A Scottish cabinet minister visited Rothesay Pavilion this week, to mark the awarding of £1.06m in funds towards the building’s restoration.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown came to Bute and was shown around the Pavilion on Tuesday, October 31, alongside the island’s district councillors, council officers and representatives of the charity that will take responsibility for the building when it reopens.
Provost Len Scoullar and fellow Bute district councillors Jim Findlay and Jean Moffat greeted the minister and other Scottish Government representatives.
The £1.06m from the Scottish Government’s EuropeanRegional Development Fund was one of several grants approved last month, which took the project to its target of £14m.
The ERDF money will specifically go towards the provision of some offices for small and medium sized businesses within the new building layout.
Peter McDonald is the project lead for the refurbishment and conducted the tour for the visitors, explaining alongside Julia Twomlow of the Rothesay Pavilion charity the process of changing the building and what the new facilties would offer.
He showed the visitors the roof of the building, which will host offices including one for the charity itself.
The former caretaker’s house at the rear of the site will also take on a new lease of life, providing three independent offices for local businesses along with a shared meeting room and office resources.
Councillor Garry Mulvaney, depute leader of Argyll and Bute Council, introduced Keith Brown and gave a short speech on the history of the Pavilionand the memories made there by local people and visitors.
The economy minister said: “This £1 million European funding will help to re-establish Rothesay Pavilion as a cultural hub for the community, businesses and tourists.
“It will benefit businesses, giving them access to affordable office space which can help them grow and boost the local economy.
“With Brexit there is of course now a question mark over the future of this European funding.
“I will continue to call on the UK Government to provide clarity so communities across Scotland can have the certainty they need to develop projects that bring economic benefits to their area.”
He went on to say he was impressed by the ideas for multiple performance spaces as well as plans for art exhibitions in the building, and that he will look forward to visiting Rothesay when the Pavilion is finished.
Councillor Gary Mulvaney said: “As well as being incredibly architecturally important, Rothesay Pavilion is a well-loved and iconic Art Deco building and we are working hard with all our partners to bring it back to life and to its former glory.
“We are grateful to the Scottish Government for the additional funding which will allow the development of a hub for small and medium sized enterprises as part of the building’s regeneration.
“The Pavilion will be transformed into a community and cultural facility. As well as bringing jobs we will deliver a tourist attraction for the island and beyond.”
Jennifer Nicoll, Highlands and Island Enterprise area manager for Argyll and the Islands, also said: “It’s great to see this project getting underway.
“The Pavilion lies at the heart of the Bute community and has the potential to create jobs, improve the town environment and provide cultural and educational opportunities for local people and visitors. I am very pleased we have been able to support the project and look forward to it taking shape.”
Rothesay Pavilion closed in 2015, and interior work including the removal of asbestos has been ongoing.
Peter McDonald said the contractors due to carry out the work at the Pavilion hope to begin in November, and that the project should be completed in the summer of 2019.