Decision details

Southend Theatres Contract Review

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No


The Cabinet considered a report of the Executive Director (Adults and Communities) drawing attention to the need for major capital investment in the Cliffs Pavilion and providing an update on the outcome of the recent successful Levelling Up Fund announcement, of which the Cliffs Pavillion was an element of that bid.




1. That the impact of the proposed project on the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan, be noted.


2. That it be noted that the capital investment will be financed by a mixture of a contribution from HQ Theatres, external funding via the Levelling Up Fund and borrowing.


3. That the change from service contract to land transaction (lease) between SBC and HQ Theatres with an appropriate redistribution of liabilities and returns, be approved.


4. That authority for the financial and contractual negotiations between SBC and HQ theatres be delegated to the Council’s S.151 Officer (Executive Director Finance and Resources) in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment, Culture Tourism and Planning, ensuring that they deliver best value yet ensure timely approvals for project delivery.




5. That in the light of the financial position, the proposed investment of £8.3M into the Cliffs Pavilion be approved in principle, subject to a viable business case being agreed by the Council’s Investment Board and a new lease agreement with HQ Theatres.


Reasons for decisions:


1. To maximise the venue’s economic impact, increase jobs and spend and enhance the visitor’s experience and dwell time in the Theatre.


2. The refurbishment and investment for the Theatre will help to ensure its future, protecting it from failure and reputational and financial damage to the Council.


3. The Theatre is the Council’s asset, and a significant asset to the community. The Council would be liable for significant losses to HQ Theatres if the building were to close or fail to operate.


4. The Theatre is in need of substantial and continued capital investment and the option to do nothing would result in depreciation of a key Council asset.




Other Options:


The Council could continue to maintain capital works at the Theatre without making significant change to the offer. This is not recommended as consumer expectations have changed and whilst major maintenance has been done, the Cliffs has not had any major refurbishment/changes for c.28 years. The offer is very tired and could lead to failures and multiple lost opportunities.


Note: This is an Executive Function save that the recommendation in 5 above constitutes a Council Function.

Eligible for call-in to: Place Scrutiny Committee

Cabinet Member: Cllr Mulroney

Report author: Scott Dolling

Publication date: 05/11/2021

Date of decision: 02/11/2021

Decided at meeting: 02/11/2021 - Cabinet

Accompanying Documents:


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