Appeal to help Ramsgate’s Sugar Rush and Stage Door Arts move out of site under threat of demolition to former HSBC building

Heidi (bottom) hopes to take Sugar Rush and Stage Door Arts from the current site to a new base at the HSBC building

An appeal has been launched to help a Ramsgate performing arts school and community café move from its base in the High Street to the former HSBC bank on the corner of King Street.

Suga Rush, which also houses Stage Door Arts, also provides performance, rehearsal, meeting space, music and office rooms, hotdesks, baby and children classes, community social groups and more.

Sugar Rush moved into the venue in March 2020 and completely renovated what had been an empty unit for a number of years into a performing arts and community space and shop.

The application is to demolish the High Street buildings and create a new site

But last year Business owner Heidi Moran and the other tenants in the row of shops found out the new  landlord had applied for permission to demolish the whole block and rebuild it as 5 smaller shops and 40 flats.

The application submitted by JDP (Ramsgate) Limited is to demolish 60-68 High Street and 1 to 11 George Street which comprised the Pilgrims Hospice shop, Sugar Rush, Cats in Crisis and Simply Danish furniture shop.

The proposal is for shops at ground level and 34 one-bed , 4 two-bed and 2 three-bed flats with refuse and cycle stores and external play space. Car parking provision is not included in the application. A decision on the application is yet to be made but Cats in Crisis has already moved to a new shop in Queen Street.

HSBC Ramsgate © Copyright N Chadwick and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

Now Sugar Rush has the opportunity to take over the old HSBC building but need to raise £15,000 to sign the lease and move in and then more funds to refurbish.

Heidi said: “In March 2020 we got the keys to our dream studio space and we created an amazing community hub at Sugar Rush in Ramsgate High Street. We signed a long lease, and did the full refurb ourselves, with the help of some fab members of our local community.

“We persevered through lockdown, hosting many online events and classes, despite how hard this was. We offer inclusive, accessible performing arts classes for children and teens, opportunities for children, teens and adults to perform shows in theatres, community baby and toddler groups and classes, social groups, a space for local crafters and artists to sell their wares, plus held music, comedy and poetry events.

“We also run a social singing community choir. We are LGBTQ+, neuro diverse friendly venue, plus host many local events including the film festival and festival of sound. We want to continue offering this, plus lots more.

“Fast forward to 2022, our landlord sold, and despite saying the businesses would be unaffected, the new landlord is knocking it down to build 40 odd flats. Luckily, we can take a lot with us and we have found a fantastic new venue, even more central, to continue offering lots for our fantastic community.

“The downside is, we need at least £15,000 just to sign the lease and get in, we then need to refurb that building. We understand that people may not have a lot at the moment, but honestly, anything anybody can offer will be such a help. “

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