Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19


2.23 The vision for Margate is to build on its success as a fashionable seaside resort based on its unique assets of a sandy beach, harbour, rich townscape, and on the success of the Turner Contemporary Gallery and a revived Dreamland Heritage Amusement Park. Margate's economic heart will be diversified through creative and cultural development and the town will no longer suffer disproportionately high levels of deprivation, transience and poor quality accommodation.

2.24 Positive signs of this step change are beginning to emerge, with a 14% increase recorded in contacts to the Visitor Information Centre in May 2017 compared to May 2013. Margate has a rich heritage which is important to the vibrancy of the town and as an attraction for visitors.

2.25 Margate has a number of commercial areas such as the Old Town, College Square and the upper and lower High Street areas that perform different functions around the town. The upper and lower High Street along with the seafront have suffered from high vacancy rates although this is now beginning to improve.

2.26 The Old Town area is a vibrant part of the town which contains many restaurants, cafes, gift shops and galleries. This area is popular with tourists and local people alike. This area of the town lends itself to tourism and leisure uses.

2.27 Dreamland Amusement Park is synonymous with Margate as a seaside resort. The park closed after the 2006 season. Since its closure the Council has worked, alongside partners to re-open Dreamland as an amusement park. The Council has compulsory purchased the site and a comprehensive phased development scheme is in place, maximising its potential to contribute to the economic well-being and attractiveness of Margate as a visitor destination.

2.28 The run down Lido complex is situated close to the Margate Winter Gardens and Turner Contemporary and, given its coastal location, provides an ideal opportunity for a leisure/tourism related development with uninterrupted sea views. The site is also an important heritage asset but is in need of significant restoration and repair, which the Council considers should be the main focus for any redevelopment proposals.

2.29 Strategic Local Plan designations that are expected to help deliver the continued regeneration of Margate include Margate's Town Centre and Old Town area, Margate's seafront area, and Dreamland.

2.30 Margate has a number of sites which present the opportunity for mixed use redevelopment that potentially include residential. These will also contribute to the overall vibrancy and energy of the town. These sites include Arlington House, the Rendezvous site, the Centre, the Cottage car park and Bilton Square.

2.31 The Arlington House site is a highly prominent site in Margate and has permission for a supermarket. Should this development not commence, the Council considers that this site is suitable for mixed use redevelopment.

2.32 The strategy for Margate's core area is to support retail uses including banks, restaurants and drinking establishments in the primary shopping frontage centred around the upper and lower High Street. The Old Town area will provide a range of town centre uses including cultural and creative industries. There will also be a designated Margate Seafront and Harbour Arm area that supports and encourages seafront leisure uses that are sympathetic to the surrounding seafront architecture. Evidence shows that in Margate there is a need for an additional 3,049 square metres of retail floorspace to the end of the plan period. Current vacancy levels and the wider town centre designations can adequately accommodate this need.

2.33 Seafront areas are important to the vitality and viability of the coastal town centres as they attract tourists and provide a natural leisure focus for the towns in close proximity to the High Streets and main shopping areas. As such, it is important that leisure and tourism uses are encouraged here that are complementary to the town centres and encourage economic growth.

Policy SP08 - Margate

The Council will seek to support the continued regeneration and development of Margate as a contemporary seaside resort in line with the following area based proposals, indicated on the Policies Map.

1) Margate Town Centre*

The focus for retail development will be in and around the High Street as defined by the Primary and Secondary Frontages.

2) Margate Old Town

Margate's Old Town area will continue in its complementary role, contributing to the vitality and viability of Margate's town centre, increasing footfall and enhancing quality and choice of facilities in the town centre. It will be a focal location for creative and cultural industries. Residential development will be permitted above ground floor level only and the Council will resist the loss of existing commercial premises in the area.

3) Margate Seafront and Harbour Arm

Within the seafront area of Margate and the Harbour Arm as indicated on the Policies Map, leisure and tourism uses will be permitted, including retail, where they enhance the visual appeal of these areas and protect the seafront character and heritage. Residential development above ground floor will be permitted.

4) Dreamland

Dreamland will be developed as an amusement and/or theme park and will be a significant attraction supporting the regeneration of the town.

Proposals that seek to extend, upgrade or improve the attractiveness of Dreamland as an amusement and/or theme park will be permitted. Development on site that would lead to the reduction in its attractiveness, leisure or tourist potential will be resisted, including the loss of the scenic railway.

Proposals would be required to be compatible with the context and proposals of the strategic urban design framework, and integration with appropriate proposals for redevelopment/refurbishment of neighbouring sites.

5) Opportunity Sites

There are Opportunity Sites identified on the Policies Map which are considered suitable for mixed use town centre development. The ultimate goal of redevelopment of these sites is regeneration. Residential development will be considered acceptable where this does not conflict with the area based criteria above.

6) The Lido

Proposals for leisure and tourism related uses will be supported at the Lido. Any development must respect and restore the site's status as a significant heritage asset.

Any development permitted by this policy must not adversely affect any designated nature conservation sites either directly or as a result of increased visitor pressure.

All development must comply with policies relating to the Protection of International and European Designated Sites and associated Mitigation Strategy.

*as defined by the Primary and Secondary frontages