Felixstowe: Appraisal on future of Spa Pavilion

An investigation into whether Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion is financially viable will begin this month.

The venue, one of the town’s most iconic buildings, has seen audience numbers plummet by 25 per cent in the last three years, with a number of recent shows being cancelled – including the annual drama festival.

Suffolk Coastal District Council has appointed Bonnar Keenlyside, an arts consultancy group, to carry out an appraisal of the 900-seater theatre to see if it meets the needs of local groups, how it fits into the town, and whether it is still financially viable.

Previously, the council admitted the venue could be remodelled or even replaced with a new multi-million theatre.

The cost of the Spa to the council in 2009/10 was �241,353.

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Mary Neale, cabinet member for countryside and leisure, said: “When the Felixstowe and Trimleys Leisure Needs Analysis was carried out in 2009 it identified that a further investigation into the purpose and suitability of the theatre was needed.

“We are looking forward to working with Bonnar Keenlyside and hearing the suggestions and ideas that they come up with after carrying out the appraisal of the Spa Pavilion and consulting widely with local residents to get their views.”

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Bonnar Keenlyside has already worked alongside the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, London’s Roundhouse and Ipswich’s Regent theatre.

The firm is due to begin its work this month and will present its findings and suggestions in October.

The council will then decide if it wishes to implement the suggestions and whether it fits in with the Felixstowe Futures Agenda - which aims to attract more tourists to the town.

Mrs Neale said she was looking forward to the suggestions from the group.

“The Spa Pavilion is a much loved facility in the local community but in recent years has not been as well used,” she said.

“I am sure that Bonnar Keenlyside will come up with some very interesting ideas that will give a boost to the resort of Felixstowe and do the Spa Pavilion justice.”

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