High Street survey confirms Heritage Action Zone is making a difference in Ramsgate
1 June 2022
Results of a High Street survey conducted by Heritage Lab CIC and Pie Factory Music has revealed how residents of Ramsgate feel about the impact of efforts to regenerate the town.
Asked if they thought Ramsgate was beginning to improve, 36% of those questioned said the area had improved compared to 21% who felt it had become worse and 41% who hadn’t noticed any change at all since the launch of the Heritage Action Zone in 2017.
The survey was conducted as part of Heritage Lab’s Sanger’s Circus event held earlier this year outside one of the surviving parts of a famous local landmark, Lord George Sanger’s Circus and Hotel, built in 1883 and later known as the Ramsgate Royal Palace Theatre. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, it was organised to uncover more of the site’s history.
Graphic taken from Heritage Lab CIC survey based on 138 people who completed a questionnaire at the event.
The event saw thousands of people entertained by circus inspired characters from Looping the Loop Theatre on Ramsgate High Street and Westwood Cross outside the vacant No 50 High Street, one of only four buildings to avoid demolition in 1960. People were encouraged to leave memories on the building and comment on the High Street in general. The event was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to uncover more of the history behind Lord George Sanger’s Circus and Hotel
Since the Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone was established in 2017, a number of large private sector developments have taken place with Ramsgate receiving over £20M in government funding. This funding includes £300,000 secured from the government’s Community Ownership Fund to support an ambitious project to bring part of Pugin’s Grade II listed Granville Hotel back into community use. Whilst a lot of the projects linked to this funding are yet to start there are signs that this investment is making an impact.
“Most of the large regeneration projects in the town have focused on sites with significant heritage value including The Old Gas Works, Ramsgate Sands Pleasurama & The Old Police Station,” said Matt McKeague, CEO Architectural Heritage Fund.
“The government is now investing £20M in and around the high street which is the centre of the Heritage Action Zone.”
“We are proud to be playing our part in the regeneration process, including funding Heritage Lab as part of our Heritage Development Trusts pilots and hope to continue to help local organisations with their heritage projects to make a lasting impact on local High Streets”.
The Heritage Action Zone was initially funded by Historic England and Heritage Lab is supported by the Architectural Heritage Fund as part of a national programme based around the heritage of town centre high streets.
Rob Kenyon, CEO & Founder Heritage Lab CIC, said: “We have hosted visits by directors and chief executives from many of the major public sector funders including Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust, Historic England National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund and they have all seen first-hand that Ramsgate’s heritage was key to unlocking its potential.
“We know that any regeneration plan takes many years to have an impact, so having played a key role in the creation of the Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone. I am delighted to see so many signs of regeneration in the local area.
“Although there is a long way to go, the fact that more people think things are improving since we started our work is really encouraging. We want to focus our work to ensure that the whole community benefits from the regeneration of Ramsgate.”
Heritage Lab CIC is about to launch another project based on the High street and anyone wishing to get involved can sign up at heritagelab.org.uk where you can also see the images and film from the Sanger’s event and read the full report.