Save Ramsgate's only cinema by supporting Kent Film Foundation's proposal

Save Ramsgate's only cinema by supporting Kent Film Foundation's proposal

5,911 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!

Why this petition matters

Started by Karen Vost

Urge Thanet District Council to act to save our only cinema as a Community Arts Centre. Thanet based charity Kent Film Foundation which specialises in using film as a tool to engage youth in an area of extreme deprivation with excellent results have been in pursuit of an old closed down theatre and cinema in their town of Ramsgate. Following an abrupt email with an equally abrupt letter, Kent Film Foundation’s long-awaited response to their submission to acquire the old Granville Cinema via a community asset transfer has finally arrived in the form of a rejection by Thanet District Council. Local people got the building registered as an asset of community value in 2019 which means it has to be transferred to a community organisation rather than on the open market. Trustees, and the management team who have worked tirelessly to prepare an outline plan that takes into account requirements, aims and objectives of Ramsgate’s strategic town plan and future plans, are surprised at the conclusions drawn by the council and await a response to their query as to how the criteria was assessed. With a team that includes those who have successfully run cinemas, raised high stake funding and with filmmaker Jan Dunn at the helm whose own films according the Kent County Council generated over 500K each into the local Thanet economy it beggars’ belief as to how such a decision could have been reached. The Foundation has built not only local support but garnered an open letter signed by professional local creatives as well as Oscar winning professionals from the world of film and high-end theatre and music too. Whilst they await a response to their questions around how the decision was reached given so much local and wider support for their undertaking, we have created this petition to support their bid. We believe they are the only community organisation who submitted an application for the community asset transfer as their partners include many of the other larger arts organisations in the town including Ramsgate Festival of Sound, Ramsgate International Film Festival, Ramsgate Arts, Ramsgate Music Hall just to name a few of these in support of their bid.

Quotes given for our use from the many supporters include: .

We, along with a representative from the Ramsgate Festival of Sound were the only attendees at a public online awareness event outlining what the council were looking for in the new custodians of the building where our many questions were answered for clarity prior to submitting our proposal. We understand that at the first deadline at least, we were the only applicants. The result is very confusing considering we catered to the expectations of what was expressed to us by the Estate’s department (and more) at that meeting. Jan Dunn – filmmaker and founder of Kent Film Foundation

This is a building of huge value both to the community and future generations. If we want homegrown talent to succeed, we need to provide a resource that keeps Ramsgate’s talent and creativity in Ramsgate. The Sandcastle project has the potential to do that and so much more! As a resident and creative practitioner, it would be fantastic to be able to present new work in

the community instead of going to Canterbury venues and taking the income our work generates out of the area. Sabina Desir / Singer & Producer Freedom Road

I am both saddened and surprised that this application has been rejected by TDC as I think it represents a wonderful and timely idea, backed by a sound business plan with a highly motivated and competent team already in place to take the concept to reality. TDC have been very shortsighted. It is also slap in the teeth for this inspirational and dedicated team who have over several years, put so much effort into the project, bringing many years of expertise and experience to bear, for the benefit of the community. Ramsgate desperately needs facilities like this, we all miss our local cinema. Now it would seem we have no chance of having one. Thanet District Council have also missed a trick with regard to the creation of a locally owned business that would have done much to boost our local economy, by keeping important community assets owned by Ramsgate residents, creating jobs and improving our tourism offer. My further concern is that I’m not sure that TDC have been transparent. It now seems that this valuable community asset will be put on the open market for sale. Not only does this shortsighted approach deny residents much needed cultural and leisure facilities, but it is dampener for other community groups. Who will want to volunteer their valuable free time developing community projects knowing that we have a Council that are backward looking and uninspired? Cllr Karen Constantine

We deplore this appalling decision made by TDC. Unfortunately, it comes as no real surprise. The council continues to show a complete lack of regard and respect towards the arts, and the multiple communities within the sector. This building has enormous value, and Kent Film Foundation have put together plans that involve the enormous amount of talent in Ramsgate. For a number of years, we at RMH have been on the lookout for an appropriate space to put on bigger capacity shows in our beloved town. The short-sightedness shown by TDC once again prolongs our search. Andre Dack, Ramsgate Music Hall

My feeling throughout the whole process was tdc was going through their legal obligations reluctantly, I felt the whole time they had an agenda and were looking at bids with thier minds already made up, it's felt like obstacles and delays were the order of the day, the sadness is the people of ramsgate have had a golden opportunity to enhance the area effectively lost, I think it will add to the local feeling the ramsgate is the poor relation to margate in terms of investment. Emlyn Gregory – Chair of the Kent Film Foundation

I was delighted to support Kent Film Foundations' (KFF) application for the deveĺopment of the Granville Theatre site. This should be held as a community asset, and the proposal that was submitted by KFF, was to create a community hub, as well as a cinema, which our community may use and enjoy. By putting it on the open market, outside investors may come and buy the property, and then either landbank it, or turn it into something that will be of no use to the community. I strongly urge TDC to look at the proposals again, and reconsider their application. I would also propose an urgent investigation within the decision makers, as to why the application received such a low score. Raushan Ara – Mayor of Ramsgate

As producers of the Ramsgate Festival of Sound we are constantly searching for venues for our performers and practitioners. As our festival has grown so have our needs and The Sandcastle would have allowed us to plan ahead for bigger shows with full facilities, bringing more local spend into the area and providing employment and commissions for locals and artists alike. This inexplicable rejection by TDC means that the

people of Ramsgate are being deprived of a place for all age groups to be entertained as well as a place of education and inspiration. As one of the two people on the call with TDC months back (and there to support the Sandcastle proposal) I'm convinced that there have been little or no other bids for this property. How will Ramsgate ever prosper when opportunities that serve the community in so many positive ways are quashed without valid reason? Gemma Dempsey Producer, The Festival of Sound / Co Founder Ramsgate Through the Senses

5,911 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!