Pavilion signs positive as first year is marked

WH 160414 Opening of Southern Pavilion, on Worthing pier, after three years of being vacant. Owners Richard Bradley left and Phil Duckett. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140417-001304001
WH 160414 Opening of Southern Pavilion, on Worthing pier, after three years of being vacant. Owners Richard Bradley left and Phil Duckett. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140417-001304001

TENS of thousands of residents have flooded through the doors of the revamped Southern Pavilion in a positive first year, its owners have reported.

The former nightclub was transformed into a multi-use wedding venue and café, opening after several years of vacancy a year ago on Saturday.

And the first 12 months have been promising, according to co-owner Phil Duckett.

He said: “On Good Friday, 2014, we opened the café doors to a queue of 100 people and by the time Easter Monday had passed we had served 3,000 customers

“As our first year is almost upon us we have had 90,000 people pass through the doors and admired what for three years before was a boarded-up building that was crying out to have streaming light reflecting off the new English oak floors and the sun glistering through the crystal chandeliers.”

The venue has since been recognised in November’s Adur and Worthing Business Awards, winning the hospitality, tourism and leisure category.

It has received mixed reviews for the café side on Tripadvisor but town centre manager Sharon Clarke said its hosting of the recent Splash FM awards evening was handled well.

Mr Duckett said he and business partner Richard Bradley were always confident of success because of the building’s prime location and potential.

He said: “Directing and guiding all the tradesman on this project has been exciting and there has not been one moment we thought this would not succeed and it has been a joy to walk down the pier each day with the knowledge we were going to put smiles on people’s faces.

“The fabric of the building was always there, we just had to give it a new set of clothes.”

Mr Duckett and Mr Bradley have also invested in returning the annual temporary ice rink to the town after a short hiatus.

This year’s attraction was open for three months and accompanied by a Christmas market, run in conjunction with Barties Presents.

They took over the ice rink from Worthing Town Centre Initiative for the first time last year.