Felixstowe: Bleak future for Spa Pavilion as campaigners told their bid is “fundamentally flawed”
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save the Spa Pavilion have been told their bid to run the theatre is “fundamentally flawed” – leaving the venue facing a bleak future today.
Only one group – The Spa Pavilion Associates – submitted proposals to take over the Spa despite Suffolk Coastal District Council appealing to a number of leisure and entertainment companies to bid.
But planning chiefs have labelled their plans “too risky” and recommended councillors refuse the application when it is put before the cabinet next week.
The future of the Spa, which employs 42 people, has been under threat since councillors decided to withdraw its �240,000 a year subsidy.
In the wake of the potential closure, The Star launched the Save Our Spa campaign, with around 7,000 people signing a petition.
But in their report to the cabinet, planners at Suffolk Coastal fear the Spa Pavilion Associates bid could see the cost to the council rise to more than �300,000 in the first year, with no guarantees of no further future increases.
Lisa Hardy, a spokesman for the Spa Pavilion Associates, said: “The future of the Spa is in doubt, nobody can deny that, and it’s obviously really disappointing for us.
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“You don’t just feel like you have let the users down, there’s a whole town as well.
“It’s a massive disappointment because you feel a huge responsibility to it but you have to be realistic.”
The group’s bid was initially assessed by three councillors and four senior officers.
The panel concluded that the level of investment was not sufficient to improve the venue and that the council would be responsible for building and maintenance.
Geoff Holdcroft, cabinet member for leisure and economic development, said: “The conclusion of our officers who have thoroughly reviewed the bid is that it is fundamentally flawed in many ways and would be far too financially risky for this council to give its backing to.”
Despite the blow, the group are remaining defiant that the Spa still has a future.
Ms Hardy said: “We are still, as a group, actively seeking ways to keep this venue open and if anyone can invest experience or finances we would love to hear from them.
“We need to carry on looking at what potential future the Spa has got and see what we can do.
“I feel certain that there’s hope for the Spa.”
The cabinet is due to meet next Tuesday to discuss the bid and make its final decision.
The Spa Pavilion still has a host of shows coming up until January. For more information, visit www.thespapavilion.org