As the next phase of works approaches, we realise there will be more questions emerging about the Rothesay Pavilion Restoration Project which may or may not have been answered before.
For that reason, I thought I would use this column to tackle some of those questions, with a specific focus on the building project and funding.
Who is paying for Rothesay Pavilion Restoration Project?
Rothesay Pavilion restoration is being paid for by a host of major funders including Argyll and Bute Council (£5.23m), Heritage Lottery Fund (£4.19m), European Regional Development Fund (£1.06m), Historic Environment Scotland (£750k), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (£750k), Coastal Communities Fund (Big Lottery) (£600k), Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (£625k), as well as various trusts and foundations with an arts and heritage focus making up the balance. The total fund is just under £14million.
Why are they funding the Pavilion?
They are funding it because it is a really important community and cultural centre but also because our Pavilion is unique in Scotland in terms of its architectural heritage. This was recognised by Historic Environment Scotland in 2005 when they upgraded its ‘Listed’ status from ‘B’ to ‘A’ in recognition of “this building being one of the most significant pleasure buildings of the style in the country, surviving in remarkably intact condition”. A Category A Listing recognises “buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period style or building type” and this is one of the main reasons why so many national funding bodies have come together to preserve it.
Rothesay Pavilion is in very poor condition and requires major investment to continue. This investment has come principally from funders with an interest in conservation, heritage and economic regeneration and is not transferable to other priorities like hospitals and care centres, so without the Pavilion this money would simply not come to Rothesay.
Outwith the Pavilion restoration, there is also considerable investment planned over next five years in the new Townscape Heritage project to help deal with other buildings in the town.
Couldn’t we convert it into an old people’s home/hospital/hotel?
No – the building isn’t suited for any of those things. It was built as a dance hall and venue and that is what it is best suited to be. Trying to convert it into something else would not be cost effective and it is highly likely that the current funders could pull out.