D-day looms for who will run the Spa

COMMUNITY leaders will decide next week who will run one of Suffolk's biggest entertainment venues for the next decade.

By RICHARD CORNWELL

Felixstowe editor

richard.cornwell@eveningstar.co.uk>

COMMUNITY leaders will decide next week who will run one of Suffolk's biggest entertainment venues for the next decade.

Clear Channel Entertainment - which has run Felixstowe's Spa Pavilion for the past ten years - will hand the building back to Suffolk Coastal this summer.

A new management company is to be brought in and on Tuesday cabinet members will decide which firm will be awarded the contract.

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Details of the various bids received for the contract and the recommended winners are contained in a confidential report, and the decision will be made after the exclusion of press and public.

Suffolk Coastal said the discussion had to be held in private because financial matters concerning the prospective contractors could be revealed. An announcement will be made after the meeting.

What is known is that there will be new operators because Clear Channel Entertainment decided not to bid for the contract.

It is also known that council officials want to change the contract dramatically - and cut the £200,000 a year subsidy paid to the operator by around half.

As well as wanting to cut the subsidy, the council wants more quality shows and a more diverse programme generating larger audiences at the 919-seater venue.

It has had several expressions of interest from major entertainment companies and talks have been taking place over the past few months with certain unnamed firms invited to bid for the contract.

A community group called the Felixstowe Fund, run by residents with a wide experience in showbiz, wanted to create a community interest company and had hoped to be one of those bidding, but the council refused.

Who do you think should run the Spa Pavilion? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINK: www.spapavilion.co.uk.

www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

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