An extra £335,000 is to be spent on essential repairs to Rothesay Pavilion - but the work won’t be completed until the spring of 2015, a year after part of the building was fenced off on safety grounds.
Sections of the Pavilion have been fenced off since April of this year amid growing worries over the deteriorating state of the building - with the northern elevation, facing Mackinlay Street, and the northern end of the eastern elevation, which faces the sea, giving particular cause for concern.
The repair work will form part of the tendering process for the overall regeneration of the building, for which a funding package of around £8 million is currently being put together.
Argyll and Bute Council, which owns the building, said in a statement: “Recent survey work has revealed that some sections of the building are in an advanced state of disrepair and are continuing to deteriorate.
“In order to address these issues and to ensure that the building can be renovated as per the original plan the council is making an additional investment of around £335,000 from its general reserve fund to carry out these emergency works.
“This is a significant intervention by the local authority and demonstrates our commitment to this vital regeneration project.
“The priority areas for repair are 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.
“Within the cast stones are iron reinforcement bars which have been rusting as the moisture reaches them. The rusting process causes the bars to expand which in turn bursts the stone facings, making these areas of the building unstable, as well as causing a danger to passing members of the public.
“To mitigate against this danger to the public, some sections of the building have been fenced off.
“Not to repair these areas would lead to further deterioration and cause severe damage to the Category A listed structure, ultimately putting the regeneration project in jeopardy.
“The essential repairs have been included as part of the design team tender for the overall regeneration project. The tendering process is around halfway through, with a design team expected to be appointed at the end of the month.
“Following this, the scope of the required work will be specified, a contract issued and a firm appointed. It is hoped that the repairs will be completed by the spring of 2015.”
The overall funding package for the Pavilion’s refurbishment includes a ‘stage two’ application for almost £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the bid for which has to be submitted by next Friday, October 10.
The council has committed £1.809m to the Pavilion as part of its CHORD programme, to regenerate the area’s five main towns (Campbeltown, Helensburgh, Oban, Rothesay and Dunoon), while Historic Scotland has pledged £500,000.
Applications for ‘stage two’ funding from the Regeneration Capital Grants Fund (£900,000) and the Coastal Communities Fund (£600,000) - both Scottish Government schemes - were submitted last month, while between ten and 12 more funding bids for a total of £700,000 have also been made, or will be made during October.
In addition, Highlands and Islands Enterprise has provided grant support towards the cost of employing a Pavilion Development Officer for 12 months to draw up a cultural programme for the period when the building is closed and to develop briefs for an online ticketing system and a website for the building.
The Pavilion is due to close in September 2015 to allow the work to take place over an 18-month period.