To Margate yesterday for, er... well there's not much left really apart from £5 tracksuits, and even those will be hard to come by soon if the rumours that Primark's moving out are to be believed.
Not that I was looking for a tracksuit of course. No, that would be too silly for words. But I took the opportunity whilst plonking the old Toyota Priapus in the Rendezvous car park of imagining how it will look in 2010, once the £25m (so far) Turnip Centre has been built. You know, there didn't seem an awful lot of space, bearing in mind that the lifeboat station will remain and there will also be a major commercial development on the site.
Safely back at the cliff top mansion on the super south side, I rummaged through some old papers and found a press release from Gleeson, the company that Kent County Council appointed last month as 'Preferred Development Partner' for the site, which witters on about 'a substantial scheme', including 'a four star hotel (in Margate?), some commercial development, and a new, substantial residential crescent.'
Personally, I can't see how they're going to fit it all in. Not unless the architects' models are, er, the actual buildings and they're planning some kind of renaissance of Ramsgate's defunct model village. Surely it can't be that they're going to build on the space created by de-dualling Fart Hill? That's been met with strong denials, and I for one believe every word of them. Meanwhile I see down the road in Dover they copped 4m regeneration mazoulians this week just for sending in an application on the back of a postcard.
I'll leave you with the words of one of our former local bloggers, who has recently become 'popular but beseiged™'. Speaking in 2004 he said:
Why the fiscally challenged planners at Kent County Council in conjunction with Thanet Council believe that opening a gallery in a famous artist's name, with none of his paintings on display, will suddenly transform Margate into a cultural Mecca and attract hordes (sic) of cultural day-trippers is anyone's guess... £20 million pounds for the Turner Centre means higher poll tax bills for the local population... and £2o million wasted, when it could have been put to much better use on other schemes...'
Nowadays he's a Tory councillor and fully supports it. Politicians, eh!
Click here for Gleeson press release on Rendezvous site
Click here for government press release on regeneration grant to Dover