Fresh bid launched for an entertainment venue to replace the much missed Pavilion

The Pavilion in 1965.
The Pavilion in 1965.

A new campaign has been launched to scrap plans for a town centre cinema and bring back the much missed Pavilion to Hemel Hempstead.

Already more than 500 signatures have been collected in support of a live entertainment venue in the town centre’s Market Square.

Campaigners are calling for the Pavilion to be replaced. They are (from left) Mike Ridley,  Chris Ridley and Carolyn Nicholls

Campaigners are calling for the Pavilion to be replaced. They are (from left) Mike Ridley, Chris Ridley and Carolyn Nicholls

Retired Mike Ridley, one of the campaigners who was a user of the Pavilion, which was demolished in 2002, said: “Whenever we speak to people there is a feeling of regret about the Pavilion.

“I think absolutely everyone is in favour of regeneration, but we thought as they are now going to build an entertainment building, and we already have a multiplex at Jarman Park, it seems silly to have two when what people really want is to have something to replace the Pavilion.

“I haven’t really spoken to anybody who is in favour of a multiplex over the Pavilion.”

When the Pavilion was knocked down, it was promised that there would be a replacement entertainment venue but despite several designs being drawn up, including grand plans for a Roman-type amphitheatre and later a futuristic structure enclosed in a cage netting called the Jewel, nothing has ever materialised.

The Jewel.

The Jewel.

Under the lasted regeneration plans for the town centre, Dacorum Borough Council wants to create a six or nine screen cinema in Market Square, which would be complimented by family friendly restaurants.

But Mr Ridley, a former physics teacher, said the new venue could host a wide variety of entertainment and cater for the whole community instead of just offering a cinema.

He said: “The idea of a replacement to the Pavilion appeals to many people, but we think that a new venue could offer much more and combine many functions.

“This could include visiting performers of all genres, and be used by local organisations including choirs and orchestras, community groups, private functions, commercial and corporate bodies.”

Click here to find out more about the campaign called ‘Help Bring Back The Heart of Hemel Hempstead’.