By Aileen MacLennan
Scotland’s next potential top 10 visitor attraction is on track for stage 1 completion in August 2024, with a new £6.1 million investment.
Construction work will resume in May on the much-loved 1938 Rothesay Pavilion on Bute, following additional funding from Argyll and Bute Council as part of its economic regeneration of the island.
A multi-million-pound investment programme, by the council and funding partners, was mid-way through transforming the internationally-acclaimed building into an entertainment, events, business venue, and community hub, for local people and visitors to Bute. This was halted by the impact of the covid pandemic, the building contractor going into administration during lockdown, and competition and costs for construction resources increasing since then.
This new investment means that the final two stages of restoring the Grade A listed Pavilion, as a modern-day resource, could be completed by July 2025 subject to additional funding being secured.
A recent report outlined how a revitalised Pavilion could be a top visitor attraction, a resource for the island’s communities, and a driver for Scottish and UK Government economic and social priorities such as skills for work, well-being, net zero goals, and boosting entrepreneurship.
Councillor Gary Mulvaney, Argyll and Bute Council Policy Lead for Finance and Commercial Services, pictured left, said: “Innovative and ambitious thinking are key in moving from difficult times such as we’re in now, to prosperity. This new investment is the next step in turning Rothesay Pavilion into a driver for Bute’s future, and for national growth priorities.”
The case for investment is set out in a funding brochure produced by Rothesay Pavilion Charity, the social enterprise which will run the building as a thriving concern when refurbishment works are complete.
A lobbying group, of councillors, council staff and a Pavilion Charity representative, have agreed an action plan to secure the additional funding needed to deliver the transformed facility.
Janice Forsyth, chair of Rothesay Pavilion Charity, said: “We are delighted that Argyll and Bute Council has chosen to reinforce the collective vision for the Pavilion as a catalyst to drive economic regeneration and further cultural expansion on this stunning island of Bute.
“With our partners and funders, we are passionately committed to saving Rothesay Pavilion for future generations as a true internationally-acknowledged Scottish architectural gem. Future benefits we envisage include the Pavilion becoming an eco-tourism centre of excellence, a prestigious events venue and business base, and next generation centre of learning with numerous local career opportunities.”
While fund-raising efforts continue, construction work will resume to progress and complete elements key to the overall project, such as roofing improvements, engineering assessments and restoring the Caretaker’s house building on the site of the Pavilion.
Current funding partners include the European Regional Development Fund Scotland Programme 2014-2020, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Coastal Communities Fund.
Find out more about the transformation of Rothesay Pavilion and its case for investment at Home – The Rothesay Pavilion.