The Lancashire Evening Post, Friday, 24th February 2006
Park's musical memories
PART of Preston's parks history will be consigned to a heap of rubble when work begins on a new era for Avenham Park next month. The old bandstand will be demolished on Friday March 10 to make way for a state-of-the-art pavilion and outdoor performance area.

The bulldozing marks the start of a £5m restoration for the Grade II listed Avenham and Miller Parks, which will see the 37-acre green space restored to its former glory.

In place of the 54-year-old bandstand, an outdoor performance area will be created to cater for music and entertainment events.

In the 1990s the park hosted top acts including Oasis, The Spice Girls, Inspiral Carpets, The Verve and The Boo Radleys and more recently, pop stars such as Natasha Bedingfield and former Take That idol Mark Owen.

A new crescent-shaped pavilion built alongside will house a café, exhibition and workshop space, park ranger base, toilets and drop-in centre for the local police On the Beat scheme.

The historic Swiss chalet and Belvedere will be refurbished and the entrance gates, boundary walls, railings and cycle routes will be improved, along with the lighting and signs.

Avenham Park's Bandstand
Alan Woods, chairman of the Friends of Avenham and Miller Parks, said: “It will be great to see the project getting started after all the planning that has gone into it.”

At their best, the parks played a key role in the Guild events and in major festivals.

The project has been made possible following a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Tony Jones, regional manager of the fund, said: “We’ve committed £2.8m towards the restoration of the parks and we are pleased to see work progressing.”

Preston Council is investing more than £1.2m, and money has also been promised from county and European funds.

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, February 2006