DAY ONE OF CLOSED-DOORS AT PENARTH PIER PAVILION

These visitors walking the Wales Coastal Path had been looking forward to a cup of coffee at the Pier Pavilion this morning . They were disappointed to find it closed.

These visitors –  walking the Wales Coastal Path –  had been looking forward to callinig in for a cup of coffee at the Pier Pavilion this morning . They were disappointed to find it closed.

Penarth Pier Pavilion has initiated its new reduced-days opening schedule as from today  – closing every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday until further notice .

As from today the Pier Pavilion’s 70-seat digital Cinema will be totally closed – notwithstanding the fact that a public petition protesting against the cinema closure –  organised by local resident and broadcasting executive Andrew Jones and bearing more than 1,300 signatures – has been amassed .

The petition is on http://tinyurl.com/za7vkts

The petition is on http://tinyurl.com/za7vkts

Professor Anthony Hazell, chairman of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd

Professor Anthony Hazell, chairman of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd

The petition is to be sent to Professor Tony Hazell chairman of  Penarth Arts and Crafts – the not-for-profit limited company that leases the Pavilion from the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Until today the Pier Pavilion had been opening on a 7-days- a-week  – a schedule initiated in early 2014 following criticism by residents and visitors of a prolonged closure over the Christmas/New Year holiday period of 2013.

The Pier Pavilion and Cinema was officially opened to the public on Sunday December 1st 2013 but closed for the Christmas holidays that year from December 24th to January 2nd 2014. Also in January 2014 the Pavilion Cafe was closed for four weeks for remedial electrical and plumbing work to be  carried out. Since that time however the Pavilion had been operation 7 days a week – that is until today.

There was no welcome for anyone of any age at the Pier Pavilion today

There was no welcome for anyone of any age at the Pier Pavilion today

The 3-days-a-week closure pattern – starting today – means that a new exhibition of art work created by residents at care homes in South Wales – which was launched last week – can’t be viewed until Thursday .

The handout information on the exhibition says it’s open until “Wednesday, March 22″ – but as that date now falls foul of the new closure regime, the last date for the exhibition would appear to be Sunday March 19th.

 

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28 Responses to DAY ONE OF CLOSED-DOORS AT PENARTH PIER PAVILION

  1. Brickie says:

    How many of the 1300 petition signatories have been using the cinema, I wonder?

  2. Philip Rapier says:

    I have been staggered and overwhelmed at the powerful representations I have received personally from residents all over Penarth in the last week-
    I am of course greatly impressed by the petition prompted by the carefully considered comments to the PDN articles on the partial closure of the Pier Pavillion.
    In view of this I will be holding an informal ” open” first meeting of P R P C
    (working title only) Penarth Residents Pier Campaign..
    Date of Meeting
    Monday 20 March 17 next week All are welcome
    Venue
    to be held at 7.30p.m at the Pilot/Bears Head or similar venue (venue subject to confirmation and Licensee’s permission.) I am sure PDN will help confirm the final arrangements
    Strategy on the Agenda will be
    The Examination of the most recent Watts Gregory PACL Accounts.
    Copies will be available at the meeting.
    (The presence of a volunteer Chartered Accountant at the meeting would be most welcome)
    AND
    The formation of a ” Shadow Board of Trustees” with the aim and realistically deliverable objective of restoring care and control of the Pier Pavillion to the rightful owners the People of Penarth by means of the new WAG statute the ” Historic Environment Wales Act 2016″

    (The presence of a volunteer Barrister, Solicitor or Legal Executive ideally with experience of the Charitable Sector in especially Arts, and Museums would be most welcome.)
    Please contact me directly or via PDN should you require more information.

    • Seth says:

      It’s good news that someone is doing this, thank you, and also to the person who started the petition but…
      I hope the “meeting” isn’t going to be chaotic and people just spouting “ideas”. There’s been quite enough of that in the name of this beleaguered (again) building. What needs to happen now in my view: this situation should not be about political point scoring or “academics” pursuing the pier as a “cultural oasis” at the expense of earning its keep. I fear the kind of people who could get it back on its feet – i.e. those with a commercial head who run businesses and don’t sit about writing PhDs etc – will stay away, fearing it will just be a bunch of “Penarth types” who like the sound of their own voices. And therein is the rub – the kind of people this cinema/café etc appeals to are what might (meant politely!) be termed “arty-farty” and that kind of “creative” person may sound as though they know what they’re talking about but it’s often be a million miles from the reality of bringing in the cash. Sorry to speak in stereotypes but I think the current situation stands as testament to what I’ve said.

