A pizzeria, cafe with on-site bakery, pop-up bar and music studio are planned at the Ramsgate Boating Pool site if Thanet Council agrees to a 25-year lease with a new tenant.
The Ramsgate Boating Pool (RBP) group aims to attract both residents and visitors, using a percentage of the revenue to restore and maintain the buildings at Westcliff Leisure Park at Royal Esplanade.
Six-person RBP, including Ramsgate set designer Leah Morgan and fellow Ramsgate resident Simon Trought, who ran a successful commercial recording studio for 20 years while managing and building unique spaces.
Also on the team are Ed Curry and Abi Hubbard who will run the Sourdough Eyes pizza operation in the site’s west building.
East Kent baker Adam Hubbard and businessman Tim Hughes complete the team.
RBP’s plans say they will “convert the West Building into a spacious, well-designed breakfast cafe/pizzeria and on-site bakery. The cafe will operate in the mornings and the pizzeria in the afternoons and evenings. .
“The design of both spaces will tell the story of the building’s past, referencing the long-standing seaside entertainment site while respecting the beautiful historic Italian-style architecture.”
Freshly baked goods made from local ingredients and quality coffee will be on offer along with healthy meal options for the kids as well as tabletop activities to keep them interested while enjoying family time.
A pizza oven will be installed and there will also be a take-out pizza service.
A mission statement from the group states: “Ramsgate’s popularity as a tourist destination is growing every year and with investment from the government and our local council through the ‘upgrade’ fund, the town has increasingly more to offer. We look forward to being part of the new wave of business ventures opening up in Ramsgate.
“Holiday-makers, particularly in London, are increasingly attracted to artisanal culinary specialities. We can help provide this to the tourism sector in Ramsgate.
“We plan to expand by adding pop-up food stalls, increasing the variety of cuisine while encouraging local start-ups with affordable rental spaces. We will also introduce workshops for all ages in our flexible side spaces.
“It’s a good opportunity for community activities, and the RBP philosophy is to give something back. Even more so now after the struggles people have faced during the pandemic. We plan to hold workshops through franchise agreements in a range of activities from baking bread to building toy boats to flower arranging. We can help people reconnect through productive, educational and fun activities.”
A music production and recording space will be operated by Studio Soup with Simon Trough using his affiliation with Big Jelly Studio and Ramsgate Music Hall to work alongside them and strengthen the city’s position as a destination linked to the music. The studio will be soundproofed.
Ravensgate-on-Sea, from Ravensgate Arms in King Street, currently operates from the east building (Monkey House) and RBP says they will discuss with the lawsuit team and if not seek another pop-up retailer.
The team says plans for the water pool will be “soft” and the Viking Model Boat Club will continue to be welcome.
The mission statement adds: “Eventually, sailboats and motorboats will be available for charter. We will invest the profits in this area. Workshops can build small boats to test on the pool and this could also be space available for art installations.
Cabinet members of Thanet Council are meeting on Thursday 27 January and are expected to agree that the current tenant give up her lease and agree to a new lease with the RBP for an extended term of 25 years at market rent for the premises.
The current lease of £10,500 a year will be retained for three years so that investment can be made in repairs and refurbishment and then a rent review will take place. Until the repair work is completed, the current tenant will be retained as guarantor.
Additional land on either side of the recreational pool site could be included in the new lease.
The boat pool was originally a bandstand which, together with the tea pavilion, was built as part of the St Lawrence Estate Scheme.
It was designed by Basil Deacon Architect and built by building contractors WWMartin of Dane Park Road, Ramsgate. The teahouses and bandstand were opened in August 1929.
Designed in the “general style of the Italian Renaissance”, the site consists of two narrow single-storey radial pavilions facing east and west, their facade facing the former circular bandstand and terraces in tiers (now a swimming pool for boats).
The whole development was Grade II listed in 1988.
The pavilions were built of plastered brick on concrete foundations. Design features include a dentil cornice below the parapet and prominent Tuscan columns.
The bandstand was built entirely of reinforced concrete with columns and a dome, surrounded by stepped terraces to accommodate 2,000 people. The bandstand was demolished in 1961 and the stepped terraces flooded to create the boat pool.