Southend councillors are meeting next week to discuss detailed plans to refurbish the landmark clifftop theatre.
The rejuvenation plan would see an expansion of the current restaurant, catering for 158 guests compared to a previous 100.
A modern, brighter, more welcoming entrance and lobby, a stunning new outdoor plaza are also planned,in addition to improvement work to the bar, toilets, and lifts.
Southend Council’s planning officers have recommended approval of the bold new scheme.
Daniel Nelson, Conservative councillor responsible for economic growth and investment, said: “It is absolutely fantastic. I believe that area in particular really needs levelling up and I am proud that we received levelling up funding.
“This is absolutely brilliant. The plans are to make it a properly modern 21st Century venue that we can really be proud of, but also whilst maintaining the art deco character of the building.
“I think this will develop a completely unique experience that only Southend can offer.
“It also gives longevity to the building. I don’t think there is a resident in Southend who hasn’t enjoyed or got memories of the Cliffs, so to be able to give it that longevity will ensure future generations are also able to make those memories.
“I personally got married there, many will get married after me, and I have always said after this refurb, I am a little bit jealous they will be able to get married in such an amazing venue.”
As there are no plans to change the auditorium or back of house, this means the theatre will remain open during the work.
In July, Willmott Dixon was announced as the council’s construction partner for the proposed major upgrade.
Roughly £5.5 million of the project is being funded through round one of the Levelling Up Fund announced by Government in October 2021, with additional investment from the council and Trafalgar Entertainment, which operates the theatre.
The plans are also supported by the Theatres Trust.
They say: “The Cliffs Pavilion is an important regional theatre.
“This proposal will further expand and enhance the venue’s front of house provision, improve orientation and accessibility, and encourage longer stays at the venue enhancing the potential for income generation to help sustain the venue and its cultural offer for the city.
“It allows for operational benefits too, because the removal of the large ticket office enables a new back of house corridor providing better access between front and back of house.
“Overall, the scheme is supported.”
The Cliffs Pavilion is the city’s main theatre dating back to the 1960s before it was extended in the late 1990s.
In their report to Southend Council’s development control committee, which meets next Wednesday, planning officers say: “The application is recommended for approval.
“The principle of the development which supports the future vitality and viability of culture and tourism in the city is supported by policy.”