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The Project MotorHouse Mission

Project Motorhouse

The Entrance to the venue

Project MotorHouse is a transformative project designed to give Ramsgate facilities which it currently lacks by turning a council liability into a community asset and using the rents from the development to subsidise much needed youth work in Thanet.

Our plans for the site arose out of consultations with local businesses, local youths, residents associations, arts and environmental organisations to identify the community’s needs.

We have had a two year option on Ramsgate’s derelict West Cliff Hall and Gardens (aka the old motor museum) and are working with award winning architect Guy Hollaway to transform the site overlooking Ramsgate port into two state of the art cinemas, an outdoor theatre/cinema, a restaurant/bar, a café, a gallery, meeting room and offices. Project MotorHouse is not only a charity, it is also a social enterprise. It will rent out the development to anchor tenants and rents from the building will then be used to finance our work with local youth.

Thanet District Council currently owns the building. The council has agreed in principle that it needs to pay to replace the badly corroded steel frame of the building which supports both the main road to the harbour and the West Cliff Promenade. EU State Aid rules dictate, therefore, that the site needs to be subject to an open bid. PMH will be bidding for the site.

No other community group is interested in the site and certainly there is no other organisation with plans as well developed as ours. As there are planning restrictions on what can be done with the site and as its position makes it an expensive proposition for a commercial developer, Project MotorHouse anticipates being the successful bidder. We have now held two public consultations on Guy Hollaway’s designs and the response is overwhelmingly positive. (Sign up for our news if you want to be able to download our business plan. Please note that it is currently being revised.)

The Beneficiaries


Mitie – Garden project

Estimates show that 1.7 million people will directly benefit from Project MotorHouse during its first 10 years of operation. A recent independent Green Book analysis shows that public investment in the project would represent good value for money. 


Saving a vital part of Ramsgate’s West Cliff

From its beginnings as a theatre and concert hall showcasing famous bands including the Rolling Stones and continuing as a Motor Museum, the MotorHouse has been an intrinsic part of Ramsgate’s history. Built into the West Cliff in 1914, it supports the West Cliff Promenade, the Viking Coastal Trail and the main road to the harbour. Recent structural surveys show the steel frame is rapidly reaching the end of its design life and is almost rusted through in places. We have had to extensively prop the building. If we do nothing, a vital artery for the town will be severed.

Providing the multi-use venue Ramsgate needs

The town’s current offer for evening entertainment is almost wholly based around alcohol and pub culture. Local residents, visitors and the language school have identified the need for a more diverse offering. The MotorHouse will provide quality entertainment for Ramsgate’s different communities and improve social cohesion by providing a focal point around which they can interact.

Improving the skills of young people

Project MotorHouse has partnered with Royal Harbour Academy to improve outcomes for young people. Our work with young people in the 12-18 age group is designed to improve skills which employers identify as important. Through our cultural programme, young people also give back to their community.

Once the building is complete, Project MotorHouse will work with its anchor tenants and other employers to develop the potential of Thanet youth, offer employment and encourage entrepreneurship.

Promoting sustainable technology in Thanet

Project MotorHouse is working with award winning architect Guy Hollaway and Julie’s Bicycle, a world leader in sustainability for the creative industries, to ensure that the building will be a beacon of good practice in the use of efficient, sustainable technology.

Despite two of Europe’s largest wind farms being serviced from Ramsgate, the town currently has no hub where people can be made aware of the opportunities the low carbon economy presents nor is there anywhere for the public to learn about affordable developments in sustainable technology. Long term, Project MotorHouse hopes to fill this gap.

For more details on Project MotorHouse’s ideas – Sign up for our news and you will be able to download our business plan. Please note that it is currently being revised.