Margate Winter Gardens: Iconic entertainment venue could be sold off

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By Stuart Maisner

BBC News

An iconic entertainment venue on the Kent coast could be sold off, according to a council.

Margate Winter Gardens closed in 2022 with no decision made on its future.

Thanet District Council (TDC), which owns the venue, has now appointed a marketing agency “to help promote” the venue to “potential new operators and investors”.

TDC leader Rick Everitt said the aim was to create a “reinvigorated cultural landmark”.

The Beatles and Laurel and Hardy are amongst the artists who have performed at the venue.

Commercial real estate firm Colliers will now carry out a marketing exercise, promoting the Winter Gardens to potential partners and gauging interest in the venue.

Image caption,

The Beatles performed on six consecutive nights in July 1963

A council statement said: “The goal is to attract investment proposals from organisations with the experience and expertise needed to make it a successful leisure proposition for Thanet.”

Mr Everitt said of the appointment: “We recognise how important this project is to many residents and are optimistic that this partnership will lead to the timely completion of the current process, creating a reinvigorated cultural landmark that will enrich the community and attract visitors for years to come.”

The venue closed its doors in August 2022.

At the time TDC said this was “to allow an in-depth survey of the structure of the building and facilitate plans for a sustainable future”.

Image caption,

The Winter Gardens was an important community hub

Jane Bishop, who owns the nearby Walpole Bay Hotel, said: “As long as the sale is ring-fenced for entertainment, and not for housing, I’d be in favour.

“Accommodation providers like us need this venue restored and returned to purpose to provide much-needed revenue.”

The council said it had started to prepare for the renovation process, beginning with clearing the contents and removing debris from the Winter Gardens building.