Architects have been appointed to develop plans for a key site in the heart of Margate town centre.
The former Marks and Spencer building was purchased by Thanet Council earlier this year, using funding from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), with the aim of creating a mixed-use development on the site, which would include modern retail space, commercial floor space and an element of residential use. The neighbouring property at 51 High Street, currently used by the National Children's Home, has also been purchased.
CTM Architects in Hythe has now been appointed to come up with plans for the site, which would show what the new development would look like and how it would be used. As part of the process, local traders and residents will be asked for their views on the plans towards the end of this year.
Over the next few months, the now vacant building will be used for a temporary exhibition by Turner Contemporary, with the Margate Library set to temporarily relocate to the site in early 2007, as part of the plans to refurbish the library and create a One Stop Shop, which will see a number of Thanet Council services being delivered at the library in the future.
Cllr. John Kirby, Cabinet Member for Development Services, said: "The Marks and Spencer site is key to the future of Margate, which is why it was purchased. By introducing modern retailing space, offices and homes into the heart of the town, we will be creating job opportunities, investment opportunities and opportunities to encourage people back into the town to live and work. This scheme will provide all those opportunities and a base for a secure and prosperous future for Margate."