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