize that I could not provide you with the answers you wished for, however at least I have been able to clarify the situation with you.

Kind regards

Customer / Supplier Management Officer

Friday 1 November 2013

Drawing is good for you! Roy Eastland's life drawing course Sat Nov 9th

I've been going to Roy Eastland's life drawing class now for over a year. Previously, I had long admired Roy's own work and now I can say he's one of the best teachers I've had in my life. You know when you remember a good teacher? 

Roy Eastland drawing

I hadn't done any drawing since my GCSE way back in the mists of time. I've thoroughly enjoyed the time away from phones, laptops and beeps.

The course is also held at one of Margate's best kept secrets: The the historic building that houses the Kent Adult Education centre on Hawley Square which has a bespoke life drawing studio with great light.

On this site previously stood in the 18th Century Bettison's Library.

There is an all day course coming up on Saturday Nov 9th. It costs £45. There are also walk in and pay on the day classes on Weds mornings and Thursday evenings.

View more of Roy's work on his personal website. He was recently shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize.

My scribbled efforts are to be found on Flickr:

Sign up, you'll enjoy it! To enrol sign up via: or phone 0845 6065606

Oh and last chance to see Roy's work (and some other artists) at Hazelwood Studios this weekend:

"Hello Folks,
This is just to let you know that Hazelwood Studio is open this coming weekend (Nov.2nd and 3rd) as part of the East Kent Open Houses Trail. If you visited us last year you will be able to see new work from Ruth McDonald, Jill Pantony, Helen Brooker, Roy Eastland and Catherine Robinson, plus work by 5 new artists - EJ Laven, Lisa Hawkins, Viv Smith, Julia Moore and Quona Bullivant.  
There is a diverse range of work on show covering print making, painting, drawing, crochet and ceramics, with a range of prices and sizes too. 
The whole Margate/Cliftonville trail is available to download and you can view examples of the work on show at Hazelwood Studio on our website:, open house exhibition 2013. 
We hope to see you over the weekend, the house is open from 11am to 5pm and there's always a cup of tea on offer. 
Best wishes, 
Jill and Ruth
 PS If you haven't visited us before you can find us in Cliftonville, 33 Prices Avenue, CT9 2NT and why not drop in to Heidi Village to see her sculptures at no.18"

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Tree Issues in Margate

Last week I received a phone call from a council officer who mentioned the 150+ year old Holm Oak in the centre of Hawley Square had a fungal problem and may need to be felled. I asked if there was a report, because we hadn't noticed there was a problem. I was then told there wouldn't need to be one if the issue was a health and safety matter. I'm glad to hear that a report has now been commissioned if there is a risk of losing such a prominent and mature tree.

historic picture of Hawley Square with the Holm Oak tree
 Margate Local Family History posted a great photo of Hawley Square on their Facebook page:

There was on Friday a rather disappointing article in the Thanet Gazette with accompanying photographs of the historic fire damage to the tree (nothing to do with the alleged fungal problem) and claiming the tree is showing 'obvious signs of decay'.

I understand the information about the health of the tree came from a council officer who had contacted the paper but didn't wish to be on the record. All rather unhelpful given there hasn't been a report yet and we haven't seen anything of the 'obvious signs of decay'.

So Sunday night's storm came and went and the Hawley Square Holm Oak has stood firm. This is at least a good omen. This picture taken on Monday October 28th.

Meanwhile, across town, a sign is up at Margate Railway Station. Posted on October 18th. It's an application to fell the 8 trees that surround the car park.

tree to be removed

trees to be removed

trees to be removed

The application has been made by Network Rail Infrastructure Limited. While I was out there taking pictures of the trees, I was asked by the rail staff and taxi drivers if I was there to object to the proposal. It turns out they have already objected and are very upset about it. It's indicative of how strongly people feel about these trees. 

I was told the proposed tree removal is part of the station revamp. But we haven't seen a planning application yet for the car park revamp. And why can't a station revamp incorporate the 8 trees that are happily growing there?

The trees are within the Conservation Area and directly in front of the Grade II Listed Railway Station. As such, any major pruning or their removal has to be notified to the Council who will decide whether to apply a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or grant permission for the proposed removal.

The application reference number is EF/MAR/4613
The address postcode is CT9 5AD.

The application is not available on the UK Planning website because the council don't post tree applications for online viewing. You have to go to the Gateway and request the file.

