The Penarth Pier Pavilion Cinema is to re-open in September and the rest of the building will open for 6 days a week rather than just 4 at present

Penarth Pier Pavilion Cinema is to re-open in September and the Pavilion itself is to resume 6-days-a-week operation “from the middle of the summer”.        

The re-opening of the Pavilion and Pavilion Cinema comes after a period of intense public pressure on the less-than-competent company/charity which holds a 125 lease on the building – Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd.

After refurbishment in 2013 Penarth Pier Pavilion was described as Penarth’s “Jewel in the Crown” . But it was partially closed this year because of the  financial difficulties of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd

[The Pavilion had been refurbished in 2013 and a brand new digital cinema and cafe created inside – at a cost of £4,200,000 – all from public money – but from March 6th this year the Pavilion was arbitrarily closed on three days each week and the cinema shut down indefinitely]

Professor Anthony Hazell chairman of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd

The chairman of  Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (a.k.a. PACL), Professor Tony Hazell,   has now publicly admitted that his firm has not run Penarth Pier Pavilion in a “sustainable way “.

Professor  Hazell has told  BBC News that the company had opened the pavilion after its £4,200,000 refurbishment in 2013 on what he called “full throttle“, operating the building  7-days-a-week, 12-hours-a-day, 362 days a year and says  “It probably wouldn’t be sustainable on a commercial basis, let alone a charity one“.

Prof. Hazell says the decision to close the cinema – the only one on a pier in the UK – was taken after figures from previous years showed it “did not attract as many visitors in the summer months”.

He told the BBC that the Pavilion itself was closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays because it was “not making enough money to cover costs”.

The Pavilion Cafe had a badly designed central circular staircase on which people hit their heads -removed. There are complaints about slow service and food quality there

Following a grant of a further £126,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the business has now been reviewed  and Professor Hazell has told the BBC that “ the Pavilion and its cafe will  re-open either 5 or 6 days a week from the middle of the summer” – but would probably remain closed every Monday.

Professor Hazell also now says the integral Pavilion Cinema will open again  from September “if not before”.

Before the Pavilion Cinema was closed in March this year there was never a  single poster outside Penarth Pavilion giving any clue what films were being shown – and indeed nothing to indicate there was  a cinema there at all

He says “We are now looking for new ideas about how to raise more revenue. At the end of the day, this building is run as a charity and people don’t really donate as much to a building as they might to an animal charity. We only have a small team of paid staff and we rely a lot on volunteers. But, yes, we will survive.”

Broadcasting executive Andrew Jones spearheaded the campaign to get the cinema re-opened

Local resident Andrew Jones who has spearheaded  the campaign to get  the Pavilion Cinema re-opened says he does not have any faith in Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd and criticises what he describes as “a complete wall of silence” from the company .

He also casts doubt on Professor Hazell’s assertion that there were lower audiences in the cinema in the summer . He says “I certainly don’t believe cinema attendances fell that much in the summer.”

Vale of Glamorgan Council, says it has “provided significant amounts of both financial and professional support” to PACL. This included  £800,000 of council-tax payers’ money towards the Pavilion renovation and a further £100,000 grant to PACL in its first year of trading.

The Vale Council says it has continued to provide professional support since them to help  PACL “improve their approach to business planning and financial management  Having supported them to such an extent the council is keen to see the organisation flourish and to continue to provide facilities that we know are greatly valued by the local community.“.


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  1. Good. Finally some positive news But. We still want our public enquiry asap, an audit etc – PACL people removed and a new trusted passionate team put in place – we won’t have 5 million spend brushed aside and we won’t stand back to allow the future of our pavilion and all facilities within to flounder in unsafe and untrustworthy hands – Vale leader and chief exec we await the meeting date.

  2. andrewsketty says:

    Whilst on the face of it good news but there are still many unanswered questions and concerned. To start with rather than speaking to a BBC journo would have been good if Hazell & Co had the good grace to talk to the residents of Penarth.

    Ok so the cinema is to re-open but will it be on the same basis as before in terms of days of operation and choice of films? Since it closed in March the Paviliin is no longer a client of ICO.

    And does this mean that come next March we will face the farcical situation where the cinema will be mothballed for another 6 months?

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Flushing out the abysmal failures on the present Board of Trustees is an absolute priority.
      I have asked BBC Wales to do a Week in Week Out style investigative documentary on the Pier’s Finances. They have declined. Obviously they would rather have shallow soundbites from placard wavers instead of taking the matter seriously.
      OK- so there is some good news.
      Now let us have the Pavillion run as a Cooperative or similar Mutual with a Democratic Election for a new Board of Trustees. Local expert people on the Board and essential places reserved in accordance with Financial Conduct Authority Guidelines for volunteer Independent Professional Non Executive Directors

      • Chris David says:

        Sounds in principal an excellent idea- First stop- stop the Bellamy for a rethink!

  3. andrewsketty says:

    …and Hazell’s comment ‘ It probably wouldn’t be sustainable on a commercial basis, let alone a charity one’ is nothing less than the spin that we have come to expect which only the likes of HLF believe. There are many business people in Penarth who could make the operation the success it should be and something residents of Penarth could be proud of

    • Jess says:

      Absolutely, Andrew. Who is to say that it can’t be sustainable if run properly? Just because PACL has made a hash of it. What background does Tony Hazell have that makes him equipt to run the Pavilion? From what I know, he is an academic. Where is his business experience, let alone people skills…….

