Dorset

Swanage bandstand campaigners raise £13k in pledges

Swanage bandstand Image copyright Barry Shimmon
Image caption It could cost up to £100,000 to restore the sunken bandstand

More than £13,000 has been pledged to a campaign to save a rare bandstand on the Dorset coast.

The roof of Swanage's 96-year-old sunken bandstand was removed following storm damage in 2012.

Campaigner Alan Houghton said residents were "incensed" at its condition. It is a rare example of a bandstand sunk below ground level.

The town council previously said the bandstand would be dismantled unless a realistic solution was found.

Lead campaigner Mr Houghton said he was delighted with the amount raised in pledges so far and had big plans for the future.

Image copyright Swanage Band
Image caption Swanage Town Band has continued to play at the bandstand, despite its lack of roof

He is planning to form a trust to bid for lottery and local business funding to meet the estimated £100,000 cost.

Mr Houghton said "It's a super feature - it's ours and I'm determined we're going to save it".

In March, the town council set an ultimatum that the site would be filled in unless it was repaired.

Following the recent fundraising, town council mayor Steve Poultney said he was now "cautiously optimistic" about its future.

He said: "I'd like to see a case built up for its use where people commit to using it rather than spending a great deal of money on a white elephant."

A decision on the future of the bandstand is likely to be made later in the year.

Liz Roberts, of the town's brass band which continues to perform at the site, said: "It's got a great ambience and acoustically, with a roof, it would be a better place to play - we're fully behind it."

Image copyright Robin Webster
Image caption The bandstand roof was removed in 2012 following storm damage

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