Council is ‘happy’ to look at replacement Pavilion plans but it must be self funding

The Pavilion in 1959.
The Pavilion in 1959.

A council leader says he would welcome fresh plans for a replacement Pavilion but says there are no funds available to pay for it.

Councillor Andrew Williams - leader of Dacorum Borough Council - has spoken following the announcement of a competition to come up with a sustainable entertainment venue for Hemel Hempstead.

He revealed that at the time of the Pavilion’s demolition in 2002, attendance rates had been falling and in its last year of operation Dacorum Borough Council’s subsidy bill was £700,000.

On top of this the council was faced with shelling out another £2 million to carry out urgent repairs that would have extended the building’s life for just a few years.

He said: “The council would be supportive of the principle of a replacement arts venue but it is not in a position to fund it.”

He added: “If you want a performing arts venue, in almost all cases they cost a significant subsidy to run, but if they come up with an idea that is fully self funding then we will be happy to look at it.”

Labour’s parliamentary prospective candidate for Hemel Hempstead, Tony Breslin, will be launching a competition next month that will invite architects and others qualified in building design to come up with a sustainable community arts venue.

He hopes the winning design will be ‘irresistible’ to council planners and, as part of his election campaign, has pledged to see a replacement Pavilion built in the town.

It follows a community-led petition, which attracted more than 1,000 signatures, to create a new live entertainment complex instead of a proposed town centre cinema.

Details on how to enter the competition are due to be released later this week.

For the full story on the competition annoucencemnt click here