LYME Regis Town Council has been told their “flagship” Jubilee Pavilion has become “wasted”.
The Jubilee Pavilion on Marine Parade was officially opened in 2012 following extensive refurbishment to the area. It includes a market area, performance area, two community rooms available for hire and a visitor information point.
Speaking at last week’s annual town meeting, Betty Holmes, a former volunteer at the information point, asked the town council what its long-term plans for the pavilion were, as it was not being opened regularly.
Councillor Cheryl Reynolds, chairman of the town’s Tourism, Community & Publicity Committee, said that they currently did not have enough volunteers to open the pavilion throughout the week but were considering whether it would be viable to open it just at weekends.
Mrs Holmes replied: “You need somebody employed by the council, a marketing and commercial person. That’s your flagship building, you should be waving your flags down there. It needs to be professionally run, to run the volunteers, to run commercial letting of the rooms upstairs which are usually empty, to make that space in the pavilion something very attractive that will attract both residents and visitors.
“I worked down there for many, many years and we got a lot of positive things from that, but we felt we weren’t really being supported by the council. It was dirty, the screens didn’t work, we had to complain, just little things like that. It all needs to be run in a professional way.”
Councillor Reynolds said that the town council had now employed a seafront attendant which “would make a difference”.
“We can’t run it how you would like it run without the volunteers,” she added.
Mrs Holmes replied: “The volunteers would support you. We felt we were not supported. If you ran it professionally and you let those two rooms open a commercial basis, that would more than pay for the salary of a person running it.
“How does the town council feel? Is it their flagship? Is it something the council feels proud about having? You put a lot of money into developing that site. Could it become your focus? Move your council offices down there so you have a focus for the town and visitors.”
The Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Michaela Ellis, said the council had previously advertised a marketing position for the Jubilee Pavilion but received no response.
Mrs Holmes added: “Well, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys. It has to be something professionally viable.
“It’s a white elephant to me, it’s such a shame. I pulled out as a volunteer because I got very disillusioned.”
Lyme resident Nigel Ball added: “There was a canopy down there that has been missing for two years, the banners have gone missing, the poles are still stuck out of the walls. You’ve not really done anything with it.
“It’s become a bit of a hole, it’s wasted. When everything is new it’s great but it needs continuity of care. If you look at the bookings of those rooms, I bet it was hardly used last year. It’s a shame, it’s an asset to the town.”