Council to seek new bids for Spa Pavilion
27 July 2012
Suffolk Coastal will renew its efforts to attract a bidder willing to take the Spa Pavilion into the future and has confirmed it will listen to any proposals that will add to the tourist and cultural facilities in Felixstowe.
This week’s Cabinet meeting agreed to press ahead with attempts to find a bidder after a thorough marketing exercise this summer only attracted one bid which was withdrawn before a formal decision could be made on its merits.
“It is very disappointing that despite our best efforts, we have still not found someone ready to take on the Spa as a leisure and entertainments venue. However, we remain committed to securing a new future for the Spa and I hope spreading the net wider will attract fresh and productive interest,” said Cllr Geoff Holdcroft, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Economic Development.
“While we had one bid submitted this time that was then withdrawn, we had eleven companies that looked at the potential for the Spa but failed to see it and did not even submit a bid.
“The challenge that faces everyone is to find a plan 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,” added Cllr Holdcroft.
The Council has been trying to secure a long-term future for the Spa because it can no longer afford its annual cost of over £250,000, particularly as the building requires substantial investment to modernise it, and is attracting low audiences. The independent expert advice is it would cost an estimated £8 million for the Spa to be successful as a theatre over the next 10 years.
“There is no hiding the fact that the financial position facing this Council is bleak and that despite our efforts in making savings of over £10 million in the last decade, we still have more to make in the future.
“However, that does not mean that the future is as bleak for the Spa and we would love to hear from those with fully costed and deliverable proposals that would add to the unique tourism and cultural offer available in Felixstowe,” added Cllr Holdcroft.
It is hoped that by the end of September all the detailed preparation works will have been completed which will allow the Council to go out again to the market with a view of getting a successful bid for the building.
The Council would be looking to either offer the building on a freehold sale basis or on a lease, but there is a clear view that any future use should not just be housing or offices.