A community bid to take on the Granville Cinema in Ramsgate has now been submitted by the Kent Film Foundation.
The freehold for the building is owned by Thanet council, which 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. The venue had been shut since the start of the pandemic.
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 site was then put on the open market through Miles & Barr Commercial with all offers to be reviewed after the June 27 deadline. Thanet council says it will the assess those bids.
Kent Film Foundation has today (June 25) submitted a 131-page rewritten business plan to support its proposal to redevelop the site– backed by a cash offer to buy the building.
The plan addresses the feedback the Foundation received since its previous bid was rejected and includes further developed proposals and supporting policies. It has been formally submitted to the authority’s appointed estate agent and its Deputy Leader Cllr Reece Pugh, in a last-ditch attempt to save the building from being taken from the local community.
Also included are photos, videos, a petition and supporting statements documenting the thousands of local residents who have come out in support of the Foundation’s proposals over recent months.
Despite the rundown condition of the building, which was listed as an Asset of Community Value in 2019, members of the Kent Film Foundation say there is a wealth of potential and rebuild and refurb plans are ‘doable.’
A survey in 2017 identified some £152,000 would be required for internal works and, in addition, another £250,000 would be needed for roof repairs. The building has continued to deteriorate since that survey.
The KFF group wants to create a new arts 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 , increased cinema screens and new theatre space.
The plans for construction of the building are for a £3-£5million “Green Build” design and the scheme is expected to create at least 12 new permanent jobs alongside other employment and work-based learning opportunities, and contribute to the local visitor economy.
Founder of Kent Film Foundation and Filmmaker, Jan Dunn said: “On behalf of the Kent Film Foundation Trustees and team, I am grateful to the people of Ramsgate who have come out in droves to fight with us to keep hold of this wonderful asset and bring it back to life; to the ward and town councillors who have given us their time and support; and particularly to Cllr Pugh for his assurances that TDC will not just sell the building off to the highest bidder if a robust, viable and sustainable proposal to preserve it for the benefit of the community is put forward.
“Today, we have submitted that proposal, along with an offer to give TDC some money for it and a commitment to take responsibility for driving forward our plans to fund and oversee the building’s complete refurbishment to create a place that the people of Ramsgate can be proud of.”
Kent Film Foundation’s bid is being backed by numerous local organisations, such as Ramsgate Festival and the Ramsgate International TV and Film Festival, and is being supported by the Theatres Trust and the Cinema Collective.
KFF is inviting residents to join them and show support for the bid by gathering at the Granville Cinema tomorrow (June 26) from 2pm.