Almost 3,000 people have signed a petition urging a council to delay demolition of a park bandstand had been handed in to Calderdale Council.
Campaigners including drummers lobbied councillors as they arrived at the full meeting of Calderdale Council where Coun Rob Holden (Ind, Ryburn) presented the petition – which has 2,950 signatures – asking for a stay of execution for the bandstand at Centre Vale Park, Todmorden.
Coun Holden explained that although the bandstand was outside his ward he was a born and bred Todmordian and described it as the park’s focal point.
In July Cabinet approved proposals to pull down the iconic bandstand, which originally dates to 1914, was rebuilt 20 years ago after being seriously damaged by fire and was closed around eight years ago after further vandalism and attempts to set it alight, replacing it with a performance space.
The Save Our Bandstand campaign group was formed days later with the aim of having the bandstand asset transferred to them and the council’s position is that if the group can produce a business plan to cover not only repair but it being used as a community resource going forward, it is willing to explore options.
Coun Holden told councillors Save Our Bandstand had more than 60 members and six sub-committees had been set up to work on a business plan.
“All they are asking for is six months of time. Given the bandstand has not been able to be used for the last few years, I don’t think that adds a great deal to the bottom line, budgetwise,” he said.
Council protocol for receiving petitions means the issue could not be discussed further on the night but because the number of signatures, which have to be checked, is more than 2,000 it automatically triggers a debate by full council at the next council meeting.
Full council next meets on November 20.
Planning process for demolition has not yet begun and the council’s Cabinet portfolio holder for Regeneration and Resources, Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot), said she would be meeting with the campaign group to discuss the issue.
Later in the meeting Coun Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) also raised the issue and asked if some of £12.5 million Stronger Towns Fund, Todmorden’s half of money to be given by Government could be used towards revitalising the bandstand.
Leader of the Council Coun Twim Swift (Lab, Town) said Coun Carter seemed to know more about what money might be coming than the council had been told.
Refurbishing the bandstand to original specification could cost up to £300,000, a sum that in light of vandalism and with the background of cuts to council funding, Cabinet members felt they could not support.