Bid to 'get old lady back on her feet'

Aerial view of Torquay waterfront including Pavilion building

Pavilion needs helping hand - Credit: Submitted

A bid to bring Torquay's forlorn-looking Pavilion back to life has taken a major step forward.

Torbay Council's cabinet has approved spending £75,000 to fund jointly with leaseholder MDL a study of the condition of the empty waterfront building and a repair plan with detailed costs.
It has also agreed a framework with MDL and its development company for how to restore the building 'as quickly as possible'.

Council leader Steve Darling said the project offered a way to 'get our grand old lady  back on her feet'.

Councillors heard the plan was for the company to give up its lease on the council-owned Pavilion either fully restored or with a commitment to cover half the costs. The company’s contribution would be funded by a mixed use redevelopment of the nearby car park, which is also leased by MDL.
The proposals rule out any development on Cary Green, a public open space outside the Pavilion which was partly included in an earlier controversial hotel and flats scheme.
The report said future use of the Pavilion could be for retail and food and drink, and could include events, entertainment, community use and exhibitions.
The council has set aside a total of £1.75million for the Pavilion project from the Government’s £22million Town Deal funding for a package of town centre regeneration projects.   
Council deputy leader Darren Cowell said: "It is the jewel in Torbay’s crown that has been neglected. We made it an absolute commitment as the partnership to find a solution moving forward.”
Conservative group leader David Thomas questioned whether the proposals were “putting the cart before the horse” without an end user being identified.
Chris Lewis said the car park and Pavilion should be put together as a single site for a hotel, rather than luxury apartments.
Former Torbay mayor Nick Bye said MDL would be able to go ahead with a 'lucrative' flats development on the car park, leaving the council with the ongoing issue of trying to find a tenant for the Pavilion.
“I fear that we are going to end up with the wrong end of the pantomime horse,” he said.