Artists, actors, writers, musicians and more have signed an open letter to Thanet council Cabinet members urging them to consider Kent Film Foundation’s plans for reviving the Granville Cinema in Ramsgate.
Cabinet members are due to discuss the future fate of the Granville at a meeting tomorrow (July 29).
Options being considered are to transfer the site as a community asset; get in a new operator on a new lease or sell it on the open market.
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.
Ramsgate charity Kent Film Foundation is hoping to take on the building and create a stunning new centre which will include workshop space, cinema, theatre, a bee-friendly roof terrace, the town’s first organic restaurant – and a new name.
The foundation has been in active pursuit of the building since registering interest in it as a Community Asset Transfer in spring 2017 after losing their bid for the old Ice House.
The foundation’s plans include workshop space to continue with youth film clubs and create a new youth theatre and youth orchestra in partnership with Pie Factory music.
There would also be two cinema screens and new theatre space. The foundation’s youth workshops are free to participants and run all year around.
The construction of the building would be a “Green Build” design, with a bee-friendly roof terrace opened up to the public and customers alike. As well as a small cinema kiosk/café it would boast Ramsgate’s first organic restaurant.
Among those signing the open letter in support of the proposal are actors Brenda Blethyn and Pauline McLynn; producer Julie Forsythe; musicians Lunatraktors and a host of local residents including Ramsgate mayor Raushan Ara, Oasis Domestic Abuse Service CEO Deb Cartwright and Zoe and Peter Hammond from Inspiration Creative.
The letter states support for the project, adding: “We are individual artists, charities, organisations and creative practitioners as well as other venue owners looking to partner with a wider venue that is passionate about creating opportunities within the town.
“Kent Film Foundation’s team has proven expertise and has worked tirelessly to position the organisation to be able to take on occupancy of the currently unoccupied building.”
A number of young people are also supporting the bid after going on to careers in the creative industries following help from the Kent Film Foundation.
Do they still want to call it The Sandcastle (or whatever it is the local toddlers came up with)?
Given the parlous state of TDC’s finances and the surfeit of art based projects on the isle, surely the building ( if its to be disposed of) should be sold on the open market to realise best value forthe council tax payers, rather than given away.
When are Tdc going to do their a feasibility study (possibly contracted out to others, around £25k+)
Is the building in decent condition, well looked after and not needing thousands of our pounds spent ?. Just sell it on.
This site needs Outside investment to ensure a well built long life project. The investors will have better ideas of what use will be sustainable in Thanet. Any other use could founder and this very old building will then require rescuing. I am so sad the Westcliff hall where many great concerts by sixties stars inc. the Beatles performed wasn’t bought and developed years ago. The motor museum was an unrealistic use. Don’t let this building suffer the same demise.
The Beatles never performed at the Westcliff Hall (though I believe The Rolling Stones did).
Westcliff Hall was sold some years ago – as yet nothing has been done to the building! https://theisleofthanetnews.com/2018/10/29/west-cliff-hall-sells-for-more-than-double-auction-guide-price/
Great to know, but a link to the open letter would have been great… Can you tell me what it is? Then I can rally support for the project!
The Granville needs an awful lot of work doing on it and, if sold, would probably end up like the Westcliff Hall, empty and left crumbling. Much better to use it as a local arts venue as it has the stage and backstage facilities for starters. But PLEASE don’t change the name, especially to The Sandcastle. Has no one noticed the connection to the Granville building opposite? Check your local history.
I think they know the history, but, allegedly, Mr. Granville himself was a bit un-PC or something like that (I got bored reading the details).
See the comments section here:
I worked at the West Cliff Hall in 1963 and ran a couple of shows there afterwards and I can assure you the Beatles never appeared there.
The Granville must keep it’s name, suggestion of Sandcastle, complete madness.
The sad part of history is when the Town Council didn’t buy the Palace Theatre, a real theatre, where almost every known actor and actress appeared.
Suggestion in recent years it might have been a good thing for the Council of the day to have purchased either the Odeon or the Kings, rather than keep a cliff top theatre going.
Christine is obviously getting confused with Margate Winter Gardens, where The Beatles played from the 8th to the 13th of July 1963 (2 shows per day).
The Rolling Stones played at The West Cliff Hall on 31st March 1964, 3 days after The Kinks played the same venue.