Campaign to restore Letchworth bandstand dismissed by councillors over cost fears

A 1950 oil canvas of the bandstand from artist Gordon House. Picture: Letchworth Museum

A 1950 oil canvas of the bandstand from artist Gordon House. Picture: Letchworth Museum - Credit: Archant

A grassroots petition to reinstate the Letchworth bandstand has been given short shrift by Letchworth councillors.

A new campaign launched by Terry Jones and Jason Downing has urged councillors to restore the old bandstand on Norton Common – with the pair acquiring more than 300 supporters.

North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald has also thrown his support behind the campaign, however the district council poured cold water over the idea at a meeting of the Letchworth Commitee last week.

Councillor Gary Grindal said there was no prospect the council could “financially support” the project, particularly in the current economic environment.

Cllr Grindal said the council had been made aware of a “groundswell of opinion,” but added that “there are far more important things that we need to be focusing on at the moment”.

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Cllr Ian Mantle said: “I was probably old enough to remember why the bandstand was removed in the first place, and it was removed because it was costing the council an arm and a leg every year to maintain – and it was never used.”

“I can remember many pleasant debates we had about how much we were spending, and it is a highly significant figure of money just to keep it safe from vandals.

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“Frankly it’s a very, very expensive luxury, and I personally would find far better things to do with the money.”

Cllr Ian Rice also shared his “reservations” over the project, and said that though “it would be lovely, I think we have moved on as a town.”

Counciillors were also told at the meeting that the campaign would receive “limited support from the county council” – however no formal decision has been made on the matter.

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