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Work to turn former M&S in Margate high street into technology centre begins

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A former M&S store which has long stood empty is beginning a new chapter following a £750,000 government cash boost.

Work to bring the vacant high street unit in Margate back into use has begun this week, as contractors go about renovating the redundant site.

The high street unit was most recently Store Twenty One
The high street unit was most recently Store Twenty One

A regeneration project, which is being led by Thanet District Council (TDC), will see the prominent building turned into a training space focused on digital technology named MargateDigital,

Once open, it is envisaged to offer "cutting-edge" facilities and training for those aiming to get into the digital technology sector.

The large unit was most recently home to discount clothing chain Store Twenty One, but the firm bowed out of the town about four years ago after entering liquidation.

The huge site previously housed Marks & Spencer until it shut in 2006 and the council bought the building, which backs onto Cecil Square, for £4.5 million.

It was then used by Turner Contemporary for exhibitions and workshops after the gallery opened in 2011.

The former M&S building was also used by the Turner Contemporary
The former M&S building was also used by the Turner Contemporary

Now, the empty building is at last undergoing redevelopment, with Kent-based construction company Bauvill carrying out the work.

The funding for the project was awarded to Margate by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as part a nationwide Levelling Up Fund scheme.

Cash is to be spent on removing asbestos and renovations to the roof.

Cllr Reece Pugh, cabinet member for economic development at TDC, said: “I’m delighted to see work commence on this building, which comes hot on the heels of the successful bid to the Levelling Up Fund.

Cllr Reece Pugh
Cllr Reece Pugh

"Together with the EKC Group this building aims to create 2,000 sqm of cutting-edge, industry-relevant training space which will focus on digital technology.

"The project also incorporates The Margate School, which will offer higher education provision focused on art and design, and provide a range of industry support.

“Starting to prepare the building is a crucial first step in realising this project which will have a huge impact on the town, linking local businesses and helping to increase footfall on the high street.

"I’m looking forward to following its development as it becomes a prominent building on Margate’s high street once more.”

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