PENARTH Pier Pavilion was described as the “jewel in the crown of the town” during a council meeting reviewing its first few months since opening last night, March 12.

Director of the pavilion Dr David Trotman said that a total of 7,900 people had visited the pavilion in December, it's first month fully open, and that it had continued to go “from strength to strength” in the following months.

He added that the cinema had gone from five screenings a week to 11 a week, 1,774 seats were sold in February alone and that the cinema was also proving popular as a meeting place for conferences, lectures and company training.

He added that the pavilion had also proven popular for other events as there had been four weddings booked in this year, two centenary events, as well as exhibitions planned up for the next few months.

The pop-up cafe that was opened in December and gone to tender had also proven hugely popular.

He said that there had been 13 applications for the cafe, all of them bar one locally from Penarth, Cardiff and Barry, and that Five Star Chef had been chosen as the successful tender.

"From February we have gone from strength to strength and it's really proving a great success and bringing people to the pier and other visitors to the Esplanade, whether they want pizzas, chips or ice creams,” said Dr Trotman.

He added that the exhibition space had also proved hugely popular since it was launched with the Town Mayor’s annual painting competition.

Schools had also used the hall for to perform plays, including Albert Primary School performing the Battle of Bosworth, Evenlode Primary School performing The Tempest and another school planning on performing Romeo and Juliet.

He added that it was planning on opening seven days a week, from 10am to 10pm in the summer months, to meet popular demand.

He added that as well as seven full time staff and two part time staff they now had more than 107 volunteers and were set to induct a further 27 in the next month.

He said that people were 'entranced' by the building and that with the pavilion and esplanade Penarth has something it can be proud of.

Councillors roundly praised the success of the pavilion and the work of the Penarth Arts and Craft Limited board of trustees in getting the project off the ground.

Cllr Lis Burnett, who represents the St Augustines ward, said she was “thrilled by how well it is going” and praised the business plan that was put in place, saying that they had done an “absolutely amazing job”.

She added that the Vale Council was also working closely with getting a bus service up and running in a bid to improve accessibility to the pavilion.

Councillor Clive Williams, Plymouth ward, added that he was “absolutely delighted” with the progress and said that it had successfully captured the “ambience of the Washington gallery” in its exhibition space.

Mayor of Penarth Town Council Neil Thomas summed up the meeting by saying:

“We are all proud of Penarth Pier Pavilion and that is reflected by the huge amount of interest in it so far. It is something that people have been talking about everywhere and coming from the likes of Cardiff to look at the pier.

“It is the jewel in the crown of the town and there is no denying that."