Lifeline for Pavilion

MATLOCK Bath’s Grand Pavilion is set to get a new lease of life – as a community group takes over the running of the building.

If approved by Derbyshire Dales District Council next week, the deal will see Matlock Bath Pavilion Group granted a three-year lease with an option for the group – which has now formed itself into a company known as Grand Pavilion Ltd – to buy the freehold for just £1.

The freehold arrangement depends on the group being able to raise £2.6 million to renovate the building and a major fundraising drive is set to be launched soon.

Group chairman Gregor Macgregor said: “I want to thank the council’s officers for their professionalism and clear-sightedness. Throughout the process of discussions with them, they have been clear that their proposal must be workable and long-lasting.

“They have appreciated that whilst this project contains some risk – we may not be able to raise the necessary money for instance – the costs of failure are far greater.

“I hope that councillors agree to the officers’ recommendation. This will allow us to start the long process of obtaining the grant funding we need to restore the Grand Pavilion to its former glory.”

After giving residents the opportunity at the end of 2009 to have their say on the Pavilion’s future, the district council, in February last year, invited Matlock Bath Pavilion Group to undertake a feasibility study to support their proposals for the Pavilion.

The group believes the Pavilion could flourish if managed by the community as a multi-purpose community facility incorporating an arts and entertainment centre, while still fulfilling the council’s wish to safeguard the future of the existing Mining Museum, Community Centre and Playgroup that utilise parts of the building.

Cllr Geoff Stevens, the district council’s deputy leader, said: “The Matlock Bath Pavilion Group has been impressive in the way it has gone about furthering its ambitions for this important building which, unfortunately from the district council’s point of view, has been a drain on resources in recent years." For more on this see this week's Matlock Mercury.