TWO PACKED PUBLIC-MEETINGS REFLECT LOCAL RESIDENTS’ CONCERN ON CINEMA CLOSURE

There was a capacity audience of about 150 at the “People’s Public Meeting” at Stanwell Baptist Church Hall in Victoria Road Penarth last night

The one clear fact that emerged from last night’s two packed public meetings (both called to consider the future of Penarth Pier Pavilion and its Cinema) – is that the people of Penarth care a lot about them.

At least 150 people cared enough to fill Stanwell Road Baptist Church Hall to capacity for the “SOS People’s Public Meeting” organised by Nicki Page  – with every seat taken, and with “standing room only” for dozens of late-comers .

There was another full house for the public meeting at The Pilot pub in Queens Road

…And across town in Queens Road they cared enough to pile en-mass into the crowded confines of The Pilot pub for the almost-simultaneous and separately-organised  meeting convened by former Town Mayor Councillor Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines).

It was clear that the public  response to both public meetings had taken their respective organisers by surprise – but it was the strongest indication yet that the people of Penarth want their Pier Pavilion and its Cinema fully opened again, following the shock decision to close the Pavilion [refurbished in 2013 at a public cost of £4,200,000] for 3 days each week as from March 6th –  and to close the integral Pavilion cinema indefinitely.

At the “People’s Public Meeting” at the Baptist Church Hall , some seats at a top-table had been set aside specifically for the  directors and trustees of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (a.k.a. PACL) all of whom had been invited to attend. Those hot seats were the only ones which remained unoccupied .

Baptist Hall meeting organiser, PR executive Nicki Page told the audience she had been banned from Penarth “Town Hall” and was told the police would be summoned if she didn’t leave The Kymin

The organiser – PR Executive Nicki Page – told the audience the only reason she had called the meeting was that she loved Penarth, the Pier and the Pavilion . She said she had been born in Penarth, educated at Stanwell School and had returned home after working abroad for many years . She said she was not standing for “any local position” , she didn’t like politics, she had “never voted”,  – but everyone, she asserted,  had “felt outraged” and she wanted to give people the opportunity to “share those feelings in a public arena” .

Ms Page said she had “approached every member” of Penarth Town Council, had tried to “engage” with the Vale of Glamorgan Council, and had “tried to engage with Carwen” (sic) [a.k.a. Carwyn Jones Welsh Government First Minister ] – but he had been too busy to see her. She said she had also travelled to London to attempt to engage with the Secretary of State for Wales but had been told a meeting was “not appropriate and that – bottom line –  he didn’t want to see me”. She had earlier offered her help to Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd free of charge – but had been told it was not needed and that the company preferred to pay for its services .

Ms Page also claimed to be the first person in Penarth to be banned from what she called “The Town Hall” where – when she had attempted to contact councillors and pin-up a poster,  staff had called her “aggressive and unapproachable” and she had been told to “leave the Town Hall”  . When she had attempted to pin-up a poster at The Kymin, she said she had been told the police would be called if she did not leave.

She told the audience that ITV News had filmed interviews with her on the issue that day – but the item had been held over from that night’s programme and would be run later in the week.

Gospel singer Betty Thomas unexpectedly sang “Precious Lord”

It was at this point the meeting took an unexpected turn when Ms Page brought before the audience a female speaker who was going to impart her “passion and commitment on the issue” – but whose name – unfortunately –  Ms Page appeared to have forgotten .

A member of the audience asked “Can we have your name?  We don’t know who you are”. The speaker,  who turned out to be as local gospel singer, Ms Betty Thomas,  modestly asked a member of the audience to introduce her . With the formalities duly completed, she then launched into an unaccompanied solo rendering of  “Precious Lord.”  

For some in – what had now become a congregation rather than a public meeting – it was a moment to discreetly take their leave of the crowded hall – but if the Pier Pavilion and the Pavilion Cinema are in need of divine intervention to secure their survival, then this cannot have harmed their chances.

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) (centre left) prepares to address the crowded meeting in the back bar of the Pilot Pub. Casual diners who might have been expecting to enjoy a quiet evening meal found themselves surrounded by a crowded public meeting of concerned local residents

Meanwhile across town, in the Pilot Pub, there was also standing-room-only in the packed rear bar/ dining area  where presumably some regular customers –  having booked a table for a quiet dinner –  must have been surprised to find themselves densely surrounded by those attending Cllr Philip Rapier’s meeting.

With the meeting almost spilling out into Queen’s Road, it was – notwithstanding Cllr Rapier’s theatrical skills – an effort to hear what was being said.

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) had set up last night’s public meeting at Tghe Pilot on an “apolitical” basis.

Cllr Rapier made it clear that he was not representing Penarth Town Council or the Vale or Glamorgan Council – he was simply acting as a  “facilitator and co-ordinator”    with a view to bringing together a group of “volunteers” with compatible skills and expertise who could undertake the operation of the cinema under arrangements to be negotiated with  Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd.

Specifically Cllr Rapier asked for assistance from:-

  • Volunteer chartered accountants to examine the Penarth Arts and Crafts Accounts
  • Volunteer legal advisors to assist with securing the future of the Cinema
  • Volunteer cinema “staff” who he envisaged could carry out the duties of projectionist, front of house,  cleaning and maintenance

When all the voluntary offers have been received it’s intended to set up a “Steering Group” to oversee cinema operations. Amongst the options proposed by Cllr Rapier are :-

  • “sub letting the cinema to the community by Co-operative . Mutual Ownership
  • Investigating the British Film Institute guide to licensing requirements for “neighbourhood cinema”
  • Investigating film rental eligibility and the cost of joining the British Film Institute “approved neighbourhood cinema scheme”

There was much discussion of the apparently parlous state the Penarth Arts and Craft Company’s accounts.

