The future direction for the now near-derelict Granville Theatre should be determined in a matter of weeks. Will it be confirmed as a community asset based on plans by the Kent Film Foundation or sold off and potentially left to the same fate as the Motorhouse on the West Cliff?
We asked Jan Dunn of the KFF for an update on the current situation as she sees it and we trust members will be interested in her response:
“Everyone, particularly Ramsgate’s residents, believe it should never have come to this – the building being sold on the Open Market. If both the leader Cllr Ash Ashbee and the deputy leader Cllr Reece Pugh stand by what they stated at the cabinet meeting on July 29th 2021 that they want to find a community group to take the buliding on, then why did they not work with us to turnaround their negative decision regarding Kent Film Foundation’s pursuit of acquiring it through a Community Asset Transfer with all their community arts partners involved in their bid. It just doesn’t make any sense at all. Especially as Cllr Pugh stated that “the drawbridge would not go up”.
The charity has garnered immense support for its specific bid with a petition created by local artist Karen Vost securing a huge 5500+ signatures. It is absolutely disgusting that the council as owners of this community asset have just allowed it to get in to such a dreadful state of disrepair. We were in the building last week when the rain was literally pouring in.
We have been doing everything they asked of us to go through the process of acquisition since 2017 – we could have been in there by now. None of the cabinet live in Ramsgate and they appear to just not care at all, or they’d have welcomed us in taking it off their hands.
The estate agents are only opening the building for viewing once a week on Wednesdays. We are aiming for a last blast of public presence at next week’s viewing period outside the building from midday until 2pm.
All supporters should know there is absolutely no reason what so ever that TDC cannot simply turnaround their decision and give KFF the building as a Community Asset Transfer. We think that it is clear they are only after as much cash as they can get in getting rid of it as a liability instead of actually supporting our bid. Our original business plan and proposal even had caveats to return the building straight to them if we had not managed to achieve our goals by various points of the plans.”
You can also download a bulletin from the Cinema Theatre Association on the fate of the Granville. Much of the historical background in this bulletin was provided by the Ramsgate Society.
UPDATE FROM MEDIA RELEASE JUNE 24
KENT FILM FOUNDATION submits fresh bid to buy Granville Cinema Theatre and lead multi-million-pound refurbishment
Friday 24th June
Kent Film Foundation today submitted a 131-page rewritten Business Plan Proposal to redevelop Ramsgate’s Granville Theatre – backed by a cash offer to buy the building.
The plan – which addresses the feedback the Foundation received since its previous bid was rejected by Thanet District Council and includes further developed proposals and supporting policies – 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 many thousands of local residents who have come out in support of the Foundation’s proposals over recent months.
Founder of Kent Film Foundation and Filmmaker, Jan Dunn said:
“On behalf of the Kent Film Foundation Trustees and team, all of us are 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 oversea the building’s complete refurbishment to create a place that the people of Ramsgate can be proud of.”