Organisers estimate some 1,000-plus people turned out for a demonstration in support of Kent Film Foundation’s bid for the Granville Theatre in Ramsgate.
The demo, held yesterday (March 15) included a ‘wraparound’ of the builsing with those gathered surrounding its perimeter more than once over.
In October Thanet council invited expressions of interest from eligible community groups to become the new owners of Ramsgate’s Granville Theatre.
The council owns the freehold of the Granville but the site has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.
The property is an Asset of Community Value, which means any disposal of the building must be carried out in accordance with rules set out in the Localism Act 2011.
But the submission from Kent Film Foundation was rejected as not meeting the relevant criteria and the site is now being advertised on the open market – although Thanet council says the foundation has time to resubmit a proposal.
The foundation had hoped to create a new centre with workshop space, cinema, theatre, a bee-friendly roof terrace, the town’s first organic restaurant – and a new name.
Plans included workshop space to continue with youth film clubs and to create a new youth theatre and youth orchestra in partnership with Pie Factory music.
There would also have been two cinema screens and new theatre space.
The plans for construction of the building were for a “Green Build” design, with a bee-friendly roof terrace opened up to the public and a small cinema kiosk/café.
Thanet council says the film foundation can still submit their bid through the Community Right to Bid process.
Kent Film Foundation founder, screenwriter and director Jan Dunn said: “It was an amazing turn out. We think around 1000 or even 1500 people – enough to go around the building again, not just one wraparound of people.
“We felt very humbled and don’t want to let the town down. There is so much to do. This was a part of Ramsgate’s history whatever happens to the building in the end but hopefully it will urge Thanet council to think again when we resubmit.”
County Councillor Karen Constantine, who helped organise the demo, said: “We all want to save The Granville. We saw a stunning turnout which clearly demonstrates how valuable local facilities are to people and the strength of feeling to keep them.
“We can’t keep selling off our valuable social assets. All too often buildings are sold raising a small amount of revenue for TDC, but all too often we then have to watch them rot. That isn’t good enough.
“I want to see TDC making much more effort to engage with and to positively facilitate community groups to ensure we can keep these buildings and return them to public use. TDC need to return to the status quo, they need to slow down the process, allowing enough time for a fresh application by KFF.
“It’s clear that we need proper and fair decision marking and scrutiny processes restoring. Decisions of this type always need to be considered by elected representatives – the councillors – and be solely officer decisions. We need proper and fair processes restoring.
“The fight will continue.”
Cllr Constantine says she has offered to convene a further public meeting on behalf of Kent Film Foundation.
Further offers for the site can be made under the Community Right to Bid, until the end of the moratorium period on Wednesday 20 April. The premises are being advertised on the open market and any offers received will be assessed at the end of the moratorium period.
Interested parties can find out more about the Community Right To Bid process on the council website: www.thanet.gov.uk/community-right-to-challenge-and-bid
A petition set up by artist Karen Vost urging Thanet council to reconsider is gaining traction with almost 5,000 signatures.
Kent Film Foundation reveals ambitious ‘green’ proposals for Granville Theatre building
What PLANET are these officers living on and who is bullying them to act against the interests of the towns they are supposed to be serving? Do they think Ramsgate is already saturated with cinemas and venues like this? Do they really think they are helping to level things up by allowing assets like this to fall into the hands of property speculators?
Kent Film Foundation don’t do their application properly and the council are at fault ?
EgonSpengler, do you have inside knowledge on why the application was rejected? If so, then are you able to offer constructive and timely advice to KFF?
Just jumping to conclusions in the same way you are assuming the situation is the council at fault….
That is what I read! They didn’t fill the form in correctly!
Samantha, if they didn’t fill the form in correctly then this wasn’t obvious from the article. The article just cited the excuse “not meeting the relevant criteria”. Does the council genuinely want this community project to succeed or is it desperate to sell the family silver to the highest bidder?
I’m all for the Granville to remain ,but all the people demonstrating where were they when it was open ,they didn’t support it then ,
Same with anything that shuts be it a pub or a shop etc…. Up roar but bought your wine from Tesco and shopped online…use it or lose it people
I can’t say for them all but I went to see films all the time, and I was in yesterday’s wrap.
With that said the point now is whether KFF’s plan would work for us and be financially sustainable. It looks like a pretty good plan, it’s funded, has loads of backers so why did TDC refuse it?
Lastly, Penelope and Andrew, were you supporting the protest? Have you written to TDC? Do you want the Granville to open as a theatre, cinema, arts space and centre for locals to play and learn? If so please don’t moan but get active, you might find it refreshing.
I have always supported the Granville, and some people have to work , and can’t make the protest,how many people up there yesterday supported the Granville
I don’t really care, the market will decide. Either its a commercially viable business or its not. The Carleton here in Westgate is.
Wont be the “Granville” anyway if they get there hands on it as it will be woked up.
On the occasions I went there to watch a film, there were just six or seven of us in the audience.
Agreed! It was in such a poor state!
Why do you say they didn’t support it then ? They wouldn’t all be there together everyday like the crowd on this occasion but that doesn’t mean they were not using the place.
How ironic that there all these “Save the Granville” banners, yet Kent Film Foundation want to get rid of it in favour of something less “offensive”!
Peter – how did your bid to keep the Granville in community hands and keep calling it the Granville get on? Will TDC be progressing that instead?
Who knows what TDC’s alternative plans are?
He’s an arse, thinks he’s playing devil’s advocate, but really he’s just an arse.
If you’re referring to me Mr Dim, I’m not playing devil’s advocate at all. I’m criticising the Turkeys campaigning to save Christmas, without any ambiguity on my part.
There are always the same few commenters on here who seem to delight in putting things down, spending a great deal of time undermining and belittling the efforts, aspirations and hopes of other people.
They come across as really unhappy souls.
Ignore them, we should all know not to feed the trolls by now.
Bernard Monaighan it’s not just about the KFF bid it’s about getting it reopened, even if it means a scaled down plan a refurbishment etc, in my view the people at the protest want it reopened first and foremostley with a sustainable plan