Granville opening could face delay as objections lodged over licensing application

Auditorium concept design @unltd_xyz

The opening date for Ramsgate’s Granville Theatre – scheduled for May 13 – could be pushed back if objections lodged over the venue’s licensing application mean it has to be heard by a council committee.

Westwood One Ltd, which also operates Under 1 Roof Thanet in Pysons Road, completed the purchase of the theatre from Thanet council last October.

The company is run by Ramsgate sisters Zahra and Parisa Tarjomani and Pyramid Martial Arts & Just Kids Parties owner Matt Milchard. They have been working on renovations since the purchase to create the 600 seat auditorium and cocktail bar, restaurant and community arts space.

Zahra, Matt and Parisa get set to open the doors of the Granville Theatre Photo James Pearce

A huge programme of events has already been lined up including, most recently, the award winning production Stranger Sings and local productions such as Margate Operatic Society’s The Addams Family.

First shows announced

But a row has now broken out over the submission for a licence to sell alcohol from 9am to 1am and opening hours of 8am to 1.30am.

Michael Goodall, who is one of the directors of Poldark Court retirement flats opposite the theatre, says some residents are concerned at the 1.30am closing time and there are fears of late night noise.

Theatre co-owner Zahra says the licensing application is for ‘blanket’ times which give the option for an occasional late night opening which she anticipates using no more than twice a year, if at all.

But the issue could mean that the application will now have to go to a licensing committee hearing at Thanet council and this is unlikely to happen until after the May 4 election.

Granville theatre and cinema before purchase Photo Frank Leppard

Michael said: “We only heard about it when someone notified our manager. We are not against the theatre reopening at all but we do object to a 1.30am closing. We are concerned about that, people aren’t against the entertainment but we are worried about the late finish   in a fairly quiet residential area and having people milling about at that hour when there are elderly residents here.”

He added that there were questions over whether there would potentially be a nightclub venue rather than just theatre and films.

Zahra says there is no intention for a late night club and, as a mother with a young child, she has no plans to be working until 1.30am on a regular basis.

She added: “It is a blanket licence that gives us the opportunity to host various events should the need arise. The advice we were given was to go for the maximum hours to cover all eventualities. But I don’t want to be running late nights and I think we will be in line with other theatre and restaurant operating hours.

“It isn’t going to be a nightclub, it’s not going to be a rave music venue but should, for instance, someone choose to get married with us we would like the opportunity to offer them a later finish.”

Granville designs for inside by @unltd_xyz

Zahra said the restaurant and café are vital to the regeneration plans for the Granville, adding: “The income from the café and restaurant area is what will keep the theatre open. Theatres do not make money and there is no support from council grants so it has to be a commercially viable property or it won’t survive.”

She added that the plan had been to send a letter to neighbours outlining the proposals and inviting them to the venue to chat – an offer she says is still open.

The Granville has been closed since the pandemic hit in 2020. The building had also deteriorated and there were estimated repair costs of some £152,000  for internal works and another £250,000 for roof repairs in 2021.

Since the purchase renovation and roof works have taken place with new designs for the foyer, cinema and theatre auditorium and cafe and restaurant areas.

This month work has been taking place on the foyer construction and flooring.

It has not yet been confirmed whether the application will be called before the licensing committee.

A potted history of the Granville

The building began its life as the newly-created Granville Concert Enclosure with a partial roof and windbreaks in 1914, upgraded with a new canvas awning in 1920. The building’s primary purpose was in offering a summer season Concert Party. This was a music-hall mix of musicians, singers and comedy acts.

In 1924 it was given a new roof offering “now complete shelter from the wind and rain” and a new name as The Granville Concert Pavilion .

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.

Films were first screened from May 1986 on Sundays only, initially using 16mm projection equipment with 35mm later installed, becoming a full-time cinema from 1991. In 1997 two cinema screens were approved and the Granville Cinema was redesigned by Rowlett & Taylor of Broadstairs, retaining one screen for dual theatre/film screenings.

The Granville is Ramsgate’s last remaining cinema of the three that used to be in the town, including the Odeon and the King’s cinemas, and it is the town’s only theatre building.