Penarth resident Andrew Jones who set up the on line petition signed by 1600 people to save the Cinema

Penarth resident Andrew Jones – who had organised the on-line petition to save the Cinema (attracting 1600 signatures in the process)  said the facts of the matter were that the money had “run out” and the company was “robbing Peter to pay Paul ”  but insisted that the Cinema itself was “totally viable” and  cited examples of other community cinemas in Wales which did pay their way.

PACL, he said,  had “completely mismanaged” the cinema and “wasted the money”  . He had heard reports of bills not being paid by PACL.

Some members of the public wondered how realistic it would be to separate functions carried out by the Pavilion from those of the Cinema – and pointed out that sales of pop-corn and bar sales (which have been provided by the Pavilion)  would be important part of the income of any cinema which was run as a separate entity .

Cllr Ian Courtney (centre)(Labour Cornerswell) told the packed  meeting that when he was a “nominee” on the board of Penarth Arts and Crafts he had not been provided with any management accounts – and explained why, 2 years ago, he had resigned

Professor Anthony Hazell, chairman of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd was not at either of the public meetings

Cllr Ian Courtney (Labour Cornerswell), who was Penarth Town Council’s “nominee” trustee on the board of Penarth Arts and Crafts up to November 2014,  told the meeting that the current chairman of PACL  [ Professor Tony Hazell] and his predecessor had both worked “exceptionally hard“. It was a “personal sacrifice” on the part of Professor Hazell that he had “dedicated part of his life to PACL” [ i.e. Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd]  .

Cllr Courtney  said the firm had a number of financial obligations which he could not divulge for legal reasons. He reminded the audience that he had said had publicly that he had resigned because of “matters of commercial viability affecting the Pavilion”. The chairman however had said afterwards he was unaware of any commercial issues.

Cllr Courtney went on to say that the accounts for the year in question  indicated a material uncertainty which may cast a doubt about the charity’s ability to continue as a going concern   . That statement in the accounts had been made six months after the chairman’s statement that “there were no commercial issues“. He said “I will leave you to judge whether at that time – nearly two years ago – there was a major commercial challenge  facing the Board of Trustees”

However  other speakers thought that – although the background was useful –  it would be better to concentrate on the current situation. Andrew Jones said this would depend on “whether PACL would invite anybody in to take care of the cinema for example” . Mr Jones said he understood that some talks on these lines were already in progress.

Asked how much the Cinema cost each year to run, Cllr Courtney said that when he was a PACL trustee “it was impossible to tell because we had no management accounts “.

Another speaker asked whether it was correct that the Cinema had spent “only £60 a year” on marketing and that “two managers were paid £25,000 a year”. No one came up with a reply.

It could be “curtains” for the Pavilion Cinema unless something is done to save it

There was an extensive discussion on the very high charges made by film hire organisations – a major overhead  which cinema operators have to pay and which it was said could amount to  £1,000 for a “hot” film.

A member of the public asked whether it was the case that Penarth Arts and Crafts had paid £47,000 to rent 363 films when the films could be bought for £7,000. Another said the hire rates  depended on the film, and on how “current” it was . It was also pointed out there were special hire rates available for universities and film clubs. Andrew Jones said he understood that the fees in the case of the Pavilion were a percentage of the box office takings.

Cllr Philip Rapier (Labour St Augustines) addresses the crowded meeting in the back bar of the Pilot Pub

Cllr Rapier  pointed out that community cinemas “up the valleys” were viable and he believed that the Pier Pavilion Cinema could also pay its way , The Ritz Cinema in Thirsk North Yorkshire was open 363 days a year and was completely viable he said .

Cllr Rapier  said he needed “12 signatories ” – ideally with legal or accountancy qualifications  – to form the nucleus of a community cinema group to invesigate the position of PACL and potentially negotiate arrangements to kleep the Pavilion Cinema going .

He invited all those who wanted to help, to contact him via his email address  Philip.rapier@hotmail.co.uk and his phone number is 02920709232 [ as detailed on the Penarth Town Council website] .

UPDATE 

Broadcasting executive Andrew Jones has now issued a statement in the wake of last night’s public meetings on the Pavilion Cinema

Today Andrew Jones – who instigated the 1,600 signature on-line petition protesting the closure , released a further statement in the wake of last night’s meeting at The Pilot.

