Councillor Gregory asked Councillor Pugh the following question:
"Many of Thanet's heritage of theatre venues that have, in the past, attracted large audiences & are either closed, now derelict due to lack of routine maintenance or are imminent to shut, possibly lost to the Thanet & its visiting community forever.
What plans does TDC have for Westcliff concert hall in Ramsgate, the Granville Theatre Ramsgate, the Theatre Royal Margate & the Winter Gardens Margate for them to be restored to their former glory?”
Councillor Pugh responded with the following points:
· Go beyond capital improvements and reimagine the Theatre Royal to ensure a sustainable future.
· Safeguard this heritage asset, and provide opportunities for the local community to become part of the town and district’s growth within creative production.
· Ensure that more people, from a diverse range of backgrounds had an involvement in or enjoyment of creative production.
· Improve the local economy, including the night time economy, diversify the visitor experience, and create jobs and training opportunities.
· Require a new operator and coalition of interested parties to enable the theatre to thrive commercially and for the benefit of the community.
· Support capital works to repair and restore the theatre to enable a sustainable future for the building and its communities.
· The Margate Town Deal Board has asked the Government for revenue funding to support the Margate Winter Gardens in the development of a long-term plan. As a result, there was now £300,000 of revenue funding allocated for the Winter Gardens project.
· This funding would enable a piece of work which would provide a clear vision and detailed project delivery plan for the Winter Gardens’ future, including how it could operate in tandem with the other leisure venues and key heritage assets in Margate, such as Dreamland and the Theatre Royal.
Councillor Gregory followed up her question by asking why had regular routine maintenance not taken place on these buildings?
Councillor Pugh responded that the Council wished to see these assets returned back to their former glory, however the Council’s budget was tight. It should not always be the job of the Council to renovate premises if there was a community group that could bring the property back to its former glory, or even better.