Passions flare over battle of the bandstand

Cllr Neil Sandison, Cllr Dale Keeling, Keith Ward, Colleen Stevens and Cllr Sue Roodhouse urge action.
Cllr Neil Sandison, Cllr Dale Keeling, Keith Ward, Colleen Stevens and Cllr Sue Roodhouse urge action.
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The sorry state of the much-loved bandstand in Rugby’s Whitehall Rec has prompted a campaign to demand action over its future.

But Rugby Borough Council has hit back saying the landmark is in safe hands.

Eastlands Lib Dem councillors Dale Keeling, Sue Roodhouse and Neil Sandison have launched a petition to save it.

Whitehall Rec is a Queen Elizabeth II Field and one of the oldest recs in the country.

The bandstand was erected to commemorate Rugby gaining borough council status in 1932 but it has been closed off following health and safety concerns about its condition.

Campaigner Keith Ward, said: “Our musical heritage is just as important as the other parts of Rugby.

“Whitehall Rec being one that has held many musical events in the days of the original Rag Carnival and the Merrymaker Makers Concert Party performed in the bandstand, all founded by my father Tom Ward. Let’s refurbish and relight the use of Whitehall Rec in the same way we have treated Caldecott Park.”

But Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for environment and public realm, said: “We have been aware of the bandstand’s poor condition for some time and are sorry that it is currently not accessible to the public.

“It is encouraging to hear that residents want the bandstand restored, however rumours of its demise have been exaggerated: we have been exploring a number of ways to restore it and also improve the recreation ground.”

The petition is at: www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-whitehall-rec-bandstand and there is a Facebook page called SaveTheBandstand.