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Rothesay Pavilion refurbishment ‘paused’

Council runs out of project cash

By Gordon Neish
Rothesay Pavilion refurbishment ‘paused’
Photo: Rothesay Pavilion

The leader of Argyll and Bute Council said today (Thursday) “We have done all that we as a council can possibly do” after it was revealed an extra £11M was needed to complete the refurbishment of Rothesay Pavilion – and the refurbishment of the iconic A-listed Art Deco building has been ‘paused’.

The cash-strapped council says it will now apply for external funding, and building work will not start again on the site until the funds are raised.

At today’s meeting of the authority’s influential Policy and Resources Committee the Pavilion situation was discussed in secret, with press and public not allowed access to that section of the online meeting.

In a statement issued later, the council said: “The council now has another construction company in place to complete the Pavilion’s transformation, but cost increases, resulting in large part from the pandemic and global supply chain challenges, labour shortages in the construction sector and EU exit, mean the council must seek additional funding sources.”

Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Councillor Robin Currie, added: The Pavilion has great potential as a driver for the local economy of Bute and more widely for Scotland’s tourism and events sectors.

“The unprecedented and unforeseeable consequences of the covid pandemic and EU Exit have completely changed the challenges that need to be overcome to complete the Pavilion’s transformation. Local authorities simply do not receive the level of resources to be able to absorb the steep cost increases involved.

“We have done all that we as a council can possibly do. This building is of national significance. It needs more national funding support.”

The council statement continues: “At its meeting on December 9, 2021 the council’s Policy and Resources Committee took the decision to pause the development project, so as to create time to source additional funding.”

The council says it will now set up a cross-party group to ‘lead a programme of targeted lobbying activity’, to include both the Scottish and UK Governments and any other agencies or organisations which can assist.

The project has already cost around £20M.

We have asked the council what will happen if the funding can’t be raised. The authority’s response, along with community reaction,  will be in next week’s Isle of Bute News print edition.

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