In it he says: Philip Rapier presented the case for the formation of a shadow voluntary organisation ready to step in with a proposal to take over the cinema as a community cinema.
Whilst his proposal is no doubt well intentioned there are 2 problems with this in my opinion :-
1) That PACL show no signs of reaching out to the community in order to find a way forward
2) That the one thing that PACL has done well is to produce a first class programme of films in conjunction with the Independent Cinema Office and shown in a state of the arts digital auditorium. We want this to continue. Whilst I have nothing against the notion of setting up a community cinema we are far from being at this point.
Some people last night were frustrated by the apparent lack of a way forward and concrete plan. However what I believe is important – and the reason for 2 packed houses – is that for the first time people have felt they had the opportunity to express their concerns. It is very difficult to have a concrete plan going forward when nobody in a position to bring about change at the Pavilion ( Funders, local politicians, trustees) seem prepared to engage with the very people whose support was integral to the funding originally received to reopen the place – the public and users of the Cinema and others functions!
Our views were needed to support the funding bids but it seems our opinions don’t count in finding a way out of the current mess! And yes unless someone can convince us otherwise a mess is what it is! It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes – we can see the feudal kingdom of Hazel-wood for what it really is having visited it regularly – but we are only meant to see utopia!
Our own experiences as customers of the Pavilion are supplemented daily by people and organisations coming forward with their own very poor experiences of unpaid invoices and turned away custom.
Ever since the sudden closure was first announced I have been of the opinion that this can only be down to the fact that PACL has not paid its bill to the ICO for film distribution. Last night I heard several people (better placed than I to know if this really is the case) confirm this – with one claiming the outstanding bill is hefty to say the least. If it is the case that the ICO payment is a pre-agreed % of box office takings then it does raise very serious questions about management practice and financial performance.

Stephen Doughty (Labour Cardiff South and Penarth)

In his column in last week’s Penarth Times local MP Stephen Doughty stated amongst other points on the Pavilion the following :-
I have had a number of helpful conversations and meetings with both Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd and the Vale of Glamorgan Council over recent weeks, and I am pleased that a whole series of steps are being taken to ensure the future sustainability of the Pavilion and its activities….
I know that PACL will welcome all offers of voluntary support, advice and partnerships – and would encourage readers to do what they can to offer support.
Having visited last week, I can confirm that the Pavilion was open, busy, and even with the temporary suspension of public film screenings, other bookings of the cinema are happening….
Constituents are always welcome to get in touch with me, to share views on local or national issues, or for assistance with personal casework matters.’
I have spoken to Stephen myself on this issue and had a frank discussion and he listened to what I had to say. I would though respond again to the above points he made by saying:-
We would really appreciate some engagement and dialogue over this important issue in terms of any remedial steps being taken
• Our evidence to date certainly does NOT support the views that PACL welcome offers of support , advice and partnership. The very opposite in fact.
• What other ‘bookings’ of the cinema are really taking place?
• Please get in touch with Stephen as he is asking in order to give him YOUR views
At the end of the meeting I met many people who came over to me to thank me for my efforts to date with this petition. I just set it up as like others in the room I don’t want to lose our wonderful cinema. People asked what we could do next? The truth is it is very difficult to know if all doors are firmly closed and nobody will engage. When that happens rumour builds and so does suspicion and anger and that is hardly surprising. What is clear is that people have totally lost confidence in PACL going forward and are looking to funders, politicians, the council as freeholder to bring about urgent change – if that includes the removal of current Trustees then so be it. Clearly there are passionate people among us who also have skills and knowledge to make the Pavilion work as we know it can. We are here waiting to be part of a dialogue going forward.
Until then all I can urge you to do is to raise your concerns, suggestions and own experiences with your local councillor – remember there is a local council election coming up and the future of the Pavilion is clearly going to be a big issue. Then as MP Stephen Doughty says he would welcome your views as I’m sure would AM Vaughan Gething too.
The media are showing interest which is good! I am told that ITV Cymru Wales are airing the piece they have done on the Pavilion on this evening’s Wales At Six – 6pm”

ENDS STATEMENT BY ANDREW JONES March 21 2017

 

 

 

 

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75 Responses to TWO PACKED PUBLIC-MEETINGS REFLECT LOCAL RESIDENTS’ CONCERN ON CINEMA CLOSURE

  1. Katarina says:

    Andrew Jones and a few other speakers spoke very well at the Pilot and Andrew should be thanked for all the work he has done to get his petition going and for explaining clearly and simply the current state of affairs. There were also a few other speakers who made valid points, I think it is now time to put this whole operation into the hands of people who understand running a business and not the Councillors who have failed us so badly. Would be happy to support people from last night with a serious business plan.

    • Mgg says:

      I don’t see a place where councillors have been involved in the mess .Please illuminate your point .What have I missed?

      • Simon says:

        What part of “councillors who have failed us so badly” don’t you understand?
        Where have all of them been on this, most hiding away, not asking questions about the use of public money.
        There should be demands for an inquiry into what happened to all this cash.
        There should be questions asked about why PACL is allowed to remain when the outfit is clearly not fit for purpose.
        Where are the councillors asking why PACL refuses to answer public questions?
        It’s crazy. Only in Penarth would this sucky-uppy attitude allow people to remain in their positions. What a terrible town of snobs and try-hards.
        THANK YOU Andrew Sketty for rising above all of this.

    • andrewsketty says:

      many thanks for the kind words.

      • Please andrew could you put a campaign headline piece Invitation and urgent call to all on your petition inviting all to the second people’s I love Penarth sos meeting all saints church 5 April 2017 6 pm doors open so we are all together advised and better. If you could do an opening summary of your findings and the issues on the night itv news will report with others thanks Nicki from I love ❤️ Penarth

    • Susan Carter says:

      It’s run by Penarth Arts & Crafts, not the council!

      • Tim says:

        It’s public money and councillors are there to ask questions on our behalf.
        Seeing as PACL appears to think itself above challenge or reproach, councillors could be lobbying to ensure this mess is exposed for what it is.
        As it stands, all of them are VERY quiet.
        I wonder why?

      • Mgg says:

        Simon. What part of its run by Pacl do you not understand? While there is a debate to be had regarding Town councils response katrianas entry suggested that councillors were directly and primarily involved in running the pier which is obviously not accurate. I will add that if the charity commission were being hoodwinked then what chance for anyone else to see what was happening. .

