Joint Press Release – Swanage Town Council and Friends of Swanage Bandstand. March 2019
Swanage Bandstand Restoration a Step Closer
On 25th March Swanage Town Council will be considering a final report on the tenders received for the restoration of Swanage Bandstand and its surrounds.
A decision on the award of contracts has been delayed due to the original tender submissions for the work to the surrounds being over budget. A revised specification is now out to tender, the results of which will be reported to the Council meeting on 25th March.
Alan Houghton, Chairman of the Friends of Swanage Bandstand, said ‘I am very pleased to know that the Town Council will soon be in a position to give the project a final thumbs up’.
The Friends of the Bandstand have raised in excess of £80,000 towards the cost of the project through organising events and Alan himself even took part in the Boxing Day Dip. Alan continued ‘The people of Swanage have done a fantastic job in donating such a large sum of money to this project, but we still can’t be certain that we have all the funds that we need, so please don’t stop the donations coming in’.
Martin Ayres, Town Clerk, stated ‘Alan and the Friends of Swanage Bandstand have done a tremendous job in raising funds to supplement the Town Council’s agreed contribution of £50,000. The Council is fully committed to seeing the project delivered and if final approval is given on 25th March it is hoped that work will get underway later in the Spring’.
At its monthly meeting on Monday 21st August Swanage Town Council voted unanimously to support a project to restore the town’s bandstand.
Councillors allocated £50,000 towards the total estimated cost of £160,000, setting the Friends of Swanage Bandstand the task of raising the balance within the next twelve months. The Council also made funding available for the professional fees required to take the project forward.
In February of this year the Council set a 6-month deadline for interested parties to come forward with proposals for the site. During that time Mr Alan Houghton spearheaded a campaign to secure pledges from the public of donations towards a restoration project. The sum now pledged stands at £31,500, and a folder of 63 letters of support for the restoration project has been submitted to the Town Council.
The Council held a public meeting in May this year, which was attended by approximately 200 local residents, who supported the restoration of the bandstand by an overwhelming majority. A presentation by bandstand enthusiast, Mr Paul Rabbitts, gave many examples of successful restoration projects from around the country.
Mr Houghton and others have since formed the Friends of Swanage Bandstand as an organisation to take the restoration project forward. The Council’s working party met with their committee members in July, together with a representative from the Town Band, and were impressed with the expertise that the group had assembled to make the project a success.
The Friends were the only organisation to put forward a formal submission for the Council to consider, although the alternative options of removing the bandstand and potentially filling in the sunken surrounds were also debated. However, it was noted that the Council would incur substantial costs, whichever option was pursued.
Also important in underpinning the Council’s decision were the pledges to use a newly refurbished structure that the Friends had received from more than a dozen local performers, including musicians, dancers, and a local secondary school.
Councillor Caroline Finch, chairman of the Tourism Committee, stated: ‘I have been so pleased to see such a great public response about the future of the bandstand. The Council is working with all parties concerned to support its restoration’. She continued, ‘It has been heartwarming to see the community working together’.
Alan Houghton, of the Friends of Swanage Bandstand, remarked: ‘This is excellent news and represents a giant step forward towards getting our bandstand back’. He continued: ‘local people have been enormously generous in pledging £31,500 towards the project, but we do need that to continue, either by pledging more funds or organising a fundraising activity’.
To help support the Friends of Swanage Bandstand, Alan can be contacted by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 07814 319263 or post to 3 Dingle Court, De Moulham Road, BH19 1NT.
Issued by Swanage Town Council: 25th August 2017
21/06/2017 Jim Durkin
£26k worth of pledges made in bid to save Victorian bandstand
THE campaign to save Swanage's Victorian bandstand has now received pledges of £26,000.
Alan Houghton, who established the Save Swanage Bandstand Group, has also confirmed that a bank account in the name of Friends of Swanage Bandstand has been established, and that Swanage Town Council has agreed to let the campaign group be involved with its bandstand committee.
Mr Houghton explained: "We will only call in the pledges when the council says yes to restoration.
"The next step for us is to gain charity status and apply for Heritage Lottery funding, then we will get our bandstand back."
Swanage Town Band recently performed at the bandstand, which was supported by large crowds. A number of performances by the band will take place at the venue throughout the summer.
Mr Houghton said: "I would like to thank all those people who have pledged and I hope we can take the total higher still."
