The Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Secretary who led the team to victory in the national Portas Pilot competition have all resigned their positions.
Mary Portas has continued to film in the town, 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’s high street, while Portas concentrated on the already regenerated Old Town quarter.
Margate town team’s Louise Oldfield says in her resignation, “My position as Secretary and Press Officer has become untenable.
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.
Given my professional and personal obligations, it is now clear to me that I cannot continue to devote my time and energy to Margate Town Team matters; especially as the external and internal lines of communication between the Margate Town Team, Thanet District Council, local press, the Mary Portas Team and business owners in Margate are so confused that the management of the project has become untenable.
To have my involvement in Margate Town Team, motives and personal ethics questioned in a public forum is totally abhorrent to me.”
Oldfield will continue to be active in Margate’s regeneration, as she is involved in a number of other projects in the town (including the campaign to save the iconic Arlington House), and she is landlady of the successful The Reading Rooms boutique b&b.
Margate’s Portas Pilot project is not the only one in trouble; Stockport town team has already lost the support of teenager Joe Barratt who made their winning pitch video.