Save our unique Viking Ship in Cliftonville, Margate

Save our unique Viking Ship in Cliftonville, Margate

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Friends of Cliftonville Coastline started this petition to Thanet District Council (George Kup)

Save our Viking Ship!


Please sign this petition against the untimely and ill considered demolition of this unique structure (one of a kind in the UK) that is so beloved by the community. 

This petition is for anyone who:

* Has children who will be heartbroken by the loss of our unique iconic Viking Ship, so integral to imaginative natural play.

* Believes that this money should be spent on renovation and improvements (including improved accessibility and a wheelchair carousel) rather than demolition and an expensive rebuild.

... And that the saved money could then be spent across Margate and beyond to benefit multiple deteriorating playgrounds in need, eg Dane Park.

* Thinks our council must be held to account for the lack of future planning and ongoing maintenance of ailing community infrastructure.

* Believes we need to address the systemic societal problems that blight our playgrounds via better provisions for older youth and strategies to prevent destructive behaviours taking place (eg CCTV and youth outreach workers)

* Is fed up with the lack of scrutiny over whether Section 106 funds from developers are properly collected, and why they are not being used to maintain local playgrounds, such as this one.

* Believes we should safeguard our Conservation Areas, and adhere to planning permissions and covenants put in place to protect them.

* Thinks we should scrutinise large and sudden expenditures such as this, where the legal tendering process for contractors and planning permission is skipped.

* And that there should be far more consultation within the community to find out what is wanted and needed locally, NOT more expensive consultations with private companies that produce lengthy reports which are then ignored.

What do the local children want? Why has no one asked them?

There is still plenty of time to better deploy this funding to ensure a more desirable outcome. Please sign this petition and keep the pressure on.

More info:

The demolition and rebuild of the playground will cost approx £170K, of which approx £10K will be spent on demolition and over £54K will be spent on a new Castle’s Keep activity area. It is unclear how the rest of the funds will be used.

TDC assessments state that the playground is now costing in excess of £14K annually to maintain: presumably this refers to the new swings and the cost of assessing the state of the playground this year (no breakdown of costs is available, but since similar swing sets can be found for approx £3/4K it is a priority to see an analysis of this spend). 

There is no evidence of any prior maintenance incurred in any of the years prior, since the playground was built just 12 years ago in 2009.

The Viking Ship playground cost between £240K (according to contemporary press reports) and £300K (according to TDC council meeting notes) to build. The Children's Playground Company were paid approximately £90K for supply, delivery and installation. What happened to the rest of the money allocated to the playground build?

It is made of sturdy Robinia hardwood which has a life span of 30+ years, even without treatment.

The Viking Ship playground was built by the award winning company The Children’s Playground Company. The playground received a 5* RoSPA safety award when it was built and was used as a case study for Play England promoting natural play. We are in touch with the CEO of The Children’s Playground Company, and she is keen to deploy her large team of skilled craftspeople to work with TDC to ensure this playground is not lost. They have given provisional costs to restore, improve and maintain the existing playground for a fraction of the cost of a demolition and rebuild. 

Why, therefore, is demolition the only option being considered, instead of the obviously much cheaper and more environmentally sustainable option of renovation and maintenance?

Section 106 payments are meant to be used to maintain playgrounds near to new developments of a certain size. There is no trace of whether the allocated money below was ever gathered or spent on the Viking Ship Playground: (payments are worked out on the basis of number of units provided) It is imperative that there is an urgent investigation into how funds are used to look after playgrounds across the isle.

F/TH/15/0299: Former Oval Hotel, Godwin Road

£875 x 12 = £10,500

F/TH/17/0842: 64 Edgar Road

£875 x 12 = £10,500

R/TH/20/0174: Former Holly Tree Pub, Charles Court, Northdown Road

£875 x 38 = £33,250

F/TH/19/1740: St Anshelm on Norfolk Road

£875 x 14 = £12,250

We want TDC to spend more money on other playgrounds.

AND save the Viking Ship.

AND make sure that this playground is accessible for all.

AND tell us where the Section 106 money has gone.

AND ensure that money is committed to ongoing maintenance at this playground and others going forward.

Please ensure that this happens, by signing this petition, sharing it with friends, and demanding an end to a culture of throwing funds at new infrastructure followed by a cycle of degradation due to lack of care.

Use the hashtag #saveourvikingship

Photo by Frank Leppard, with thanks.

Follow Friends of Cliftonville Coastline here:

Join the Facebook group here:


0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!