Way forward agreed for Strathpeffer Pavilion
Following local concern that the much-loved Victorian Pavilion in Strathpeffer was set to close or be sold, a deal has been struck between the Pavilion’s owners the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT) and The Highland Council which will provide the opportunity for the local community to work towards taking ownership.
The agreement reached will see the Council continue as the main leaseholder of the building for a three year period, with High Life Highland (HLH) operating the facility, in the first instance simply honouring existing bookings for weddings and events, but with the aspiration of developing a wider programme as finances allow. HLH is the charity set up by the Council in 2011 to run its cultural and leisure services.
The Council’s Chief Executive Steve Barron commented: “The Council has been a strong supporter of the Pavilion and since its renovation, giving time, advice and annual financial help to the Pavilion Association to assist with running costs and their programme of events.”
He continued: “At a recent public meeting, I said that the Council would do what it could to support the development of a community bid to purchase the building. If the community gets behind those prepared to take this forward, I believe this agreement gives time for that to happen.”
Speaking for HLH, Ian Murray, Chief Executive said: “Our aim is to provide reassurance to the many weddings and other bookings that their events are secure and will go ahead as planned and thereafter to see what we can do, within the finances available, to develop the Pavilion as a vibrant community hub.” Continuing, he said: “The current operators of the facility, the Strathpeffer Pavilion Association and their supporters through the Friends of the Pavilion, have done a great job for over ten years in offering a wide ranging programme and in improving, not just maintaining, the Pavilion in first class condition.”
The Chair of the Pavilion Association Trish Black said: “Although SPA Directors did not feel able to lead a bid to buy the Pavilion and felt that the time had come to step away, we are very pleased that the SHBT, the Council and HLH have been prepared to reach this agreement, to give enough time for a wider group of local people to come forward to secure the Pavilion’s future. As individuals we will all continue to be huge supporters of the Pavilion as a venue for events and culture and I would like to pay tribute to the staff, the voluntary Directors past and present, as well as to the Friends of the Pavilion who have been a fantastic support, giving freely of their time and tireless in their fundraising efforts.”