The Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund are now being asked whether it’s really appropriate that the Pavilion leaseholders (the struggling “charity” Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd a.k.a. PACL) – should be allowed to make the hosting of weddings at the Pavilion its new primary activity .
The query has been raised by local resident Andrew Jones who is campaigning for the re-opening of the Pavilion’s 4-year-old £1,000,000 digital cinema which was closed in March.
Originally Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd had seen Pavilion weddings as just a sideline – and had publicly undertaken to host no more than half a dozen of them every year.
That self-imposed limitation then prompted Penarth Town Council to spend yet more council-tax payer’s money on developing the Council HQ at West House as a wedding venue – along with the Kymin [PDN Note: These “investments” have yet to pay off for local council-tax payers who saw the Penarth precept segment of their council-tax rise to record levels last year ] .
Mr Jones says the policy – announced last week – of developing Penarth Pier Pavilion primarily as “wedding venue” now puts the heavily-subsidised, publicly-funded Pavilion in direct competition with privately-owned commercial businesses and hotels – all of whom pay business rates and none of whom receive any of the public largesse bestowed on the Pier Pavilion.
Mr Jones asks why – if the Pier Pavilion is now to be used for commercial activities – does it need “such large capital and revenue funding to compete with privately funded local operators e.g. Holm House”. He says “From my understanding this is NOT what Lottery money should be used for”.
Mr Jones also is also asking the Vale Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund [which have both funded most of the £4,200,000 refurbishment costs of Penarth Pier Pavilion] the following questions:-
- Why PACL has not engaged with the local community over the decision to develop its commercial wedding-venue activitity?
- Why Penarth residents have not received a full explanation from PACL as to why the Pavilion Cinema won’t re-open?
- Why the new Volunteer Co-ordinator post – just filled by PACL and understood to be funded by the latest Heritage Lottery Fund grant – wasn’t openly recruited and publicly advertised?