Regenerating of one of the East Coasts Finest Entertainment Venues
Bridlington Spa is a much cherished and valued amenity in Bridlington and the East Riding of Yorkshire. The Bridlington Spa houses events of national and international repute. The functions and attractions that come to Bridlington through the doors of the Spa bring considerable added value to the town's economy.
However in the early 2000's the Spa was at a crossroads and faced a number of challenges.
To maintain its position and attractiveness, the building needed to be brought up to date and fit for the type of activities that were likely to come to the building in the future.
To sustain its market position the Bridlington Spa had to improve and update essential facilities and introduce more flexible and attractive features, to help attract new business.
The building had passed its Best by Date and outdated facilities such as toilets and the difficulties of access into and around the building had to be addressed without detracting from the inherent quality of its main spaces. In its heyday The Spa was a landmark building and this had to be re-established both physically and in people's own minds.
From 2006 - 2008 East Riding of Yorkshire Council, with the assistance of the European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward, funded redevelopment and refurbishment of the building to develop its traditional role for the future.
What the public wanted
As a result of questionnaires received following a public exhibition held at Leisure World in September 2004, and from that month's issue of Regeneration News, the public view indicated tremendous support for the refurbishment of the Bridlington Spa.
In summary: Over 90% of those who responded supported the refurbishment approach, rather than redevelopment or do nothing.
Many felt that although the Spa needed refurbishment and modernisation it should be done in a way that retained its special character and features.
It was felt that
The Spa was one of Bridlington's best assets.
The Spa was a landmark that should be kept.
The Spa needed to improve its facilities to attract new business to the town.
Concerns were voiced regarding whether the existing building was suitable for refurbishment, whether the proposals were ambitious enough, and about the costs.
What was done about it
It was decided that The Spa should re-establish itself as a landmark building for Bridlington in all seasons, both day and night, both inside and out. The refurbished facilities should enhance the sense of welcome, creativity, activity and dynamism for those who come to provide entertainment and for those who come to participate or be entertained.
To achieve this
The Refurbishment Scheme must rely heavily on upgrading and maximising the use of the existing building so that it becomes an attractive place for events, entertainment and conferences. However, the Scheme would also need to provide opportunity for architecture and design innovation to ensure that future generations recognise with pride the special impact that this Scheme has had on their landmark building.
The Existing Building
The Royal Spa represented a vital ingredient in the civic infrastructure of Bridlington and the East Riding. However, both the Theatre and the Royal Hall suffered from poor accessibility and image.
The layout of the Spa was confusing with a multitude of changes of level and poor linkages between rooms.
The condition of the building varied from poor to average and it had undoubtedly seen better days.
Fundamental issues were apparent with the facilities compared with a modern building but it was decided that these could be overcome with the scope and level of refurbishment envisaged.
The Key elements of the Re-development
Improving circulation and accessibility within the building
The proposal was to reorganise and remodel the circulation space between the Theatre and the Royal Hall. This presented an opportunity for a dramatic improvement with the introduction of a view through the building to the seafront the natural focus for the main circulation, containing lifts and stairs to link all levels and functions. This would improve clarity and convenience whilst enhancing the effectiveness of the building.
New entrance foyer
Combined with the main circulation space above, a new entrance would be the external demonstration of the changes within the building, allowing the Spa to signal its new purpose and its role in the 21st century
Refurbishment of the Theatre and Royal Hall
The attraction of customers, artists, conference trade, exhibitions etc. to the Spa was a critical part of the business case for the refurbishment works. To attract this business, the facilities need to be integrated and flexible and the standards of accessibility and service to be of the highest order.
In this respect, the linking of the Theatre and Royal Hall, the refurbishment of the toilets and catering spaces along with the provision of a range of quality multifunctional rooms are pivotal features.
This two-tier Edwardian theatre has been rebuilt with 675 new seats, and modern backstage facilities for moving scenery. A larger lighting and sound box with state-of-the-art technology is now in place at the back of the stalls.
The 1930s ballroom kept its art deco character while being given an extensive facelift. Big changes include a new east-facing wall, modern technical facilities and new colour scheme, but most importantly the floor foundations have been entirely rebuilt and a new sprung wooden dance floor laid down. Unseen for years, having been blacked out, every pane of the Dome's arching, patterned, leaded glass canopy has been cleaned and restored to its original condition when it opened in 1932. It is now fitted with a black-out curtain to shut out the light if required. The ornate, circular frieze has been repainted in colours of the period and reaching out across the ceiling is sunburst gilding.
In May 2008 The Spa reopened and has since hosted top bands such as Oasis and Prodigy. The Royal Hall holds concerts with audiences of up to 3800 people.
The Royal Hall and Spa Theatre host the very best in drama, music, dancing, comedy, sports and more. Already a key touring venue for top bands.
The Spa Bridlington now hosts free venue tours on at least one Sunday a month to allow local residents and visitors alike an opportunity to view this venue. These tours are, in the main, guided by members of the senior management team to allow guests to ask any question and receive a reply immediately. For more information on when the tours are available check out our What's on Calendar