1. Introduction


Cliftonville lies along the coast immediately to the east of Margate town centre. During the early part of the twentieth century, Cliftonville was considered the ‘fashionable hotel’ area of Margate and contained many significant hotels and bed and breakfasts, particularly along the seafront. These included the Queens Highcliff Hotel and a number of hotels owned and operated in the 1950s by Butlins. Much of Cliftonville was designated as a holiday area in planning policy in the 1970s and 1980s.


However, as a result of the decline in the domestic holiday trade to Margate, virtually all of these hotels and many smaller properties have been lost to residential uses, many becoming flats or Houses of Multiple Occupation. In recent years, because of the nature of accommodation in the area, the area has seen a significant amount of new development – mainly the conversion and extension of existing properties into flats, resulting in the balance being weighted towards one and two person households and a lack of family accommodation. The area is densely populated with a high proportion of flatted accommodation, has sparse landscaping, small (or no) back garden areas and insufficient off-street parking.


The area still has many original, good quality buildings, characterised by Victorian style terraces, alongside some more recent developments of varying design qualities. Many existing buildings are of special architectural quality and historic value, and play a significant role in the urban fabric of the area. Northdown Road is particularly important as there are still many historic buildings and original shopfronts - features that are no longer present in other parts of Thanet. The Council is currently in discussion with English Heritage to analyse the area for potential designation as a Conservation Area and the allocation of grant schemes.

Historic Buildings  Historic Buildings


The area is well served by public transport, and Northdown Road provides a diverse selection of shops including some national retailers as well as many local retailers. Northdown Road runs to the south and parallel to the seafront. Cliftonville has a library (towards the eastern end of Cliftonville), and a Community Centre which operates a low cost café, is the first port of call for residents seeking advice or meeting others, includes a children’s centre and has a large hall which is regularly used by a number of community groups and private clubs. Cliftonville residents comprise a very wide mix of people including many vulnerable people and recent immigrants from the EU – many of these residents are transitional. However there are longer term, permanent residents, many of whom are active within the community and have established a strong community network of residents’ associations and other community groups.



Thanet District has suffered from long-term economic and social problems and is the most deprived local authority area in Kent. On average, Thanet is ranked 65 out of 354 local authorities in England, a rank of 1 indicates most severe deprivation. Within Thanet, the most deprived wards include Cliftonville West and Margate Central.

Deprivation   Deprivation


The scale of deprivation suffered in Cliftonville West and Margate Central wards is confirmed by the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007; a widely used measure of deprivation combining a range of indicators. This reveals that Thanet's 5 most deprived areas adjoin each other and all fall within the Cliftonville West/Margate Central wards.


The following table shows the "ranking" of these 5 deprived areas compared with all areas in Thanet, Kent County and England.

Table 1 – Deprivation ranking of Thanet’s 5 most deprived areas


(“Super Output Areas” within wards)

Deprivation “Ranking” compared to all areas in:
Thanet (total of 84 areas) Kent County (total of 883 areas) England (out of 32,482)
West Margate Central22192
North Cliftonville West33399
North Margate Central11167
Central Cliftonville West44631
East Cliftonville West55670

Information from the 2001 national population census and other sources confirm the severity of deprivation across a wide range of indicators for Cliftonville West and Margate Central wards. Key illustrative points are set out below. These wards have a significantly high proportion of:

  • economically active people who are unemployed (the highest rate in Thanet and double Thanet’s overall rate)
  • male job seeker’s allowance claimant rate (almost triple the Thanet rate)
  • people of working age with limiting long term illness (nearly double the Thanet rate)
  • hospital admissions due to alcohol/drugs (over five times the County average). Thanet has the second highest number of alcohol attributable hospital admissions in the South East with over 850 admissions per 100,000 population – more than 60% above the national average.
  • shared dwellings (Cliftonville West has highest rate at over four times the Thanet average)
  • children in households with no earner (Margate Central has the highest rate in Thanet)
  • residents who are lone parents (almost double the KCC ward average).
  • crime rates. (These wards accounted for 12% & 16% of all recorded crime in Thanet but only contain 5.5% and 3.8% of Thanet’s population).
  • Private rented accommodation (as opposed to Council/Registered Social Landlords: 40% of Cliftonville residents live in private rented accommodation)

Cliftonville West and Margate Central wards have the highest proportion in Thanet (over double the Thanet rate) of people changing address each year. In-movement exceeds out-movement. This high level of transience combined with the area’s existing problems will, if allowed to continue, reinforce and import further dependency and deprivation. In turn this will further erode the prospect of sustainable recovery, and compound perception of the area as a location for people with nowhere else to go, and as a no go area for those who could help stem/reverse the cycle of decline.


The relative cheapness of accommodation in Cliftonville has led to other local authorities and agencies ‘dumping’ their dependant and vulnerable population into the area exacerbating the serious social problems and making the function of the local council significantly more difficult.

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