Cromer Pier gets £45,000 to upgrade bar and restaurant
- Credit: Archant
Visitors to Cromer Pier's Pavilion Theatre will soon be able to enjoy an upgraded bar and restaurant thanks to a £45,000 boost.
Councillors on North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), which owns the pier, voted to give the money to Openwide Coastal, which runs the theatre, as well as extending the company's contract by five years.
Councillors agreed to extending the management contract from ten to 15 years to support the firm against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillor Virginia Gay, portfolio holder for culture and wellbeing, said the pier is "absolutely unique in the tradition of British variety and music hall".
"Very little of it survives today. But it does survive on Cromer Pier. So this is something we're entrusted with that is quite important," she added.
The council is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the pier itself while Openwide runs the theatre's programme of events and shows.
The company was originally given a contract to run until January 31, 2028.
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But at a meeting of NNDC's latest cabinet meeting, councillors heard that the pandemic has created significant uncertainty in the performing arts sector nationally and that Openwide Coastal has "not been protected" from this situation.
According to a report presented to cabinet, the pandemic has had "a significant effect on the operation of the pier and its facilities, with a massive reduction in income generation and subsequent financial sustainability compared to when Openwide Coastal bid for the contract in 2018".
The extension of the contract now meant the "additional costs/losses incurred by Openwide in supporting the contract over the past two years due to Covid might be recovered", the report said.
The council also agreed to work with Openwide in attracting new audiences.
Mrs Gay said: "Although they had a restricted summer season, there was evidence [Openwide] were extending their audience, that younger people were going along, different sorts of groups of people going along, and I know they want to explore other possibilities and other events."