  3. James says:

    That decking entrance really is the pits. A handsome building like that with sodden rotting cheap as chips back garden decking as the frontispiece.
    That aside, what a state of affairs.

  4. May I respectfully suggest some realism here. The fact is that PACL has a long lease on the building, and has a Board of Directors appointed from the community, not least the Vale of Glamorgan Council who owns the building. It is fairly evident that the principal difficulty is the shortage of funds (cash) to meet everyday running costs, just like any other charitable organisation. Unless investors can come up with funds that they are prepared to sink into the running of the building, it is understandable that the Trustees have to make “savings” to keep afloat on a regular basis. It may well be that some benefactors will come forwards with substantial sums, but in the meantime I think we need to appreciate that unless there is a complete turnaround, then the Pavilion is going to be under continual pressure, and no amount of political tub-thumping is going to help the situation. As a Plymouth Ward Councillor (the Pier lies in the ward), I will give every support to PACL, but cannot offer funding on behalf of the councils to assist the venture.

    • Ralf says:

      Most call for an increase in commercial activity to enable the Pier Pavillion to be someway sustainable in it’s own right. Not a call for benefactors.
      This situation lies firmly at the door of Prof Tony Hazell as “Chair”

    • andrewsketty says:

      With the greatest of respects Cllr Earnest – and as someone who has worked most of my life in the charitable/third sector and has made successful grant applications and manged the funds thereafter – you are correct in saying that the principal difficulty is the shortage of funds. However you are totally wrong in saying ‘just like any other charitable organisation’ and that ‘unless investors can come up with funds they are prepared to SINK into the running of the building it is understandable that the Trustees have to make savings.

      I can also suggest some realism too:-

      1.       PACL has been given huge sums of grant and public revenue funding to develop the Pavilion in its early years ( including almost £200k from the Lottery’s Coastal Communities Fund for staff costs ‘to boost income and visitor numbers’) to have a commercially sustainable future going forward

      2.       That PACL – unlike many small charities that I know – has not just one but several income earning streams with massive potential – including catering, functions, events, cinema, retail etc so no reason why they need to be grant dependent

      3.       An iconic asset – the Pavilion – that people far and wide want to visit and will spend their money in if the ‘offer’ is correct

      4.       I set up my petition purely on the back of not wanting to lose a wonderful unique community cinema – and in a week 1300 expressed that neither do they. We will pay to watch films there as opposed to travelling to a multiplex in Cardiff

      I was really shocked by your comments

      • Richard says:

        Who is this “Professor Hazell” and what is he saying on the matter? I don’t see him making any comments to encourage help for the Pier cinema to continue. Who is he? Where is he? What has he got to say for himself? This situation seems utter madness. Are people pussy-footing about and being respectful because he’s a “professor” or is well connected or what? What is it? What’s going on? I’ve never known such a farce. What the heck is going on?

      • Richard says:

        Jon, do you honestly think people have faith in the current management board? I don’t see this Professor Hazell rushing to embrace the enthusiastic and protective spirit of the people here concerned with keeping the Pier going. I hardly think this silence is doing anyone any favours. With the greatest respect, I have to say that if I was “Professor Hazell” I would be grateful for the interest and hope. I would probably be on here, leaving a message to assure people I was on the case. I would be correcting misconceptions about funding and encouraging meaningful discussion with “pressure groups” (as you put it). In my opinion, Professor Hazell needs to get something straight – we don’t go to him, he comes to us. I hope he makes it to the meeting at the Pilot.

      • Gareth says:

        Hear hear Andrewsketty. I believe an inquiry should be held into how all this public money has been spent. £200k you say for staff costs “to boost income and visitor numbers”? Where did that go? And on what? Surely there has to be some accountability for such VAST sums of money being spent to arrive at the situation we have today?
        I would like to hear from Prof Tony Hazell. Does anyone know his credentials for heading up PACL and his previous experience in such an area? I’d be grateful for any info. There seems to me to currently be a wall of silence.

    • Chris Wyatt says:

      I’m afraid you are rather out of touch on this one Anthony. You seem to be suggesting that the Pavilion will inevitably run at a loss unless ‘investors’ are prepared to keep it afloat. The HLF would never have provided funding on this basis and still have a legal charge on the building, as does the BFL and the Vale Council. There is no reason why the Pavilion could not be self sustaining and to claim otherwise is to completely misunderstand the real reason for the current problem, which is that the attempts of the current management to run the Pavilion profitably, however well meant, have failed. This does not mean that it could not be managed successfully in the future but it is very difficult to see how the current strategy of reducing or completely closing down the Pavilion’s potential profit centres can help return the building to a stable financial position.

