MEMBERS of the public will get their first chance to see what a reborn Rothesay Pavilion might look like at an open day in the famous building this weekend.
The Prince's Regeneration Trust, which is leading the development of plans for the building's future, is hosting a drop-in event at the Art Deco Pavilion this Sunday, November 7, along with architects Elder & Cannon, the Bute Community Land Company and other partners in the team working towards the renewal of the structure.
And all are keen that as many members of the public visit this Sunday's event as possible to have their say on a number of options for the Pavilion's re-use.
Argyll and Bute Council has already set aside 2.4 million from its own capital funds to put towards the Pavilion's regeneration, though several private sector funders will also have to be found if the long-hoped-for restoration of the building is to become a reality.
Several options for the possible future use of the building have been drawn up by the Trust. Sunday's exhibition will put these on public display for the first time, giving the public their first opportunity to say what they like - and what they don't like - about each.
Members of the project team will also be in attendance to answer questions about each proposal.
Maria Perks, the Prince's Regeneration Trust project manager for the Pavilion, told The Buteman this week: "The Pavilion is a fascinating building, and it's of critical importance to the future of Rothesay and of Bute, but I think it's clear to just about everyone that it's in a pretty poor condition.
"Because the Pavilion is so familiar and so well-used locally, we are asking local people to step back for a moment and think about how special a building the Pavilion is."
One future use identified for the building is a 'conservation only' option - which, though the most basic, may not be the most cost-effective in the long run, or the easiest to pay for.
Another is the restoration of the main hall along with the introduction of a cafe, the opening of a shop and enhancements to the community accommodation.
The third, and potentially most fascinating, option is a 'big bang' refurbishment which would include reducing the size of the main hall, creating new spaces around the side of the present dance floor and perhaps a seating gallery above.
The 'big bang' option could also feature a glazed gallery on the building's upper floor and even visitor accommodation.
"We've got to make the Pavilion work better than it does at the moment," Maria continued.
"If the regeneration is going to work - and repairs are going to be expensive and complex - the Pavilion is going to have to become something pretty high spec and exciting, which is both relevant to local people and attractive to visitors."
BCLC chairman John McGhee, one of a fortunate few to have seen the feasibility study into the Pavilion and the architects' ideas for potential future uses for the building, said: "I was lucky enough to get a preview of the plans and I would urge everyone who can attend the consultation on Sunday to do so.
"It is so exciting to see what the regenerated Pavilion could look like but even more importantly, to get an insight into what it could mean for Bute's economy.
"In regenerating the economy we need to use every asset we have and the Pavilion has the potential to attract tourists in large numbers from throughout the UK, while continuing to provide a versatile space for the community.
"However a restored Pavilion needs to be part of a bigger picture, which is why BCLC is actively involved in the plans for its restoration in tandem with a range of other initiatives, including our plans for the forest, which together will give visitors a whole range of reasons to visit Bute."
Sunday's drop-in event runs from 11am until 4pm, and refreshments and home baking will be provided.
The Pavilion was opened in 1938 following an architectural competition run by Rothesay Town Council; though the expenditure limit was set at 30,000, once the building was complete the cost had risen to twice the original estimate.
It is widely regarded as the best surviving example of 1930s Art Deco architecture in Scotland.
Rothesay Pavilion regeneration - Argyll and Bute Council's plans for the redevelopment of the building
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Monday 20 May 2013
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