60 Comments

  1. So, do the residents of the ‘retirement flats’ object to the music events at the San Clu Hotel just up the road?
    Sounds a bit like a case of kill joyless to me…

    • Is there a difference in the fact that people walking up from the seafront after 1am than leaving the Granville at 1am ,? Probably not , I like the theatre so if a after drinks party to give congratulations to a good performance is deserved that adds more to a good night out aslong as its quite and well behaved what’s the issue .

  2. Why do they need a drinks license from 9am ,11 am or midday is fine and why so late ,11pm should be maximum, it’s a built up area so why should people have to live with noise so late at night ,no thoughts for people living in the area.

    • TDC has granted a licence to Dreamland to serve alcohol and hold music concerts until 2am every day.

      I do not see how TDC can then discriminate against the Granville.

      • Totally agree, even though the police weren’t in favour.
        Is it not possible to revoke the application and put in a lesser one?

    • Well I live next to Dreamland and have to have my windows and doors shut in the summer and now they have been granted a license to stay open until 4am (indoors) against police advice I don’t see why the Granville shouldn’t be granted their license at least the owners have done more than TDC, good luck to them.

  3. It’s not Harbour Street, or I expect, not have their clientele. I would imagine some of the the entertainment may run late and people would like a drink after the show. How many people have actually objected ?Maybe they would like it to be run down and used by, possibly squatters, would that make the area more desirable, and their living conditions better. Think about the other options before objecting.

  4. There is no need for a drinks license before midday, You have a drink problem if you need alcohol at time in the morning,if you are at a theatre at that time in the morning ,your there see a show not getting half cut ,as some people will,I have been to theatres where people have turned up drunk or semi drunk,ruins the show ,and checking the prices being quoted for shows at the Granville ,a ruined show comes expensive

  5. It is plain & obvious that the Granville will be a great facility and I find it sad that people living close by have put in objections to Licensing. Why live near the seafront and a theatre if one wants peace and quiet. I bet if they lived in the country away from civilisation they would complain when the tractors ploughed the field or got the harvest in . Must be relatives of Jenny Dawes ???

    • Near the seafront, theatre, country, farm, Airport. It’s all the same. Maybe they forgot it was there before them. Opposite the Granville was a garage, if people can remember that far back, and before that a row of houses in the very early 60’s. Things progress, but unfortunate some people still want to live in the dark ages.

      • most people they don’t what it ,a few would object to anything ,because they can ,but my question iswhy would you need a alcoholic drink at 9 in the morning unless you have drink problem

      • Ray the bread not everyone works days , alot of people works nights so when they finish at 6am they might like a drink after work like day workers , but does anyone cater for these people no they don’t but they should as these are like emergency workers and so fourth don’t mean they have a drink problem tho does it

    • The two are not necessarily contradictory. People had no complaints about the “old” Granville, and I doubt if they would have about the “new” one, if the activities were similar.
      But alarm bells began to ring when a licence application was made to serve alcohol from 9 in the morning until 01:30 the next day.
      This seems quite to odds with the original “Sand Castle” venue being touted.

  6. It is normal practice for Theatres to have late licences for special occasions (the Winter Gardens had a licence until 2am but still usually shut by 11pm).

  7. It’s yet another example of the types of people we have living in our town. They don’t want the Parkway Rail Station they don’t want a long established airport they don’t want a long established theatre. It’s not democracy it’s obstruc-crazy. This government needs to change a few laws to stop these sad sad people thinking everyone has got agree with them when they agree with nothing.

    • Thanet will never move forward sadly ,this place could have such a great economy, airport, port , loads of jobs , but I fear we will get thousands of houses nobody locally can afford! Too many people don’t want change ! Now we have people complaining about a theatre,s drinks licence.

    • The Parkway station is a white elephant. No one needs it.
      The airport, if it ever opens, will be a blight on Ramsgate (RSP say so)
      In recent years, few screen7ngs had more than a handful of customers, so it wasn’t a problem. If the new incarnation of the Granville is to be as vibrant as the proprietors hope, then late night/early morning could be a nightmare.