    • Of course that is what anyone that’s run a business needs a proper business plan please all at the pilot pub meeting come to the sos people who love Penarth meeting no 2 all saints church has been booked and posters. Eng distributed – April 5 2017 doors open 6 for 7 kick off We have some recommendations for the people in penarth to vote on as one collective representative body of those that love ❤️ Penarth its pier and cinema and want it open and professionally managed I and directed for the benefit of a diversified customer base and audience. Nicki

    • We are waiting for andrew to confirm he will present his latest update at sos community I love ❤️ penarth action group meeting – April 5 – all saints church Penarth 6pm for 7pm. I need to issue the agenda along with mr Rapiers key point and time line action plan. Nick. All together better

  2. Chris David says:

    Nicki Page is obviously a force but the Pilot meeting appears to have been far more focused. Some interesting “information” (unfortunately little validated) has been revealed. The fact Mr Courtney could not reveal information for legal reasons is very worrying, this has to be overcome. Mr Courtney I know is competent and experienced. The fact that he reports that no management accounts were being produced is very telling- and worrying. A clear sign the whole thing was being mismanaged. This entire debacle needs a forensic audit, no secrets. On the surface there are some encouraging signs- but hard facts are more or less non existent. If the (alleged) 363 films could have been purchased for £7,000 then you headline break even point would be four people purchasing tickets at £5 a time per film. Note HEADLINE, this doesn’t factor in the associated overheads which for anything to go forward need to be revealed. Even at £47,000 you would only need 26 sales a film- stress to cover film costs only. Anyway a lot of work needs to be done if a professional business plan is to be produced. A clear operational plan needs to support it with those in charge given clear job descriptions and responsibilities. These must include monthly management accounts and meetings. One thing comes to mind- you don’t need two managers to run this cinema on its own- it looks like it would could be managed part time. Unless of course it was part on an “entire complex” plan. Nothings clear.

    • The sos I love ❤️ Penarth it’s pier pavilion and cinema meeting had in the first session one objective – to provide an exclusive hire, neutral venue (following an intense on foot poster led campaign – budget 150 pounds to date) – the baptist church hall – at a convenient time for all in the community, should they wish to attend the passionate and open dialogue from the people in penarth and around and note comments, thoughts and ideas.

      Right now we need to stop and think and consolidate. Get the facts straight get th right people with the right professional DNA into action on an agreed plan outcome orientated with deadlines and responsibilities and a feedback to all mechanism. We suggest the new Facebook page that went up yesterday by the I love ❤️ campaign team

      Our, all together much better campaign platform, to find a positive and inclusive way forward to benefit the future and current wellbeing of all of us who love to live here, and those to come: those who choose to visit us and spend time and money in our little lovely town by the sea – shopping, eating ice creams on the pier, watching films in our arts cinema, dancing the tango in the pavilion or having a cup of tea and cake in the cafe or buying a stick of rock or bag of humbugs from the best little sweet shop I have ever had the joy to buy from. Our I love ❤️ Penarth campaign has a bold vision which we will share with all: which we can actualise with a thoughtful,creative and inclusive approach, with positive change – the cinema is one part of a bigger crisis which needs no longer a band aid but major surgery to cut out the rot once and for all and move us all forward, which I know we can do. I really loved the people in penarth on march 20th 6.30pm in the church hall who came to the meeting and responded to the SOS call up – thank you for the support

      The crisis now exposed has brought out the very best in the people in penarth in the main and I’m delighted honestly we are now on track to get our wishes and demands actualised by various groups doing their bit – all under one consolidated and approv d by the people strategy I suggest

      So all together we are much much better

      I have yet again reach out to mr Rapier to have that cup of tea in the pavilion but that has to be now Thursday to Sunday any day and time is fine for me, as I’m on this all the time as are I know now, many others

      Thankyou all for the support by showing up

      Thankyou for the test messages and phone calls

      Thanks ITV news for being tolerant and not loosing patience with me for constantly hassling for prime news coverage

      Thanks Penarth on line for giving exceptional coverage in the main I felt very balanced to date although a little naughty with the decisive two rival meetings position – but I can’t blame the editor he got people talking and looking at his blog like all excellent media people know how to do

      Thanks the Penarth times

      The politicians. The Gethn Vaughns the Stephens the Penarth councillors in the main, the others who I have dealt with over the last 9 months – sorry I remain totally unconvinced and untrusting of their abilitilities to represent our people’s views without using the now big Penarth issue as an election vote grabber with elections in a few weeks

      No we who love Penarth have to take mattes forward

      We have to take the responsibility for this and do things differently in Penarth in my view for what it’s worth

      And that is what I believe we can and should do

      The people of Penarth who love the town should they wish me to as asked – I will as promised lay out our bold and United vision in the next I love Penarth meeting in a short while

      We need please a venue to be provided for circa 500 as that’s the number I would like to see at the next meeting. Any ideas anyone please let me know via the now up I love Penarth pavilion Facebook page which thanks to one of the I love ❤️ team is up 24 hours as he promised later

      Don’t you just admire people who do what they say they will do – it’s an absolute blessing as far as I’m concerned and critical in our success

      Talk is so easy

      Action and right action after thought is now what’s key

      Nicki
      I love ❤️ Penarth campaigner

      next Tuesday 28th March at 9.30 am

  3. Philip Rapier says:

    “I wanted to wish you good luck for tonight and please read out or tell the audience “you have my total support in every way, and I will support you 100% in all your efforts.”
    Your friend Clive
    Cllr A. Clive Williams MBE Independent Plymouth Ward Penarth”
    —————————————————————————————————————————
    My sincere thanks and apologies to Councillor Williams as unfortunately I was only able to pick up his goodwill message (above) after the meeting. Thanks to all at “The Pilot” for a challenging, forthright debate and all the numerous good wishes received afterwards for a successful outcome.

