The couple behind the St Annes Music Festival are to take over the running of the landmark building at the heart the town’s Ashton Gardens – and intend to turn it into a hub for the whole community.
Phil and Corrin Green have sold their previous premises, Silantro in Wood Street, and have negotiated a seven-year lease on the Fylde Council-owned Ashton Pavilion.
As well as ensuring it is an integral ingredient of Ashton Gardens “from dawn ‘till dusk”, they intend it to host a wide variety of community, club and arts events and hope it can also stage performances during the new-look Music and Arts Festival set to take place in St Annes over a week in July.
They are hoping to be open within weeks – and have a wide range of exciting ideas for the building, which was opened in 2010 as a key element of a makeover for the town centre park which cost almost £2m, including £1.4m of Heritage Lottery funding.
The Pavilion has been unoccupied since September, when the previous tenants opted to end their arrangement with the council, having previously claimed a lack of support from the authority over lighting and signage.
They also made an unsuccessful attempt at opening in the evening.
The Greens already have their sights set on extending outdoor seating all around the building as well as on the forecourt overlooking the gates at St George’s Road and Corrin said: “We intend it to be the People’s Pavilion.
“Ashton Gardens is a brilliant park with so many wonderful facilities this really deserves to be a key feature – there is so much potential and we have lots of ideas.
“We want to make sure it’s a building for everyone to visit and enjoy all year round from dawn ‘till dusk, but it will really come into its own in the summer.
“As well as seating inside, we will welcome people making it an integral part of their visit to the park and we are planning to include a takeaway tuck shop for visitors who don’t want to sit in.”
Phil added: “It is a brilliant opportunity and we are really excited about it.
“We really intend to make the most of that and ensure this is a venue in which absolutely everyone can be involved.”
The couple’s plans for the Pavilion have been greeted as “a dream come true” by former town mayor Barbara Mackenzie, who has organised the St Annes Arts Festival for the last two years.
She said: “It’s wonderful .
“I’ve always been impressed with their ideas and they sound like the ideal people to take over.”