Mary Portas and Margate – what went wrong?

Mary Portas, the retail guru, was meant to give free advice to towns that successfully bid for cash grants from the Government – to revive the fortunes of their high streets. Sounds great.

Margate was one of those towns set to get £100,000. Four key people to Margate’s successful bid have resigned though, amongst accusations of bullying and ‘personal interest’. They felt Mary Portas was more interested in being on TV than helping Margate, which seems a bit odd. It obviously didn’t help that she had said: ‘We either let the cameras in with me, or I go back on the train and some other town gets it.’ She later admitted she had made a mistake saying this.

For a considered viewpoint on this issue, from a man who’s all about community, follow Dan Thompson @artistmakers. He felt the original Margate pilot bid below really demonstrated their passion in getting people together to celebrate their town ‘all singing from the same sheet’ but that ‘sustainable, lasting change has to come from local community, not be imposed’.

So why did Margate go wrong?