I suggest writing to to enquire how to access the tree application documents. If you think the trees should stay, at least until the station re-vamp is defined and perhaps the trees worked into the proposals, object to the proposal to remove them and ask the council to place a TPO on them. That's a Tree Preservation Order reserved for trees in Conservation Areas.

Here are some photographs of the carpark and trees. Perhaps the first thing to be done is much needed weeding and  cutting of the grass.

Broken bench and weeds
Over grown grass and weeds


Thursday 19 September 2013

Is the Dreamland site secure?

It's been a couple of weeks now since the official handover of the Dreamland site to the Dreamland Trust and Thanet District Council.

On the evening of Monday September 2nd the call went out on Twitter  for local people to help secure the site while Thanet District Council security cover was arranged. People turned out and kept watch until the site security took over. 

However, there have been a subsequent number of occasions when residents have had to call out the police to the site with the door to the Grade II* Listed Dreamland Cinema left open in bad weather and all night.

The site has had millions of pounds of public money already spent on it and more lined up to develop the site as the long awaited and wanted vintage amusement park. There are a number of listed buildings and structures on the Dreamland site.

Thanet District Council now have the responsibility for securing the site and the public's investment. 

Yesterday I asked Thanet Council if the site was secure. This was their reply:

Tuesday 17th September

Door open very windy 10am 
Police called by residents and use Arlington parking deck to see what's happening 
Door open in rain still
Police investigate
Door still open in rain later in day

Wednesday 18th September

Door open in wind 11am 
Door with plywood keeping it shut 2.50pm 

For more information on Dreamland

Saturday 14 September 2013

Beautiful 1796 map of Thanet

A friend of mine sent me a link to download a 1796 map of Thanet on a library site in Boston, USA.
Isn't it lovely?

In case the above link ever disappears. Here's the full sized file too.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

A very bad planning decision gone wrong: Portacabins on St George's Lawn, Cliftonville

Image taken August 2nd 2009
 At tonight's planning committee from 7pm at the Council Offices is an application (TH/13/0398) to amend the dimensions of porta-cabins that have been erected on St George's Bowling Green in Cliftonville. This is a prime example of how harmful bad planning decisions are and also why Cliftonville badly needs Conservation Areas. 

The Committee Document pack PDF is here. The Planning Officers are recommending approval.

Image taken August 15th 2013

Does anyone seriously think this is an acceptable structure on one of Cliftonville's finest historic leisure facilities, surrounded by fine residential buildings, and in the near vicinity of the clifftop promenade and near hotels?

The Friends of St George's Lawn have written a fine report, objecting to this application. Download the PDF here.

But this application is only to amend the dimensions of an application (TH/12/0664) that has already been approved in October 2012 under delegated powers (that's a Planning Officer's desk decision).

From what I've seen this week on Facebook and Twitter, this decision went unnoticed by many in the community and there is genuine shock and dismay at the awful impact of this crude structure plonked onto the bowling green.

Drawing from planning application TH/13/0398

The poor quality of the application drawings and information speak for themselves that it should not have been validated and have arrived at this stage.

So, what can be done?

Well, perhaps the best avenue would be to pursue Thanet District Council through to the Local Government Ombudsman for its handling of the applications.

Write to Simon Thomas head of Planning Services to tell him your opinion.

Sign Laura Sandys MP's petition for Conservation Areas for Cliftonville West

Get in touch and join the newly formed Margate Neighbourhood Forum that is working on the implementation of a Neighbourhood Plan for Margate.

Saturday 17 August 2013

Margate's first vintage weekend - What a Vintage Carry on Margate

Today saw the first of a two day event celebrating everything vintage. What a Vintage Carry On Margate has brought together stalls, shops, food, cars, dance, music and more. And there will be more tomorrow on Sunday the 18th.

Margate was included in a Guardian Travel feature today with top tips from Victoria Pomery OBE, Director of Turner Contemporary, too.

So, if you love vintage, fancy a day at the seaside...then tomorrow would be an excellent day to come on over!

PDF of the events
Add pictures to the flickr group
Facebook Page
Twitter @vintagecarryon hashtag #vintagemargate

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Urgent: Save Thanet Press from demolition for flats in Margate!

Please object this morning to the proposal to demolish the historic Thanet Press site in Union Crescent Margate. It's proposed to be replaced with a mock victorian, mock Georgian mockery of 70 flats with bin storage in a tiny single room up to 4 storeys away from a flat! That's 70 flats. Right there opposite the Post Office (recently sold off by the Council).

