The future of the Granville Theatre on Ramsgate’s Eastcliff is set to be discussed by Thanet District Council’s Cabinet this summer.
The council owns the freehold of the building, which is also used as a cinema but the site has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March last year.
The Granville is the town’s only multi-purpose entertainment venue. It takes its name from The Granville Hotel. The building was leased from Thanet District Council by Granville Theatre Ltd, made up of local shareholders who invested money to keep the venue going.
The group of more than 30 members, who raised some £135,000, was founded by residents including Ralph Hoult -who leads Starlite Entertainers – and Philip Shaw who was also the general manager.
The theatre’s patron is actress Brenda Blethyn. The building was listed as an asset of community value in 2019.
But the council is due to take formal possession of the building at the end of this month after the impact of covid left the team with no option but to relinquish the site. Thanet council and has been collaborating with the outgoing tenant to ensure a smooth handover.
The intention is to bring an options paper before Cabinet members in July, as the building requires significant investment. Cabinet Member for Estates and Economic Development, Cllr Ruth Duckworth says the council is keen to bring the Granville back into familiar use as soon as possible.
She said: “This building has been an important and much-loved cultural facility for Ramsgate – and particularly the Eastcliff area – for many years.
“I am keen to see that use continue and believe that it can, but a proper process is required to look at the options.
“In view of recent speculation, I want to make clear that the building is not on the council’s asset disposal list and there are no current plans to sell or demolish it.
“The council will secure the Granville while it is vacant and we are being transparent about how and when we intend to move forward to give it a viable future.”
Once the Cabinet has decided on the options, the council will advertise a proposal to attract and assess suitable interested parties.