  8. well some people do not seem to want anything around here that they feel might interfere with thier sad little lives , licences have been granted all over the place in thanet . i dont really think the patrons of the granville will be going there for a booze session

    • For once, I agree with Clare.
      Just because people express concern over the length of time it is proposed to serve alcohol – from late breakfast until the early hours of the morning – it doesn’t mean that they are against the project per se (nor that they care nothing for Ramsgate and its people).
      Had the proprietors engaged with locals (they said they would, but apparently didn’t) this difficulty might have been resolved.
      Now, following concerns raised, it will be considered by TDC, and resolution will follow.
      But if, as Ms Tarjomani implies, the success of the venture depends on late night revelry, it doesn’t bode too well for the neighbourhood.

  9. Who gave the Granville Theatre advice that they should go for blanket licensing hours?
    Someone at TDC or a Councillor? Did no-one tell them that they would need to engage their neighbours in their plans?
    Who advised them to be ageist, insulting, and incite their supporters to attack anyone who had reservations specifically about opening hours and now about the professionalism of the management.
    No-one is against their re-opening at all.
    The licensing hours should have been kept the same and for infrequent events the application of a temporary entertainment notice. That’s what most other venues do.
    This is penny pinching with no regard to what the East Cliff residents may accommodate.
    I can understand their frustration and anger, but to not have a contingency plan in place is both unprofessional and entitled.
    There were also a range of entertainments and proposals that appeared to be outside their original bid. There is a very large community over the age of 55 many of whom are in specially designed sheltered accommodation, why should they bear the brunt of younger peoples ageist attitudes and insults and put up with a vague promise that everything will be OK. And Zahra, who has a young child, is a very weak reassurance that late night openings wont happen. Doesn’t she realise that many women with small children work in care homes and hospitals for instance at night. If she can’t do it I’d hope that they would see fit to actually employ staff, there are many people looking for work. Their venue in Broadstairs does not share such an intimate space as the Granville Theatre does with several blocks of flats at this location. Having a live music venue, disco parties, wrestling and much more is definitely an expansion of use based on what happened there previously. All events at the Granville, historically, have also added to the already inadequate parking provisions on the East Cliff.
    The few commenters on here and Facebook have said if it happens at Dreamland it should happen here. Don’t they understand how much people’s health is challenged by the noise from Dreamland in the summer?
    Ramsgate’s East Cliff in particular is enjoyed for its genteel promenade from the town to the park, it is not part of the Kiss me Quick culture and showing sensitivity to the immediate community’s concerns is basic good manners.
    This sadly has turned into a vile pile on by the Granville Theatre and supporters many of whom did not understand the issues.

    • You’re the ageist, by automatically assuming that everyone over a certain age is in bed by 10pm with a mug of horlicks. I’m a woman of 72, yet still enjoy a cocktail or two after a show.

    • Well put Clare. I am excited and look forward to using the Granville but it is a shame they didn’t have some communication with their neighbours regarding the licence

    • It is common practice in the Licensed trade to apply for a lot of hours to avoid the need to ask for any extra special extensions. Those unusual hours are rarely if ever used. Maybe for the Coronation or a similar one off event. The family that have spent a small fortune on the building need and deserve the support from their neighbours . Ramsgate town had 4 cinemas in town in the 1950s ; none for many years sadly as all closed ; and it it a great shame to read so many moans and groans.

      • I truly want this theatre/cinema to be successful as you do but for some years before it closed whenever I went to see a film it was nearly always empty!

  10. Given how Faith in Strangers morphed from originally pretty much solely a coworking space into now essentially a nightclub, with little trouble. The local residents probably have grounds for concerns and be able to express them. The council given the new owners statements should perhaps limit late licences to 8-12 a year , which would more than cover the owners expected needs. They could then apply for changes in the future if needed and no problems were experienced.

  11. 9am to 1am?
    Surely noon to 11pm would be more suitable especially as there is am old folks home opposite

  12. Why are people trying to draw parallels between this and manston? Madness. This sounds good. Can empathise with those worried about noise and nuisance but think this venture is a very different kettle of fish from a nightclub. Bring a bit of culture and nuance to the town.

  13. Looking down this list of comments it’s not difficult to see who is responsible for the complaining, from my medical standpoint I would advise them to make an appointment with their doctor their doctor it seems to me they are in need to be on HRT also a trip to SpecSavers would be wise because they are having optical delusions by seeing “ white elephants” very odd.