Proposed Flats

Proposed Flats

Thanet Press is a historic print press site in the centre of Margate. Perfect for regeneration. It can create jobs, footfall to the centre of town. It's one of the oldest print sites in the country. 
This is what the Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group said to the last proposal in 2012.

Since then, how much work have the authorities put into marketing this ideally placed commercial site?

Aren't we told that Margate lacks studio space? Aren't we eligible for 0% loans from Kent County Council's £35m Regional Growth Fund scheme?

Comment today:
Application Nos: F/TH/13/0538 and C/TH/13/0539



Comment via UK Planning:
Search for both 
F/TH/13/0538 and C/TH/13/0539
Please share and spread the word. And if you have an idea for a business, studio or something for the site, you might be eligible for a 0% loan from Kent County Council's £35m Regional Growth Fund.

Here's what I said:

Thanet Press is in a Conservation Area and is surrounded by Listed buildings.

Thanet Press is a rare example of industrial heritage in Margate.
Although the complex is not of sufficient architectural and historic interest at a national level to merit national Listing, the Thanet Press site is a valuable non-designated historic asset, unique in the Conservation Area. 

To demolish the buildings, as proposed. would be to eradicate a whole chapter of Margate's history and an important aspect of the Conservation Area would be lost.

The industrial buildings are of different periods, materials and design. This offers a varied streetscape of interest. The proposal is a poor pastiche that offers nothing of interest.

The proposal neither preserves or enhances the appearance of the Conservation Area and is therefore contrary to national and local policy and should be refused.

Thanet Press is one of Margate's biggest regeneration opportunities, to demolish it and turn the site into housing would not only miss the opportunity, but aggravate the town's employment problems. The Council's statistics show 870 empty dwellings in Margate central and Cliftonville East and an unemployment level way above the national average.

The buildings, and the open spaces in between, would make ideal creative quarter that could provide much needed employment. The large open-plan workshops, full of natural light are desirable for the creative industries that Margate wants to attract. Thanet Press could offer large desirable, studio space and could attract creative industries to Margate. The property has not been available on the market. There are a number of regeneration schemes (for example "Grow for IT" - the 35 million pounds of Regional Growth Fund or the Heritage Lottery Fund which has made Thanet a priority area) that could encourage independent businesses to re-locate, and develop knowledge economy and creative industries.

This is contrary to Local planning policy and should be refused.
The play area will be in the shade most of the day, the courtyard area will be even darker and colder. This is poor design.
Space for rubbish and recycling is located in a single room at at one end of the site! Are all 70 dwellings are served by this one room? All 205 residents put their rubbish in that one room? Some people will have to go down 4 floors to the ground and then walk 60 meters to place their their refuse, divided into mixed recycling, paper and card, food waste and non-recyclable into that single room?

This is poor design that will result in problems of fly-tipping that are a daily feature of the area. Residents with poor refuse storage tend to dump rubbish in public wast bins (resulting in overflowing and litter on the streets and dumping rubbish in alleyways and on pavements at night. 

Characterless design of no merit looks like it has been copied and pasted. A generic mock-victorian/mock Georgian design gone wrong.
The proposal has no relation to the site and surroundings
Poorly detailed pastiche unacceptable in a Conservation Area

The proposed buildings bear no relation to the listed buildings that surround it or the historic buildings of the Conservation Area. 

The feeble attempt to create generic Victorian/Georgian fenestration, doors and railings fails miserably, resulting in a pastiche that has no place in a conservation area. The attempt to replicate historic architecture fails in every aspect, from matching floor levels and window datums to opening forms and proportion and materials. 

Railings are mentioned many times, yet there is no detail to show if these are a contemporary design, heritage/conservation grade or pastiche.

The aluminium sash windows are inappropriate. The design is weird. It looks like a victorian style withe a hint of georgian multi-pane. The 1st floor is even stranger than the others.
The brick tops of the the window openings are completely flat making the openings look impossible and wrong, adding to the pastiche effect.
This issue of privacy was solved in the design of the historic houses that surround the development buy putting the living rooms and bedrooms on a raised ground level. Contemporary architects solve this problem with many imaginative solutions. Here the problem is not resolved.
Ground floor windows will allow pedestrians to look directly into the flats obliging residents to have curtains closed all day. 

Overall, this proposal neither preserves nor enhances the conservation area. The demolition of historic buildings of distinctive character will cause considerable harm to the Conservation Area. 
The loss of heritage assets and employment opportunities will be detrimental to the regeneration of Margate.

Pastiche housing is inappropriate in a Conservation Area, and on this scale, totally unacceptable.

