Soham Pavillion goes under the spotlight

soham views

soham views - Credit: Archant

The future of Soham Pavillion goes under the spotlight next week when town councillors meet to talk about its future.

A large list of work that needs doing is set to be drawn up so that it can then be put out to tender.

But one councillor said he does not think the Pavillion needs an overhaul costing hundreds of thousands but actually only needs “smartening up.”

Councillor Geoff Woollard said a referendum should be held to work out if Soham people actually wanted so much spending on such a huge project.

“I’m not sure the general public are behind a large scheme, I would rather see it smartened up at a lower cost,” he said.

For more than six years councillors have agreed the venue needs refurbishing to bring it up to date but since then no work has started and money the council had expected to receive from the development of the Eastern Gateway has not yet been forthcoming.

In 2009 plans were drawn up to revamp the Fountain Lane venue and were officially unveiled to residents in a project estimated to cost in the region of 1.7 million.

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Under that scheme, there was a dedicated space for theatre performances for 180 people, new storage rooms that doubled up as dressing rooms for theatre shows, a paved roofed veranda area, a new kitchen and bar and several sets of toilets.

Then in 2013 the town council gave its backing to “landmark” plans to redevelop the town’s historic pavilion.

Councillors unanimously approved a presentation given by Cambridge-based architects Saunders Boston where they outlined their vision for a £1.25 million redevelopment.

Under the plans, the pavilion would be expanded and an extension at the rear of the building demolished and rebuilt.

It would feature new toilets, kitchens and storage space, an enlarged main hall, exhibition space and remodelled council chamber, meetings rooms and tourist information centre.

The pavilion’s approach road, parking facilities and entrance area would also be improved.

A large hall planned for the side of the refurbished pavilion will now not be built and new plans and costing be made to suit.

From the outset all councillors have agreed Soham needs a community meeting place, and whatever happened, the pavilion needs refurbishing.

The meeting is on Monday December 14.