Rothesay Pavilion Project

Rothesay Pavilion

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Background and what we plan to do:

Rothesay Pavilion is a Category A listed building in the International Modern style designed by the architect James A Carrick in 1938 as a twin of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. It is one of the finest examples of early 20th century pleasure buildings in the UK. It is owned and operated by Argyll & Bute Council as a centre for community activities but despite regular maintenance, the condition of the fabric is reaching a level of deterioration which requires major conservation and repair. To address this, the project will transform the building into a hub for cultural and community use through:

  • A year-round programme of changing exhibitions in a purpose designed exhibition area. It is anticipated that the exhibitions will range from international artists to local history
  • A shop selling local products
  • A café/restaurant selling affordable food and drink
  • The revamped main hall which will accommodate a range of events including music, theatre, dance, sports, weddings and various community uses from yoga classes to flower shows.
  • A second venue which will be a more intimate space for smaller performances of music and comedy. It will be programmed by and for young people and give them space to socialise, play and rehearse music and generally 'hang out'.
  • A new top floor which will provide a meeting/function room with fantastic views over Rothesay Bay as well as offices which will be let out to up to 6 local businesses

In short, the project will provide a new lease of life to the building, facilitating necessary physical repairs whilst at the same time creating real opportunities for regeneration and job creation for local people. On completion of the redevelopment work in 2017 the building will be leased by the Council to a new charity - Rothesay Pavilion Charity – who will take over the running of the building from the Council via a formal lease and partnership agreement.

The new facility will employ 12.5 FTE staff including a Director and a Heritage Engagement Officer who will work with schools, the local community and volunteers. A detailed business plan has been approved  which forms the basis upon which the Pavilion will achieve a sustainable future. Overall, the business plan forecasts that the new Pavilion will attract 85,000 visits per annum to the various activities that will be on offer. This represents an increase of over 300% from 25,000 visitors at present.

The project has received full planning and listed building consent. The main refurbishment works are planned to commence in March 2016 and will be completed in September 2017.

Rothesay Pavilion project

Rothesay Pavilion Charity

The Charity was established as a Scottish Incorporated Charitable Organisation (SCIO) in June 2014 and is registered as a charitable organisation with OSCR (SC044932). Its main charitable objects are to advance citizenship & community development, arts, culture and heritage and to provide recreational facilities for local citizens. The charity was set up in order to take over the active programming, management and operations of Rothesay Pavilion following its redevelopment through a major capital programme initiated by Argyll and Bute Council.

The charity’s board comprises 11 people and is led by Dr Nick Merriman (Director, Manchester Museum) and includes a strong group of local residents alongside those who have second homes on Bute with extensive knowledge of the cultural and third sector. The Board consists of an arts manager, a former solicitor, an art and design teacher and local businessman, the co-ordinator of the Scottish Rural Parliament, an artist, the manager of a children’s charity, the chair of Bute Jazz Festival, the Director of the Whitworth Gallery and Manchester City Galleries, an event producer and a Guardian journalist.

Project updates

Title Update
Closing weekend

The building will close at the end of September and a weekend of festivities is being organised in conjunction with the new charity between 25th – 27th September. The weekend will be a celebration of the Pavilion’s history and central place within the local community as well as an opportunity to look to the future and to  imagine what it will be like when it reopens in 2017.

The next few months

An intensive period of work will follow in the months after the closure of the building. Tenders for the construction works are scheduled to be advertised in mid November with a tender return date of mid January 2016. These will then be assessed with a view to awarding a building contract in March. On the basis of an 18 month building contract, completion will follow in September 2017. The new building will be leased at that point to Rothesay Pavilion Charity who will be responsible for programming and managing the facility. Exciting times ahead.