Agenda item

Levelling Up Fund and Margate Town Deal Projects Update


Louise Askew, Head of Regeneration and Growth made a presentation to the Panel and highlighted points:


  • The Levelling Up Funds (LUF) that were awarded to the Council were through competitive bidding;
  • It was hoped that these projects would create jobs and provide opportunities for young people;
  • The Regeneration team was working with the Border Force to ensure that the Port of Ramsgate had the right facilities. This included working with different stakeholders to ensure mooring facilities were appropriate;
  • The team was also working with key stakeholders and organisations to ensure that the Green Campus creates space for organisations to grow;
  • An application to the Seafood Infrastructure Fund to add to the existing Levelling Up Fund fishing facility was unsuccessful. The existing project will  provide the fishing fleet with the processing plant required to add value to local fishing activities. The Thanet Fishermen's Association was a key stakeholder in developing the existing project;
  • Work was planned on the Clock House and Pier Yard to extend the ground floor to create a food and beverage offer. A full application was going to be submitted to the National Lottery Heritage Fund following a successful expression of interest. The challenge of working on heritage building was value engineering such properties;
  • With regards to the Access to Opportunities projects the High Street Fund element would be delivered in the town centre with the Future High Street Fund project; and an extension to the Newington Community Centre would deliver a kitchen through the Levelling Up Fund;
  • The creative sector was growing but faced a challenge to access sites. The Margate Creative Land Trust was therefore set up to create opportunities for the sector to access building/sites for to support the creative industries;
  • The Team was hoping to submit a bid for a development grant for the  Theatre Royal to the National Lottery Heritage Fund;
  • It was great that the district had received government capital funding, which has not happened at such levels of funding for a long time;
  • Now the challenge was accessing revenue funding for these projects;
  • The Diversifying Heritage Asset: included £4 million for Destination Dreamland:  which would go a long way towards making the site fit for purpose and would be directly matched by the site owners;
  • Winter Gardens: Condition surveys had been conducted on the site and an agent had been identified to market the site.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


  • When the time was right would the Regeneration team arrange community engagements for the Coastal Wellbeing projects to share information with local communities on the current projects the Council was implementing?
  • Why was the Council still at this stage of the project implementation two years after the start? It was important for the Council to continue with community engagement activities to keep residents informed about LUF projects;
  • Members congratulated the Regeneration team for bringing in large amounts of money into the district;
  • Could Members of the Panel have access to the timelines for the different projects the Council was implementing so that they could follow the progress?
  • Smart Boys, Clock House, Newington Community Centre and the Fisheries Facility would each need an operator. Had any sustainability studies been done to check if each of these projects were viable in the long term?
  • It was good to know that the Cadets would still be able to access the sea;
  • How were community projects that got funded through retrospective grant payments managing as it was difficult to raise revenue?
  • Was there going to be funding for the refurbishment of the Winter Gardens?
  • Could the business case for the Dreamland be shared with the Panel?
  • What was the current update regarding the Margate Digital LUF project?
  • What was the Council relationship with GRASS?
  • What was the impact of the LUF and Margate Town Deal projects on the local economy?
  • Would there be another round of LUF?


The Chair advised Members that the Panel could invite some of the third party organisations in receipt of government funding to attend Panel meetings and discuss their experiences with Members.


Louise Askew responded as follows:


  • A community engagement event was held at the Turner Contemporary at the early stages of developing the business cases for the Margate Town Deal;
  • The team would need to have something tangible to showcase to residents;
  • The team was working on putting clear timelines together for the projects;
  • When the Council submitted bids for the various projects there were only two officers in the team. The team had since grown in number and this was going to help speed up project implementation;
  • Due to inflation, some of the project proposals have had to be reviewed. That is why they were at this stage of implementation;
  • The community engagement event held at the Harbour this week had attracted about 300 people;
  • The Future High Street Fund project would commence in the Autumn;
  • More simplified timelines for project implementation would be drawn up and shared with Members;
  • The sustainability of projects had been looked into and it was noted that some of these projects had synergy that their management could be brought together. The Team was still working on the issue;
  • In April 2022, approval for funding was given to third party community organisations. Internal and External Auditors were monitoring the performance of these projects;
  • Grant Agreements had been signed with third party delivery organisations that included the Margate Creative Land Trust;
  • Retrospective funding was not always applied to all projects. Town Deal projects nationally were predominantly being delivered by the local councils or other big organisations;
  • Access roads: The team was commissioning a roads access study that would determine how these roads could best be developed;
  • A study had been conducted on the evening and night time economy and is being finalised. It would be added online and shared with Members;
  • Information relating to the Destination Dreamland project would be added to the Council website;
  • Margate Digital Campus: The Council was working with the EKC Group and Homes England. Lease agreements needed to be agreed with the council, the LUF Department, EKC Group, Department of Education and Homes England;
  • Skate Park: the Skate Park team were planning engagement activities;
  • It was too early to make a judgement on the impact of these projects on the local economy;
  • There was no announcement as yet as to whether there would be another round of LUF. It had been intimated but the Council was not sure when that would be.


The PowerPoint slides that were used for the presentation are attached as an annex to this minute item.


Members noted the update report.

Supporting documents: