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Pavilion Gardens opens again after winter break

Buxton's historic Pavilion Gardens will open again from Wednesday 1 February as planned, the Borough Council has announced.

And, in further good news for the much-loved complex, work is set to start on the £3million major remedial and restoration programme later in the month.

The buildings were closed in January in response to the need to manage the costs of operating the facilities which have increased considerably as a result of the impact of the closure of the Octagon on the income from events and passing trade and the costs of hiring the marquee.

The closure was carefully timed to coincide with reduced footfall and sales at the venue and reflected what many tourism-related businesses already do and services, including making tourist information available, were retained throughout the month.

Councillor Tony Kemp, Deputy Leader and Executive Councillor for regeneration, said: "The Pavilion Gardens is a valued attraction for both residents and visitors to the High Peak so I'm really pleased that we're open again from 1 February as planned as I know people will want to visit as we move out of the traditionally quiet winter period and into the lighter, warmer months of the spring and summer.

"We have a duty to manage the costs of operating the Gardens in a way which is cost-effective and which supports the huge capital investment we're making. Council taxpayers across the Borough - who bear these costs - have a right to expect that we control expenditure which is why the January closure was necessary. We'll now be fully assessing the impact of the winter break on the budget as we continue to explore other ways of safeguarding both services and jobs in the future.

"In addition, we have used the break to undertake general repair and maintenance work - such as flooring - that is difficult to do when services are in full operation.

"A full analysis of the closure period will take some time to complete but there are some things we have already noted and learned for the future - one of which is that we need to make sure that some public toilet facilities remain accessible.

"I announced last year that the scope of the major remedial work had been expanded after further surveys identified additional urgent works to the Octagon including the replacement of the floor and the supporting sub-structure and upgrades to the mechanical and electrical plant. However, it does mean that a lot of work will be completed in one go, reducing the need for further service disruptions in future.

"We know that people enjoy spending time at what is one of the High Peak's best visitor venues which is why the Council is investing £3 million to secure these historic buildings for future generations. Added to the works I oversaw in 2008-10 on the café, coffee bar, shop and Pavilion Arts Centre this will bring the Gardens back to a standard unknown for decades.

"We are aware of, and share, the interest the community has in seeing these works successfully completed as quickly as is possible with projects of this nature. I'm pleased to say we're making good progress and contractors are due to commence on site on 20 February - we'll be announcing more details soon.

"We have at all times been mindful of the need to offer a suitable, alternative venue during the Octagon closure so we avoid losing key and valued regular customers, and we will be retaining the marquee until the repairs and improvement work is finished to ensure the Gardens continues to make a significant contribution to supporting economic development and regeneration."