Reader Rachel from Ramsgate writes:
I was aghast to see the awful puff piece for Margate on BBC South East News last night. I presume one of the producers has just bought a little investment number there, or TDC press office finally managed to take somebody out to lunch, or both! The town's putative renaissance appeared to be based on three interviews - one with Eli who runs the Sugar Lounge, who seemed rather non-committal if you ask me, the property developer who renovated the Sea Bathing Hospital (they would say that wouldn't they) and someone from SEEDA (they would say that wouldn't they). Ken Wills' Westwood Chinese business park had also suddenly become part of Margate to give it the 'tiger economy' feel. No mention was made of any setbacks such as the recent closure of the Outfitters Gallery, or the Turner Contemporary fiasco, or the fact that Ramsgate, not Margate, has received all the positive property press in the past year or two.
The BBC played straight into the hands of TDC, whose draft plan places Margate at the top of the list for any creative or arts funding, and Ramsgate as a dormitory for a port and airport. Ramsgate used to have a vibrant arts scene, and still does to some extent, but this is being gradually and deliberately eroded as the plan from Margate takes effect. Latest rumour is that the Gallery IOTA people, who were forced to move out of their building in Ramsgate, have now been tempted over to Margate to regenerate the pier.
I'm not saying that Margate doesn't need some help, of course it does. Paigle did a magnificent job on the Sea Bathing Hospital, it should have been the Turner Centre, but that's in the past. And Eli deserves all the luck he can get. But none of this should be at the expense of Ramsgate. Our town is undergoing cultural cleansing in this mad dash to do something, anything, for Margate. I think a lot of people here are beginning to get extremely fed up with all the initiatives and funding that come out of North Thanet for North Thanet, and are beginning to wonder why they should bother paying their council tax if they're not going to see any benefit for it.
Update: You can watch the report again on the BBC South East website for a limited period here, click on the story entitled 'A New Vision For Thanet'. That's if you've got the right plug-in for the awful BBC player.