THE MANAGEMENT of Penarth Pier Pavilion has received a substantial grant to help develop a business model for securing the future of the iconic site.

It comes following following widespread concern over the recent closure of the pavilion for three days a week, and plans to shut the cinema over the summer months, in March.

Questions were subsequently raised over the management of the pavilion, public meetings and a petition - which reached more than 1000 signatures in a matter of days.

But now, Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (PACL), the charitable organisation responsible for running the pavilion, has revealed it will receive £126,000 from the Resilient Heritage Programme of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The programme is a newly established scheme designed to provide essential financial support to organisations looking to develop a sustainable model for an organisation.

Tony Hazell, the chairman of PACL said: "We have been aware of the understandable concerns amongst the local community regarding the future of the pavilion.

"We are now in a position to provide further details of our development strategy and hope that this will provide the community with the necessary reassurance regarding the long-term sustainability of the pavilion."

The pier pavilion was brought back to life in 2013 thanks to an £4 million of heritage lottery money. The latest funding, which was applied for in February, will be received over an 18-month period.

Mr Hazell said that towards the middle of 2016, the board of trustees received "encouraging details" of a significant improvement in the financial health of the pavilion as a result of changes in the day-today management.

"However, the board acknowledged that, for this improvement to continue, there needed to be a long-term strategy throughout 2017 and beyond," he added.

A member of of Arts and Business Cymru, Mr Hazell also said PACL received advice regarding possible sources of external financial support for their development plans, and were also advised that they needed to undertake a thorough review of the first three years of operations within the pavilion in order to provide a clear picture of operational peaks and troughs.

"Detailed planning for this strategy began in August 2016 and, having held discussions with a range of other similar organisations, it became clear that additional resources would be required to ensure the effective implementation of the plans, particularly in respect of additional professional advice regarding the various facilities within the pavilion," he said.

Campaigner Nicki Page has organised two public meetings with her group I Love Penarth Pier since the news the pavilion would operate reduced opening hours.

The last meeting called for a public inquiry into how the building is run and she says she believes she can help.

"I want to provide creative solutions which have commercial reality and are accountable to its stakeholders," she added.

Former town councillor Phillip Rapier, who hosted a public meeting on the future of the pavilion cinema at The Pilot pub last month, has also suggested that it may be possible to learn lessons from a similar 68-seat cinema in Blaenavon.

Mr Hazell said PACL were grateful for continued support.

He added: "We are extremely grateful for the continuing support of our regular visitors to the Pavilion and to our extremely loyal band of volunteers.

"A key factor in developing our plans for the future, has been ongoing discussions with the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Penarth Town Council and we are most grateful to them for their continuing support.

"Both councils have a strong stake in the future success of the pavilion and we recognise the need for a more coordinated approach to managing this iconic facility.

"Our plans for the future will inevitably involve collaboration with the local authority to ensure solutions are joined up and maximise the opportunities that exist."

More details are set to be provided in the coming months.