Margate’s Old Town is a unique, historic environment but cut off from the wider town centre and under-used. Our public sector clients, Thanet District Council and Kent County Council, wanted a solution to unlock the potential of the Old Town and attract investment there.
We began by identifying and illustrating the key physical constraints to social and economic regeneration in the Old Town. We based our diagnosis on a careful analysis of the historic evolution of the centre, its current patterns of economic activity and its patterns of pedestrian movement.
We found that the Old Town has a simple, usable internal layout but is largely impenetrable from the outside. Visitors to Margate simply can’t find their way in.
We identified a significant opportunity to create a new, highly visible route into the Old Town, which became known as “Old Town Way”. We tested this route using a pedestrian movement model and found it was likely to bring substantial improvements in pedestrian flows. Old Town Way became the catalyst for the overall regeneration plan.
Our diagnosis and subsequent design vision helped to raise the profile of the Old Town in the eyes of developers and policymakers. A Margate Masterplan – which highlights the importance of drawing movement into the Old Town – has been commissioned and has received strong public support.