Take a stand Tunbridge Wells!
10th November 2009
... Comments

Nobody has stepped forward to organise a fundraising initiative - that is apparently the reason given for not replacing the bandstand in Calverley Park with a.. bandstand. Instead the Council are spending £20,000 to knock the old structure down, and after a public outcry have apparently conceded to build a concrete dias in its place (possibly adding a 'temporary roof' if a performance actually takes place).

The Courier-launched Save The Bandstand Campaign netted some 2,500 signatures and demonstrated the weight of public opinion, but the Council by all accounts don't feel it is their responsibility to pay for a proper replacement bandstand.

Once part of a bigger 1920's pavillion, the original bandstand was more ornate in it's iron twiddly bits but was sadly mostly destroyed along with the pavillion during the Second World War. Repairs were made and the bandstand we know was built on the original plinth.

Some argue that as the current structure is not the original it has less historical significance, but 1940 was not exactly yesterday and still means it has been standing for over 60 years, the original original for only 16 before that.

The Council also argue that the Park is not the best place for concerts because of "residential properties and hotels surrounding it" - why? Does a music performance, or play, or singer actually need the equivalent of Reading Festivals sound system to make it enjoyable?

Forgive me for sounding a  little old fashioned (I'm 35, honest), but live performance is possibly MORE enjoyable if the artistes are using their own power of projection to reach their audience - the way they used to. (I'm starting the 'Lose Microphones In Theatres" campaign next year - if I'd wanted surround-sound I'd have stayed at home).

Anyway, it's not just about annoying the neighbours. People have been meeting at The Bandstand for decades. Some have fallen in love there, some have had their wedding reception there. It's part of the park, and it will be a travesty to see it be replaced by a Nothing concrete slab, or worse still, a modernist carbuncle that doesn't suit the park.

So what's it to be - a gazebo over a breeze block, or a proper bandstand Tunbridge Wells can be proud of?

For a full Courier article, check out: www.thisiskent.co.uk/tunbridgewells/won-t-stand/article-1491153-detail/article.html

Regards, Natelie

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Natelie Fitzroy is a freelance writer and photographer with The Little White Studio.

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