First look as 'vibrant' new seafront food hall prepares for unveiling
- Credit: Mick Howes
An iconic seafront building has been transformed as it opens its doors once more this weekend with "something for everyone" now on offer.
A restyled East Point Pavilion will provide a "unique destination" for visitors to Lowestoft seafront as an exciting new venue for food and drinks is unveiled.
Opening at noon on Saturday, June 18 - at the start of the First Light Festival - the new food hall will feature traders Black Dog Pizza, Oishii Kitchen and Tres Hermanas.
Serving fresh, independent food and drink inside the pavilion, they will offer cuisines from across the world while the popular Sir Toby’s Beers runs the venue's bar.
With £720,000 from the government’s Towns Fund being used for the restoration of the building, Lowestoft contractors PJ Spillings started work to repurpose the building on January 17.
With the pavilion owned by East Suffolk Council, and operated by First Light CIC, it has been undergoing extensive refurbishments over the past six months to create an open, light and modern space for residents and visitors to enjoy.
As well as the traders, and space for community and cultural activities, there will be seating for around 170 covers inside and a similar number can be seated on picnic tables and chairs outside in the refurbished garden area.
After this weekend's festival, the team behind First Light will be putting together a year-round schedule of live music, DJs and performances, alongside a programme of artisan markets and community-led workshops and events.
Genevieve Christie, First Light Festival chief executive and one of First Light CIC directors, said: "The bar is being fitted out, the new traders are setting up and its all very exciting.
- 1 Revealed: The most isolated villages in Suffolk
- 2 Double-decker bus bought on eBay becomes new home for evicted Suffolk family
- 3 Protests against soaring fuel prices planned for Monday
- 4 Emergency services attending incident in Suffolk town
- 5 Ambitious plans to regenerate 'dilapidated' part of Suffolk town revealed
- 6 Mystery surrounds container ships at anchor off Suffolk coast
- 7 First cases of monkeypox reported in Suffolk
- 8 One of north Suffolk's 'most productive' arable farms up for sale
- 9 Torquay sign two released Ipswich Town players
- 10 Town accounts show Evans waived debt and impact of Covid on Blues
"I am extremely pleased with what has been achieved.
"It's so heartening to see how brilliantly PJ Spillings have done in such a short space of time to transform this place.
"It has been a combined effort - and now we have a really good mix of food and drink on offer providing something for everyone.
"It's going to be a great."
With the mini golf course removed, the garden area has been transformed with new plants, picnic tables and chairs.
The toilets have also been totally stripped out and replaced by new free public toilets for all - with a specialist baby changing area, a disabled toilet as well as facilities for gents and ladies.
Mrs Christie said: "We also have installed a brand new Changing Places Toilets (CPT) and bathroom facility - complete with a hoist and bed.
"It is a fantastic facility and we are delighted to have this here as it is a first for the area."
While the outside kiosk will not be open for the festival this weekend, it is opening "very, very soon".
This weekend will include a full DJ's programme - including a set from Wayne Hemingway between 11am and noon on Sunday and a set from Chrome between 3pm to 6pm on Sunday.
A new 'pop up' traders unit will also be open on Saturday and Sunday as Planet Oeuf offers salad boxes, sausage rolls and much more just for the festival weekend.
Mrs Christie added: "It will be great to see all the units up and running following the festival with the different offers.
Alison Joseph, the new operations manager at East Point Pavilion, has hailed those involved in the transformation.
Looking forward to the opening weekend, and the future, Mrs Joseph said: "I moved to Suffolk 10 years ago and previously I was the Visitor Experience Manager for the National Trust at Dunwich Heath.
"Having seen this similar operations manager opportunity on my doorstep - as it is a six minute's walk away for me - I am really looking forward to it.
"It is a fantastic, vibrant place and I can't wait now for Saturday and the opening - I am just proud to be part of this from the very start.
"It will be an exceptionally busy weekend with visitors to the town seeing the pavilion and locals seeing it so we wanted to be open to show everyone the transformation.
"After the festival weekend we will be open Monday to Sunday, seven days a week, until September - so come and have a look.
"It is really exciting.
"There is a really nice mix of different types of food, where the family can all come together and enjoy a burger from Oishi, pizza, nachos and craft beers while sitting at the same table.
"Black Dog Deli will be open in the kiosk outside as soon as possible, offering amazing coffee, ice creams, drinks and more.
"The new Changing Places Toilets are a huge investment.
"This is the first facility of its kind in Lowestoft, with the next nearest in Norwich, and we are proud to have it here.
"With community events to run regularly after the festival, we are working on hosting markets, activities and much more for the local community.
"We must praise the efforts of the PJ Spillings workmen.
"These guys have worked so, so hard.
"They are all proud and pleased to be doing something for their hometown - they have been fantastic.
"Now it is close to being finished, they have said it looks really, really lovely and they will be bringing their families - so come and join them to see the transformation."
The pavilion building, which is owned by East Suffolk Council, opened in May 1993 and has housed a tourist information office and a children’s play area over the years.
It effectively ceased operating in April 2016 with only a small portion of the building used in recent years for café space.