Regeneration of Margate seafront

Regeneration of
Margate seafront

Forefront was hired to help Margate Estates communicate their plans to support the regeneration of the iconic Margate sea front.

The brief

In advance of submitting a planning application for a new sea front hotel, they wanted to better understand how residents viewed what’s been happening in Margate over the last few years and what they felt represented ‘good’ and ‘bad’ development.

Specifically, the client needed to know how to resolve the tension between a local desire to retain the heritage buildings on the sea front, with a broader desire for change and improvement in Margate.

The research was used to develop the messaging and communications strategy for the planning application.

The research

Telephone/online survey, 1005 sample size.

Statistical analysis (regression) on the results, exploring which factors matter most and how they influence each other.

Focus groups.

The results

Key finding:

The initial survey results demonstrated a high expectation of and strong support for regeneration in Margate. This was driven by a strong desire for jobs and general economic development.

Other findings

There was a very strong correlation between support and enthusiasm for arts/culture and support for development.

However, the focus groups revealed an important nuance: local residents felt there had been progress over the last few years, but they were unsure about whether it could last. They wanted regeneration that would lock-in this progress and be for the long term – not just to make a quick buck. They also wanted regeneration that would “keep it Margate”.

The outcome

We developed a message and narrative that sought to place the application for a new hotel in the wider context of Margate’s regeneration. We helped them frame it as part of a long term plan that ensured recent progress could be locked in. And, crucially, that it would be a plan based on what makes Margate special (not just what happens in other towns).

The campaign was successful and the application for the hotel was approved by the local council.