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Selsey Pavilion’s Bright New Future: Selsey charity takes ownership of historic Selsey theatre.

By March 7, 2024No Comments
Photograph of the front elevation of Selsey Pavilion. It is an Art Deco building. It is painted white, has columns either side of the central door and three circular windows on the second storey.

A new era dawns for the beloved Selsey Pavilion, a landmark Art Deco theatre hall that’s graced Selsey’s High Street since 1913. After years of careful planning and considerable fundraising, the Selsey Pavilion Trust has finally taken ownership, marking 50 years since its closure.

“This is the first step in the restoration and revival of Selsey’s remarkable Art Deco landmark,” said SPT’s Chairman, Christian Skelton. “We have long dreamt about bringing live entertainment, cinema and local heritage together in Selsey. Now that we have the keys, that dream is becoming a reality. We have a long way to go, but owning the Pavilion brings us closer to making it the beating heart of Selsey’s High Street again, benefitting the community and local businesses.”

The Board of Trustees are incredibly grateful for the vital financial support from The Community Ownership Fund, National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery players, Garfield Weston, Swire Group, Selsey Town Council, Chichester District Council, and the Architectural Heritage Fund. This crucial funding has ensured Selsey Pavilion’s long-term future as a multi-purpose arts and heritage centre for the whole of Selsey’s community and visitors to enjoy.

Fifty years ago, the cinema doors closed, but the Pavilion’s enduring presence reflects the community’s unwavering ambition to see it thrive again. Organisations are breathing new life into many historic buildings across the UK, turning them into thriving centres for the arts and entertainment in towns, and now it is Selsey’s turn.

Chaplin’s Coffee House will continue to serve the community and play a vital role in the Selsey Pavilion’s future. The Trust will work with the proprietors to enhance the overall experience, including modernising the toilet facilities and implementing energy-saving measures, reflecting our shared commitment to accessibility and sustainability.

“The purchase has been seven years in the making,” said Keith Batchelor, Vice Chair of the SPT. “The tremendous support and unwavering commitment from the Selsey community, the Town Council, District Council, and our MP have been instrumental, and we are eager to continue working hand-in-hand with the community as we embark on the crucial restoration phase.”

In 2022, the trust appointed the award-winning architectural practice Foster Wilson Size to help them develop RIBA Stage Two plans for the building’s long-term restoration. While this work is ongoing, they have exciting plans for the future, which they will share soon. In the short term, they have secured a modest amount of funding for essential repairs and maintenance to ensure the building is safe, secure, and weatherproof.

As the restoration plans progress, they will seek volunteers to assist us in this next critical stage of the Selsey Pavilion’s future. Please stay tuned for opportunities for future community engagement. But for now, let’s celebrate the bright future of the Selsey Pavilion!

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