Plans to transform Rothesay Pavilion into a nationally significant cultural centre and visitor attraction have received initial support for a Heritage Lottery Fund bid of £2.7 million.
The HLF announced on Monday that the project had been given ‘stage one’ development funding of £103,000, which will be used to work up a bid for the larger ‘stage two’ award.
The regeneration of the Pavilion is the centrepiece of Argyll and Bute Council’s bid to breathe new life into its five main towns through the CHORD project (Chord standing for Campbeltown, Helensburgh, Oban, Rothesay and Dunoon).
Councillor Robert Macintyre, the chair of the Rothesay CHORD project board, said: “This good news from the Heritage Lottery Fund means that we have now identified opver 50 per cent of the funding required to support this important project for Rothesay.
“We can now look forward to real progress in the coming two years and work is due to begin at the end of 2014.”
The Pavilion is one the most important examples of a Modern Movement building in the UK; it is located in an old Scottish seaside town, an area now in need of sustainable and far-reaching regeneration.
The Grade A listed Pavilion, which opened its doors in 1938, once attracted countless holidaymakers and was at the heart of Rothesay in its post-war heyday as a vibrant, bustling seaside destination.
According to the HLF, “its current state of neglect illustrates and contributes to the wider decline of the area, as tourists sought out sunnier climes for their holiday and the local economy suffered.
Monday’s announcement stated: “The Pavilion’s successful re-use has huge potential for the local area. The HLF’s support for the project illustrates the project’s viability and its potential to provide the local community with new facilities, opportunities and activities.
“This endorsement now means the local project can progress with further fundraising, development of a creative strategy and setting up a new charity that will run the site when the project is complete.
“The Pavilion project will create a nationally significant cultural centre and visitor attraction in the heart of Rothesay that will transform the seafront and have a major economic impact on the town.”
Independent Bute councillor Len Scoullar, who chaired the Rothesay CHORD project board from its inception in 2008 until an SNP-led coalition took over the running of Argyll and Bute after the May 2012 elections, told The Buteman: “I would like to pay tribute to all the staff from the council and its partners on the Prince’s Regeneration Trust for their hard work over the years in making this bid a reality - I’m absolutely delighted.
“I also think Dick Walsh, who was the leader of the council when the CHORD project was agreed in 2008, deserves credit for agreeing that the Pavilion’s restoration was a worthy cause that should be taken forward.”