PENARTH Civic Society has pledged to do "whatever it can" to help secure the future of the pier pavilion.

As the pavilion marked the fourth anniversary on Friday (December 1) since its reopening following its £4 million refurbishment, the society says it wants to meet with with Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd to discuss how they can help.

Concerns were raised in the local community earlier this year after PACL announced a reduction in opening hours of the pavilion and the closure of the cinema to regular public screenings.

Public meetings were held to discuss a way forward for the building which is leased to PACL by the Vale council.

The society says it is willing to offer its expertise in helping to raise funds, improve marketing, assist with the volunteer program, bring in expertise from other successful seaside pier operations and help build a highly profitable retail operation.

The comments come after the society says a number of local residents have approached it with the perception that it has distanced itself from the problems surrounding Penarth Pier Pavilion.

Chris Wyatt, Penarth Civic Society honorary secretary said: "The society fully understands and appreciates the special place the pavilion has in the hearts of the people of Penarth.

"We know too that the cinema is much missed and it is our considered view that there is no reason it could not be successful given the right mix of film choice, performance times and effective marketing.

They society has voiced its concern over the financial situation at the building and the perceived reduction in the number and range of activities on offer.

"There can no doubt that the pavilion has been experiencing problems for some time and continues to do so," said Mr Wyatt.

He said that Penarth Civic Society and other local and national organisations have on several occasions, offered help and support to the Pavilion's management and, although to date these offers have not been taken up, the civic society remains committed to do whatever we can to ensure the success of this much loved building.

"We are confident that, given the right management, the Pavilion can and will ultimately achieve a stable and financially sound footing and it is this confidence that leads us to reassert our desire to offer our support for the pavilion’s operations," said Mr Wyatt.

"We cannot, however, support any PACL proposals which would further reduce the community values on which the original Pavilion project was founded.

"It was certainly never intended that the huge amounts of public money expended on the pavilion would eventually result in a management strategy based on its use as a commercial venue for weddings, business conferences and private parties.

"The pavilion cannot be used as a vehicle to protect PACL as a charity from the the results of the decisions of its trustees.

"We believe that our society and its members could assist by working with the Pavilion management to raise funds, improve marketing, assist with the volunteer program, bring in expertise from other successful seaside pier operations, and help build a highly profitable retail operation, whilst significantly improving the services provided to the local community."

The society says it also sees the permanent re-opening of the cinema with a full program of evening and matinee performances as essential to the long term success of the pavilion.

Tony Hazell, chairman of PACL, confirmed the society had written to them and said they would be in touch with the society if they felt there were ways in which it could be of assistance.

He said a further update on activities at the pavilion in due course.