Plans to establish a Creative Land Trust in Margate took a step forward with Thanet District Council submitting a summary of the Â£ 6.9million business case to the government today (15 October).
The Creative Land Trust will take over underutilized or empty properties through the outright purchase of freehold properties or long term leases, or through properties offered or transferred to the Trust by public or private partners.
These will be used as affordable commercial space for the creative industries and support services. Thanet’s council said the Trust would put empty properties back into service, generating investment in the city center and creating jobs and training opportunities.
The Creative Land Trust of Margate will support creations such as design, music, publishing, architecture, film and video, crafts, visual arts, fashion, television and radio, advertising , literature, computer games and the performing arts.
The project is the first business case to be submitted under Margate Town’s Â£ 22.2million deal.
Margate was one of 101 places that were given an opportunity in 2019 to bid for funding of up to Â£ 25million under the Â£ 3.6 billion government fund for cities. The fund aims to support urban regeneration, skills development and improved connectivity by giving each place its own Town Deal.
The success of the offer was announced as part of the government’s Town Deal program in the Chancellor’s budget in March.
Dan Chilcott, Artist and Co-Founder of Resort Studios said, âI am really excited about the Creative Land Trust. Margate is booming: independents producing top quality design, art, music and culture; small businesses that drive innovation and run their fields; non-profit whose social mission is to open access and encourage talent.
âMuch of what visitors offer is underpinned by culture, and the potential of creativity to empower individuals and communities cannot be underestimated.
âThis investment ensures a bright and sustainable future, putting creativity at the heart of the city’s collective development.
WorkWild Ltd and PRD Ltd were commissioned by the Margate Town Deal Board to help set up the Creative Land Trust and write the business case. The work includes the development of a governance arrangement and all other requirements for a new entity, including its creation as a charitable enterprise and the constitution of a board of directors. The Creative Land Trust will be independent and will appoint a board of directors.
Prior to submitting the position paper to the Department for Leveling, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), the business case was shared with the popular Margate Town Deal panel and the city board. The business case was also subject to a local assurance process, as required by the DLUHC, which involved a review by an internal group to verify that it met the requirements of the government’s âGreen Paperâ. .
Once approved by the DLUHC, the board will begin receiving funding to begin delivery of the Creative Land Trust project, which is expected in January 2022.
Thanet District Economic Development Council Cabinet Member Cllr Reece Pugh said: âThis is an exciting step in the journey of Margate Town Deal. We are confident that the government will recognize the ability of the Creative Land Trust to revive downtown and act as a catalyst for future regeneration and investment.
âThe reallocation of empty buildings and the provision of truly affordable long-term workspaces will not only support our creative industries, but also provide employment opportunities, education and vocational training. Margate already has a thriving creative community and these plans will solidify its status as a cultural capital. “
Sara Turnbull, Managing Director of WorkWild, said: âMargate and the surrounding area has a well-known vibrant and engaged creative community. It is also very diverse – including technology, design and craftsmanship as well as traditional arts and culture. However, the sector is vulnerable to the impact of rising rents and property values. These conditions make it uncertain and unaffordable for many creative practices.
âWithout intervention, Margate could lose some of its iconic spaces. The Creative Land Trust will help the creative community to be sustainable and grow, and at the same time, allow more people to benefit from new employment and business opportunities.
Following the submission of this first business case summary document for the Margate Town Deal, the project team is now working on submission deadlines for the others in April 2022.