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De La Warr Pavilion in crisis as Wetherspoon calls time

JD Wetherspoon has walked away from talks with the local authority to turn Bexhill's De La Warr Pavilion into a pub - but the council is still looking out for new companies to take the building on.

The pub giant was only interested in taking on the eastern wing of the Grade I-listed Modernist icon, but was put off by Rother District Council's costly stipulation that it must also find an operator for the building's 1,200seat theatre (AJ 22.7.00).

Now, however, the council has infuriated locals further by deciding to reject the advice of its officers and explore 'all options' on the pavilion, instead of concentrating on a Lottery bid alone. It is set to ratify or reject that position at what will be a noisy meeting at the town hall on 4 September.

The Pavilion Trust's Jill Theis told the AJ she is angry that the council is still looking for commercial partners, especially after both the Arts Council and Heritage Lottery Fund made it clear that they will not grant Lottery cash if that is the case. 'Rother council won't give in and say 'we've failed', ' she said.'We've got to prepare a Lottery bid.We can't go on mucking about - the Lottery people have waited 12 months already.'

The trust said there is a 'very real danger' that the Lottery boards will run out of patience and reallocate elsewhere the £4 million they earmarked for the Mendelsohn and Chermayeff-designed landmark. The money would go towards a John McAslan and Partners' gallery extension.

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