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Roots, Revival and Regeneration 


Regeneration through public and private investment has seen the arrival of High Speed 1 (HS1), improvements to the local road infrastructure, development of Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour and marina, and the rebirth of Margate as an internationally acclaimed destination.

Regeneration is refreshing the visitor industry in Thanet and bringing benefits to the wider economy across the resorts and their villages.

HS1 links Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate to London St. Pancras in 90, 85 and 75 minutes respectively. Additional rail services link Thanet to other London stations and mainland Europe (Eurostar) via St Pancras International. Cross-channel services are available from the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel, Folkestone.

Thanet Parkway is a new railway station, due to open in July 2023. It is located on the Ashford International line to Ramsgate, just to the west of Cliffsend village. This will increase rail connectivity between East Kent, London and the wider Kent area by providing access to mainline and high speed services. Thanet Parkway is part of Network Rail’s Thanet Corridor Enhancements Programme.

There is an increased interest in people moving to Thanet, to set up home here and as a way of improving their lifestyle.

Thanet is attracting new investment in 21st century boutique hotels, guest houses, restaurants, cafés and outdoor leisure opportunities alongside new and relocating businesses.

The isle now has world class attractions such as Turner Contemporary. Relatively new attractions including Margate Caves, Dreamland and Ramsgate Tunnels, complement traditional favourites such as the Shell Grotto and the Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum.

Turner Contemporary, designed by award-winning architect Sir David Chipperfield, opened to the public in April 2011. Since opening, the gallery has welcomed 3.9 million visits from all over the world and has been a catalyst for Margate’s regeneration with many creative industries setting up in the town, and across Thanet.

This was followed in 2015 by the reopening of Dreamland as the world’s first amusement park of historic rides, including the Grade II* listed Scenic Railway. Dreamland has since evolved into an ‘all-you-can-treat’ seaside entertainment complex offering culture, food and festival fun alongside amusement park rides.

Thanet District Council was the first local authority in Kent to take up Visit England’s initiative for Destination Management Plans (DMPs). Working with the local tourism industry, the five-year plan was reviewed and a Destination Management Framework (DMF) produced. The DMF sets out shared key priorities for strengthening and growing Thanet’s visitor economy for the next five years, making it more sustainable. Whilst the DMF was prepared prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the approach and content is still relevant and will help inform the recovery of Thanet’s tourism sector.

Other major initiatives in Thanet will complement the DMF activity and help enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors. Ramsgate was awarded Heritage Action Zone status by Historic England in April 2017. The five year programme helped local residents and visitors understand what makes Ramsgate’s heritage really special, to share the findings and stories, and to protect and improve Ramsgate’s heritage for the future. A body of research has been undertaken to raise awareness of the town’s heritage and to inform heritage-led regeneration. In September 2020, Ramsgate received High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) status. The scheme will seek to rescue and transform some of the historic buildings in Harbour Street, make improvements to the High Street and repurpose empty buildings for creative and community use. Alongside the physical works, the Ramsgate HSHAZ programme is also funding cultural activity to re-engage people with the high street area; and these activities will run throughout 2023.

In December 2020, the Government announced that Ramsgate was one of 72 areas across the country to be allocated funds from the £830m Future High Streets Fund. The aim of the fund is to renew and reshape town centres and high streets, improving experience, driving growth and ensuring future economic sustainability. Ramsgate is delivering projects with the £2.7m allocation.

Margate is one of 101 towns from across England to have been allocated funding as part of the government’s £3bn Towns Fund, Town Deal programme.

Following the approval of a ‘Town Investment Plan’ for Margate, the town will benefit from up to £22.2m of investment from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), which will be transformative for the town and act as a catalyst for future investment and regeneration. The package of projects will see investment in some of the town’s much loved assets; Theatre Royal and the Margate Winter Gardens, as well as a suite of projects along the Cliftonville coastline to include a new skatepark and development of Walpole Bay to test new uses around wellbeing with the UK’s largest tidal pool at the heart of the bay. There will also be investment in public spaces and to promote active movement and connections around the town.

In 2021, Thanet was successful in two bids to the government’s Levelling Up Fund; one for £6.3m for a new Margate Digital Project - providing a new specialist industry-focused centre positioned in Margate High Street, and a £19.8m package bid for Ramsgate. The Ramsgate package would include:

  • The Port Infrastructure and a new Green Campus including a Centre of Excellence for offshore operations and maintenance, space for innovation in low carbon logistics and a hub for green business. This investment will unlock the opportunity to provide real economic growth, job creation and training places in the heart of Ramsgate.
  • The Royal Harbour to link buildings within the harbour area to develop new and distinctive visitor assets that will provide important new training and employment pathways for residents. Building to be revitalised for a new use. A new town square will be created, connecting projects and reducing congestion within the centre.
  • Investment in two community spaces for people to access information and help with career development. This will include training kitchens, community teaching space, opportunities for intermediate labour markets and information exchange, as well as workspace for local charities.

It is hoped that significant public sector investment in the district over recent years will attract further private interest and investment in the area.

In July 2020, the new Thanet Creative Isle Community Rail Partnership (CICRP), covering all seven local stations, was one of five in Kent to receive a share of £400,000 from Southeastern Railway. Turner Contemporary leads the project with Thanet District Council and Visit Thanet. The CICRP continues to create artist-led initiatives across all seven Thanet railway stations bringing together, and providing a voice for the community through engaging projects focusing on sustainability, education and biodiversity.

As part of the Interreg-funded Experience Product Development Programme, Thanet has new, off-season, bookable experiences to tempt visitors to the isle. The project is a four year scheme that runs until the end of August 2023, and is worth £23 million across 10 partners in France and England. Led by Norfolk County Council, both Visit Kent, the destination management organisation for the county, and the Kent Downs AONB, are core partners with distinctive roles underpinned by budgets of £1.6 and £3.1 million respectively. This project is vital in helping to rebuild the tourism sector in Thanet, and throughout Kent and the Channel area, post pandemic. The project is also a crucial step in helping to reposition the isle as a ‘coast for all seasons’ and to encourage year-round visits.

Roots   Revival