The cost of running the Princess Pavilion loomed large over a special meeting of Falmouth town council last night with one councillor describing it as the “last throw of the dice”.

Last night, councillors voted by nine to four to increase the town precept by 11.93%. The precept is the part of the council tax residents pay to the town council.

Earlier, during the finance and general purposes committee, councillors discussed the details of the budget behind closed doors.

During that discussion amendments introduced by councillors Dean Evans and Alan Jewell to try and reduce the budget even more were rejected.

Proposing the budget, the chair of the finance and general purposes committee Cllr Robinson said that it meant an 86 pence a week rise for band D property which “given all this council does is reasonable”.

However Cllr David Saunby said: “Two years ago we raised the precept by 21 per cent to get the Princess Pavilion on its feet.

“Now we are asking the public to prop it up again with a 11.93% precept rise. I can’t support that.”

Falmouth Packet: At the end of January, councillors were told there was optimism for it futureAt the end of January, councillors were told there was optimism for it future (Image: Brian Robinson Photography)

Deputy mayor Kirstie Edwards told councillors that they had worked very hard to get the original figure of 20 per cent down to the final figure and thanked councillors and officers for their help to do that.

“I think in the context of the cost of living crisis, inflation, pay awards, all the things out of our control that have caused it to rise, compared to many other councils we’re actually doing a good job here,” she said.

But Cllr Alan Jewell said he would not be supporting the budget because they had been promised that a rise of 21% would see the Princess Pavilion over the line.

“It’s not gone over the line, it’s gone well below the line and we are asking the people of Falmouth to fund it to the region of £450,000 moving forward,” he said.

He continued: “I think this is the last throw of the dice of the pavilion moving forward this year.

"If we come back next year and we’ve got figures in the region of three or four hundred thousand to keep this going it’s going to be a very interesting.”

Cllr John Spargo said it had been a painful year for the Princess Pavilion despite loads of people working really hard.

“Unfortunately I don’t think we’ve been particularly successful because it’s been a moving target all the time," he said. 

"There have been a lot of staff and management changes that makes it really difficult to get to grips with it next year. I just get no comfort from the figures here.”


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Cllr Robinson said it seemed like the Princess Pavilion was an ”easy target” to blame for the budget. “The community want this open and to actually have a venue that size making a profit in its third year is unheard of,” she said.

“We inherited this in a sorry state from GLL. We are not spending more on salaries let alone allowing for inflation but we are currently making much more of an impact on the community and we do and we will have a plan to turn this round.

“The choice is not penny pinching and complaining and cutting the budget and still expecting it to work. The choice is between investing in it or closing it and selling it off.”

If the councillors had not set the budget by today then Cornwall Council would have set an increase of 15%.