Friday, 24 August 2012

Trouble in Margate Town Team

Robin Vaughan-Lyons and Rox Tesla have resigned as Chair and Vice-Chair of Margate Town Team. This comes after secretary Louise Oldfield’s resignation last week who left stating: “I have been subjected to public bullying by individuals that are seeking to further their own personal interests rather than the aims of the bid.”

As a result, Margate Town Team now has no executive officers at the helm – all of whom were originally crucial in winning the Portas Pilot bid for £100,000 to regenerate Margate’s High Street. Sadly, Robin’s statement of resignation casts a murky spotlight on the whole affair. In a post on Facebook, it was written:

"My resignation from margate town team is not in the Gazzette but here it is for what its worth.
Im sorry Margate. I too will continue to do what I can. I still love Margate
As we are all aware this week has been extremely traumatic.
I joined with you all to put in this bid, full of energy and enthusiasm, hoping we would win and looking forward to us actually making a difference in our town.
My job has literally been 24 hours a day. My life has revolved around it since we won. I have worked very hard to promote Margate and TDC.
I cannot continue to work in a situation where people are going away to hold secret meetings and publicly running down other town team members in front of TV cameras.
I have been blackmailed, bullied and torn to shreds by team members. I do not deserve this.
I am offering my resignation to Madeline Homer tonight.
Robin Vaughan-Lyons"

This mass exodus of key Margate Town Team figureheads should remind us how cliques can be a dangerous thing. Dan Thompson’s blog highlights what might be the real bone of contention here: “Mary Portas has continued to film in the town,” writes Dan, “but has never offered the community-backed town team a role in her TV programme. Her filming has caused friction, with the town team’s winning bid focused on Margate high street, while Portas concentrated on the already regenerated Old Town quarter.”

The claim that people are ‘running down other town team members in front of TV cameras’ suggests the efforts of Robin, Rox and Louise to rejuvenate the High Street have been undermined by the participants of Mary Portas’s TV show and has led to an ugly case of small-town political backbiting. Having found myself at the mercy of cliques in the past, Robin, Rox and Louise all have my sympathy. It’s just a real shame that everybody couldn’t work together for Margate’s benefit rather than allow some turn it into a demeaning exercise in skulduggery.


  1. I knew there'd be problems as soon as they turned it into a TV show (friction in these kind of shows is "entertainment"). Especially sad to see Louise resigning. I've had my online squabbles with her in the past, but she truly does her best for Margate.

  2. Why would we expect anything less Luke? Back-stabbing and in-fighting are par for the course here in Margate and Thanet.

    1. A bit like you're doing now Rob...

    2. *YAWN*

      Doing neither mate. Just pointing out the obvious to anyone with a brain... something you seem to be able to function without!

  3. Sadly, you're both right. It's a real shame. I'd like to see a positive outcome for Margate Town Team but I guess all we can do is keep our fingers crossed. These resignations are all very unfortunate, to say the least.

  4. It all goes to show that the £1 million pound goverment Portas pilot scheme was nothing more than a publicity stunt to distract from the real problems that towns like Margate have in this double dip recession. Just £100k each for a few towns when scores of towns and their residents are suffering. We know in Margate that even the £16 plus millions for the TC alone is not enough to regenerate the town. Maybe the £21 millions housing schem just passed to get families back will help but this is a 10 to 15 years project.
    In the meantime Portas and the TV company are the real winners, not local businesses.

  5. Mary Portas is a "brand" now, and her company has already noted that the "Portas brand" aims to go worldwide including the USA! The Portas pilots were simply a way for her publicity company to get the "brand" more recognition. How can she have any concept of the individuals and local business/social environments of 12 or more towns? Of course, she doesn't. She is attracted to Old Town because it makes for better camera time than actually being in the High Street with its warts and all environment. TV companies like the group she has contracted to make her programmes are well known for aiming to foment trouble and encourage makes for better TV doesn't it?Portas TV is going to be " I'm a celebrity - get me in here." Thank goodness some people are waking up to the excesses of the press and TV and banks. There is NO magic solution and thinking that Mary Portas will march into Margate and fix everything is believing in magic. Anyway why worry? Once the giant Tesco is built on Marine Terrace, there will be a whole other batch of MAJOR problems to worry about - pollution, traffic jams, no parking and small shops going out of business left, right and centre all around. Let's see if Mary Portas can get a Govt. grant to fix that situation! Oh no, wait, she will be fixing somewhere in the USA by then and far too big a "Brand" to be concerned about High Streets in the UK.

    1. The pollution, traffic jams and parking will improve at Westwood Cross though.

  6. Anon of 20.08, what an excellent, and "right on the button" post.