Rugby council to use £80k taken from developers to restore Whitehall Rec's bandstand to its former glory

Work will start next week

Photo courtesy of Rugby Borough Council.
Photo courtesy of Rugby Borough Council.

Money taken from developers is set to be used to restored Whitehall Rec's bandstand to its former glory - with work set to start next Monday, January 24.

The historic bandstand, built in 1932 to commemorate Rugby being declared a municipal borough, has become blighted by woodworm and wet rot in recent years.

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Rugby council had erected security fencing amid safety concerns.

The council commissioned a report from heritage restoration specialists and decided to use £80,000 taken from housing developers to bring the structure back to its former glory.

Funding was secured through Section 106 contributions - a system whereby the law requires developers to contribute money towards community and social infrastructure in the areas they build in.

Plans for the restoration have been drawn up after experts researched photographs of the bandstand in its pomp, with the structure set to be dismantled before being rebuilt in keeping with its original construction.

The restoration includes replacing the bandstand's original cedar shingle roof, which had become rotten due to water damage, with a zinc covered roof, traditionally used for bandstands built in the early 20th century.

The project also includes the installation of guttering and drainage to protect the bandstand's timber columns and spandrels.

It is expected that the work will be finished in the spring.

Cllr Howard Roberts, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for leisure and wellbeing, said: "Restoring the bandstand was a key element of our phased programme of improvements to Whitehall Recreation Ground and we're delighted to have secured Section 106 funds to carry out the work.

"It's a major restoration project which protects a piece of the borough's heritage for future generations and marks another significant step in our work to improve Rugby's oldest public green space."

Whitehall Recreation Ground opened to the public in 1877 and a decade later was the focal point of the borough's celebrations for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.

The Whitehall Memorial Gates were unveiled in 1922 to honour Rugby's fallen heroes of the First World War - with more than 10,000 residents attending the opening ceremony conducted by Field Marshall Earl French of Ypres.

The recreation ground's phased improvement programme has so far included a new play area, new 'easy gates' at all entrances and the installation of a state-of-the-art skatepark, with future plans including pathway improvements and landscaping work.