IT’S a huge step forward, and the best thing in the world, but this is where the real work starts”.
That was the message from jubilant campaigners celebrating this week after securing a three-year lease for Matlock Bath’s Grand Pavilion, which they hope to revamp as an entertainment and community centre.
Derbyshire Dales District Council agreed to lease the historic building – with an option to buy the freehold for £1 if cash for improvements can be collected – last Thursday and now work to raise around £2.5 million must begin.
Dave Mowle, an Upperwood trustee of Matlock Bath Pavilion Group, said: “It’s a huge step forward, and the best thing in the world, but this is where the hard work starts.
“Now it is real and we’ve got to raise £2.5 million, which is going to be hard.”
The Mercury will be backing campaigners and giving you regular updates about the appeal. We will be urging residents to ‘pledge their pounds’ and bring the historic building back in to use.
Speaking before the meeting, pavilion group leader Gregor Macgregor said: “The road ahead will be a long and difficult one.
“It will take time to get necessary funding together – I believe that we will come up with the results in the end.
“We can now move forward to apply for funding required to restore and refurbish the building.
“I hope the partnership we have built with the council will carry on to a successful result.”
It was 14 months ago residents united to save the South Parade pavilion – built in 1910.
Transforming its ballroom into a 400-seat hall for use 364 days a year, by the community as well as shows and concerts, was outlined in a feasibility study last year.
Original architectural features would be retained, extensive refurbishments carried out plus the future of an existing mining museum, community centre and playgroup secured.
Applications will now start to find money from lottery, grant and fundraising sources to make the dream a reality.
Steering committee member Charles Beresford said: “The pavilion is 101 years old and has served the community as well as people further afield during that time as a centre for entertainment.
“We feel it is something that should be retained, restored to its former glory – it’s very difficult to imagine Matlock Bath without its pavilion.
“I think we’ll need the three years of the lease before we have anything to show the public.”
All are invited to discuss the pavilion at the group’s AGM on Monday March 28.
The time and venue will be listed on www.savethepavilion.co.uk.
Mr Beresford added: “We would like to thank all the people who supported us in our campaign – and to see the community continue to back us as we know the pavilion means a lot to everyone.”