Park Howard Bandstand - Restoration Project

As a society we seem to have an increasing propensity to turn our backs on what we already have in favour of something shinier, newer, bigger and better. We live in a disposable world which leads to us undervalue the very things that are important to us. In the case of Park Howard, that thing happens to be our heritage, a gift given to the people of Llanelli.

2012 is the centenary year of the park, one hundred years have passed since that gift was handed to us. There is no better time then to initiate a regeneration for this wonderful amenity that is deeply valued by so many people. This green space that is so instrumental for the physical and social wellbeing of the town should be enhanced and promoted as a hub for community gathering. It is a common mistake during times of economic hardship to cut back spending on local parks resulting in vandalism, anti-social behaviour and damage that ends up costing more in the long term.

The catalyst for this change is a small building that has been slowly deteriorating over recent years, the grade II listed bandstand. The association has been working relentlessly to get the banstand restored and back in use again but were needing some professional assistance to gain momentum with the project. How wonderful then to be given the opportunity to restore this structure so that it can be used as an outdoor performance area once again for visitors to the park, both young and old from schools to local theatre groups.

The restoration project will, as with most undertakings these days invlove a seemingly endless number of approvals and consultations but a pile of paperwork and numerous days later the work will involve the following:

• the cleaning and repair of stonework copings
• the repair and repainting of all existing ironwork to the bandstand
• the supply and fix of replacement balustrading panels, gates and rainwater gutters
• the repair of the stone steps
• the sanding and painting of all timberwork
• the cleaning and repair of roof covering
• the replacement of the floor deck
• landscaping works
• a new lighting scheme for night time usage

We are working hard to ensure that the bandstand does not have to wait too long before these works are carried out.  
The current economic climate has led to an increase in the use of public parks, a return to nature, a return to what is important. Park Bandstands have been restored in Cardiff and, more recently Neath County Council were awarded £1.5 million of Heritage Lottery Funding for a regeneration of Victoria Gardens including the listed bandstand. A very successful example of park regeneration is to be found in Myatt’s Fields, Lambeth who have set up a community cafe with a kitchen garden and greenhouses forming a “garden to plate” facility promoting local food heroes and produce. The association hopes that the restoration of the bandstand is just the tip of the iceberg for the park. Watch this space!

Community participation is important to us. There is no better time to love our park!