Fire at Ramsgate’s West Cliff Hall ‘set deliberately’

Firefighters gaining entrance to the site Photo Corinne Gladstone

A fire at the West Cliff Hall in Ramsgate yesterday (April 28) is thought to have been set deliberately.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service was called to reports of the fire in the derelict building on the Paragon at 1.10pm.

Four fire engines were sent to the scene and several firefighters had to force entrance into the building.

Crews wearing breathing apparatus used hose reel jets to extinguish a small fire, before using a high-pressured fan to clear the building of smoke.

A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “No injuries were reported, and it’s believed the fire was started deliberately. Duty of care was left with Kent Police.”

Crews finished at the scene at 3.35pm.

A Kent Police spokesperson added: “Kent Police was called at around 1.30pm on Sunday to a report of a fire at a building on The Paragon, Ramsgate.

“Officers attended along with Kent Fire and Rescue Service, who extinguished the fire. No injuries were reported.

“The fire is currently being treated as suspicious and enquiries are ongoing. Anyone with information relevant to the investigation should contact Kent Police quoting 46/68806/24.”

Sad condition of Ramsgate’s West Cliff Hall Photo Frank Leppard

The West cliff Hall has been empty since 2005 when the Motor Museum left the site. Over the following almost two decades the property has remained empty and continued to deteriorate.

A company set up by the owner of Ramsgate’s West Cliff Hall has had compulsory strike off action suspended for a second time.

The first compulsory strike off action was discontinued in January 2023 for the company which has been dormant since it was created in 2019.

A second strike off action was lodged in September last year and suspended in November.

The company, Westcliff Development Ltd, is headed up by Dr Davinder Singh Jamus and Mohinder Singh Rajan, who bought West Cliff Hall for £225,000 in 2018 after Thanet council put it to auction.

Since then no planning applications for the site have been submitted to Thanet council and the building continues to deteriorate.

It opened in 1914 as a theatre, concert hall and promenade venue, adjacent to the Royal Paragon Baths.

It had been an Italian Garden with bandstand until the cliff was dug out to make space for the new hall. The first 40 metres of the existing promenade along Ramsgate’s West Cliff, are formed by the roof of the concert hall which previously hosted acts including the Rolling Stones in 1964.

Plans to rebuild and recreate the site were put in motion by youth charity Project MotorHouse in 2009.

Guy Holloway design

The charity, which was headed by Ramsgate resident Janet Fielding before a decision to shut it down last year, wanted to create cinemas; theatres; bars; restaurants, offices and youth facilities.

The site had been on the council’s disposal list from 2005 to 2010 without any other interest being expressed.

Photo Frank Leppard

In 2014 Thanet council and Project MotorHouse jointly commissioned a surveyor’s report which found that not only was the steel frame of the building severely corroded and needed replacing, but the outer walls were resting on wet masonry with no other support.

A structural survey, which was carried out by Holt and Wotton Ltd, said the toilet block of the hall “in part supports the adopted highway,” adding “some propping has been provided within the building.

Photo Frank Leppard

“The propping in the two-storey section is due to serious deterioration of precast concrete roof beams and the section of the promenade over this area of the building has been fenced off to prevent public access.

“The propping in the stairwell is due to the heavily corroded condition of the steel beams within the stairwell.”

The report outlined corrosion and cracks throughout the hall and added: “There are many issues with this building.

“In simple terms the exposed steel work in the stairwell between the building and the toilet block and at the rear of the stairwell at low level are all severely corroded such that they would need replacement.”

Photo Frank Leppard

The survey said the asphalt roof had reached the end of its life. In looking at options for the future of the building the report said retaining it would mean ‘significant repair,’ and a new build would be “easier to achieve long term solutions.”

A third option, to infill the site, was deemed too expensive. A suggestion was to demolish the main building and construct an embankment.

MotorHouse raised more than £300,000 which paid for lawyers, asbestos removal and propping, fixing the garden walls, vat specialists,  surveys, a construction industry project manager and designs by architect Guy Hollaway.

Guy Holloway design

But in 2017 Thanet council approved the sale of the West Cliff Hall, and the Western Undercliffe café and toilets, on the open market.

It was bought at auction the following year for £225,000. Since then no work has taken place at the site.

At the time of the sale concerns were raised over possible landbanking.


  1. Only stock pics of the hall? Come on Kathy & co., it’s a lovely morning – get out there and takes some photos!

  2. I smell something really bad-Remember the PLEASURAMA BUILDING -A fire broke out. We all know who was behind that. And Dreamland- and the Arcade on Margate seafront-where there is now a gap. Am shocked but something really stinks here.

  3. we could probably use this to help the homeless has its been empty for years it would be lovely if the council could do something like that wirh it if I had the money its what I would use it for

  4. It says the crew extinguished a small fire, more than likely by the local feral kids smoking their weed.
    Had it been a planned arson it would have taken hold like the old seafront station did in 1998

  5. Royal Crescent St AUGUSTINES rd isn’t far behind being beyond repair, had scaffolding for 8yrs , opposite the motor museum strangely, the residents have been conned they have to pay for when they sell up or when there family’s sell up . Leasehold small print that never existed.

  6. Serves TDC right, after allowing it to go to ruin, and never moving forward with previous plans. Should burn parliament.

  7. TDC has it in there gift to ensure the owners have the building secure, safe, monitored, and is structurally sound. Moreover they can demand to know what plans the owner has for the building and even begin a compulsory purchase of the building if it has been abandoned or allowed to become a danger to the public.

  8. Another old world building being intentionally destroyed …selling off and removing Tartaria piece by piece ….how many other old world structures are being leaving to rot in Thanet?!

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