Southend Council has appointed Willmott Dixon as its construction partner for a proposed major upgrade of the Cliffs Pavilion.
Under a pre-construction agreement with the council, Willmott Dixon will undertake essential tasks, including design development and preparation of a pre-construction health and safety plan. Additionally, they will create a construction methodology and program planning, including phasing strategies. Once these preliminary stages are complete, the company will finalise a full contract, contingent on planning approval, an agreed cost plan, and a works program.
The work at Cliffs Pavilion Theatre will help secure its long-term future as one of the top ten regional theatres in the country. It is owned by the council and operated by Trafalgar Theatres (for Trafalgar Entertainment).
Over £8 million is set to be invested into the theatre to fund a major expansion of the restaurant, a new entrance and lobby to improve the customer experience, upgraded ventilation, a new outdoor piazza and several other improvements to the bars, toilets, lifts and other areas.
The theatre will remain open throughout the project, which is expected to start in January 2024, with £5.5m of the project funded through Round 1 of the Levelling Up Fund announced by Government on 27 October 2021, with additional investment from the City Council and Trafalgar Entertainment.
A revised planning application will be submitted in July, when a resident event will take place and artists impressions will be available.
Cllr Derek Jarvis, cabinet member for arts, culture, heritage and leisure, said: “The Cliffs Pavilion Theatre is one of Southend’s key venues for culture, arts and events and adds so much to our reputation as a cultural destination and brings millions of pounds into the local economy. This work will ensure that we reinforce its position as one of the top ten regional theatres in the country.
“The proposed expansion and upgrade of the theatre will also help us to secure the future success of the Cliffs Pavilion, in the hopes of benefiting from larger touring shows and bringing larger audiences to Southend whilst also benefitting our local economy.”
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