Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sorry Retail

It's Thanet Week in the Sun! No, I'm not talking about the snow disruption or the kitten killer or any of the other big Margate news stories around today. This is the latest report on Britain's empty high streets. According to today's Current Bun:

SLUMP SLAUGHTERS TOWN: The resort Apprentice contestants tried to rebrand as a gay hotspot has been named the ghost town of Britain.

27.2% of Margate's shops are boarded up, according to the report. That's up from 25% the last time they did the survey in the middle of last year. That's the largest number of empty shops anywhere in the UK. To be fair on poor old Margate, though, the latest count was made at the end of December, before the supposed 'Turner Centre Effect' began to kick in.

But it does make you wonder what Derek Harding and his pals at the Margate Renewal Partnership, who sat on the judging panel during the aforementioned edition of The Apprentice, are doing with the £60m they are touted to have in their back pocket to zap the seedy north of the island into life. And does that £60m include the £20m+ for the Turnip?

Here on the south side we're not fairing so badly. Despite only having enjoyed something like £14m in grants since 1997, and a paltry £5,813 from the Arts Council in 2008/9, the empty shop rate stands at 16.4%. But this was up from the last survey, when only 12.5% of our shops were unoccupied, a worrying trend.

Click here to read story in The Sun
Click here to register (free) and download report from LDC
Click here to read about Ramsgate grants

47 comments:

ascu75 aka Don said...

Richard I heard on the radio that Middlesbrough was in the lead of this particular race, do you have any idea where Margate position is ??? and what is the prize if we should win? Do you know if TDC are in contact with the leaders at Middlesbrough to get any extra help?

Anonymous said...

With respect ECR you should listen to the venerable ( vegetable ) Leader of the Junta, Cllr Eze-crap.

He has previously stated, in print, that these are not closed shops, they are Business Opportunities!

Anonymous said...

"Margate has been like this for years. It's not just 'cos of the recession, it's 'cos it's a very rough town and not a nice place to visit as you don't feel safe."

Comment on the Sun's website.

Richard Eastcliff said...

Don - Margate tops the leaderboard. It has the most empty shops of anywhere in the entire UK. FYI here are the top ten:

Margate - 27.2%
Letchworth - 24.5%
Wolverhampton - 23.9%
Gateshead - 23.0%
Hinckley - 22.9%
Stockport - 22.4%
Sutton-in-Ashfield - 21.2%
Sheffield 21.0%
Camberley - 20.4%
Middlesbrough - 20.1%

Why, when Margate is in one of the biggest 'super-regions' in the entire world (the south east of England) are things so bloody dire??!!!?

I think we all know why... and I'm sure you're all about to tell me!

Richard Eastcliff said...

BTW Don, I've amended the item to clarify that.

ascu75 aka Don said...

BTW you wont be working on a day like this will you?

ascu75 aka Don said...

Just read the sun article and loved the last lines :-Chancellor Alistair Darling scrapped rate relief on empty shops in the 2008 Budget - during the worst of the credit crunch. The BPF said: "The Government kicked firms in the teeth at the worst time.
Maybe loved is the wrong word but you know what I mean. I have long said business rates are killing shops and TDC is killing Thanet

Richard Eastcliff said...

I sort of agree with you there Don. Why would you want to pay any rates at all in a town that's almost a third closed?

And of course I'm not working today. My bin round's been cancelled!

Michael Child said...

Really don’t know where we are going to go on this one, we are moving rapidly to the situation in some American towns where all shopping and leisure involves some sort of car journey, something that just isn’t environmentally sustainable.

I suppose sooner or later the government will have to levy some sort of green tax on the out of town shops, the problem here is that they represent a powerful lobby.

Where we go when the majority of our towns shops have turned into residential accommodation I don’t know either.

One thing is certain that while all of this filters through, as it must in the end, our town centres are being destroyed and short-sighted planning by local government has turned a problem into a disaster

Anonymous said...

The Sun dosn't tell the whole story on rate relief. There is a starting level of £18,000. How many of Margate's empty shops are small properties?

Just remember when you read the Sun that the Murdoch group pays little or no taxes in the UK and you know which party the Sun is supporting.

Anonymous said...

Only 2 years ago the leader was saying that Margate was on the up! Don't know where this information came from - he was heard to say that at a consultation when challenged about why a business was leaving the town because poor old Margate "didnt fit the business' profile" ie it was too rough! Maybe he imagines he knows a different town to the one we sadly see !OR perhaps he was in the middle of the M and S building costly bad dream!

Anonymous said...

People who think Margate is rough have never been to Barmouth, or Great Yarmouth, or Newhaven or a few others I could mention.

Anonymous said...

