Felixstowe: New crisis for Spa Pavilion as community group withdraws bid

FRESH uncertainty faced Felixstowe’s seafront theatre today – after the only bidders to take over the venue withdrew their proposals.

The Spa Pavilion Associates’ (SPA) ideas for the future of the Spa Pavilion were due to be considered by Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet tomorrow night, with councillors recommended to reject the bid because it was “fundamentally flawed”.

“Despite our best endeavours it became clear to us after we had submitted the bid that our finance plan was not viable,” said Lisa Hardy, spokeswoman for SPA.

“We did hope that the council could consider revised financial figures from us, but we understand that legally they can only look at what was submitted by the closing date of the process.

“It would be pointless for the council to spend time appraising incorrect figures and coming to any conclusions based on those, so it is in the best interest of everyone for us to formally withdraw our bid now.

“However, I would promise all those who have supported our efforts to date that we intend to submit a new bid if Suffolk Coastal does again look for companies to come forward with plans for the Spa Pavilion which I am sure we all want to see stay open.”

The decision was welcomed by the council’s cabinet member for leisure and economic development, Geoff Holdcroft.

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“I would thank Lisa and her colleagues for having the enthusiasm to have submitted their proposals but even more so for having the courage to withdraw the bid at this late stage,” he said.

“Eleven others looked at the potential for the Spa but failed to see it and did not submit a bid, but the local group have shown that they are committed as we are to finding a long-term future for the Spa.

“The challenge that everyone faces is to find a strategy for the Spa which in these tough financial times is viable and adds up as being able to both attract sufficient people and generate the cash to keep it going.

“If cabinet backs the proposal to widen our net to try and attract someone ready and capable of taking on the Spa, then I look forward to Lisa and her team uniting the expertise and business acumen in Felixstowe to generate a new bid.”

The council has been trying to secure a long-term future for the Spa because it can no longer afford its annual cost of more than �250,000, particularly as the building requires substantial investment to modernise it, and is attracting low audiences.

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