Tuesday, 15 November 2011


Margate’s Old Town and Harbour have been named as the country’s Great Neighbourhood in a national awards ceremony.

The accolade was handed out by the Academy of Urbanism at their 2012 Urbanism Awards in London on Friday 11 November. Margate beat Accordia in Cambridge and Borough and Bankside in London to win the prestigious award, which was voted for by members of the academy.

The awards aim to recognise the best or most improved urban environments, with the academy looking at a range of criteria, including local character and distinctiveness, commercial success and viability and user friendliness.

The original application was made by the Margate Renewal Partnership. When the town was shortlisted for the award, Thanet District Council organised the visit from the Academy of Urbanism to Margate.

The Academy described the regeneration of the Old Town and Harbour area as seeming “to be a rare example of different types of partners really committing themselves and competently pulling together to achieve a common vision. The partners involved – from national and local public agencies to local businesses and residents – seem actually to have achieved a shared vision for the physical, economic and cultural regeneration of the neighbourhood as a place which celebrates its history in creative and contemporary ways, fuelled by nurturing cultural enterprises, repairing property and improving the public realm. The District Council has shown great commitment and energy in leading the regeneration over the last 30 years, but does not seek to control everything that happens. Indeed, as time goes by, it is clear that the local authority is happy for partnership governance arrangements to be led or dominated by the local community, with the local authority providing vital support.”

It also goes on to say: “For someone who had never been to Margate before, an afternoon exploring the Old Town and Harbour and talking to locals from all walks of life gave an incredibly strong and distinctive sense of place. The Old Town offers something for a wide range of people, from young to old. It seems to be attracting people to live and work, as well as visit and enjoy.”

Cllr. Chris Wells, Cabinet Member for Community Services, accepted the award on the same day that The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh made their momentous visit to the Old Town. “It was a real honour to accept this award on behalf of the Old Town and the Harbour. It’s yet another measure of just how far the regeneration of this part of Margate has come over the last few years. Everyone involved in this area should feel exceptionally proud of the role that they have played in helping to put the Old Town and Harbour firmly back on the map.

“The description of our efforts from the Academy, and their acknowledgement of the power released when partners truly strive together is both gratifying and humbling. To hear Margate's name called, above that of Cambridge and Borough, will remain a very special moment.  To put Margate alongside other winners such as Leeds, Londonderry, Lisbon and Lincoln shows how much we have achieved already. Yes, there is more to do, but to quote Ian McMillan’s poem, we are seeing “a town reinvent itself”. I urge all to walk that road with us to further award and greater success. Margate is truly on an upward trajectory.”

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