More than anything, this shows what a load of wasteful crap The Apprentice is.

Anonymous said...

Yes 4-18 ....nothing to do with TDC is it !!!!!!

Mr Friday said...

Listen you cynics. It is only a matter of time before thousands of shoppers are sipping their espressos in the cafes dotted around Margate marvelling at the sunset view over the iconic Turner Centre after having spent hundreds of their well-earned City-Job pounds on the many attractions which Margate has to offer.

Or not.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.15. At least Great Yarmouth has got a sealife centre, Pleasure Beach (intact and not charred), Horse racing course etc and not just a seafront full of drunken chav winos like Margate.

ascu75 aka Don said...

anon 6:46 Yarmouth has loads of drunks I speak from persponal experience my wife will never go there again it was worse than Margate

The real Rebecca said...

Prior the the inevitable crunch we had the biggest booming bubble in the history of the UK. The country was full of budding entrepreneurs and people confidently making money out of rapidly inflating house prices and spending it on big cars, more houses, expensive holidays, massive tellys, boob jobs, face lifts, cocaine and beautiful jewellery and clothes (I did anyway).

While this was all going on everywhere from Whitstable to London to Manchester to Leeds, to Cornwall to Norfolk (except maybe Yarmouth) to Cardiff, and working class office drones were deluding themselves that they were middle class, Thanet was a depressed slum full of scummers, thickos, badly educated and punch drunk trogladytes (and that's just some of the council) and heroin addicted, alcolholic spastics who don't even understand how "bay-bees" are made or how STDs are spread.

One might argue that, as it was a shithole before and people here are used to squallor, Thanet is faring better than most places and will survive, but that would avoid dealing with the obvious and horrible point. Once people and a place have falling into decay, the rot is unstoppable. There is rot at the heart of Thanet.

The recession hasn't even really kicked in yet, we are just about to hit the second dip of the double dip depression. I'm lucky as I live further along the coast in a nice area and just come in for work but my advice to any young people who can leave is leave. Yes there is a recession elsewhere but almost everywhere else still feels much better than Thanet. Better to be in a city with universities where there is hope than a delolate shithole 'managed' by delusional old fuckwits who think that going on a crappy slow roller coaster is the pinacle of life.

Anonymous said...

What's amazing is that the electorate keep voting for the dolts who created this situation. Westwood was supported by all of the Councillors. They took no notice of the objections, which included the specific objection that it would destroy the high streets. We can only assume that this is exactly what the Thanet voter wanted.

They say that turkeys don't vote for Christmas. Well the people of Thanet voted to close down their high streets. In my opinion this highlights the fatal flaw in democracy. It only works if the people who are voting aren't as thick as pig-sh*t.

Anonymous said...

"It only works if the people who are voting aren't as thick as pig-sh*t"

How true that is. I have often said there should be a basic IQ test before they let you in to vote.

amadi_construction said...

I for one am convinced things will improve. I recently took a stroll around the old town and noticed there are some new shops opening.

Anonymous said...

"I for one am convinced things will improve."

And a flying pig is just about to land at Manston.

Anonymous said...

Talking of Manston I had a "funny" thought.

When the Turner Centre was proposed, we were all told that it wouldn't cost us a penny. Now, we find that the costs are astronomical. We (the taxpayer) have had to cover the costs of the failed project, the costs of the new project, the vast sums spent on promotion and consultancy. Now we find that we will have to pay millions every year to run the damned thing because (surprise, surprise) it isn't economically viable. At no point were taxpayers given the full facts and the opportunity to say no to this wasteful extravaganza. Is there an estimate for the total cost of the Turner Centre to the taxpayer? I'm betting on a figure in excess of £50 million!!!

When Manston was placed into private ownership I remember the then Leader of the Council telling us that it wouldn't cost us a penny. But I now hear that President Carter views Manston as the central plank of KCC's regeneration policy in East Kent. This being the same KCC which has squandered tens of millions on the Turner Centre, I am obliged to ask, how much taxpayers' money are they prepared to throw at this one?

I want to know when it became acceptable for Councils to waste vast amounts of taxpayers' money on ventures that are not, and would never be, economically viable? Where was the business plan for the Turner Centre? When were we told that the taxpayer would foot the bill for running this vain monstrosity? What can we do to stop KCC from squandering our money on Manston?

Anonymous said...

You'll only get those answers here, if it suits the authors agenda.
And even then, I'd check their validity, rather than take them as Gospel.

Anonymous said...

6.46pm
When I last visited Great Yarmouth, last year, I went for a walk up the river. The banks were covered in used condoms and bottles and cans.There were shopping trolleys in the river. The bird hide there had become home to a couple of winos who were using the grass bank outside as their personal toilet.
It is a national problem and there are far worse places than Margate. At least Margate has an air of optimism about it. Providing one can avoid dissers that is. Some peole just don't want to see it. It says more about their own unhappiness than anything else.

