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.