    • It’s clear from all the experts’ statements (Ove Arup etc etc) that a cargo airport at Manston would indeed be a white elephant.

  14. What, exactly, is this space?
    A theatre or cinema?
    A creative space for artists?
    Workshops for children?
    A nightclub/dance venue for revellers?

  15. Any true local, born before 1960 will remember the thriving town of Ramsgate. The town, clifftop and seafront were full of “visitors” during the summer season. Sadly this all came to an end with the advent of foreign holidays. The fact that these areas are now ghost towns at night is one of the many reasons there is anti social behaviour. I hardly think the proposed entertainment at the Granville is likely to attract drunken debauchery and stabbings. Bringing this area back to life can only be a positive move. Being elderly does not mean you’ve given up on living. Having a venue where you can stop for a coffee, or glass of wine can only be a bonus to a bonus while you’re enjoying the views.
    If anyone complaining about it isn’t originally local, and came here to retire, please find somewhere else. I would much prefer it to be as it was in its hey day. I’m not ready to push up the daisies yet.

  16. You can bet if someone wanted to reopen Rooks shop those who moan about the Airport and theatrical outlets would try to stop Rooks reopening because they don’t like the smell of the saveloys. What with the tunnel closures and the moaners businesses in Ramsgate are struggling a lot more than they need to. That’s why we must never ever let the moaners win. Although it might be against your normal voting habits I urge voters not to vote Labour or the Greens in the local elections in Ramsgate. They need to be kicked out of office they bang on about the environment yet they are the toxic ones. I would suggest respectfully that if you vote conservative it would those little toxic clique who do harm to our town a well deserved kick up the rear.

    • If you look at the impacts of Conservative governments, both local and national levels, you’ll see why *not* voting Conservative would be the think to do.
      You make absurd comments about Rookes and other local issues. You’re just making it up to further your strange agenda.

  17. Why did they not do this
    “She added that the plan had been to send a letter to neighbours outlining the proposals and inviting them to the venue to chat – an offer she says is still open”
    So no attempt to engage the neighbours, serves them right to try and get away with a ridiculous licence of 9am to 1am.
    I thought it was a theatre not a pub!

  18. Feel sorry for the new owners of the granville
    Pumping money and putting 100% in to get it reopen only to be possibly halted by a few who object to licensing hrs .
    It’s a blanket and as owner says it won’t be happening till 01.30am as they are parents with kids .
    Noise is noise you can’t tell me there isn’t any when Wetherspoon shuts at 1am and 2am Fri & sat and you can buy a lager in there at 8am too as they have the same licence hrs. I’ve seen people in there at 9am drinking bitter and lager with their breakfast . So if opening is delayed acts are cancelled people are out of pocket and so are the owners . Shows people don’t care about anyone but themselves . You should apologise to the owners asap .

    • It’s not a case of “20 hours a day licence” or “no business”.
      It’s a question of getting the correct balance between the needs of the business and the needs of the locals.
      I wouldn’t actually trust the word of an entrepreneur. Grant licence for, say, 1100 – 2300. Application can be made for an extension as and when.

  19. Blimey, I didn’t realise Ramsgate was full of Killjoy’s!
    I’m in my mid 60’s but still go to gigs, that’s supporting the local economy which is the most important thing these days. I doubt a genteel Sheltered Licing establishment is bringing in much trade?

    • Me neither, but looking at this thread seems not. Much better to sit looking at an eyesore, waiting for it to fall down then sit derelict.

  20. I have read the whole article. One particularly part has stuck in my mind. The part where one of the owners said “Theatres do not make money” Strikes me as a strange statement, but good luck to them.

    • Struck me with that comment also.

      From the first day all I read was about it opening up as a theatre again for the community, now it’s a restaurant/bar/wedding venue!!

      Maybe if they were more transparent with residents from the beginning there might not of been a problem.

      What theatre needs a drink licence from 9am??

      Clearly being a theatre wasn’t the main thing for them but more a restaurant/bar business.

    • Not being used for its soul purpose??

      Maybe they should’ve been up front with the residents with the opening hours in the first place.

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