Recommendation: OBJECT

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Join the new Margate Events Group

Margate Carnival

Following recent funding cutbacks, many Margate events were under threat. I've been hearing that many event organisers were struggling to ensure they happen at all this year. And further, that those with ideas and energy were wondering who they could approach at the Council for assistance. 

Last Friday, a meeting took place that was organised by Councillor Iris Johnston to help set up a Margate Events group. Johnston has agreed to stand as interim Chairman until September when the group can be more formalised. The group already has a Facebook page and Councillor Johnston has invited anyone running events in Margate to post them on there.

Help has been at hand to assist in ensuring the long running Margate Carnival is secured for August 4th. Margate Town Team posted the following statement from TDC Cabinet and Town Team member, Councillor Johnston its Facebook page:

'Positive meetings have already been held last week and Cllr Johnston Cabinet member for Tourism looks forward to the on going support of all in the Town and is very grateful to MTT for their immediate response for support.'
Video interview with Councillor Mick Tomlinson, Chairman of Margate Carnival via the Thanet Gazette.

Saturday 8 June 2013

Purple Salsify

I put a shout out on Twitter and Facebook to id a plant I see on my walk. It's a beautiful plant with distinctive purple flowers. And I'm very happy that @MrSmartyPlants on Twitter came up with the answer: Tragopoon porrifolius. Also known as purple or common salsifyoyster plantvegetable oysterJerusalem star, goatsbeard or simply salsify. And even better is the news that it's entirely edible:

"Purple salsify is often eaten. The flowers, leaves, roots, seeds, and stem are all edible. Salsify roots look a lot like parsnips, but are said to taste like oysters. Prior to the end of last semester, the TJDG made salsify patties, a delicious and nutritious treat. Salsify naturally produces latex, a milky sap, which can be used as chewing gum. Young shoots can be eaten like asparagus and provide a sweet flavor. The flowers can be eaten raw."

This page here details amongst other things that it can be eaten like asparagus, and the flowers in salads. 

This page here details amongst other things that it can be eaten like asparagus, and the flowers in salads. 
I'd like to grow some in my back garden. I like to grow native plants that do well in this area.  I find it harder for them to fall foul of my lack of green fingers.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Update on the Community Garden spaces planned for The Old Town

Back in 2011, Thanet District Council launched a suite of initiatives called 'Countdown to Turner'.  Basically, a series of must-do projects to complete in time for the opening of Turner Contemporary. Margate Renewal Partnership, headed up by Derek Harding, tasked the charity Groundwork to carry out public consultation to develop two community gardens in the Old Town. 

One on Duke Street next to Outside The Square gallery, who had opened discussions with TDC regarding installing a sculpture:

 The second at Cobbs Place, next door to The Media Centre:

Shortly before the opening of Turner Contemporary, Derek Harding left office and the ongoing public engagement was passed to Thanet Council's Regeneration Department. I along with other members of local community groups had been in lengthy email communications with MRP  and had attended meetings and site visits. The designs that Groundwork had come up with proposed more hard surface than green matter. Communication from TDC regarding the projects ground to a halt after Harding's departure and nothing more was heard back. 

In the end, I submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the Council to find out what budgets were still available and if the projects could be picked up again. This whole process has now taken over two years and the plots of land stand empty and undeveloped.  Which is strange, because these two plots were included by TDC on the Countdown to Turner hit list because of their urgency.

My FOI was not replied to within the statutory period. I then had to report it to the Information Commisioners Office (ICO). The ICO then instructed the Council to reply with the requested information. The Council still did not comply and I had to request the ICO re-open the case. Finally, last Friday, the Council released information about the community garden projects. 

The Council's FOI response states that the expenses so far incurred are broken down as follows:
Design £3460.00
Public Consultation £2104
Soil sample analysis and report £2317.73
Total: £7881.73

Their response details that initial design work was actually carried out by a local company called Square Sky Landscapes followed by further re-designs then carried out by GroundWork following their public consultation exercise. Then, after all of this design and consultation process, the Council then undertook soil sample analysis costing a further £2317.73. 

The Council state that the results of the soil sample analysis: 

'revealed that only very limited temporary use of the Duke Street site would be possible without significant additional expenditure'
Further, the Council then seems to blame community groups for not being forthcoming regarding formal maintenance agreements. I'm confused about this. Community groups such as the Old Town Action Group (OTAG) and the Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group, had both volunteered a lot of time to feedback into the design stage of the gardens. At no stage were we contacted again by Thanet Council regarding maintenance.  The reason why I issued an FOI was because our emails were suddenly not replied to by the Council. The whole process of trying to find out further information on these projects has been driven by residents and groups.

