“We do not all support Ryelands Park bandstand demolition”

The bandstand in Ryelands Park in Lancaster.
The bandstand in Ryelands Park in Lancaster.

A bandstand which has stood in a Lancaster park for more than 50 years will be demolished.

Work to remove the historic bandstand at Ryelands Park begins today, Thursday.

The bandstand, which has been a feature at the park since the 1960s but not used for its true purpose in decades, has been the subject of repeated vandalism over the years, according to Lancaster City Council.

It has now deteriorated to the point where it is unsafe and will be removed as part of the council’s approved masterplan for the park.

Mark Davies, chief officer (environment), said: “Various attempts have been made to maintain the bandstand over the years following incidents of vandalism and the like.

“During our consultation on the future planning for the park there was no evidence that people wanted a bandstand in the park, or wanted to divert resources to restoring one.

“The resources the council has, combined with the fantastic efforts of the Friends group, are focused on delivering the agreed masterplan for the park.”

Demolition is supported by the Friends of Ryelands Park, a group of local people who volunteer their time to help make improvements to the park.

However one Friend has said not all members support the decision.

“The bandstand is not only an icon of the park’s history, but also an icon representing the council’s neglect of Ryelands Park,” said member Kamilla Elliott. “The Friends and Parks for the People want to see a change in the policy for Ryelands Park; we don’t want it to be treated as a dumping ground for things that other parks and neighbourhoods would not tolerate.

“It represents a great injustice in the current parks policy that we want to see changed.”

A petition signed by more than 800 people was set up by Kamilla to try save the park’s bandstand.

Working with the city council, the group is currently working towards applying for Green Flag status. This would mark the park out as one of the best green spaces in the country.

Stephen Wearden, chair of the Friends, said: “A lot of hard work has gone into delivering improvements but the bandstand is starting to let the park down and with it the chances of gaining Green Flag status.” For more on the masterplan visit Lancaster.gov.uk/ryelands-park.