Cabinet members agree to community asset transfer of Granville Theatre

Granville theatre and cinema Photo Frank Leppard

Cabinet members at Thanet District Council have agreed to transfer the Granville Theatre into the hands of a community organisation if a viable bid is put forward.

At a meeting last night, councillors agreed to dispose of the facility in Ramsgate in accordance with the council’s community asset transfer policy.

This means community groups will have the chance to bid for the freehold of the seafront property. If a viable purchaser is not found, however, the building will be sold on the open market.

Recently, The Oval Bandstand and Lawns entered community ownership after a successful asset transfer to GRASS Cliftonville CIC from the local authority.

Granville theatre and cinema Photo Frank Leppard

The site and associated buildings are now owned and managed by the not-for-profit social enterprise organisation. 

The council owns the freehold of the Granville, which is also used as a cinema, but the site has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March last year.

The property was made an Asset of Community Value in October 2019, which means any disposal of the building must be carried out in accordance with rules set out in the Localism Act 2011. 

A transfer will usually have restrictions on use and development, and is suitable for established community organisations already able to demonstrate good custodianship of assets and “financial ability to invest in the property in order to benefit ongoing social aims”. 

Last night’s meeting saw members agree to a community asset transfer, but if that fails to bring forward a viable purchaser within three months, the property will be sold on the open market.

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.

How the renamed Granville building could look in Kent Film Foundation’s proposal

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 its 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 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.

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 building.

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.

Kent Film Foundation reveals ambitious ‘green’ proposals for Granville Theatre building

15 Comments

  1. I would like to take it over as the Granville Comedy theatre. Not for profit the aim would be to put on Comedy shows for both adults in the evenings and children shows in the daytime. Who would be interested in joining me with that aim.

  2. Don’t make me laugh…oh hang on !

    When I told my parents I wanted to be a comedian they just laughed but now I am… Their not laughing now !

    • That was a Bob Monkhouse gag, The Truth! I helped stage some 35 AMDRAM productions in the 80’s and 90’s, as Stage Manager, and set builder mostly, the problem with comedy is its like food, and music a question of taste. It would be difficult to stage say Peter Kay in Phoenix Nights, or Motherland both superb examples of observational humour! Saying that Peter Kay did do some excellent stand shows! Otherwise I don’t think I have watched a sitcom on TV for 30 years, as they are mostly mental chewing gum!

  3. Peter, you won’t get any more laughs from Morecambe and wise now, but you might get Hiccups from all their repeats.

  4. Why not let TDC continue to run it . Some Fanet residents have got used to their comedy of errors. Perhaps in the near future there will be more. I hear rehearsals are about to take place again very soon.

    • I don’t find clowns that funny.
      I’m sure the Film Foundation will have a much more professional approach and will be far better than TDC at looking after the interests of the local community.

  5. I would like the Granville to remain a cinema I found it useful being so local, I also like it’s classic look but maybe just a little make over

  6. The Granville could be a great cinema and cafe. Afterall, most cinemas make their money off selling food and drinks and not their ticket sales. I never understood why the cafe area was so underdeveloped and underused. It’s an asset in itself. If there were to be room to combine this with an arts centre (gallery, art activities, art education and film classes) all the better.

  7. At last a chance to bring culture arts and the arts to the future of residents and visitors or Thanet ignorant comments of Morgan and wise is just what we need to get ride of the future of Arts future music world cinema so desperately needed good luck

  8. I grew up going to the granville to watch many preformences mostly musicals like my fair lady put on by Ramsgates Amateur Dramatics Society . Locals staged affordable pantos at Christmas……Schools practiced with the added excitement off a real theater stage to preform on let alone stage sets to make ect. I can remember getting dressed up as if we were going to the west end ! A theater that enables dancing schools -Schools-local clubs to put on productions cheaply will be an asset to everyone in the community….awards given on the stage makes us proud ect. A sat morning pictures and variety shows in the summer holidays serving cheap lollys from icelands instead of exspensive ones would fill the place up giving fun for the not so well off kids in the community and make money. PLEASE dont make the Granville into an arty farty exspensive place for the few xx LONG LIVE THE FLEA PIT

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