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.