PENARTH Pavilion has been saved as the Vale of Glamorgan council is taking back control of the building from a failing charity.
The Victorian art deco building on the pier has been shut since March last year, and rumours about its future had been circling for months.
The charity which ran the Pavilion for years, Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (PACL), has now surrendered its lease on the building. The Vale council, which owns the building, will take back its operation.
Any bookings where deposits had already been paid will be honoured, the council said, and the Pavilion will be kept for community use. “Exciting plans” for what the council plans to do next will be revealed in the next few weeks.
Council leader Neil Moore said:
“The council, along with the National Lottery Community Fund and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, invested a significant amount of grant funding to create a community facility on Penarth Pier. As a council, we remain committed to ensuring the Pier Pavilion building can operate for that purpose.
“As a council, we will honour any event bookings taken for which deposits have been paid. It is hoped that the directors of PACL will be in direct contact with anyone in this situation to provide advice on how to contact us to discuss these arrangements. I will be presenting a report to the council’s cabinet shortly setting out these arrangements formally.”
The Pavilion is home to a cafe, cinema and is also used as a wedding venue. Last month, one newly-wed couple feared they had lost their deposit to get married at the building, and struggled to get a clear response from PACL.
Last November, Waterloo Tea left the cafe at the Pavilion. Then before Christmas, the Vale council started discussing with PACL and the National Lottery about how to keep the building available for the people of Penarth.
Deputy leader Lis Burnett added
“At the outset, the aim of the council was to ensure that the Pavilion could be retained for community use. In leading and being at the forefront of the discussions, this was the guiding principle for the council.
“We have also ensured that work has begun on putting in place a plan for operating the Pavilion as soon as conditions allow. These plans will provide a mix of community uses, and we are looking forward to working with a range of partners and community groups to shape the way forward for this iconic building.”
The Pavilion was renovated in 2013 with £4 million of lottery funding. The National Lottery worked with PACL for years to “safeguard the building”.
Andrew White, director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales, said:
“We are in the final stages of discussions with the Vale of Glamorgan council about transferring the operations of Penarth Pier Pavilion over to them.
“Penarth Pier Pavilion is an iconic and much-loved structure which has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the last 12 years, during which time we have worked closely with PACL to safeguard the building for current and future generations.”