Major funding bid submitted following Rothesay Pavilion planning approval

Argyll and Bute Council’s £8 million project to renovate Rothesay’s iconic Art Deco pavilion has seen significant progress in the past few weeks, with funding applications submitted, planning approval granted and robust business plans and developed designs now in place.

Following on from the submission of funding applications totalling £1.5m to the Coastal Communities Fund and the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund the council has also submitted applications to Historic Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) of over £4.5m. £1.9m of the redevelopment will be funded directly by the council, in addition to over £300,000 recently released from the general reserve fund for essential structural repair works.

These essential repairs will take place in the spring of 2015, focusing on the northern elevation and the north end of the eastern elevation. These areas are exposed to the weather on the seafront and, as such, rain and salt spray have entered open joints and cracks in the cast stone.

Planning approval was granted last week for the renovations proposals which are entirely in keeping with national planning policy and Argyll and Bute’s local development plan, supporting the ambitions of the Rothesay community and encouraging sustainable economic growth.

Final decisions on the funding applications are expected by the end of January, with a full business case for the project expected to go before local members then the council for final approval in early 2015.

The pavilion is set to close at the end of summer 2015 to allow time for surveys and the removal of furniture and attachments, before construction work begins in January 2016.

Designed by Elder and Cannon, the enhanced pavilion will become a hub for culture, tourism and sport, able to host major festivals and events, indoor sports, exhibitions, weddings, parties and conferences as well as providing a range of facilities for daily community use.

The new pavilion will be operated by the Rothesay Pavilion Charity, who will lease it from the council on an ongoing basis.

Pippa Milne, the council’s executive director for development and infrastructure, said of the progress to date: “I am delighted to see the project moving forward at pace. Things are really coming together, with a fantastic design and robust business plan we have a strong framework within which to move forward. We are confident that our funding applications meet with the various criteria and are very hopeful of success. Once the funding is in place it’ll be all systems go as we move towards the construction phase.

“I’m also pleased that we have established such a strong working relationship with the charity who will be taking over the day-to-day running of the newly renovated pavilion once it re-opens in 2017. With a strong board of directors from a wide range of backgrounds but with a strong local focus I’m sure they are the right people to ensure Rothesay Pavilion is a real draw for both visitors and residents.”

Dr. Nick Merriman, chair of the Rothesay Pavilion Charity, said: “Progress is now rapid on the pavilion project, with new developments almost on a weekly basis. The pavilion trust is very encouraged by the positive news on planning permission, which will be a further boost to the various funding applications totalling £700,000 which the trust itself has recently submitted. With the support of HIE we have also just appointed a development manager, whose job will be to develop all of the systems we will need when we take over the building and its operation, and to prepare for a programme of activities during the closure period.”

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