  4. I think the woman in the centre of two of the photos with dark hair and glasses looking at the camera should have been offered a refund or a free meal at a later date , as its clear she and her family/friends did not come for the meeting but for a meal . This is clearly seen as she shows no interest in the proceedings and is not facing the speaker . It is the fault of the pub that this crowd were shoved into the room where people were eating thus causing discomfort to the diners. Worse still we have a Councillor along with others sat on a table only feet away. Nice example I thought and only making things look worse. I personally have no interest in the cinema plans , but if they are going to organise such chaotic meeting in pubs to the discomfort of customers, descending en masse whilst people are eating , they are not going to appeal to more people. I hope the Landlord or meeting organisers compensate this lady and her family . Being filmed or photographed whilst eating or trying to is not nice either as can be seen in the photos.

    • Gina says:

      I bet you wouldn’t get that kind of carry-on in The Busy Teapot. 🙂

    • Mgg says:

      Well said .

    • 92 and a social butterfly says:

      I agree with AW

    • whatsoccurin says:

      and of course, none of these facilities would get into difficulty if they are regularly used-if everyone who turned up for the meeting actually attended the cinema once per week the problem would not exist-the Vulcan in Cardiff, and Monico cinema in Rhiwbina were the same-huge interest when they were under threat-once the battle was “won” interest faded away. (they areboth now closed)

      • andrewsketty says:

        I’m not sure how many times this needed to be stated but theres NO evidence that the cinema is NOT viable. Far from it. The issue is that PACL has completely mismanaged the whole Pavilion.

        And if the marketing was done properly then attendance would be even higher. This is NOT the same as the examples you give. This cinema should be open and would if PACL had managed it correctly and paid their bills

    • Chris David says:

      Mr Beans off again 🙂 Look AW if you can’t contribute or be constructive – which it appears you never are/do, the just stick to dodging seagulls in Westgate St and writing letters on rugby hooligans blocking your way to the chip shop.

    • Gwilym Davies says:

      You have no interest in the cinema plans… and yet you read all the way to the bottom of the longest article I’ve ever seen on PDN… and then felt strongly enough about a stranger’s dinner to post a lengthy comment? I’d suggest that perhaps you need a hobby, Andrew 😉 FYI, I’m pretty sure that woman and her friends were there for the meeting – as I was standing about 2 feet away from them. However, I totally agree that it was a poor choice of venue for what turned out to be a strongly attended meeting. Since you’re clearly very concerned about innocent diners caught in the cross-fire, I hope you’ll sleep better tonight knowing that there only seemed to be one group who wasn’t there for the meeting – and they seemed to leave fairly quickly.

  5. NickP says:

    Really encouraging that a local elected official should offer to coordinate a rescue plan.
    Surely this process could be used to remedy some of the terrible decisions made by The Vale council; form a committee of qualified professionals to act for the greater good of Penarth. Then offer the solution to the public in the imminent elections…

  6. Jonny says:

    “Cllr Ian Courtney (Labour Cornerswell), who was Penarth Town Council’s “nominee” trustee on the board of Penarth Arts and Crafts up to November 2014, told the meeting that the current chairman of PACL [ Professor Tony Hazell] and his predecessor had both worked “exceptionally hard“. It was a “personal sacrifice” on the part of Professor Hazell that he had “dedicated part of his life to PACL” [ i.e. Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd]”

    Blimey, imagine if the prof had been taking it easy, doing practically nothing – just think what we’d have been left with then. Fancy “dedicating part of your life” to PACL, making a “personal sacrifice” and ending up with this ****ing mess. You’d be devastated, wouldn’t you.

  7. Richard says:

    I see ITV Wales were unable to get a response from Tony Hazell or PACL.
    What a fool they make of everyone, being allowed to behave this way.
    Joke.

    • Eddie says:

      Thought for the day: What is worse – PACL’s performance to date, resulting in the closure of the cinema and talk of unpaid bills (after receipt of funds totalling £4,200,000 of public money) or the fact none of them have surfaced to be held accountable for the mess?

  8. Tom says:

    Penarth: the town where a group of unelected people are allowed to spend £4,200,000 of public money, resulting in the cinema closing indefinitely, the Pier building shut for three days a week, and it seems not one representative of PACL feels any responsibility or good will to answer questions about what the heck happened.
    Makes you proud to be part of the town, doesn’t it?

  9. Harry says:

    It seems to me that it is becoming clear that there may be an even more worrying issue than that regarding the future of the Pier building and cinema, and that is: how on earth are PACL allowed to remain silent?
    Is someone protecting this group from questions? And why? Who could be that “important”?
    Why hasn’t anyone from PACL spoken? Why haven’t AMs or MPs or councillors got involved?
    We hear, via Cllr Courtney, that Tony Hazell has apparently devoted much time to the Pier project. If it has been that important to him, why he is not engaging with public offers of support – not least after PACL issued a statement saying they would welcome such interest?
    Such a huge sum of money gone and nobody saying anything???
    People stood down but still no transparency from PACL. Why is there no inquiry into this?
    How can it move on if people who have made such a mess are still clinging to the wreckage in the hope of riding out the storm? Such secrecy seems very strange to me.

