What is currently an eyesore in Leamington town centre will soon be brought to former and new glories when the Pump Rump Gardens restoration project is complete this coming winter.
Parts of the town centre park are currently fenced off while work takes place and the iconic bandstand, which has stood in the centre of the gardens since 1896, has been removed to be restored and then rebuilt.
Phase 1 of the £1.2 million Heritage Lottery funded project has seen the resurfacing of the paths, tree planting and drainage works at the western end of the gardens.
The riverbank area has been replanted to encourage wildlife and to open up historic views of the river from the gardens.
Work will soon be starting on a new ‘rain garden’ which will reflect the original rockery and water present in the gardens.
While the bandstand is being restored off-site with a specialist contractor, repairs are being made to the base in preparation for the installation of new decking and new flower beds have been laid around it.
To get the community involved with project the park’s restoration team is organising a programme of events and activities.
This was kick-started at this summer’s Art in the Park, where visitors were asked what they wanted to use the newly renovated bandstand for – ideas included everything from traditional brass bands to Motown, yoga and circus skills workshops.
The team is now preparing for a special event to mark the return of the Bandstand at the end of November.
Warwick District Council’s portfolio holder for green spaces, Cllr Moira-Ann Grainger, said: “Everyone involved in this project is eagerly anticipating the return of the newly restored bandstand as the focal point of these historic gardens.
“As this project gathers pace there will be lots of opportunities for local people to get involved and celebrate the rejuvenation of this wonderful space.”
Draft plans for the improvement works were first released by the Friends of the Pump Room Gardens group in 2015 and the work started this year.
Funding contributions have been made by the friends groups and Warwick District Council.
The 19th century Linden Arches which light up the path around the side of the gardens were restored in a £110,000 project in 2012 and opened HRH the Duke of Gloucester in June of that year.