Pizzeria, music studio, in-house bakery and more planned by team aiming to take over Ramsgate Boating Pool site

Ramsgate Boating Pool site Photo Frank Leppard

A pizzeria, café with in-house bakery, pop up bar and music studio are planned for the Ramsgate Boating Pool site if Thanet council agrees a 25 year lease with a new tenant.

The Ramsgate Boating Pool group (RBP) is aiming to attract both residents and visitors, using a percentage of the income to restore and maintain the buildings at the Westcliff Leisure Park in Royal Esplanade.

RBP, made up of six people including Ramsgate set designer Leah Morgan and fellow Ramsgate resident Simon Trought, who has run a successful commercial  recording studio for 20  years, whilst project  managing and building unique spaces.

Also on the team are Ed Curry and Abi Hubbard who will head up the Sourdough Eyes pizza operation in the site’s West building.

East Kent baker Adam Hubbard and businessman Tim Hughes complete the team.

Image RBP mission statement

Plans from RBP says they will  “transform the West building to a spacious well designed family friendly breakfast cafe/pizzeria and in-house bakery. The cafe will operate in the morning hours and the pizzeria in the afternoon and evening.

“The design of the two spaces will tell the story of the building’s past, referencing the long standing seaside entertainment site throughout while respecting the beautiful historic Italian style architecture.”

Freshly baked goods using locally sourced ingredients and quality coffee will be on offer as well as healthy meal options for  children along with table top activities to keep them interested  while enjoying family time.

A pizza oven will be installed and there will also be a pizza takeaway service.

Photo Brian Whitehead

A mission statement from the group says: “Ramsgate’s popularity as a tourist destination is growing every year and through the investment by government and our local council via the ‘levelling up’ fund the town has more and more to offer. We are looking forward to being a big part of the new wave of business ventures opening up in Ramsgate.

Cafe Image RBP mission statement

“Holiday makers, particularly Londoners, are becoming more and more attracted to artisan culinary specialities. We can be part of providing this for Ramsgate’s tourist sector.

“We plan to expand by adding pop-up food stands, increasing the variety of cuisine while encouraging local start-ups with affordable rental space.  We will also introduce workshops for all ages in our adaptable side spaces.

“This is a good opportunity for community activities, and the RBP ethos is to give something back. Even more so now after the struggles people have faced through the pandemic. We plan to run workshops by way of concession arrangements in a range of activities spanning from bread making to toy boat building to flower arranging. We can help people connect again over productive, educational and fun activities.”

Image RBP mission statement

A music production and recording space will be operated by Soup studio with Simon Trough using his affiliation with Big Jelly studio and The Ramsgate Music Hall to work alongside them and strengthen the town’s standing as a music related destination. The studio will be soundproofed.

Ravensgate-on-Sea, from the Ravensgate Arms in King Street, currently operate from the east building (Monkey House) and RBP say they will discuss with the team about continuing and, if not, will seek another pop-up  retailer.

The team say plans for the Boating Pool will be ‘gentle’ and The Viking Model Boat Club will continue to be welcome.

Boating Pool Photo Dean Spinks

The mission statement adds: “Eventually toy sailing and motorised boats will be available to hire. We will invest profits into this area. Workshops can build small boats to test on the pool and it could also be an available space for art installations.”

Thanet council Cabinet members meet on Thursday (January 27) and are expected to agree for the current tenant to surrender her lease and to agree a new lease with the RBP for an extended 25 year term at market rent for the premises.

The current lease of £10,500 per annum will be retained for three years so investment can be made on repairs and renovation and then a rent review will take place. Until the completion of repair works, the current tenant will be retained as a guarantor.

Additional land on both sides of the boating pool site could be included in the new lease.

The boating pool was originally a bandstand which, with the tea pavilion, was constructed as part of the St Lawrence Estate Scheme.

It was designed by Basil Deacon Architect and constructed by building contractors W.W.Martin of Dane Park Road, Ramsgate. The tea pavilions and bandstand were opened in August 1929.

Designed in the “general style of the Italian Renaissance” the site consists of two narrow single storey radial pavilions facing east and west, their front elevation facing the former circular bandstand and stepped terracing (now a boating pool).

The whole development was Listed Grade II in 1988.