    • Marcus says:

      Hear, hear Harry. You’d have thought with Hazell being so devoted to the cause that he’d have pitched up at the meeting for a much-needed Q&A.

  10. I totally agree with you Gina , they run a welcoming set up and are great hosts . This meeting at the Pilot was badly organised by the look of things and what was the Management thinking of by allowing this crowd of people to push and shove their way into the dining area . Did the meeting organisers not want to pay for the room? so just descended on those wishing to dine or already into their meal when the doors are thrown open to let this crowd in. And as I said earlier not a good example set by the Councillor present or the person next to him sat with their bottoms on the table , knowing someone is going to be served a meal on that very table. As said before the meeting organisers should apologise to any diners present especially the lady with the dark glasses and dark hair and her companions , and or the pub should offer them a free meal at a time of their choosing . Not good publicity for them and not good publicity for the (want of a better word) organisers of this event.

    • Ron57 says:

      Let’s hope, for all our sakes, that “the lady with the dark glasses and dark hair” or “her companions” phone in to say they were there for the meeting to put you out of your misery. 🙂

    • Gina says:

      And the Busy Teapot offers wholesome fayre, suitable for consumption by relatives and close friends perambulating Penarth in search of decent grub. 🙂

  11. Dan says:

    “Cllr Courtney said the firm had a number of financial obligations which he could not divulge for legal reasons. He reminded the audience that he had said had publicly that he had resigned because of “matters of commercial viability affecting the Pavilion”. The chairman however had said afterwards he was unaware of any commercial issues.

    Cllr Courtney went on to say that the accounts for the year in question indicated “a material uncertainty which may cast a doubt about the charity’s ability to continue as a going concern“ . That statement in the accounts had been made six months after the chairman’s statement that “there were no commercial issues“. He said “I will leave you to judge whether at that time – nearly two years ago – there was a major commercial challenge facing the Board of Trustees” ”

    Holy chowder. How is Hazell still in the role?????

    • Will says:

      Agree. It’s the question any right-thinking member of society should be asking.

    • Daft o dull says:

      Ok so coun Courtney resigned two years ago. Why didn’t he do more to bring to public and councils attention the profligate mis management of this publicly funded organisation? Seems like he is equally to blame here as the inadequate pacl board. I think that coun Courtney is using the ‘commercial issue’ as a smoke screen for his exit and involvement.

      It may we’ll be the case that prof Hazel worked hard, but to have no management accounts prepared and kept current is indisputable evidence of incompetence I’m afraid.

  12. One more small point , I suppose we can expect an apology to the diners from those who organised this thing via this website , and it goes without doubt the Pilot will take the opportunity to apologise to those affected to ensure the goodwill of the public and their assurances such a state of affairs will not happen again . I along with others can now wait with baited breath to see who does the ‘right thing’ first!!??

    • Ron57 says:

      I heard Pilot staff have been supplied with a uniform of sackcloth, and members of the public are invited to throw tomatoes at them on the Queen’s Road Green as atonement for the shocking oversights you have taken such trouble to document. 🙂

  13. As for Chris David , you took your time and still doing the unpleasant troll attitude I see or as we may call it anonymous insults from some arrogant individual with a head as big as a bucket. And this forum is for anyone to use and I note you were the first person to object to my posting after several had agreed with me . And if you think i’m going to rise to your childish insults about Mr Bean or chips etc forget it I only mention it here for your information …. No more TROLLING now Chris David there’s a good lad (probably cant help himself).

    • Chris David says:

      1) I’m not anonymous. 2) I don’t object- I find you highly amusing, please keep it up. 3) Trolling- do look up the definition of irony 🙂 Oh yes- were you at the pilot meeting xx

  14. Wow Gwilym Davies I’m impressed you could tell that woman was there for the meeting just because you were standing about 2 feet from her wow , you must be a wizard regarding body language. So let me get this right if she was looking out if the window that would indicate she was what??? This woman was facing away from the speaker and judging by the 2 photos was not really involved and didn’t enjoy the camera in her face either

    • andrewsketty says:

      As a matter of interest Andrew were you at the meeting in tbe Pilot?

    • Gwilym Davies says:

      If anyone’s a wizard at body language, AW – it seems to be you – concluding your own ‘alternative facts’ from two photographs of a situation that those in attendance had nearly two hours to assess. Perhaps you should take a break from forensically analysing photographs of strangers – and from commenting on events you claim to have no interest in.

  15. Mari Jones says:

    I attended the meeting but ate food while it was going on, just like the lady you mention. The pilot staff informed us before we chose a table that there would be a meeting and gave us the choice of sitting the other side of the bar if we didn’t want to be part of the meeting. So I believe the lady was also there to hear what was being said.

    • andrewsketty says:

      phew. thanks Mari. I was beginning to wonder whether this was a serioys thread about PACL or annanalysis of a diner’s experience in the Pilot

      • Gwilym Davies says:

        I think we’d all agree that Mr Worsley deserves credit for cutting through the subterfuge of the ‘cinema scandal’ in order to bring the real issue here to the fore – pub diner’s rights. Surely he deserves recognition in the next New Year’s Honours list for his tireless work in this important area.

