Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Thursday, 24 July 2008 15:33 UK

Turner gallery gets 8.1m grant

Artist's impression of the Turner Contemporary
Planning permission for the two-storey gallery was granted in February

Millions of pounds have been promised to allow work to get under way on a contemporary art gallery in Kent.

The Arts Council England (Ace) and the South East England Development Agency (Seeda) have offered 8.1m towards the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate.

Work on the 17.4m seafront project is expected to begin in October.

The new centre, featuring galleries, a cafe, conference and studio space, will celebrate Turner's links with Margate and show art from 1750 to the present.

Planning permission for the two-storey glass-clad gallery was granted in February.

'Huge achievement'

Sally Abbott, south east arts director for Arts Council England, said: "This will be a landmark building representing a huge achievement for artists and arts development in the South East and beyond."

The original design was abandoned in 2006 when costs spiralled to nearly 50m.

Bosses at Turner Contemporary are looking for a contractor to work with David Chipperfield Architects on the construction.

The latest funding announcement is made up of 4.1m from Ace and 4m from Seeda.

Margate's old town ... is being transformed into a vibrant new cultural quarter
Cllr Sandy Ezekiel, Thanet District Council

Kent County Council (KCC) has already provided 6.4m and the Turner Contemporary Art Trust is trying to secure 2.9m from the private sector.

Thanet District Council provided the land which is where 19th Century artist JMW Turner stayed on his visits to Margate.

Pam Alexander, chief executive of Seeda and chairman of the Margate Renewal Partnership described it as a "world class opportunity to bring culture-led regeneration to Margate" which would boost economic development.

Cllr Sandy Ezekiel, leader of Thanet District Council, added: "The council are working hard to regenerate Margate's old town and it is being transformed into a vibrant new cultural quarter.

"Much of that work has been because of the prospect of Turner Contemporary, which shows the impact it is already having on Margate and the town's regeneration."


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