  4. Confused??? says:

    I might be being an idiot here with this question. Did this cinema play recent films or arty independent films? I’m in my early twenties, which is the key target demographic for a cinema and I knew nothing about the showings here.
    If they reopen I hope they advertise and not assume people will know whats being shown and when.

    • andrewsketty says:

      The monthly film programme was probably the best thing PACL did which is why so many of us were so disappointed when they closed it giving spurious excuses. And the reason the film programme was so rich and varoed was largely down to the involvement of ICO as PACL were a client but no longer. There was an excellent mix of current blockbusters and independent/art house films which is what you would expect in a lottery funded cinema. Let’s pray it returns on same basis

      • Confused??? says:

        It sounds great! If it does get reopened they really need to invest in marketing, that really is the most basic thing you’d expect from a ‘professional outfit’.

      • Ann Other says:

        They weren’t giving ‘spurious excuses’. They had indeed actually completely failed to plan and develop a cinema operation that could produce enough revenue to cover their costs. One presumes that no-one involved had ever even run a whelk stall.

  5. LJS says:

    I believe the number of functions was not great enough to support all the paid staff. The cinema presumably breaks even and the cafe makes a small profit.

  6. LJS says:

    I believe the number of functions was not great enough to support all the paid staff. The cinema presumably breaks even and the cafe makes a small profit.

  7. Birkett says:

    Chapter works brilliantly, as a charity, over in Canton. Even putting it’s Arts Centre focus aside, the bar/canteen is well supported and well worth a visit (I used to live that way)

    • Ann Other says:

      But Chapter gets large and secure REVENUE grants from Cardiff Council. (Or, to put it another way, it succeeds using the money taken from residents in the form of council tax.)

      • Chris David says:

        Bit more too it than that but take your point- as I’m passionately rational 🙂 Chapter though is a success and I love going here.

  8. Chris David says:

    “The Vale Council says it has continued to provide professional support since them to help PACL “improve their approach to business planning and financial management” This would be the council that didn’t tie PACL into an full reporting and open discloser contract- oh and gave then 900k. Professional! ha. Jokers to the left of me jokers to the right. Confused- no you’re not a idiot and you may even want to volunteer some advice.

  9. jonathancoleuk says:

    Ann Other, as a Whelk stall owner I do object to being placed in the same category as the clowns currently running (or not running) the Pavilion cinema

  10. Tim Hughes says:

    I think the location of the Pier Pavilion means that the cinema will always struggle. Chapter is surrounded 360 degrees by dense housing and has a large number of side streets with on street parking. So it has a large catchment for both walking and driving clients. The Pier sits in the north east corner of a land mass with at best clients covering about a 90 degree spread, no one travels South or West to go to the Pier. So the cafe and the pier itself will benefit from the location by the sea but the cinema may struggle with the competion. Noone goes to a cinema for the view from the building.

    • Carl Hill says:

      Tim Hughes, I disagree with your comments about the location of cinema on the pier and nobody going to the cinema for the view. I have enjoyed many evenings walking along the promenade to the cinema. Its a wonderful location. I agree that parking could be better, but if the promenade parking is full, there is generally parking up the hill in the evening or there is the free car park at the top of the hill, from which you can take a pleasant stroll down to the promenade and pier- much nicer than the hideous multiplexes!

      • Tim Hughes says:

        I have been to the pier cinema more than most, averaging two or three times a month, but am lucky as I live close and always walk. But a trip to a cinema, often in the evening and, in the winter in the dark, is not normally chosen for the view but for the content of the film, the ease of access, and often the price. For seniors Chapter in the afternoons is £3 and £5.10 in the evenings, the muliplexes often have offers around £4, whereas the Pier charged £7.50. I agree that it is a much nicer experience than the multiplexes but unless the actual experience benefits from the seaside location the downside of not being surrounded by a large pool of possible clients will always mean it will be more of a challenge. Almost everyone writing on here blames PACL and suggest that the venture is easy. I really want it to succeed but I don’t think it is that easy.

      • andrewsketty says:

        Tim. this is ENTIRELY down to complete mismanagement by PACL for the countless disgraceful reasons evidenced on PDN and elsewhere over past few months

  11. Nincompoop says:

    Phillip and Andrew, thank you for your sensible comments, I’m sure if Pa l were run by you things would be different.. I just don’t understand how Professor Hazel got to be in charge of things. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to Professor Hazel, but what qualified him to be the lead on this project?

    Page1worldblog- just out of interest did you ever respond to readers enquiries about your own finanacial anomalies on previous posts? Perhaps if you haven’t you should do that before commenting on this?

  12. The Dairy Farmer says:

    Thank you “nincompoop” despite my many many posts
    Ms Page has never given a straight answer to why she only has £1100 on account for new cervical cancer unit at Velindre Hospital, where she claimed going to raise £1,000,001 – put on extravaganzas in Dorchester Hotel, London, and St Davids Hotel, Cardiff and that’s apparently the sum total of it. AND NO EXPLANATION.
    Did note from earlier post you can check out, that understood Ms Page had allied herself to children’s heart charity – but they were quick to say SHE’S NOTHING TO DO WITH US

  13. Peter Church says:

    Could they hire out the cinema over the summer. I have some old DVDs which could be shown and I’m sure someone can get some popcorn and drinks.
    Nicky can do the comedy interval act, where she talks about struggles in Dorcester in Dubai.
    Anytony Hazell could organise the fire drill, faulty towers style. Which might be a bad idea as this could resort the the pier burning down.

  14. Old Father Time says:

    All these PDN Pier stories rumours and denial do look very similar to local newspaper articles from the 1880/90’s!!
    I suppose nothing ever changes….

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