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Felixstowe: Spa Pavilion could suit a range of uses

08:00 12 January 2013

The Felixstowe Spa Pavilion.

The Felixstowe Spa Pavilion.


IF the Spa Pavilion re-opens, it could be for a mixture of uses – and a theatre may not be among them.


The venue, which is being boarded up today , could even be used partly for holiday accommodation in a revamp of the building.

Councillors have indicated they will be prepared to listen to a range of ideas, including turning it into a new and completely different attraction, and even demolition and replacement with a new theatre or something else.

As yet no offers have been received and no firm ideas are on the table.

Harry Hawksby, director Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, who is handling the sale of the venue, said the setting made the property a unique investment opportunity which may suit a range of alternative redevelopment uses, subject to planning permission.

“The Spa Pavilion is a well-established venue which we believe offers a number of avenues to create opportunities which add value under the direct control of a commercial operator,” he said.

“Alternatively, the council has indicated that it would be particularly supportive of proposed uses to that enhance the tourist and cultural facilities on offer in Felixstowe, subject to the appropriate statutory consents.”

Suffolk Coastal has already vetoed the advice of its consultants – to draw up a 20-year plan for the Spa and invest £3m renovating public areas, seeking alternative funding, and improving its profile to attract more users.

Bonnar Keenlyside who undertook an appraisal of the theatre are convinced its problems cannot be overcome by simply a new operator taking over and say the venue is outdated, hidden away, not well publicised, and not loved by residents.

They looked at:

■ Turning it into a 1,200 seat theatre to attract better shows, which would cost £8m to £10m;

■ Keeping the current seating but remodelling the public areas, £2m to £3m;

■ Reducing it to 500 seats, £5m;

■ Building a new theatre, anywhere between £7m and £15m;

■ Finding a private partner to run the venue – extremely unlikely in the current climate;

■ Developing the site for homes, which planners may consider favourably.

“Taking the overall findings into account there is no obvious solution that will guarantee success. Each option carries some financial and operational risk,” said Bonnar Keenlyside.

■ Give us your views on what should happen to the Spa Pavilion – comment below this story.



  • Knock the this eyesore down and turn it into a Waitrose. Felixstowe needs more class and more supermarkets

    Report this comment

    the opinion man

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

  • think it should be a made as a sealife center would attract more people in to town as the nearest i believe is great yarmouth and look at how well that seaside does. DONT KNOCK IT DOWN and turn into houses or flats. make it a torrist attraction

    Report this comment

    Antony Perkins

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

  • "Open to all ideas" ? other words, utterly clueless about what to do and will accept anything...provided it doesn't involve spending any money , such as the route recommended by their consultants!!

    Report this comment


    Sunday, January 13, 2013

  • It would be an utter disgrace to demolish the Spa Pavilion. The thought of this breaks my heart. I dread to think of what the planners will come up with as you only have to look around town to see the mess they are making it.. If its a case of making the theatre into a smaller one then ok but it must stay as a theatre. I cannot imagine what the resort would be like if it got demolished. For 65 years I have supported this place regularly so please rethink on this matter.

    Report this comment

    Elise Moreton

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

  • You asked for ideas on potential future use of The Spa or the area occupied by it. Well some time ago I suggested that a development of a replacement performing arts centre similar to the very successful Apex in Bury St. Edmunds. But here is another idea that I think is even better and would attract adults, children and schools to it throughout the year, during the day and in the evenings. It's a kind of mini Eden Project development that occupies the site of the Spa Pavilion and will blend in well with the soon to be facelifted Spa gardens perfectly. One or two mini domes or glasshouses together with caferestaurant, shop and environmentalclimate education centre would occupy the Spa site with the Spa garden area around it being the outdoor area of the centre where various exhibitions or artist's works could be exhibited in the spaces between the flower beds, foliage etc. This would be a unique attraction for East Anglia that would draw people to the town from the entire region. Drive up and drop off areas for coaches, cars etc could be accommodated for but car parks elsewhere would have to be found with perhaps shuttle bus service down to the centre being put on. Big idea 'Yes' but I'm convinced that this is the only way to excite 'the people with the money and beliefs' enough to get them to invest in something really unique and exciting that would benefit the town immensely and put it back on the map of places one must visit before one dies! Else I fear the site will end up becoming a boring housing development and 'who wants another one of those?' So come on Suffolk Coastal give my idea some promotion and see if you can generate interest to go into a partnership with private backers for an idea like this. Even contact The Eden Project to see if they could help and even participate in some way after all the coastal environment, fauna and flora are also something we should protect and make people aware of.

    Report this comment

    Nicholas Thompson

    Monday, January 14, 2013

  • If the council had not with drew the funding we would still have the Spa. It is awful to see it bordered up. Tragic. What is the Council trying to do kill Felixstowe. It is appalling. I was born here and it is slowly dying. Come on you Council care about Felixstowe for a change.

    Report this comment

    biggles the pilot

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

  • Turn it into an old peoples home!

    Report this comment


    Saturday, January 12, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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