An artist's impression of the proposed outdoor performance area, minus detachable acoustic panels which fit to the rear of the structure.

‘It’s absolutely hideous’…’No, it’s quality and imaginative’ – councillors’ divide over Ayscoughfee pavilion

A new pavilion for music and drama performances in Spalding’s Ayscoughfee Gardens has been given planning approval, despite extremes of opinion on the design.

South Holland district councillor Chris Brewis (Sutton Bridge) said the proposed £57,000 pavilion was “absolutely hideous”, but Spalding Wygate member Christine Lawton called the structure one of “quality and imagination”.
She light-heartedly suggested that if members felt it was “too brave” for South Holland then they should go on a site visit to Paris.
“We could perhaps go to The Louvre and see the pyramid – the glass structure at that well respected and world class museum,” she added.

The Grade I listed Ayscoughfee Hall and its gardens are situated within Coun Harry Drury’s ward. He reported having received no objections from residents and admitted to changing his opinion of the pavilion, which will be built from oak and zinc.
He said: “Initially, I would have preferred to see something more traditional and in keeping. But I do believe in evolution, mixing the traditional with modern and contemporary.”
It could be a positive for the town, attracting more people, he added.

Coun Brewis was unmoved, saying: “They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
“I’m well aware of some of the wooden structures that have been erected in Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm.
“When I saw this [design] in the paper, I thought it was April 1st. I think it’s absolutely hideous and inappropriate.”

Coun Andrew Tennant was surprised that there had not been “more detracting comments” to the pavilion design by Heritage Lincolnshire, and referenced a “totally 21st Century” interchange bus stop being put in front of listed Georgian buildings in Market Street, Long Sutton.

He added: “It amazes me how these so-called experts object to a conservatory being placed in the rear of a courtyard at the back of The Bull Hotel and yet here we are putting something totally incongruous in the middle of Ayscoughfee Gardens and somehow that’s ok.”

Coun Drury said he believes in traditional buildings being kept up to scratch, but it was important to put up buildings and structures which reflect now.
“I do believe that we have to show what we’re doing now in the current day in order for 100 or 200 years’ time when they are looking back.”

Planning committee chairman Roger Gambba-Jones added: “We occasionally do have to trust the experts. We might struggle with it but except when it’s about brutism, such as concrete car parks or tenement blocks, they are often proved right.”

The pavilion will feature detachable acoustic panels. South Holland District Council’s application for the structure, which will replace a 1974 wooden structure in the pond garden, was passed 8-6 in a vote, with one abstention.

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