  16. odd how even when issues seem to be important to the masses PDN posters never fail to troll / go off topic, prehaps it s for the best some posters dont stray from thier keyboards and have an “active” input into penarth.
    at least the waste of energy and all round distraction can be contained in the ether.

    • Jim says:

      Isn’t “contained in the ether” an oxymoron? 🙂

    • Monty says:

      I’m afraid it isn’t “odd” at all, it’s par for the course. You’d be hard pressed to find a more unrepresentative bunch of Penarthians. Don’t take it seriously Daniel, just enjoy it, it’s pure comedy!

      • Max says:

        If we are “unrepresentative” of “Penarthians” – in your view, Monty – what do you consider “representative”?
        Stanwell School, Oxbridge, partner in a law firm, T.M Lewin shirts?
        Surely this place is “representative” of a number of Penarthians?
        How do you know who we are?
        In what way are we so “unrepresentative”?

      • Mrs Tate says:

        How unkind, Monty. How rude and presumptuous and wrong you are.
        Of course, we represent Penarthians in all their varied forms.
        I would much rather the company of this lot on here than that of a sneering voyeur.
        Coming here to observe the spectacle as a form of entertainment, you naughty thing, you’re no better than a tricoteuse.

  17. whatsoccurin says:

    I would still argue that PACL did insufficient market research before deciding to have a cinema as part of the the project-in the 1970s we had 3 TV channels and we either went to the cinema if we wanted to see a film or waited 5 years or so until it was on TV-those days have long gone-films are available on satellite TV channels within a few weeks of release,home entertainment is much better and many cinemas have closed.The photographs of the meetings show an “elder” demographic-some may live in walking distance of the Pier but many do not-attending a one-off meeting is one thing but regularly driving to a cinema with limited parking is another-my personal view is that the cinema should have been flagged up as unsustainable.

    • Concerned Citizen says:

      The point about the lack of parking is a valid one and should have indicated the importance of good, widespread publicity about events in the Pavilion and Cinema. No-one who lives beyond walking distance and is not near the only bus route is going to come along on spec when they may have to park right up on the cliff top and walk half a mile back … only to find it closed or nothing of interest happening?

    • Gwilym Davies says:

      I don’t think anyone would argue that this cinema should have been (should be!) better publicised and marketed (not least with a sign/posters on the pavilion itself!)… but one thing that came to light at the Pilot meeting was that, perhaps surprisingly, it seems that general attendance figures at the cinema have actually been pretty high.

      Anecdotal evidence from those in attendance at the meeting reported that almost all showings they’d been to at the cinema had been well attended (right up to the unwitting ‘last showing’ of ‘Jackie’) – with many being sold out. I’d assumed that perhaps the matinee showings were generally poorly attended – and I asked the crowd if anyone had experience of these showings; lots of people said they had, and that they too were well attended.

      I would say that an art-house/boutique cinema such as the Pavilion is not really in direct competition with either the multiplexes or home entertainment. The experience people go for at a cinema location like the Pavilion/Chapter etc. is something different – and heavily tied in with the adult-orientated programming in a drink-serving atmosphere. As you say, a lot of the clientele are older – but they tend to be regular customers and ‘heavy users’. Write off the “grey-pound” at your peril – especially in Penarth! I myself am in my late 30s, enjoy home entertainment and the multiplex – but equally enjoy going to see certain types of films in a setting such as the Pavilion. The venue would greatly benefit from some (!) marketing to catch tourists and people from the wider Cardiff area wanting to watch film in a quirky setting, but he truth is that Penarth is affluent and ‘middle-class’ enough to support a thriving venue of this type. As many at the meeting pointed out – the numbers coming out of PACL don’t make sense – and the problem seems to have been gross financial mismanagement/incompetence rather than unsustainability – which is why people are so furious.

  18. andrewsketty says:

    If we followed through your thinking in terms of tv channel choice we would have no cinemas left at all.

    As a matter of interest did you go to watch films at the Pavilion cinema? I did and there was a wide range of ages.

    i can only repeat that there’s no evidence that the cinema is not viable but plenty that it was mismanaged by PACL

    • whatsoccurin says:

      I think the traditional cinema is virtually moribund-the multiplexes are pale shadows of the traditional Odeon/Gaumonts etc-I did consider going to see Bond film “Spectre” at the Pier but I could rent it for a few pounds overnight from a Movie Channel, so watched it in the comfort of my own home-sorry to persevere, but that is life these days, getting people out of their homes,especially in the evening is increasingly difficult, whether the cinema is well managed or not.

      • Gwilym Davies says:

        Well, I guess you’re not in the market, whatsoccurin – but plenty of other people still are. The UK box office is worth £1.32 billion a year.

    • lan Courtney says:

      Andrew when you get an opportunity l wonder if you would be good enough to contact me. You have my contact details. Many thanks lan Courtney

