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Margate Harbour Arm – MP hits out at “ill-informed criticism of contract” - 18th September 2017

Margate`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, has hit out at what he has described as “ill-informed criticism” of the lease awarded by the last Conservative Council administration for Margate`s Harbour Arm.

“The suggestion that this lease was awarded for a peppercorn rent at the expense of the ratepayer is a nonsense” says the Town`s MP.

“The Harbour Arm was a derelict and dilapidated eyesore when it was leased to Fiona Sherriff. As an enterprising entrepreneur she saw the opportunity, took the risk of refurbishing and maintaining the stone pier and turned a liability into an attraction that attracts thousands of visitors annually. By taking over the management of the parking on the pier Ms. Sherriff and her partner ensured that visitors to the businesses leasing properties – such as the excellent Be-Beached Restaurant – have been able to leave their vehicles within walking distance of their destinations while at the same time injecting some order and control over what had hitherto been a chaotic situation.

This is precisely the kind of enterprise that attracts tourists and pays business rates that we ought to be encouraging not criticising. In the long-run the contract will have transformed a Council-owned liability into a profit-making and employment-creating asset and only those that cannot abide the success of private enterprise will not be able to recognise that achievement. It is a pity that in this instance the critics have once again been over-zealous in their desire to propagate a `story` without checking out the facts.”

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