Queens Square bandstand ‘won’t be left in the street’ during repairs

Brenda Burgess with the Queens Square bandstand in the background
Brenda Burgess with the Queens Square bandstand in the background

The Queens Square bandstand will ‘not be left in the street’ and is due to be put into storage temporarily while it is repaired before being relocated.

The Crawley town centre landmark is being moved to the Memorial Gardens in preparation for a £3.2m revamp of Queens Square.

But its relocation has been opposed by Councillor Brenda Burgess (Con, Three Bridges), who raised concerns it was going to be put into storage by Crawley Borough Council at a meeting on Wednesday.

Councillor Chris Mullins (Lab, Gossops Green), cabinet member for wellbeing, explained that the bandstand had been inspected and a couple of panels were missing.

Before reinstating it at the Memorial Gardens the council was taking the opportunity to completely refurbish it when it was removed in a ‘few weeks time’.

Cllr Mullins said: “It’s going to be stored. Do you want us to leave it in the street? It’s going to be taken somewhere and stored, otherwise it would have been scrapped.

“It’s not a mystery.”

Discussion of the bandstand’s relocation rounded off a testy final council meeting before next month’s elections, where 13 seats on the council will be up for grabs, with Labour holding a majority of just one over the Conservatives.

Several Tory questions were stopped by Crawley mayor Cllr Chris Cheshire (Lab, Bewbush), citing purdah, a pre-election period which prevents central and local government from making announcements about any new or controversial initiatives.

But when Cllr Tim Lunnon (Lab, Broadfield South) asked what had been done to encourage town centre regeneration over the last two years, Cllr Richard Burrett (Con, Pound Hill North) argued the meeting was ‘not about electioneering on both sides’.

When he stormed to the back of the Town Hall council chamber during the answer, Cllr Peter Smith (Lab, Ifield), cabinet member for planning and economic development, said: “I hope Cllr Burrett is all right.”

Cllr Burrett replied: “You worry about yourself, don’t worry about me.”

Cllr Smith said: “I’m extremely proud that this team was able to get off their bottoms and make things happen.”

He raised planned redevelopment projects in Queens Square, The Broadway, and at the town’s bus and railway stations, but to shouts from the Tories, he added: “It’s long overdue and I do not know what happened in the previous eight years.”

Addressing the protests from the Tory group, Cllr Cheshire added: “I have been advised by the head of democratic and legal services any question about work going on in any particular portfolio is absolutely right to be asked and answered.

“Do not accuse the chair of being biased in any way.”

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