The aim is to make the bandstand a focus for community activity and engagement while creating a resilient heritage landmark for the town.
The restoration strategy, headed up by Bexhill Heritage, is to conserve and restore original timbers or construct replica items where necessary. The original design has been modified to create a more robust building to withstand the ravages of its exposed seafront position.
Bexhill Heritage volunteers have already donated over 2000 hours of labour, but specialist local contractors have been engaged for some of the more complex work. Where possible, timber and ironmongery have been sourced locally, as the plan is to avoid using tropical hardwoods in the renovation.
The charity has been working in partnership with Rother District Council which gave £60,000 towards to the fund to complete the project, the rest of the money needed is coming from donations to Bexhill Heritage.
When complete in 2023, the bandstand will be used as a venue for groups, clubs and displays and will be bookable free of charge online. When not in use, it’s hoped it’ll be a fantastic place for residents to gather, socialise and relax.
Chairman of Bexhill Heritage, Steve Johnson commented: “We are confident that the new facility will be popular with local residents across the age range. It is likely to attract more people to the promenade. It has been designed to entertain, educate and inform as well as facilitate conversation and debate. Through its activities, we intend that the restored Bandstand will broaden horizons, enable people to make new friends and engender greater pride in our community. We are confident it would help to attract more visitors to Bexhill and encourage them to return.”
The former bandstand is a Grade 2 Listed Building and is owned by Rother District Council. It was last restored in 2011 at a cost of £10,000. The scope of the 2021 restoration was limited and by 2021 the building was in a state of considerable disrepair. In June 2018, Rother District Council commissioned a feasibility study and obtained costings for a major restoration and conversion of the building to a Heritage Hub.
Supporters of the project include: Bexhill Town Council, Blackbrooks Garden Centre, Consultant Architect Iain Exley, Aldershaw Handmade Tiles, Hailsham Roadways, Bexhill 100 and Best Iron Works.
The bandstand was originally built by Earl De La Warr in 1895 to provide classical music to people using the promenade.
Published on Monday 1st August 2022 by Bexhill News, page 10.