Swanage bandstand campaign gets council cash pledge

Swanage bandstand Image copyright Barry Shimmon
Image caption Swanage has a rare example of a coastal bandstand sunk below ground level

A campaign to save a rare bandstand on the Dorset coast has won council backing.

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

The town's council agreed to put £50,000 towards the estimated £160,000 cost of its repair, if campaigners can match the amount.

Resident Alan Houghton said more than £30,000 had already been pledged and he was confident the rest could be raised.

He launched a campaign to save the bandstand earlier this year, claiming residents were "incensed" at its condition.

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

The venue, which is a rare example of a coastal bandstand sunk below ground, still regularly hosts performances, including by the town's brass band.

Mr Houghton said the council backing was "wonderful news" and an organisation was now in place and ready to start fundraising and preparing a bid for National Lottery funding.

In March, the town council set an ultimatum that the site would be filled in unless a realistic solution was found.

A council meeting on Monday agreed to contribute £50,000 of match-funding after "very positive" talks with the newly formed Friends of Swanage Bandstand.

Chairman of the council's tourism committee Caroline Finch, said: "The community spirit has been remarkable. It's clear there is a real nostalgia for the bandstand - it's a really special place.

"We are working with all parties concerned and I am, personally, very hopeful for a restoration of the bandstand."

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

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