Published: 09:30, 24 February 2020
| Updated: 10:14, 24 February 2020
A Harry Potter actress has thrown her weight behind a campaign to save a much loved but neglected building in Kent.
Miriam Margolyes, who played Head of Hufflepuff and Herbology teacher Professor Sprout in the beloved films, has revealed "plans are afoot" to restore the historic Leas Pavilion, along The Leas in Folkestone.
Miriam Margolyes revealed plans are 'afoot' for the restoration of the pavilion
The unusual site, built originally as a Victorian tearoom in 1902, has fallen into major disrepair over the last decade.
But in a video recorded for the Friends of the Leas Pavilion (FLP) the actress said: "I'm standing outside the Leas Pavilion and I am delighted to report that plans are afoot.
"Restoration plans are being worked on which is thrilling to hear.
"Watch this space for further developments and thank you so much for your continued support."
The FLP, a not-for-profit organisation set up to address concerns about the deterioration of the site, have yet to reveal what the exact plans are.
But Ms Margolyes, who owns a cottage in Dover, is not the first actor to stand up and fight to save the pavilion, also known as the Leas Club.
Sir Ian McKellen, famed for his roles as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, rallied for support for the former theatre during his one man show at the Leas Cliff Hall last year.
Comedian Vic Reeves and EastEnders actress June Brown also previously raised awareness of the building’s heritage.
Over the years the pavilion, which is sunken into the street, has housed a cinema, theatre and nightclub, as well as the tearoom.
It has been closed since 2010.
Owner Churchgate, who purchased the site in 2007, previously unveiled plans to develop it into flats and a gym, but the deadline for this application has long since expired.
Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) issued a legal repairs notice to Churchgate last year listing six pages of works necessary to protect the run-down building.
The noticed warned if the repairs were not made by a deadline it would seek a compulsory purchase order, meaning it could buy it.
But so far FHDC has held off stepping in further in case another new buyer comes forward.
In 2019, two planning applications were submitted to the council from Leas View Developments Ltd, which is the new name for Churchgate.
They detailed essential works to improve and restore the building.
The applications remain under 'consultation'.
More by this authorSam Williams