Councillor says Wardown Park bandstand will 'fall into disrepair' if events organisers continue to ignore it
Luton’s renovated bandstand is in danger of falling into disrepair again if it is not used for events in the town, it has been stated.
A meeting was due to take place this week to consider performance and funding options at the facility in Wardown Park.
Liberal Democrat Crawley councillor Terry Keens asked the borough council’s cultural enabler Michaela Nutt, at an overview and scrutiny board meeting, whether there are any plans for using the bandstand.
“I have a meeting, this week, with the Culture Trust and the Rotary Club about the use of the bandstand and how we can address this problem,” she replied.
“We think some shared resource around promoting it as a free venue is the way to go, and make sure schools and similar organisations know about it and that it’s free to book.
“I have recommended the Rotary Club applies for some funding, so that it can develop the programme.
“And they have taken that on board, which is really good and we’re pleased to see they’re committed to paying the artists and performers as well.”
The Rotary Club funded improvements to the bandstand, which was gifted to Luton Borough Council, as previously reported here.
But despite being gifted the bandstand, the council has not used it in any of its annual programme of events.
“The bandstand project did go ahead which is very positive,” Ms Nutt said. “But there is no budget to programme performances."
Councillor Keens replied: “So we’ve got a bandstand which is of no earthly good to us at all, which I think is dreadful.
“It’s going to be winter in a minute. Who's going to sit around a bandstand?” he asked.
“As far as I am concerned, you ask the schools, which have bands and choirs.
“I think it’s dreadful you can’t do something with the bandstand. Bedford use theirs constantly. It’s well attended.
“We’ve got a bandstand now which is going to sit there, absolutely financed by Luton, but it’s just going to fall into disrepair. I know it is.”
The cultural enabler said she would report back to the board following the meeting.
Liberal Democrat Wigmore councillor Peter Chapman said: “There was some discussion with Luton Music Service as to whether they should take it on.
“I know in Bedford they only spend about £20,000 a year and alright what they do is fairly limited, basically eight weekend performances from their bandstand.
“So again I think that’s about whether we can get wise spending of money there. You get quite a lot for not too much.
“I know with the music service, we’ve got a huge brass band, we’ve got a jazz band, but they weren’t offered any money to play.
“Those sorts of groups you’re not talking about huge amounts of money. They’ll do it for £500.”