Earlier this year council officials announced they'd be filling in the sunken site if no firm plans to replace it had been proposed by the end of August. This created a wave of local protest, including a public meeting on the bandstand's future attended by more than 200 people.
Swanage Town Band have also backed calls for the bandstand's renovation.
A statement from them said: "The band feel that the bandstand is a unique part of Swanage's heritage."
The town council says the roof of the bandstand was declared structurally unsound during refurbishment works in 2012, which were taking place to address serious storm damage it had sustained previously.
At that time the council also pointed out that if the sunken site had to be filled in, the performance area at Prince Albert Gardens - where Swanage Town Band also play regularly - could be improved.
Swanage bandstand could be demolished and filled in (and it might not be replaced)
HISTORIC Swanage Bandstand could be demolished within six months, town officials have confirmed.
Swanage Town Council (STC) proposes filling in the sunken site if there are no firm plans to replace the Victorian structure by the end of August.
Councillors agreed the timescale at their last monthly meeting, where they also heard the estimated cost of a new bandstand would be upwards of £80,000.
Resident Brenda Enticknap, whose Rempstone Road home overlooks the bandstand, said: "I was horrified to learn that Swanage Town Council is proposing to dismantle the bandstand and fill in the space it occupies.
"In the past there have been regular visits from other bands. The town band has had audiences of over 150 at times, and people look forward to these events.
Mrs Enticknap, who suggests a crowd funding appeal to save the bandstand, added: "The Swanage community is a very special one and has risen to the occasion many times, raising money for worthy causes and individuals.
"I am certain that the funding could be raised if enough people were prepared to help."
Meanwhile, Swanage Town Band conductor David Cook told the Echo: "We have two performance spaces in Swanage, the bandstand and Prince Albert Gardens. We try to play as often as we can at the bandstand, but it doesn't get a lot of use from other groups.
"Some of our members want to keep the bandstand because it is part of Swanage's Victorian heritage, others are saying if its going to be filled in lets make sure we get a decent space at Prince Albert Gardens
"We will be discussing the issue at the next band committee and will work to get the consensus of the band to see what they want to do."
The roof of the bandstand, erected in 1923, was found to be structurally unsound when refurbishment works, addressing serious storm damage, started in 2012.
It had been hoped to restore the bandstand prior to the London Olympics torch relay, but, according to a town council spokesman, the structure had deteriorated beyond repair having been warped by ground movement over the past 90 years.
Swanage mayor Cllr Steve Poultney said: "Swanage Town Council is fully committed to identifying an appropriate outdoor performance space for live music and is open to all options.
"In particular, improvements could be made to Prince Albert Gardens which has become increasingly well used by local event organisers in recent years."
Swanage and Wareham Voice
Band wants involvement in Swanage Bandstand future talks
SWANAGE Band has asked to play its part in the six month consultation on the future of the town's historic bandstand.
Officials from Swanage Town Council (STC) propose to fill in the sunken site if there are no firm plans to replace it by the end of August.
Councillors agreed the timescale at a meeting earlier this year, where they also heard the estimated cost of a new bandstand would be upwards of £80,000.
However, many locals dispute this figure and have urged the council to save the bandstand - arguing it plays a vital role in maintaining Swanage's seaside charm.
Now an official statement from Swanage Town Band, which regularly performs at the site, highlights its position.
It said: "Playing without a roof does affect the sound and obviously leaves the band more exposed to inclement weather and over the last two years, in informal discussions with Swanage Town Council, we have submitted plans to replace the roof and have also drawn up a list of bands who might like to use this facility.
"The band appreciate the support they receive from Swanage Town Council and are keen to promote a performance area that can be used by all the town.
"We are aware that there is a groundswell of opinion for refurbishing or replacing the bandstand and as regular users would be happy to be involved during the proposed six month consultation.
"The current bandstand offers easy parking - essential for larger instruments and chairs - has good audience space and toilets close by. If another site is to be developed we feel these issues should be carefully considered."
The roof of the bandstand, built in 1923, was found to be structurally unsound when refurbishment works addressing serious storm damage stared in 2012.
It had been hoped to restore the bandstand prior to the London Olympics torch relay, but, according to a town council spokesman, it had deteriorated beyond repair.
The council also insists that should the bandstand be filled in, improvements could be made to the performance space at Swanage's Prince Albert Gardens.
Swanage Town Band will be performing at Swanage Bandstand this summer, with dates set to be announced soon.