Help Save Our Spa!

FELIXSTOWE: Save our Spa!

That is the rallying cry from The Evening Star today as we launch a campaign to save the under-threat Spa Pavilion.

The axe is hanging over the historic building after Suffolk Coastal District Council announced it would no longer be able to provide the necessary financial commitment.

An options appraisal on the venue found that without significant investment, thought to be around �3million, the Spa would become unfit for purpose.

Suffolk Coastal District Council will be withdrawing funding from the theatre’s operator, Openwide Coastal, in June and it will close unless investors or companies come forward to fund the theatre in future.

The announcement has shocked residents in Felixstowe but one group, Media Fish, has already drawn up a battle plan, determined to save the iconic building.

Trevor Lockwood, a director of the company, has set his sights on being involved with the venue for many years and the company has already announced that they intend to be involved in plans to rescue the theatre from the brink of closure.

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They have been in talks with the Charity Bank, who fund community organisations, and Mr Lockwood believes with their support, they could develop the venue and then hand it over to a trust.

He said: “We want to manage the project as it stands at the moment and develop it so it can become a stand-alone community facility.

“The Charity Bank has been supportive. There’s not a definite contract with them but they appear to be very supportive.

“I’m confident we are going to get it, who else would, there’s not a commercial company at the minute that I think would take it.”

Mr Lockwood admitted that the Spa’s current capacity is too big and if successful he would plan changes inside.

They would include reducing the number of seats along with other renovations, opening it to be used by everyone in the community. He said one of the options could be to secure a mortgage-type arrangement with an organisation like the Charity Bank.

He added: “A mortgage is one of the considerations because doing up the theatre is an expensive business but the way of doing it is to see it as a long term investment. If we invest something now we have got something that will last for 20 or 30 years.

“It will be fun and Felixstowe needs a bit of fun and it would create a lot of jobs.”

n What do you think? Show your support for the campaign. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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