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

Granville theatre and cinema before purchase 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 [email protected] 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.


  1. Anyone taking on running the site should insist that the building is brought up to a decent standard first by TDC. The Council have let it go to rack and ruin and it needs significant work to remedy the defects.

        • The reason was supposed links that Mr, Granville had that the group did’nt like. But their views don’t stop them wanting to get their hands on what is basically one of Granvilles bequests to Ramsgate. So they’ll clothe their outrage in anew name , hypocrisy beyond belief.
          Pound to a pinch of salt its already a done deal. TDC gets to get rid of another facility that’s been allowed to decay due to mismanagement.
          On which note has there been anything forthcoming from the meeting where councillors were going to look into the districts financial standing , a few weeks back i believe.

        • I don’t get this obsession with WHO came up with “The Sandcastle”: a daft name is a daft name, regardless of whether it was thought up by aging cllrs or toddlers barely out of their nappies.

  2. why dont brenda blethyn buy it , im sure she can afford it – and shes always telling any one that will listen how much she loves ramsgate ?

        • All part of the drive to try and make us all believe we are wealthier than we should be because of the pastwrongs of our forefathers , change history ( or at least have it forgotten permanently) andits easier to reshape the future in which we are led by the all knowing worthy of today.

    • I agree with you Brenda, what a ‘cock up’ TDC made with that Asset Transfer with the incumbent group of 25 years, in effect being ‘booted out’
      It was a disgraceful action

  3. i still think sonny day should be in with a shout for the new name , or what about the sir ralph hoult centre ?

        • I am far from retired (un)fortunately, but I am aware of the UK’s late 20th Century cultural figures who grey up locally… something which I suspect Ruth and the kiddies are not.

          What is your objection to it being named after the much-missed Sonny Day?

          • Peter, I suspect that Sonny Day’s association with The Black and White Minstrels BBC tv show rules his name out being used to re name this theatre .
            You can just see BLM and the Dem Collective kicking up if that happened
            These are the times that we’re now living in .

  4. How about calling it the “Madeline Homer” building.

    An honest name, that everyone can trust to do well.

    He he he.

  5. Reading these comments makes me sad to be part of the same species as most of you… Children were asked to choose the new name. Great! After all, they’ll be around a lot longer than the miserable, aged, casually (some formally) racist, xenophobic and ignorant folk commenting on here. Why shouldn’t they get to choose and have a sense of ownership?

    Why would you want to continue glorifying people who held dreadful social and political views in life? B*****s to them. The future is with our children, not with the narrow-minded little Englanders I see on here. Suck it up, snowflakes.

    • But quite why is it necessary to change the name, if you’re happy to benefit from the gift to ramsgate from a community minded person of the past , why would you not acknowledge the generosity of the gift by keeping the name.
      We seem to live in an age where people want their visions funded by everyone but themselves but have the projects appear as if it’s their great gift to society , whilst no doubt drawing a salary from the CIC they’ve created. Seems to be very little give but a lot of take.
      The transfer of the Oval in cliftonville seems to have displaced many that previously used it, so hardly a great start , so remains to be seen how it plays out over time, again a project funded by grants.
      All these art and innovation style projects are well and good but will they ever generate real income and opportunity for the area or just be endlessly holding their hands out for funding , doing little other than fullfilling the dreams of a small number of “visionaries “.

    • Well said James!! How refreshing!

      This site is full of people are don’t get involved with the community other than to moan online!

