A community bid to take over the Granville Cinema in Ramsgate submitted by the Kent Film Foundation was unsuccessful.
Correspondence received by KFF today (August 16) indicates that “the proposal was not selected to proceed with the panel”.
Full ownership of the building is with Thanet Council, who formally took possession of the venue in May last year after the impact of covid left the Granville Theater Ltd team – who ran the site – with no further choice but to give it up. The place had been closed since the start of the pandemic.
In October 2021, Thanet Council invited eligible community groups to express their interest in becoming the new owners of the theatre. A submission from the Kent Film Foundation was rejected for not meeting the relevant criteria.
The site was then put on the open market by Miles & Barr Commercial with all offers considered after the June 27 deadline.
A panel must organize interviews with the authors of the selected offers. It is understood, but not yet confirmed, that six offers will go through at this stage.
KFF’s Emlyn Gregory said the news that the foundation was not submitted to panel stage is disappointing, adding: “Hopefully the winning bid has the community value that ours had, we will watch with interest.
“We are shocked that our application, developed with experts in the field, spanning over 130 pages, with 6,000 supporting signatures, the support of many arts groups and venues in Ramsgate has elicited no questions from of the unknown panel whose expertise is unknown.
“If Thanet Council had wanted an independent panel, a quick Google would probably have seen our backers on it. This is a very sad day for Ramsgate.
Supporter and County Councilor Karen Constantine added: “I am completely disappointed and frankly disgusted that Ramsgate has – yet again – lost a valuable community asset. I am sorry that the KFF offer was not accepted.
“I note that TDC allowed Miles and Barr to pass on the news. It really makes me wonder if KFF was ever seriously considered as a real prospect. Because another, as yet unknown, acquirer was preferred.
“I would like to add my thanks to Jan Dunn and the entire KFF team for their hard work and dedication. All KFF supporters will be disappointed but we will keep fighting and waiting to see what develops at the KFF site. Grandville.”
The Kent Film Foundation has submitted a rewritten 131-page business plan to support its proposal to redevelop the site – backed by a cash offer to purchase the building.
The application included photos, videos, a petition and statements of support documenting the thousands of local residents who have shown their support for the Foundation’s proposals over the past few months.
The KFF Group wanted to create a new arts center with a workshop space, a cinema, a theatre, a bee-friendly roof terrace, the city’s first organic restaurant – and a new name, The Sandcastle.
Plans included workshop space to continue with youth film clubs and to create a new youth theater and youth orchestra in partnership with Pie Factory music, increased cinema screens and a new space for theater.
Plans for the building called for a £3-5million ‘Green Build’ design and the scheme was expected to create at least 12 new permanent jobs alongside other employment and workplace learning opportunities, and contribute to the local visitor economy. .
An investigation in 2017 identified that some £152,000 would be needed for internal works and, in addition, a further £250,000 would be needed for repairs to the roof. The building has continued to deteriorate since this investigation.