Reader Dan from London writes:
I grew up in Thanet in the 80s but moved away when I went to uni. I now live and work in London as do most of my former Thanet friends, and my parents moved from Thanet to Devon in 1990. I saw your item about Google street view coming to Thanet last week and when I looked I was shocked to see so many derelict properties in Margate. The last time I was there, twenty years ago, it was a vibrant, colourful, fun, bustling seaside town.
I was so upset that I decided to come down on the train for a day at the weekend and take a look around. I can hardly express my feelings about what I saw. How on earth did this happen? I have attached some photos which you are welcome to use on your blog.
Well Dan, there are enough theories around to write a PhD on the decline of Margate! It's not all bad news though. Next month there's an empty shops symposium, there's literally tens of millions being spent on arts regeneration, heritage theme park regeneration and a whole bunch of 'renewal' types beavering away. Last week another £4m was gifted for flood defences, and only today the council announced that Margate's Visitor Information Centre was the only one on the island that's going to remain open! Even Arlington House is going to get a facelift courtesy of Tesco, as long as the residents can cough up £17,000 each towards the cost of the makeover.
So the message is 'Don't get too despondent'! Any-old-hoo, I haven't been to Margate in the daylight for months, so let's take a look at wot you got:
Yep, murals on the boarded up shops. Keeps everything looking fine and dandy! Er, but not here though:
Or, er, here:
And no, I haven't seen the Shell Ladies recently either. One or two Hell Ladies, but no Shell Ladies haha! Ooh, here's the Rice Bowl, my favourite Chinese restaurant in the Hole of Fannit!
Hang on. What's that sign in the window?
Oh well. At least you can still buy fags and your paper, can't you?
Nope. looks like Harbour News on the Piazza (Parade in old money) has scarpered too, along with the restaurant next door:
Flamin' Nora! This really is getting depressing. I could use a drink in one of them trendy new bars!
Oh yes, that place rather ironically caught fire a year or two ago. Never mind, I'll try up the high street.
Now, here's a place that's had millions spent on it. The Turner Contemporary Temporary:
Oh gawd! I see what you mean Dan. Pass the razor blade!