Published: 11:17, 17 May 2013
Television star Griff Rhys Jones is backing a campaign to restore the former Ramsgate motor museum.
The comedy actor and writer is a supporter of environmental restoration and visited Thanet as president of the national charity Civic Voice, which encourages residents to get involved with local projects.
He stopped off at Project Motorhouse, a £5million plan to turn clifftop building into an entertainment complex, with indoor/outdoor theatre, cinema, gallery, shop, function room and restaurant.
It will be run by residents, with youngsters given the chance to help manage it.
The building, currently owned by Thanet council, opened in 1914 as the West Cliff concert hall, and famously hosted the Rolling Stones in the 1960s. It later became a motor museum, before closing in 2005, and falling into disrepair.
Griff’s visit was part of a four-day tour of Kent, and coincided with a survey by Civic Voice that found 63% of individuals say that while they care about the area they live in, they feel they have no influence on major changes that impact on it. It is hoped that the visit will boost civic pride and persuade more people to take control of their neighbourhood.
Before the visit he said: “Change is in the air, as local communities take more control over their own future.
“The civic movement is at the heart of this with hundreds of local civic societies speaking up for their area.
“We want to play a revitalised role in promoting civic pride and making the places where everyone lives more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive.
“If the government is serious about localism, they have to listen to the concerns coming forward from civic groups, resident associations and local councils.”
Thanet South MP Laura Sandys, who is also president of the Kent Federation of Amenity Societies, said: “Griff is known as a passionate campaigner and has inspired many across the country to get involved in their local area. We hope his visit to Kent helps shine a light on the fantastic work of civic groups across the region.”
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