October 23 2014 Latest news:
BY RICHARD CORNWELL, Felixstowe editor
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
SIXTY days to save the Spa Pavilion!
That’s the deadline facing campaigners today – or the seafront theatre will go dark, its doors will be closed and preparations will be made to board it up.
The Dennis Lowe Theatre Company will be the last group to perform at the Felixstowe venue and their run of Aladdin, the company’s 47th annual panto, is due to finish on January 6.
So far no new organisation or company has been found to take over the 892-seat Spa and time is running out fast now to find new owners or tenants to either carry it on as a theatre or redevelop it into a new leisure attraction.
Two local organisations – the Spa Pavilion Associates (SPA) and a consortium of businessmen – interested in the venue say they have heard nothing from the new marketing team.
“If the theatre goes dark I cannot see how it will re-open – we really want to save the theatre but time is running out fast,” said Lisa Hardy, of SPA.
“We have heard nothing from the new marketing agents and I have looked on their web site and the Spa isn’t even on there. It’s all gone quiet and we have no idea what is happening.
“We are still trying to secure a catering company to operate the restaurant as part of the new bid we are preparing and talking to small and large catering companies to see if we can find someone who will work in partnership with us.
“Sixty days is an incredibly short time for anyone to be in place to take over before it closes but we believe the council does want to save the Spa and we are waiting to see what will happen.”
It is understood the consortium of businesses will not make a bid unless the venue does close as it would be keen to make a fresh start with its proposals for a community theatre, restaurant and other entertainment.
Owner Suffolk Coastal says it can no longer afford the annual £250,000 cost of the theatre and have appointed specialist agents Jones Lang LaSalle to re-market the seafront property to try to attract a bidder – either to run it as a theatre or a new attraction. It could even be demolished and a new leisure facility built.