Friday, 9 January 2009

Margate a possible solution this year

One can’t get away from the fact that much of Margate’s prosperity is dependant on the Dreamland site and the quality of the tourist attractions there. While there is hope that some sort of arts led regeneration will eventually lead somewhere positive I don’t think anyone would argue against a short-term solution.

As far as I can see with the present economic downturn it is highly unlikely that the Dreamland site will be put to any use during the next year and once again I am writing to senior councillors and council officers asking them to negotiate with the sites owners for temporary use this coming summer season as a fun fair.

I would think that the council ought to be able to negotiate the short-term loan of the site, it should then be possible for the council to offer ride operators reduced site rentals in lieu of free tickets to promote the venture.

With the economic downturn and the value of the pound it looks as though a great many people will be holidaying in the UK this year, here in Thanet we ought to be trying to take advantage of this situation by looking for advantages that can be gained from the recession.


  1. Ramsgate resident and proud of itJanuary 09, 2009 2:50 pm

    At last someone in Thanet who talks sense - full marks for trying Michael - just hope someone takes notice of what you are saying

  2. Thank you Michael. Good suggestion noted and I will take it forward for discussion at the next meeting of the Margate Charter Trustees.

  3. One-eyed Pete the carny guy tried this a couple of years ago and failed, didn't he?

    I'm not saying it's a bad idea, just that it needs to be better organised and publicised. So for gawd's sake let's not leave it to our rotten council!

  4. Too right about being better advertised. It's great that Powerboat weekends, Quadbikes at Margate, etc occur but more often than not the publicity seems an afterthought.

    If it could be more than just a tacky funfair with a couple of rides I'd be happier.

    *fingers crossed"

  5. I very much think this should be seen as taking advantage of the recession I would think offering some free sites for limited periods to exceptional rides would generate national publicity.

    By exceptional rides I mean not only the latest and scariest but also some of the classics in this area we have a steam driven gallopers with a fully restored and functioning fair organ and a wall of death still using 1920s motorcycles to name but two.

  6. I have just had the following encouraging reply from Roger Latchford.

    Dear Michael, firstly a Happy New Year, all the points you make are noted and I agree with, we are I assure you doing our utmost and will continue to do so Many thanks Roger.

  7. Good old Roger (I genuinely like him!). Let's hope something happens with this, it must be obvious to everyone that it's still events with fun fairs (Thanet Pride, the Air Show, etc) that draw the biggest crowds.

    One thing I'd love to see in the long term is Arlington House demolished. In the 1930's Margate cleared away buildings that were just 40-50 years old, so maybe it's time has come (I can dream!).

  8. There maybe plenty of visitors to Margate this year. One question, where are they supposed to stay? The Walpole Bay Hotel may still be there but plenty of hotel bedroom stock has disappeared in recent years.

    Margate, from what I can remember, was very busy when Clarkson Holidays went bust in 1974. There must have been a shortage of beds then. How would the town cope nowadays?

  9. Who the hell would want to come to thanet for a holiday?? Dismal weather, dismal buildings, and mor importantly dismal residents who moan for England!!!!!!!!

  10. I don't think you are right Jeremy.

    In the early 70s the two hotels doing best in Surrey Road Cliftonville did so by having contracts for low margin block bookings for Lewisham and Islington Council Social services back when the boroughs paid for pensioner holidays.

    The others were struggling and the Fire Precautions Regs which came in later in the 70s was beyond a lot of hoteliers (unless they used 2.5 plastered in with junctions for pyro to emerge to connect to the emergency lighting etc !

    If you look to see what Blackpool got away with on Fire Precautions at the same time you have part of the reason why Blackpool cheap B and B continued.

    As far as I know Blackpool used some sort of "Locked in time" ruling trickery so as long as they carried out no building regs or planning work they did not need to upgrade fire precautions.

    That is now coming home to roost as they want to change the town Beano weekend image.

    As part of developing a new marketing strategy, as far as I know, their thinking was that Blackpool should have began its change 15 years ago. Having recognised the mistake they visited Margate in recent years to get clued in on how not to do it now(Turner Centre etc)

  11. The Fire regs are the same across the country, but, would you prefer the headlines, Pensioners Die in B&B inferno, to a well run and safe industry?. The fire regs were brought in after a fire in a hotel , i belive in essex, one christmas, where people died. I. for one, always look at the most important part of the fire regs when staying in a hotel, ie the evacuation instructions.

    More seriously, I would not stay in a B@b that did not have ensuite facilities and a good bar. I expext that in spain, why not the uk? and also I would really appreciate a good chance of sunshine, and no whinging Brits

  12. I suppose that for many of the hotel and guesthouse operators the fire regulations came at a time when business was at an all time low so they were just too expensive to implement.

    By the time we come out of recession it is looking as though air travel will be expensive and concerns over global warming are likely to make it much more socially unacceptable.

    I think it will be those potential UK holiday destinations whose government looks to take advantage of the recession that will do best from this.

    With our costal towns it is a matter of building on to our natural attractions to at the very least be able to offer people an all weather family day out.

    Yes we do get years of exceptionally bad weather but we also get years of good weather too and for the past 200 years holidaymakers have known and accepted this.

    It would seem likely that in the short to medium term we are coming to the end of the period where ordinary people can fly to holiday destinations that have a better climate.

  13. Good plan Michael. I would love to see it work but I know that the funfair on the Rendezvous packed up early last year. Margate is noticeably busier at weekends during the summer and it would be hard to make a 7-day-a-week attraction pay. Unless, of course it is something really special which is well publicised and brings in the crowds. I agree Thanet is really poor at that.

    I don't think we should try to compete in the bigger, faster, scarier competition. Maybe capitalising on Margate's cultural history by bringing back some heritage stuff is the way forward. This summer is an opportunity to make the best of the weak pound against the Euro. If it is going to happen though, it needs planning now!

  14. Anonymous. Thanks for your input. I know very little about fire regs. Mind you isn't odd when times are tough, restaurants and other places of entertainment seem to go up in smoke.

    Despite the point you make, I still feel there is a lack of quality hotel stock in Margate. The same could be said for restaurants and shops. Weymouth, Whitstable are two good examples of what can be achieved. TDC councillors should pay a visit. (Mind you I said as much about other non-league football grounds some time ago)


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