Friday, 4 December 2009


More than £50,000 worth of government funding is to be targeted into a series of schemes to help regenerate the town centres of Margate and Ramsgate.

The decision was taken last night (Wednesday 2 December) by the council’s Cabinet, who heard that, in the main retail areas in Margate and Ramsgate, there is a higher percentage of empty retail units than the rest of the district. As a result, the £52,631.58 that Thanet received from the Department of Communities and Local Government is to be ploughed into the two towns. The money is to be used to help boost town centres and enable empty shops to be put to good use, rather than becoming an eyesore.

Following meetings with retail businesses and commercial agents across the area, a number of issues were identified, including a lack of knowledge on how to access Small Business Rate Relief, concerns about parking prices, cleanliness and the amount of footfall coming into towns.

Part of the money is therefore to be put into providing an information pack to support existing businesses, with details of the help on offer to small businesses, including Rate Relief and the council’s Shop Local First campaign. Following the success of the Windows of Opportunity project in Margate, which brought new colour to empty shops with artistic displays, money will also be used to improve the look of empty units.

A programme of business support grants will also be developed for Margate and Ramsgate, specifically targeting independent retailers and creative and cultural traders. Half the money will be put towards supporting businesses to start-up in empty shop units, with funding available to cover things such as fit-out, buying assets, promotional material and events to attract customers. Rent and property costs may also be covered for a specific period. To access this funding, businesses will have to submit a business plan to the council, fit within specific criteria, be open to the public and set-up in an empty property.

Economic Development Officer, Louise Bibby, said: “Everyone is aware that the recession has taken its toll in Thanet, but the council is determined to do what it can to help breathe life back into our town centres. The money from the government will be a start to help us to do that, allowing us to support existing and start-up businesses. We recognise the impact that empty units have on our towns and that’s why we introduced the Windows of Opportunity project in Margate, which has been a huge success. We’re also supporting local traders through our Shop Local First scheme, which has attracted huge interest from local people, with more than 15,000 incentive cards now picked up by local people. We’re doing everything we can to help our local traders through these difficult times.”

1 comment:

  1. Gosh what a suprise, build a nice brandy new shiny shopping centre 4 miles away from a couple of run down town centres and then sit back in wonder as they slide further down the slope. At least Ramsgate is helping itself with no thanks to TDC.


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