Public assured they will have a say on future of theatre

FELIXSTOWE: Consultation will be held with residents before any decisions are taken on the future of Felixstowe’s much-loved seafront theatre, it was pledged today.

A theatre management specialist is to be appointed to examine the options for the future of the Spa Pavilion – including the possibility of remodelling the venue or even building a multi-million pound replacement.

The consultancy will report on all options and then prepare a business plan on the chosen way forward.

“Last year a special report on leisure and arts in the area told us there should be further study into how suitable the Spa was to meet the needs of local arts groups, and we can now give our backing to that initiative,” said Suffolk Coastal cabinet member Mary Neale. “With money we have gained from the government because of our successes, we can now call in arts experts to look at all the possible options for the future of the Spa.”

She said the consultants would meet and seek the views of arts groups, community organisations and residents before drawing up their report.

“Despite the tough economic climate, which has seen paid for attendances falling by 8,000 to 39,105 in 2009/10 compared to 2007/08, the management (Openwide Coastal) at the Spa have succeeded in making a profit over the last couple of years,” added Mrs Neale. “This council has long recognised the importance of the arts in our district for our residents to take part and enjoy but also as a creator of income and jobs.

“However, the cost of the Spa to this council last year was �241,353, with �215,000 of that going to Openwide Coastal, and this study should give us an expert view on whether and how we can get more value for money.”

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n What should happen to the Spa Pavilion? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or you can e-mail