Anonymous said...

Yes but at least in Great Yarmouth you have a choice of looking around the town and going to the SeaLife Centre if you want to see pond life. In Margate you only have one choice.

Anonymous said...

Great news everybody...Margate is better than Great Yarmouth...cocktails all round !!!!

Linda said...

Had anyone in TDC worked out that by building a 'rather huge' shopping centre out of town would only lead to the state Margate is in today. We need Margate to become a traditional holiday spot again..............not some arty farty place, it wont work !

Anonymous said...

Breaking news...Manston gets daily flights to/from Edinburgh with Flybe from May. We can fill Thanet with Scottish shoppers :)

Anonymous said...

Or repatriate the winos back to Scotland!

Anonymous said...

I read that Land Securities have just leased out the old Pricelsss Shoes store at WC to Holland and Barrett. A ten year lease at £103,000 per year!

That's around £150,000 a year if you include staffing and utility costs. So assuming a 50% mark-up, they've got to flog £300,000 of their health products a year, that's around £1000 a day, just to break even!

More seriously, what does this mean for their store in Ramsgate? Another boarded up casualty?

Anonymous said...

Westwood is sucking the life out of our towns but the council are proud of it and call it Thanet's new town. Surely they need governement approval to develop a new town.

Why are they doing this when they are not supporting our existing towns orr did they know the farmers who sold the land out at Westwood and got a kick back?

Anonymous said...

What are Yarmouth water and air qualities like though ?

Do they have mercury and cyclohexanone contamination in the water table ?

Don't sell Thanet short. You don't get water like Thanet's anywhere else in UK.

Anonymous said...

who the fuck is going to travel daily from edinburgh to here, or more interestingly, Manston to edinburgh?

Anonymous said...

Londoners! : )

Anonymous said...

A daily flight from Edinburgh to Thanet? They must be bonkers.

Anonymous said...

quote:
A daily flight from Edinburgh to Thanet? They must be bonkers.

that was one of the best routes Eujet did for passenger numbers actually

Anonymous said...

Came across this on another blog talking about what to fill the new contemporary gallery with:

Could I suggest a nice piece of installation art to kick things off.
Maybe some of our councillors swinging from a gallows would be interesting.
They could call it 'Suspending our money like it's going out of fashion'.

Oh it wasn't the Turner but it was Nottingham where the new over budget £19 million gallerey has just opened and entrance seems to be FREE.
Nottingham people don't seems to think it going to be a great success.

Anonymous said...

i think you'll find the majority of flights from london to edinburgh depart from city or heathrow, and leave early morning for the business traveller. 76 mins on the train to ramsgate, plus transfer, plus cost, and without the ability to come back same day. mmmmm.....

Good luck to flybe, but it will undoubtedly last as long as flybes jersey flights - one expensive summer

Anonymous said...

The elephant in the room.

Manston is dead in the water but Paul Carter is still pushing it as the answer to all of our woes. Perhaps he needs to pay a visit before opening his mouth again.

Anonymous said...

Back to the topic, less than a lifetime ago Margate was at the cutting edge. This from the Rediffusion website:

1951
Development work on cable television was begun by the Design Department of Central Rediffusion Services Ltd
April 12. The Margate system was officially declared open; the operating frequency was subsequently changed to 972MHz and the system incorporated into TDUK.1.

Thems were the days!

Anonymous said...

But as ever, Ramsgate got there first!

Rediffusion, originally called Broadcast Relay Service Ltd was incorporated in 1928 and started to relay radio programmes to subscribers utilising the urban power supply networks belonging to city tram operator British Electric Traction to carry their audio cables.

The following year, 200 subscribers in Braintree, Ramsgate and Hull were paying 3 shillings a week for the service. It soon flourished because the depression meant that most people could not afford a 'wireless set' and many houses did not even have electricity.

Anonymous said...

it looks like the edinburgh flights go onto shetland and orkney.

therefore the "thumbless wonders" of Orkney will be able to visit their inbred cousins on the isle of thanet..

Anonymous said...

Here we go, the usual Ramsgate in-breds who brag that Manston has no flights & then go into a tizz when things start actually happening.

Mr Friday said...

I think the flights sound promising. I used that route when EU Jet were at Manston and they were popular. Let's hope it is the start of a bigger operation.

Anonymous said...

No let's not.

Anonymous said...

Word is going around of a major announcement on Monday from Manston.

Sounds like it could be bigger than just the Edinburgh route. Let us hope it's Infratil turning off the life support.