  19. Chris David says:

    I think Cllr Courtney would be better engaged than alienated! Mr Rapier does have considerable knowledge of the intricacies of all this. I have learned there’s a lot more to this than is covered here on PDN. Its difficult to come up with a meaningful plan without the engagement of PACL and the VoG. Mr Doughty could help more by acting as a bridge rather than just engaging with “officialdom” and issuing trite statements. Unhelpful distractions by comedians that have no meaningful input should be ignored. I doubt diners rights are relevant or will help.
    1) PACL we are informed were not- and are probably are not producing monthly management accounts. That is gross incompetence.
    2) The last accounts I could see online were 2015. I’m informed that PACL / VoG are holding back publication of the latest accounts until they’re forced to under company regulations. This if true is unacceptable. In any case the accounts will be out of date so management accounts need to be produced to the latest month of trading.
    3) The public (well its mandated body) need to see the supporting minutes of any management meetings and / or meeting between PACL and other bodies inc. VoG.
    4) Cllr Burnett and Cllr Courtney have stated in public there are facts they cannot divulge in public due the commercial confidentiality (LB) and for legal reasons (IC). This must be overcome. Its public money and the public should know how it’s spent. PACL / VoG need to demonstrate they are not hiding “irregularities”
    5) Stephen Doughty MP has done little else than discuss matters with PACL / VoG. He informs up PACL welcome help and input amongst other platitudes. This appears untrue (re PACL) and is just not good enough. It smacks of Labour looking after Labour. Mr Doughty should demand openness and engagement and not sit on his “superior establishment derriere” Maybe act as a bridge?
    6) Having spoken to Mr Rapier I understand there are deep underlying complications both fiscal and political behind this whole debacle. I personally don’t have knowledge or understanding of these but again they should be brought into the open to assist future planning.
    7) My view is that one body with a public mandate should engage with PACL / VoG. The agenda may be broadly be as follows.
    a) Full relative audit. To be really constructive this should not just be the cinema but * may include the café and hall- “The Complex”.
    b) Discuss a new organisation to run the Cinema.
    c) Discussion as to whether there should be a management body to manage the entire pier complex. The public hall. The Café. The cinema. Each having its own budget and plan but with an overall business plan to integrate the three potential revenue centres.
    d) A Business plan produced to (of course) encompass a professional management structure put in place that will have a clear objectives and modus operandi. Management accounts must be produced every month. Management meetings should take place very month with full minutes recorded. In other words run it as a business.
    *I say may because as stated I’ve learned there is a lot more to this than is immediately apparent. This is no more than a few “standard practice” suggestions.

  20. Jonathan says:

    Thanks for your input, Christopher David, but why is everyone else so quiet?
    It’s a shocking state of affairs with far too many preferring to stay silent in the hope it will blow over.
    It’s as though there’s a D-Notice on it.
    Completely unacceptable.

    • Chris David says:

      I think there are plans afoot Jonathan. Cllr Rapier I’m sure is on the case and we may yet find Cllr Courtney re-engaging as he’s asked for contact with Mr Sketty. Its all a bit more tangled than most of us first imagined. Yes I’m sure things are being hidden. Mr Doughty could have a part to play by being open- demanding openness and bridging, but I’m inclined to believe he thinks this is beneath him.

  21. Sorry for showing concern for another human being , instead of addressing the issue at hand , once again SORRY that’ll teach me !!! community spirited or concern not required. But why bother commenting at all as Chris David has it all sorted out anyway, that’s when hes not engaging in personal insults that is (and the only person on this forum here to engage in such abuse) mine are only in response to his.

  22. jmesnr says:

    A lot of public money has been invested in the pavilion. The organisation which is accountable for delivery against its business plan is PACL. Who is responsible for monitoring PACLs performance to ensure it is delivering best value. The Charity Commission? Or is it, as I believe, the Vale Council? As a starting point we need
    1 A clear and comprehensive statement from PACL as to where they stand in relation to their original and current business plans and
    2 An independent audit of their performance ideally carried out by the Council.
    Whilst appreciating the commitment both of those who give their time to run PACL and of those responsible for initiating the recent public meetings it was inevitable that there would be many unanswered questionsom given that neither PACL or the Council were represented. The debate needs to be better informed if we are to achieve the most sustainable way forward.
    On a personal note my family enjoys visiting the cinema. Do we visit it enough to help ensure its viability? I don’t know. Probably not. It would be helpful for the appropriate body to establish the facts to better inform the debate to identify the best way forward.

    • Chris David says:

      I for one agree and have stated this previously – as a very basic start to matters. But the VoG are not the best ones to audit or oversee this. Unfortunately they may have the power to keep in all in house and secret. I’m advised the accounts are being held back until they’re forced to publish under company legislation. But they weren’t and may still not be producing monthly management accounts so the published ones with be of limited use. Its also probable they will keep meeting minutes secret.

  23. Reblogged this on Page1world and commented:
    Sos. People who love ❤️ Penarth call second public meeting all saints church Penarth as larger venue – we couldn’t properly accommodate our 200 lovers of Penarth in scout hall so all saints have opened ther doors to us tx to pastor Peter Cox, Sandra and team sos meeting April 5th. doors open 6pm itv news again will be covering call up to all those in pilot pub meet – Jon us as all together we are better. Nicki Sub groups are being formed to debate new strategy if interested call me 07587 108522 for input into pavilion cinema Penarth pier issue. Tx

    • LJS says:

      Dear cow in a pink brassiere, how can you claim to be a professional marketing company when your releases contain so many errors? Has anyone been banned from more of Penarth than you?… Trinity Halls, Stanwell Baptist Hall, The Kymin, West House? Are you sure Penarth wants you… I’m not sure we do.

  24. Leonara says:

    Hear Hear LJS, Ms. Page’s press releases are full of errors. Does she think that a cow in a pink bra is going to save the Pavillion, or is it the tea man, or the Sheik of Arabee or have I missed something? It’s all barmy if you ask me – like an episode from one of the “soaps” you couldn’t make it up! Maybe she’ll fly back East

  25. Chris David says:

    Done off I phone is my guess- should use keyboard.

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