Plans to transform Wellingborough’s Castle Fields park will be discussed by the council’s resources committee on 19 October. It is recommended that the committee give the go ahead for the park to benefit from new play equipment, planting, and pavilion facilities, with the first phase of the ambitious project being the restoration of the 100-year-old bandstand.
The bandstand was built in 1913, hosted its first performance on Easter Sunday 1914, and quickly became a key feature in the community. Recently it has suffered from vandalism and has been closed and shuttered since 2008. It's not a listed building but is considered an important heritage feature and local schools and community groups have raised numerous requests for it to be renovated.
The bandstand is constructed from reinforced concrete and has major problems with its roof structure, drainage and waterproofing. Estimates for the specialist renovation work, which would include extensive repairs to the concrete and the roof, would be around £75,000.
The money for the changes to the park will come in part from contributions made by developers that have built houses and flats nearby. As a means to mitigate the impact of their developments on the area they signed agreements to contribute an amount to improve open spaces close by. The total amount of contributions stands at £352,000 and if it's not spent it must be returned to the developers. This amount, together with a contribution from the council's capital fund, could see the park benefit from extensive refurbishment and also pay for long-term maintenance.
Cllr Bell, chairman of the Resources Committee said: "To restore the bandstand and refurbish the park is something that will have a real benefit to the community and we're pleased that we're now in a position to plan the project. We believe it's very important to get the community involved, and we know that we have local champions such as All Saints School and the Victoria Centre and that the bandstand will be used for events, concerts and drama performances. When residents feel they have ownership of the park and the bandstand, and frequently use the bandstand for community events, the chances of vandalism and antisocial behaviour occurring again should be reduced."