    • James, no one is trying to glorify Granville or the views/actions attributed to him, but there needs to be a balance between the views of today and those of the past , by all means hold a strong opinion against what Granville did/was involved in, but if those opinions are so strong then you should morally choose to have nothing to do with his gift to ramsgate, however in the event that your avarice ( to take control of his gift at anything less than full market value ( best decided at open auction)) is sufficient to overcome your views then at the very least you should acknowledge the benefactor that has gifted you your opportunity.
      As for children choosing the name, they are just pawns cynically used to present a more “ community , touchy, feely, inclusivity” vibe into the proposal for the building. How much were children told about the actions of Granville, the context of its day and the way in which his wealth was used. Then contrasted with the outlook of today , a time in which we are giving away so many things gifted to the borough by the great and good of their day , all because the great and good of past -present times have been unable to look after them.
      There is no “ownership” the children will not have a responsible stake in the building in either financial or reputational terms, they just had a bit of classroom time and presentations steeering them.
      To paraphrase “ the purpose of history is to prevent repeating the mistakes of the past” as such the existing name has great value to current generations, wiping history to create another reality is just lazy and teaches little.
      Whilst you have your own opinions expressing them only as casual insults to those that have differing opinions , is hardly going to convince others of the merit of said views.
      Regarding the buildings name , i trust my opinion is clear. As to its future, to my mind Thanet has thrown enough into the “arts” and there needs to be some depth and breadth to what we have to offer. I’d guess that around 75% of thanets residents have little more than a passing interest in art , anyone with an artistic leaning already has plenty of opportunity to pursue their talents/ visions.
      As a cinema / theatre , its condition reflects its lack of use and whilst it would be nice to keep such a facility in ramsgate thanet as a whole is already served by better facilities ( Theatre Royal and Wintergardens, both of which need saving for the greater good of the area) , the remainer of the wetherspoons building ( former Peggy Sues) would perhaps be a suitably sized venue in a better position to provide cinema/theatre provision in ramsgate. As such i’d like to see outline permission for the granville to become housing and it be put up for sale on the open market with ALL receipts ringfenced for the old pavillion, then invite the operators of the Carlton cinema in for a meeting and see what they could do with proceeds of sale and their own investment.

  6. Ramsgate has lost a lot of atractions what brought tourists down here, MODEL VILLAGE MINATURE GOLF COURSE BOATING POOL MOTOR MUSESUM PLEASURAMA CLASSIC CINEMA KINGS CINEMA AND NOW THE GRANVILLE. As a liitle boy who grew up in ramsgate this is what i enjoyed,and now a 51 man nothing here now.sad.

    • Hi Mark,
      So how do we reinvigorate Ramsgate?

      Personally I feel we cannot stop change and I am 68 but except change must happen!
      Seaside towns have been in decline for probably 50 years and what was working certainly is not anymore.

      It has been shown that the arts has helped in far flung places such as Rio De Janeiro and it involves the youth!
      Ramsgate needs the youth onside and I feel so upset with the negative comments on similar subjects!

      The Granvillie could become a wonderful community asset!

      Does it really matter what it is called as if a name change could save it!

  7. It will go the same way as the old motor museum. Community group takes over, raises funds to do it up. Realise it will cost to much, let it fall into more rack and ruin . As usual ramsgate is the poor cousin of thanet

  8. mr checksfield – i have read the above comments , is sonny day no longer with us ? , ps i loved the books i wish i could get my hands on them.

    • R.W., apparently Sonny Day passed away fairly recently, though a quick search online doesn’t reveal anything (I knew him from my days as a Winter Gardens doorman, but can’t recall his real name – anyone???).

      All 10 of my books can be ordered via : )

      • Sonny Day obviously was his stage name but wasn’t t his real name George Cripps ?
        I used to know him as my customer called George and always found him a pleasure to deal with .
        I remember him once bringing his annual Xmas card which he received every year from his dear friend the late entertainer /comedian Roy Hudd who was in Coronation Street. at the time l
        Ralph Hoult once told me a story about. Sonny / George from back in the day in the 60’s when he had an audition for a then unknown film
        He got called back and declined the job it coincided with a 2 week job that he had previously agreed to do
        It was only after his declining this new job that he found out that he had declined the lead character played by …
        Tommy Steele in “ Half a sixpence “.
        One can only imagine how he kicked himself afterwards for doing that .

        • Of course, George! I’ve no doubt that his “Half a Sixpence” story was a true one, though he clearly still had a long career.

          I was at a funeral for a former Winter Gardens colleague about a month ago, and someone told me that Sonny/George had recently passed away (I have no further details).

          • I think that if it’s confirmed that George / Sonny Day has passed away then why wasn’t it reported on our local news because as you’ve said Peter , he had a interesting career which including tv work .including prime time Saturday night .?
            He was such a lovely guy and will be missed .

  9. sad news about sonny , i believe his name was george cribbens ? theres far to few people of his caliber around today. a hard act to follow as they say.

Comments are closed.