Bandstand may be in line for further changes

By Ian Dipple Friday 06 December 2013 Updated: 06/12 11:24

FURTHER changes are planned to Redditch's iconic bandstand to make it more accessible to the public.

Councillors have already approved a scheme which would include amongst other things cutting back bushes and trees, removal of flower beds, dividing the rose arbour walkway into sections and relocating them to create attractive entrance points to the area and a ramp to improve disabled access to the site. A new bedding area will also be created further along Church Green East.

The scheme was designed to open up the area so it could be brought back into use as a focal point for public events in the town centre.

But concerns have been raised during this summer's bandstand festival programme the structure itself is not fit for purpose as it is difficult to see into and unattractive as a location for watching bands perform on or drama performances.

Officers at Redditch Borough Council are waiting for a structural engineers report before deciding what potential alterations can be made to tackle the problem, while keeping the bandstand in its current position.

Councillors will then discuss the recommendations and consult the public before making a final decision.

Work on some of the minor aspects of the project have already started on the scheme although any major alterations will not be made until early next year and the aim is to complete them in time for the start of next year's bandstand programme.

Council leader Bill Hartnett told the Standard the already approved plans would cost less than the budgeted £30,000 which meant there was room to make further alterations if necessary.

"The public have made comments and we are listening to what people say and looking at ways to improve the bandstand to make it a more usable space," he said.

"A lot depends on the outcome of the structural engineers report and we need to get the detail but the public will be consulted."

Margaret Morley, a Headless Cross resident who was part of the campaign which protested against the proposal to relocate the bandstand outside of the town centre almost two years ago, said while she was willing to look at any proposals she did not think the changes were justified.

"I do feel they take too much notice of a few complaints from a few people. It only happens a few times a year and it's a pity to risk damaging a structure like that, which is such a key part of the old town, for the sake of one or two concerts where to me vision is not that important.

"If they change it and it isn't right they can't put it back. My reaction is to leave well alone."

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