Ramsgate’s Granville Theatre is now up for sale

The Granville Theatre is up for sale

The Granville Theatre in Ramsgate has now been put up for sale in the open market.

Thanet council owns the freehold of the building, which was also used as a cinema. The site has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

The Granville is the town’s only multi-purpose entertainment venue. It takes its name from The Granville Hotel.  The theatre’s patron is actress Brenda Blethyn.

The building was listed as an asset of community value in 2019.

The council took formal possession of the venue in May last year after the impact of covid left the Granville Theatre Ltd team – who had been running the site – with no option but to relinquish it.

Photo Frank Leppard

In October 2021 Thanet council invited expressions of interest from eligible community groups to become the new owners the theatre.

A submission from Kent Film Foundation was rejected as not meeting the relevant criteria. The group wants 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 The Sandcastle.

Plans include workshop space to continue with youth film clubs and to create a new youth theatre and youth orchestra in partnership with Pie Factory music and the inclusion of two cinema screens and new theatre space.

How the renamed Granville building looks in Kent Film Foundation’s proposal

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.

However, at a council meeting in March Cabinet Member for Economic Development Cllr Reece Pugh said: “The KFF submission did not provide adequate designs or costings for refurbishment of the building and lacked proof of funding and a realistic business plan.”

He also revealed that a survey in 2017 had identified some £152,000 would be required for internal works and, in addition, another £250,000 would be needed for roof repairs.

The group has been fundraising in the hope of now buying the site.

Photo Frank Leppard

The site is now being marketed by Miles & Barr Commercial and details are expected to go live on the company’s website on May 16.

Commercial Manager, Phil Hoskin said: “We are elated that the Thanet District Council has chosen us as the agent to assist with the sale of the historic Granville Theatre. Our commercial department has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and the contract to market the Granville Theatre is a testimony to the hard work seen on a daily basis within the team.

“The multi-purpose entertainment venue is a landmark in Ramsgate. The sale of the historic venue creates a wonderful opportunity for someone or a company to write the next chapter in the building’s history, an exciting prospect.”

Thanet council say: “Bids were recently invited from interested parties who wished to undertake a Community Asset Transfer. A submission was received from the Kent Film Foundation but did not meet the criteria required for it to be successful.

“The Community Right to Bid phase expired on Wednesday 20 April and Miles & Barr Commercial has now been appointed to market the property for a period of at least six weeks. After this date, all offers received will be reviewed and assessed.”

Central Harbour ward councillor Becky Wing is among councillors who had backed  the film foundation plans, saying they would have created a much needed cultural, community, educational, training, event and theatrical centre which Ramsgate presently lacks.

Speaking previously, after the foundation bid was rejected, she said: “The selling of assets to the highest bidder has so far left us with a derelict Western Undercliff site and old Motor Museum none of which now benefit our community. In fact, they blight our communities.”

The sale coincides with the closure of the Theatre Royal in Margate on April 28, which is earmarked for refurbishment, and the Margate Winter Gardens on August 14 after which it is planned to use Margate Town Deal funding of £300,000 to create a fully developed plan for the site.

The old Granville Pavilion was damaged beyond repair in World War Two and was demolished.

The New Granville Theatre, as it was originally known, was designed by architect Mr W. Garwood at a cost of £13,100 and every usable brick from the old building was brought back into use, with new blocks being made in the town.

The theatre was declared open by the Mayor of Ramsgate Alderman Austin in June 1947.

The Granville Theatre will be listed on the Miles & Barr Commercial page here

31 Comments

  1. So another building that TDC has just let rot. £250,000 needed for roof repairs and £152,000 for internal works. When will this rubbish council learn about building maintenance!

  2. Great perhaps TDC could tidy and clear all the weeds ( some a metre high) and sweep up the area.Through your neglect it looks like a blott on the landscape.Thought I lived in the UK not the Third World.

    • Perhaps we can also ask them to do Ramsgate West Cliff Hall, Margate Winter Gardens and Margate Theatre Royal… as well as the lifts in Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Cliftonville… as well as all the closed toilets, and just about everything else.

      I’ve just had a long weekend in Folkestone/Sandgate/Hythe, and it reminded me exactly what ageing Kent seaside resorts SHOULD look like!

      • I was in Folkestone too over the weekend Peter and I have to say I agree. What has been done in the harbour area in such a short time is fantastic. Took a walk through the creative quarter too and along the beach on the path towards Sandgate. TDC should hang there heads in shame, what have they done to the area in that time apart from let it rot and set up a few phoney arts places / areas and sell assets off.

        Thanet could knock the socks off Folkestone if some effort was put in. I was saying the the people we were with that you need to take people from TDC to these areas and other coastal areas that have been successful and show them what spending the money in the right areas and keeping the place clean and weed free can do for tourism and the area as a whole. Rather than this brown envelope, back hand, patting ourselves on the back for achieving nothing council that we have. The only things they seem to pump money into is the Turner, which is so far up it’s backside it’s unreal and then Dreamland which is just a money pit.

        Rant over, but this council is rotten to the core adn they haven’t got a clue what it takes to make a successful coastal town in this day and age.

    • Watching DIY SOS now I hope the granville dont apply.

      It’s for helping families and community groups who places need doing up.

      The granville isnt a family and isnt a community building.

        • What community project owns it ?

          I thought TDC owns it.