      • Friends – I am a realist who has seen many ventures go “bottoms up” because they approach things in the wrong way, and overlook Customer Care as a prime consideration. Chris – you are absolutely right, as is Jon, but I think that a lively debate is by far the most open and honest way of discussing such an important issue. You do NOT have to agree with me, but at least we are talking, which is very open and democratic !

      • jonathancoleuk says:

        Richard, I agree entirely with your sentiments, the fact is though that PACL have the lease on the Pavilion, no matter how useless they may appear it is necessary to engage with them.It may well be that the current trustees should stand down, but to avoid any period of uncertainty those interested in the future of the Pavilion need to get themselves on the board and bring in the expertise sadly lacking

    • Mike says:

      What a strange and negative post, Cllr Ernest. Perhaps I’m interpreting your words incorrectly but to me, this reads as though you are trying to deter the community from getting involved. Why would you want to do that? If you “cannot offer funding on behalf of the councils to assist the venture” are you able to tell me how much Professor Hazell is paid for his role as chairman of PACL? Presumably this information is available to the public? Thanks

      • andrewsketty says:

        Cllr Ernest.

        with respect considering your original post on this thread you are hardly being a realist as my original response hopefully made clear.

        we are lucky to live in a town that has so much potential but appears to be held back by people running the show ( in and off the pier) which sadly does not inspire me with a y confidence going forward

    • Mike says:

      What a strange and negative post, Cllr Ernest. Perhaps I’m interpreting your words incorrectly but to me, this reads as though you are trying to deter the community from getting involved. Why would you want to do that? If you “cannot offer funding on behalf of the councils to assist the venture” are you able to tell me how much Professor Hazell is paid for his role as chairman of PACL? Presumably this information is available to the public? Thanks

      • Chris Wyatt says:

        My understanding is that Professor Hazell will not be receiving any payment for his work as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at PACL. His status, and that of the other trustees, is that of an unpaid volunteer, albeit with a significant degree of personal responsibility for the proper management of the Pavilion. The small number of staff employed by Penarth Pier Pavilion Ltd, the company that actually run the Pavilion on a day to day basis, are of course paid.

      • Simon says:

        Whether or not Professor Hazell and the trustees are being paid, how can a group of people make such a shocking and scandalous mess of running this? I’m told there are some “competent” people involved but sorry, I’m not seeing it. If people don’t have the time, inclination or talent to be involved then they should get the heck of it and let others with – at the very least – a soupcon of enthusiasm – do their best. Anything, clearly, is better than the current SHOWER of so-called “volunteers”. Why are those involved so quiet? It’s a disgrace the amount of money spent and yet what are we left with?
        I’m staggered that the town is so quiet, protecting those who have taken this beautiful Pier building to the brink. Someone must have seen what was happening and they allowed it to slide into a state where the place is now closed three days a week. Where does it go from there? SHAME ON THEM.

  5. Mike – I have not the least idea. Perhaps you would like to ask the gentleman yourself ?

  6. To all my anonymous critics – I am simply joining in the debate just like you are, but at least I have the courage to publish my name and not just call myself QYW040 or similar !
    In fact I have no control whatsoever over the Pavilion, and it does not form part of any remit I hold. However like everybody else as a Local Resident, I want to see the Pavilion flourish and so I join with you in confidently expecting other interested parties putting things right as soon as possible, and also look forward to what you achieve. Good Luck.

    • Philip says:

      Yes, all these anonymous voices – you never know who you might be talking to…:)

    • Simon says:

      I’m interested in your tone, Cllr Ernest.
      It seems to me that you were slow – unlike Clive Williams MBE – to offer your support to those keen to get the Pier out of this mess – and now, it appears you’re adopting a “see if you can do any better” attitude.
      Do you not agree the current PACL members have made a disgusting mess of things with such HUGE sums of money going down the pan?
      Or would you prefer to protect them and not tread on the toes of any so-called “important people”?
      I only ask because, not least with the elections coming, I’m wondering where to cast my vote. I want to vote for someone who isn’t impressed by status or cowed by cliques and stands up for what is right.

      • I am pleased that you “like my tone”, Simon. I have every sympathy for those who wish to see the Pavilion retained as a very valuable public asset, but managed by unpaid volunteers. I have never said otherwise and any contrary view is misleading. As one of the few who secured a £800,000 grant for the works to restore the Pavilion in the first place, how could anybody possibly doubt my intentions. So, to avoid any misunderstanding, I give my generous support to the re-opening of the Pavilion.

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