THE new director of the eagerly anticipated Penarth Pavilion Project has said he cannot wait to welcome residents, traders and tourists to what he has called the “people’s pavilion”.
Dr David Trotman, in his first interview since assuming the position three weeks ago, said he was excited and privileged to serve the community and lead the project forward.
A resident of Penarth since 1974, Dr Trotman said the iconic pier site would be used to educate, inform and entertain.
“It will be a facility for all people, and all ages,” he said.
“This is not an elitist project.
We want to attract as many people as possible and make it one of South Wales’ must-visit tourist attractions.
“We want people to come to Penarth specifically for the pavilion and then capitalise on that extra footfall to benefit the whole town.”
Members of the public will be able to see first hand how work is developing at the Grade II listed pavilion this weekend.
An open day is being held on Saturday, April 6, between 9am and 11am with project contractors R&M Williams onsite to answer questions and show people around.
The information centre below Windsor Court will also be open from 9am to noon, for questions and viewpoints, manned by staff including Dr Trotman.
He said: “It will be the perfect opportunity for interested members of the public to ask questions and gain more of an insight into how the pavilion will function.”
Originally involved with medical research at Llandough Hospital, where he carried out his doctorate, Dr Trotman joined the pavilion team from his position as director of marketing for RSPB Cymru.
He also held posts with Action on Addiction, the Parkinson’s Disease Society and the Stroke Association as well as Barnados and Tenovus in Wales.
He said he would draw on all his experience in his new role.
“I jumped at the job when it became available and I was lucky enough to get it,” he said.
“I’m extremely excited about the potential of the pavilion and prospects ahead of it. We will be targeting a number of groups between now and the official opening, including artists, war veterans, community groups, people with learning difficulties, musicians, and more.”
Dr Trotman also stressed that the Washington Gallery’s strong education and arts programme would be transferred to the Esplanade- based facility.
“The aim is to make that the foundation of all other work carried out there,” he said.
“We are very keen to work with local schools and will be looking to organise several exhibitions with them through the opening months.”
The pavilion team is due to start setting up trial events for the public from September – when the keys are first handed over.
The taster events, as Dr Trotman called them, will be designed to help the team familiarise themselves with the building and iron out any issues that arise ahead of the official opening in December.
When it re-opens, the 1929-built building will offer vast improvements to its visitor facilities.
There will be a 70-seater community cinema, an auditorium, exhibition spaces, designated education areas, a bar, and a restaurant overlooking the Bristol Channel.
It will hold film showings, festivals, art exhibitions, and offer information about the natural and social history of the area and the building itself which was a centre of town activity 70 years ago.
Penarth Arts & Crafts Ltd (PACL), the charitable trust behind the £4million renovation, will also be based there.
There is also talk of hosting weddings and business conferences in the adaptable auditorium, with all the money raised going directly back to the charity.
The redevelopment follows six years of campaigning and planning by PACL.
The project is financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, BIG Lottery Fund, the Welsh Government, Vale of Glamorgan Council, CADW and the Coastal Communities Fund.
Philanthropic donations include significant sums from the John Paul Getty Foundation, Foyle Foundation, and the Headley Trust.
Penarth Pavilion is due to officially open its doors on December 4.