          DIY SOS isnt for council own buildings it’s for families that have hit very hard and sad times. Or for a community owned building that supports locals that are having hard and difficult times.

          DIY SOS isnt there to support another art project which only supports the arty people again. The art community gets enough of our taxes already.

          I really like DIY SOS but if it got involved in this I wouldnt watch again.

          • Confused, you are right. It’s owned and neglected by TDC. It would have been a community building if TDC hadn’t kicked out the offer from the Community Group to redevelop it. The info is in the article. I.m.h.o. a ‘community’ building is one that is used by and benefits the community. A theatre is therefore a community building. As I said TDC should stop the sale and allow the community organisation to get on with the plan. DIY SOS also helps communities that are struggling to get community buildings up to scratch. Mostly small charities – but it would be worth a shot.

  3. Tory donors get the gig. Yet another repair cost plucked out of the sky £1/4 million you WILL notice they are NEVER £174 125 99P.?

  4. This is the Tories idea of levelling up just run everything into the ground. Shame on them the biggest wasters of taxpayers money of ANY political party.

  5. Thank you TDC for turning this arts bid down and putting the site up for sale on the open market. The harsh reality is that the local arts scene in Ramsgate is defined by very low-level practitioners, so all this cinema looked like becoming was another venue filled by people who can only become big fish if they operate in a small pond.
    I also think it is time to revisit allowing the Ramsgate arts barge to be moored in a prime spot in the harbour. I used to enjoy walking to and from the beach along the Harbour Parade, looking into the water, sometimes seeing fish or birds, or even a seal, or just the lovely aquamarine water, but now all I get to look down at is a rusty ugly old barge covered in a giant plastic banner which someone has rather pathetically tried to spruce up by putting a handful of dodgy looking (are they fake plastic) greenery and plants. Those aesthetics speak volumes about the artists (personally I would not call them artists) and what’s to come. Get the barge out of the harbour’s prime spot until it’s been done up and proved itself, so we all have something nice to look at once again. Or have it sat there looking like a wreck for more years and years and years …

    • They have paid for the mooring there, so that’s that.

      I agree they do need to get on with it though, I haven’t seen any developments or work on it it since it arrived and it is becoming an eye sore.

  6. Kardn

    Reading the article it seems the community group didnt meet the criteria. Didnt provide a proof of funding or a business plan.

    If that is true you cant just hand over public own buildings willie nillie.

    I have no idea who decides that the proof of funding and business plan was up to spec.

    That might be a different story.

    To me it feels a shame that it was another project similar to others in thanet art based.
    Couldnt it have been a youth club or something for ordinary disenfranchised kids. The art sector is well catered for we need to look at ordinary kids

  7. Make the theatre somewhere where they put on ‘specialist shows’ like show for men only and shows for women only (strippers) … and have bedrooms for private dacers … plus have a Dutch coffee shop onsite where you can get all your ‘medical needs ‘ met.. lots of people would visit.. hen doos stag does lots of drunks late at night having fun ..

    • I miss the days when I could pop into a pub for a lunchtime pint and see a stripper. They had ’em in several pubs in the Old Kent Road back in the early 80s, went down nicely with my Double Diamond and Pork Pie.

  8. Seems odd that TDC are going to market the Granville via an estate agent, have they sought professsional valuations in order to set the asking price? Is the normal practice not to put it into auction and so gain best value on the day? Where will the transparency be in respect of any offers put forward and any decision by TDC to accept or refuse ? Which officers will be putting their name on any decision? All seems a bit odd and open to finagling.

  9. I’m absolutely disgusted at this, Thanet Council should be utterly ashamed of themselves. With winter gardens and theatre royal closing there are no centres for the arts in the area. Do you think your residents are all uncultured or not worth you working on their behalf for a more desirable place to live. These decisions make me so angry and I can’t be the only resident who feels this way.

  10. “The Community Right to Bid phase expired on Wednesday 20 April and Miles & Barr Commercial has now been appointed to market the property for a period of at least six weeks. After this date, all offers received will be reviewed and assessed.”
    M&B on the scene within 20 days yet it has taken almost a year for TDC to get round to thinking about appointing consultants to look at the Winter Gardens repair needs.
    Stinks.

  11. I’m with RL comment.
    TDC as owners should have kept the repairs up… Anyone on the council past and present should feel sick to the hilt and guilty of neglect.

    Rotting tdc

  12. I chatted to Miles & Barr on this and their Remy texted me to say there was no guide price – the Council was asking for business offers and plans. I hope there is something here because there is neither cinema not theatre in Thanet at present. We don’t need this fumbling.

      • Maybe they mean ‘specialist cinema’ where they show 24/7 porn films .. nothing like that in Thanet .. plus part could be a brothel ? Lots of locals and tourists would flock there .. good passing trade .. I hope this happens

        • Martin not sure where you live but there are already plenty of who’re houses in Thanet and as for somewhere to buy and use drugs you only need to stand still on any street or corner and you will either be offered or just inhale someone else’s smoke. Just hope people vote the council out next chance they can

    • If that’s correct, I smell a rat in the shape of a back door way of making the film foundation offer look a better prospect than first thought and so they get in the end anyway. If the council wants to vet any future proposed use they should put restrictions on the sale details. Much better it goes into auction and the then buyer goes through the proper planning channels formally.

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