What do you think? Should we have a vote on the Pavilion?
The loss of the Hemel Hempstead Pavilion is a topic that often comes up on Hemel’s social media sites like Hemel Hempstead Community and Conversation. Memories of the bands that played, as well as the romances that started, are common and there is almost certainly a view in the town that a little bit of Hemel was lost when the venue was demolished in 2003.
There is, of course, the Hemel Evolution which has, as its centrepiece, a £16million new civic centre or ‘Forum’ which is being built on the exact spot where the old Pavilion stood. The building will host new offices for councillors, the library, a police presence and offices for voluntary sector organisations. All to be welcomed but none of it is likely help the town centre’s fortunes. The place is like a ghost town as anyone who has wondered down the Marlowes after 7.00pm will know.
In a recent article in the Gazette, ‘New Cinema Aims to Reel in Business’, developers and the council have promised a new cinema complex in the Market Square which they say will replace the footfall into the town that was lost when the Pavilion was bulldozed. However, there is currently no planning permission for a cinema and no interest from national cinema chains because of the competition with Jarmans Park where the Empire is due to start work on a 20 screen imax multiplex.
Mike and Chris Ridley from the Hemel Hempstead Hub Facebook page launched a petition earlier in the year calling for a community based arts venue and have received over 1,300 signatures to date. You can sign it here. They reckon that, instead of a cinema, the council should consider developing a venue in the same space that has been allocated in the Evolution plans.
What do you think? Maybe there would be some interest in holding a public vote – another cinema or a multi-purpose community and arts venue which would host clubs, concerts, dances, conferences and, who knows, even show films.