Friday, 8 July 2011

A Tale of Two Towns

If ever there was a town with two sides, Margate is it. The Old Town, now the New Town, reinvigorated by the opening of the Turner Contemporary and a number of other businesses around the Harbour now sees countless tourists coming to Margate, something which years ago would have been unthinkable. The Margate Museum is opening with the fantastic support of local volunteers. Congratulations to the Friends of Margate Museum on their success.

The Old Town is what was Dreamland and Arlington Square. Back in the day, they were bustling with huge crowds. The Pride of Margate, mere relics. Faced with proposals of redevelopment, it's opposed by local residents because of a lack of trust in those proposing it, possible heavy traffic and noise and because the main store is going to be a Tesco's.

Looking back at the New Town, those reasons are exactly the ones raised with the Turner Contemporary and look what happened. It’s a complete turnaround and even those who had doubts about it now preach of what a great success its become. Locals working there speak of the enormous change and what benefits it will bring to Margate. Margate Football Club is looking to build a new stadium which will contribute to a vibrant Margate seafront and community spirit, not to mention helping to bring tourism to the town.

The proposals for the rebuilding of Arlington Square are well known and the arguments are as well versed. I don't doubt their sincerity or the strength of opinion in the Labour ranks through their two Ward Councillors that the plans need to be carefully scrutinised but we must not put the cart before the horse. Central Government has approved (Ed-not approved but allowed to be taken locally) the plans and now we can look forward to it coming back to Council to make it a reality.

Change is fuelling the regeneration of a town which has for too long been looked upon with derision. But the town mustn't be complacent. Instead we must strive to improve it further so that Arlington Square and Dreamland is once again the Pride of Margate and earning Margate the envy of Thanet.


Anonymous said...

Central gov has not approved them. It says tdc are best placed to make the decision. God help us all.

James Maskell said...

Slip of the keyboard...

Tony Beachcomber said...

The trouble with the Arlington is that it has never reached it's full potential. I am a great believer that many years ago they should have built a road from Eaton Road to All Saints Avenue adjacent to the railway embankment to give the place better access.