At last week’s meeting of Argyll and Bute Council members approved the full business case for the multi-million pound Rothesay Pavilion regeneration project. This means that the project has been through the council’s robust, evidence based assessment process which shows that renovated pavilion will be a financially viable facility.
When it re-opens in 2017 the pavilion will be able to provide a number of different services such as:
- Performing arts – music, theatre, dance, band rehearsals and workshops
- Exhibitions – visual arts, crafts, local artists, touring exhibitions from national institutions and loaned collections
- Indoor sports – football, archery, bowls, yoga, exercise classes and soft play
- Community events – pantomimes, highland games and prize giving events
- Private functions – parties and weddings
- Office space – suitable for creative local businesses
- Catering – re-opened café facility
- Retail – small shop area selling branded pavilion items, local arts and crafts specific to exhibitions
The varied nature of the services on offer will appeal to a number of different, interconnected markets which the Rothesay Pavilion Charity will be targeting when they take over the running of the building.
With the business case approved the council will now be moving into the capital construction phase, with the tender for a suitable contractor set to be issued soon. A contractor will hopefully be in place by the end of the year, with the main building work set to begin in January 2016. Before the building work can begin the pavilion will close in September to allow for the removal of furniture and attachments.
The design team, Elder & Canon Architects, have been recruited for the delivery stage, with Gardiner & Theobald doing the quantity surveying work. The council is also in the process of recruiting a full time officer to project manage this key regeneration project.
Prior to the renovation the council will be carrying essential repairs to areas of the building which could become a danger to the public. This work is set to be carried out between May and June, with the pavilion remaining open throughout.
Argyll and Bute Council’s Head of Economic Development, Fergus Murray, welcomed the business case approval, saying: ‘’This is another key milestone in the project meaning the actual construction work is a step closer. With the majority of the funding secured and the business plan now proving the project’s viability the council is confident in moving forward to the next stage.
‘’It’s heartening to see the project get to this stage, with all the pieces of the jigsaw coming together. There’s a real feeling of optimism about the project and the benefits it will bring not just to the local economy on Rothesay but across the whole island and into other areas of Argyll and Bute.
‘’The council’s aim is to create the correct environment for economic growth and through this project and the hugely successful townscape heritage initiative (THI) we’re doing just that; the pavilion will directly create jobs in construction and in its operation as well as having real knock-on benefits for local hotels and restaurants as it increases the attraction of the island for tourists.’’
The Rothesay Pavilion Charity is planning a festival to celebrate the building’s incredible heritage and to trial some of the activities that will take place in the venue when it reopens. This will take place on the last weekend in September with more details set to be announced shortly.
Chair of the charity, Nick Merriman, said: ‘’This approval means the building refurbishment process can now start. At the charity we are already planning the activities that will animate the new building. We can't wait to reopen the doors in just over two years to welcome in locals and tourists alike.’’
The project funders are:
Argyll and Bute Council
Heritage Lottery Fund
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Coastal Communities Fund
Regeneration Capital Grant Fund