Saturday, 30 November 2013

Project Motorhouse

Or as I remember it the motor museum. This closed in 2005 however after nearly 3 years since getting the go ahead from Thanet Council, who own the building, Project Motorhouse gets the final sign off.

Their website here shows an exciting project with costs likely to exceed £5M but when successful with be a valuable local resource. Their story:

"Project MotorHouse is located in Ramsgate’s Central Harbour Ward which is one of the most deprived areas in the South East and has particularly high levels of youth unemployment.
For more than two years, a group of residents has been working on a plan to save the derelict West Cliff Hall (aka ‘the old motor museum’) and turn it into an exciting mixed use venue where people of all ages can enjoy themselves and where Thanet’s young people can be introduced to a business culture and get the hands-on experience they need to feel confident about starting their own businesses. We intend using low carbon techniques to renovate the building and foster interest in the burgeoning low carbon economy of East Kent.
Project MotorHouse has a board made up of local residents together with prominent figures from the City. We began as the Low Carbon Community Ramsgate; the name Project MotorHouse came from focus groups we conducted with local youths.
Local organisations such as Ramsgate Town Council, Ramsgate Arts and the Kent Film Foundation have identified a lack of modern, well equipped venues as a problem. Our plan is to turn the hall into a mixed-use venue incorporating an indoor/outdoor theatre, cinema, gallery, shop, offices, function room and restaurant. Young people who work at The MotorHouse will be involved in the running of the venue and there will be a staff development programme designed to help them gain the personal and professional skills needed to start their own businesses in the area.
Until the condition reports on the structure are done, we cannot know how much the works to the hall will cost but our best estimate at this time is £5 million.
It opened in July, 1914, as a concert hall called the West Cliff Hall and Gardens but its most recent incarnation was as a motor museum. That closed in 2005 and the building is now derelict. It should be a major asset in an area of high deprivation, instead it is currently just another liability.
The building is approximately 36 metres by 23 and of steel framed construction with concrete infill. The planned redevelopment will produce an interior of approximately 1200 square metres, including a small mezzanine. The south facing terrace lends itself to solar power panels and Project MotorHouse intends putting in a lift down to the port level to solve some of the parking, loading and general access problems.

The problems of the building are significant but so is the potential, The resultant project should give a much needed boost to the West End of Ramsgate and hopefully when fully restored the stimulus get get other projects off the ground.

 Just received by email from Jan Fielding.

Friday afternoon 29th November, Project MotorHouse signs the Option and Transfer Deed with Thanet District Council. It has taken three years to hammer out an agreement which protects the interests of the community and any potential liability to the council. 

The charity has two years during which it has to raise the estimated £1million to stabilise the frame of the building which supports the first 40 metres of the West Cliff Promenade. If it succeeds, the freehold passes to Project MotorHouse.

"We are just getting the Option in time. The frame is badly corroded and the concrete infill is spalled so some of the soffit needs propping. We've raised enough money to do these temporary works," said Janet Fielding, the project CEO.


  1. Brilliant idea Ramsgate needs more promotion, more investment, and more love

  2. The rolling stones played there.

  3. Nice smiley photograph above. Have they just received news of their Christmas bonus?

    1. Nope, they're discussing the new plans for Winterstoke Gardens!

    2. possibly, whatever the source of the merriment, I am sure finding a bit of cash for some concreting isn't it

  4. im sure it was janet who made the (rare) 'honest' smiles happen, every time i have met her, shes made me smile. :-) good work peeps!