Deadline for bids to run Felixstowe's Spa Pavilion closes

  • 9 June 2012
  • From the section Suffolk
Spa Pavilion
Suffolk Coastal District Council said it could not afford to spend £250,000 on annual maintenance

The bidding deadline has closed for firms and groups who want to run a troubled Suffolk theatre.

Suffolk Coastal District Council, which owns the Felixstowe Spa Pavilion, had voted to stop its £250,000 annual funding of the venue.

After a campaign by the Save The Spa group, a fresh bidding process to manage the venue was opened.

The council said it will reveal how many bids have been made next week.

Suffolk Coastal, which has tendered the management of the venue to private companies for 20 years, will end the current contract with Openwide Coastal at the end of the year.

The Conservative-controlled council had said it could not keep funding the maintenance of the building in the face of falling attendances or provide the £3m needed to modernise it.

'Fine toothcomb'

Councillor Geoff Holdcroft, cabinet member for economic development and leisure, said they were looking for a "viable solution" for the seafront theatre.

"I really don't want to be in this position in another five years," he said.

"We'll be going through the business case with a fine toothcomb to see whether the figures stack up."

The council said it would not confirm the number or names of bidders until Monday.

However, the Save The Spa group, which includes local community, theatre group and business representatives, said it had entered the tendering process.

Lisa Hardy, Save The Spa co-ordinator, said: "Hopefully our documents and vision will convince the council that we can take this on.

"As a not-for-profit charitable trust, we would have access to capital funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Arts Council and other sources that local authorities and commercial operators can't use."

Suffolk Coastal is due to make a decision on the bidding process in July.

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