Published: 12:11, 25 September 2020
| Updated: 12:13, 25 September 2020
Pictures of how an old Primark building could be transformed into a national cultural centre have been revealed.
People Dem Collective unveiled the illustrations, created by Margate design studio Green Pencil 3d, across its social media platforms showing the group's vision for the prominent seaside site.
It follows the launch of a crowdfunder by the community organisation, which led the Black Lives Matter protests in Thanet, to help fund a cultural destination that 'embodies the ethos of Margate'.
The vacant building, which fronts Marine Drive and High Street, is on the market for £2.75 million and includes planning permission for flats, a restaurant, a drinking establishment and shops, approved by Thanet council in 2017.
But People Dem Collective says it is working with local partners on a capital bid to acquire the premises for a cultural centre.
On its crowdfunder, a spokesman says the attraction will celebrate the town’s rich cultural heritage, the diversity of the thousands of visitors who come for the beach experience and the thriving arts scene.
"It will rekindle our civic pride and tap into the brilliance that the diversity of this town has to offer.
"By encouraging dialogue and bringing local people together to ultimately facilitate systemic change, this cultural centre will become a world-class destination and heritage hub with wide-ranging economic and social benefits for the town, its residents and visitors.
"It will seamlessly support Margate’s aspirations of becoming a beacon coastal town that celebrates it’s rich cultural heritage.
"It will stand alongside the town’s existing cultural giants such as the Turner Contemporary and Dreamland."
The group says the centre will deliver culturally rich programmes focusing on identity, heritage, history, hair, music, art and food.
It will include a flexible educational space, a black British and roma/traveller archive, a permanent exhibition and performance space, a radio station and podcasting suite, as well as a restaurant, café, little learners play area and studios for artists-in-residence.
Programmes will run from the centre encouraging people to engage and learn about the cultural experience of ‘others’ with a "focus on British black and brown people and roma/travellers".
There will also be enrichment programmes for young people, the LGBTQIA+ and neuro-diverse communities.
The building overlooking Margate Main Sands was previously a BHS and then was reopened as a Primark. It closed a few years after the clothing giant opened its new store at Westwood Cross shopping centre in Broadstairs.
It was bought in 2015 by SIR Investment and a planning application was granted approval in 2017 by Thanet council.
Plans include a mix use of retail, a restaurant, a drinking establishment and offices on the lower and upper ground floors, and 11 flats on the upper floors including five three-bed and four two-bed apartments and two three-bed maisonettes.