The pavilions were constructed in rendered brick on concrete foundations. Design features include a dentil cornice below the parapet and substantial Tuscan columns.

The bandstand was entirely constructed of re-enforced concrete complete with columns and cupola, surrounded by stepped terracing to accommodate 2,000 people. The bandstand was demolished in 1961 and the stepped terracing flooded to create the boating pool.


  1. i always thought this would have made a nice art gallery – no i didnt really i leave that up to the other P****s

    • I heard that they asked Ravensgate for a lot of advice on how it all ran, suggesting that they wanted to keep them open before completely stealing their idea..

    • The article isn’t clear about the link between The Ravensgate in King street and the boating pool site. What exactly is the connection? The plans described in the article don’t seem to include a pub.

  2. This is a wonderful news!
    Ramsgate is a beautiful place and is crying for initiatives like this . RBP deserves all our support and encouragement, let’s get Ramsgate to its original splendour. Best of luck guys!

  3. Fantastic news, and a great lift for our town! Looks like the plans are sound and very very respectful of the local community. The ethos to “give back” to Ramsgate is music to my ears.

    I love that they’re looking to support new business and re-invest profit locally. From what I can tell from the article I’m sure RBP would prefer that The Ravensgate stays on but of course, they need to have a plan if they decide not to stay. Nothing there about “kicking them out”.

    I can’t wait for this to happen. The boating pool is a fantastic location and one that deserves this attention and care.

  4. This looks proper! So many projects round the country are showing that it’s not an either-or issue: you don’t choose either “culture” or “stuff for ordinary people”, you can have both, and the cultural investment naturally helps to lift a place up, encourage local spending and create jobs. So much better something like this than a bunch of chain restaurants which ultimately create a town with no character and channel money out of the area. Full support!

  5. Drain the pool, reinstate the seating area and build a new bandstand. The pool is dead water and dead space. The seating area would form a lovely social space and attract more customers.

  6. This would be such positive, respectful and inclusive transformation. Great project and looking forward to seeing its development 👏

  7. So excited about this. We have spent the summer at Ravensgate Arms pop up and have regularly discussed how wonderful it would be to regenerate such a piece of real estate. Fingers crossed all goes ahead as it’s desperately needed and will surely bring lots of people to the area. Good luck to those involved!

  8. This is so exciting! This is exactly what the area needs and Ravensgate Arms’ popularity just shows how welcome locals would be to the regeneration of this piece of real estate. Wishing all the team the best of luck and pushing TDC to approve quickly! Summer is coming!

  9. More of this please! Sounds like there has been some real thought put in to how this beautiful spot can be utilised all year round.

  10. This is great news for Ramsgate, just what the area needs. The plans look amazing, hopefully this is approved soon. This building is beautiful and needs to be restored, looking forward to seeing its developments. Good luck to all involved.

  11. Are they going yo keep the boating lake, i hope so, generations of my family have experience this, would love ❤ this to be working again

  12. This looks so great! It really sounds like a lot of thought has gone into this, I looks forward to watching the refurbishment of such a cherished site.

  13. Great news, looks fantastic more of what’s needed in Ramsgate and nice to see current lease of £10,500 per annum will be retained for three years to give them a chance to get the project off the ground.

  14. This looks amazing! We loved the ravensgate and cannot wait to see all the new additions. It’s such a beautiful place with a knockout view, we’d been hoping it would be turned into something special. Also great that the businesses involved are independent, not chains. Looking forward to seeing it all come to life 🤞

    • Ravensgate isn’t opening back up. The owners are opening up their own bar instead of offering it back to ravensgate..

  15. This sounds really exciting! A project that retains and respects the original architecture but also allows the site to be used year-round and provides entertainment for lots of different people.
    I have loved the Boating Pool since I visited as a child in the 80s and now I bring my own kids here. Thrilled there are promising plans for its future…

  16. This will be awesome! what a site!! and finally a team with brilliant ideas! I can not wait to see the doors opening! bravo! Ramsgate definitely need this!

  17. This all sounds so exciting! So great to see people investing in the area, with great ideas, bringing new and interesting opportunities to Ramsgate

  18. A fantastic initiative and I welcome the dedication and will support this! Brilliant news and such a lovely location. Bring on summer and may this thrive and investment continue!

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