I believe that residents are actually very positive about the idea of some kind of community garden in the Old Town. The concept of maintenance is a discussion that has not been initiated. We were never shown the designs by Square Sky Landscapes, who also designed the seating area on the Parade in front of the Old Town. We were shown the designs by Groundwork and they surprisingly were predominantly  hard resin surfaces and very little garden. 

What seems to have actually happened is that following the departure of Derek Harding on this project in spring 2011, the promised £41,000 gardens disappeared off the Council's agenda and almost eight thousand pounds has been spent on consultants and nothing on gardens themselves. Both Duke Street and Cobbs Place plots are still on the Council's asset disposal list. So whatever is developed as a garden there, it's worth remembering that they will probably eventually be built on. But surely some kind of temporary green space can be developed?The Duke Street plot, also backs on to Queen's Arms Yard. This is the strip of tarmaced land at the rear of The Bull's Head pub behind The Parade. The Council once planned to develop this into artist studios and shop units. The scoping exercise for this space alone cost over £100,000 of public money. As we see, this too is still a derelict space and used as car parking.

Can Thanet Council really afford to be throwing our money away scoping projects that don't come to fruition? And further that it takes two years of residents' enquiries to begin to find out what's going on?

Yet, there may be a happy ending to this story: The FOI response seems to say that there is still £8118.27 Revenue and £25,000 Capital remaining. 

Does this mean we as a community can ask the Council to work with us to spend  £33,118.27 on community gardens in Margate's Old Town?

How about a public meeting to decide?

Friday 24 May 2013

Join in the Margate Cash Mob tomorrow at 12pm

Tomorrow, I'll be taking part in the first of the Margate CashMob events. Through Streets Ahead Margate and supported by WeWillGather, we're meeting at 12pm outside the old Claire's Accessories shop which is the opposite the newly opened Pop Up Margate (ex-Poportunity). They're actually opening tomorrow, so that's exciting to have a look at the new look store.

I'll have some bight yellow cashmob shopping bags. You won't miss us!

We'll be deciding where to go and spend our magic fivers in the High Street. There are also a number of businesses participating that have put on special #MargateCashMob offers for the day. For more info, head on over to the Streets Ahead Margate website, Facebook page and follow @StreetsAheadMar on twitter with the hashtag #MargateCashMob for updates.

This is all about getting people together to socialise and inject a bit of footfall and cash into local shops.

Hope to see you there!

Margate's #CelebrateTheSteps - It started with a Tweet

photo by Peter Davis

Last Saturday saw the coming-together of over 100 people to celebrate the opening of the £5.2 million sea defence steps on Margate's seafront, which are now finished and were completed under budget.

It all started with a single Tweet 5 days before: "Shall we organise our own opening ceremony for the sea defence steps next Saturday? Who's in for a quick celebration? #celebratethesteps

The power of social media combined with the town's positivity towards its newest addition, leading to locals being invited via Facebook pages belonging to local businesses and interest groups. The momentum and positivity grew rapidly from a discussion online to a real-life gathering. Further Tweets followed, with people "#celebratethesteps Tomorrow at 3pm. Let's do something great for #Margate together."

The call for a 'people's celebration' of the steps after the official opening by council workers the week before led to this gathering to express gratitude for what many see as a great new focal point for Margate.

At 2.50pm, local business owners put scribbled notes onto their doors letting customers know they were closing for 20 minutes and headed to the seafront.

Photo by Clive Sax
The sun shone as Julian Newick, landlord of Margate's Lifeboat Ale and Cider House, lead the countdown from 10 to welcome in the steps. As if by divine intervention, a fleet of 10 jet skis zoomed by as the gathering of locals with their children, dogs, picnics, balloons and bubbles, cheered and the sun beamed down. A positive day for Margate.

Photo by Clive Sax
The event reached 1,180 people on the Facebook event page where people are still posting pictures. 
Photo by Clive Sax

The Twitter stats are even more amazing:
Over just 5 days, 12,779 accounts reached and 28,134 impressions. Margate's Tweeps are a notable bunch of people as the now monthly  #TweetMeet organised by the lovely @lorrainecfoster has shown.

This event was promoted entirely by social media, it didn't receive coverage in print media ahead of the event taking place.

If you want to follow the tweets and posts about the event, it's been preserved on Storify for posterity. There is a shared online photo album of the event where people have been adding their pictures from the event: