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Community leaders could run Spa

PUBLISHED: 05:40 03 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:54 02 March 2010

COMMUNITY leaders in Felixstowe may be asked if they want to run the resort's seafront theatre in a surprise move.

Suffolk Coastal will be looking for a new operator of the Spa Pavilion next year and is considering future options.

COMMUNITY leaders in Felixstowe may be asked if they want to run the resort's seafront theatre in a surprise move.

Suffolk Coastal will be looking for a new operator of the Spa Pavilion next year and is considering future options.

While it is likely to test the market to see if it can get a better deal for the 919-seat theatre - which would be capable of putting on twice as many shows in a year - it is also set to ask town councillors if they would be interested in managing the venue.

Felixstowe Town Council would receive grant aid from the district and be expected to raise some of its own funding in exchange for taking an active role in the theatre's management.

It would give town councillors a huge amount of control over one of the resort's top attractions and be in line with their campaigning over many years to take over responsibility for services in the town.

Suffolk Coastal said there is huge potential for anyone taking over the theatre. Even with significant under-use, current operators ClearChannel Entertainment make a profit each year.

Cabinet members will discuss what should happen next at their meeting on June 7 and are being recommended to approach the town council.

If Suffolk Coastal enters into a similar contract with a new operator, it faces paying out more than £2 million to an operator to run the Spa for the next decade, plus £253,000 for day-to-day maintenance.

Work costing £246,000 is also needed simply to keep up with standards and repairs, plus £271,000 in "desirable" work, including air conditioning and refurbishment of dressing rooms.

A report to the cabinet stated: "The failure of the Spa Pavilion Theatre to continue to operate would have a considerable impact on Felixstowe.

"However continuing support for the theatre will require considerable financial commitment from the council.

"This, together with other initiatives that Suffolk Coastal is undertaking in the area, including south seafront, would make a major contribution to the regeneration of tourism in Felixstowe."

n. Would you like to see happen to the Spa Pavilion? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk


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