Thanet council invites community bids to become new owners of Ramsgate’s Granville Theatre

Granville theatre and cinema Photo Frank Leppard

Thanet council is inviting expressions of interest from eligible community groups which would like to become the new owners of Ramsgate’s Granville Theatre.

The Granville Theatre, in Victoria Parade, was built in the 1940s, originally as a live theatre but subsequently divided into two auditoriums, retaining the live theatre element and adding cinema facilities.

The council owns the freehold of the Granville 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.

Granville Cinema by Mel Chennell

Thanet council is now inviting eligible community groups to express their interest in bidding for the freehold and the right to continue to operate the building, under the Community Right to Bid.

Thanet District Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Cllr Reece Pugh said: “We know there are many local community and voluntary groups that are passionate and committed to ensuring that the Granville Theatre is restored and enjoyed by future generations. We would encourage all those organisations to submit an Expression of Interest to take control of this asset.”

Any community interest group that is interested in finding out more or in submitting a bid should write to the Director of Property and Asset Management, Thanet District Council, Cecil Street Offices, Margate, Kent, CT9 1XZ or by email by the closing date of 1 December 2021 indicating their expression of interest.

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.

A community interest group is defined as: 

Group A

A parish council

A charity

A community interest company

or one of the following which does not distribute any surplus it makes to its members:-

Group B

A company limited by guarantee

An industrial and provident society.

The body must have a local connection, which means that its activities are wholly or partly concerned with the administrative area of Thanet District Council. In the case of a body in Group B, any surplus must be wholly or partly applied for the benefit of Thanet District.