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Hayes bandstand: Designer reacts to 'eyesore' claims as council says residents backed plan

Hayes bandstand: Designer reacts to 'eyesore' claims as council says residents backed plan All pictures by Tom Fish

The replacement for Hayes's old bandstand has been defended by the council and its designer after being branded an eyesore and “a waste of money”.

A golden disc-shaped landmark - constructed at a cost approaching a quarter of a million pounds - replaced the old bandstand as part of a wider £9million investment to regenerate the town centre and improve traffic flow.

The original 25-year-old bandstand in Station Road was dismantled when the partly pedestrianised road was opened up to two-way traffic.

Since being erected, it has attracted criticism from people living in the area, particularly via social media.

But Hillingdon Council pointed out that residents had supported the design before it was constructed.

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Cllr Mo Khursheed, Leader of Hillingdon Labour Group, who represents Botwell Ward, said: “This design was voted in almost unanimously by local residents from a selection of suggestions.

“I wasn't aware of the negative feedback the bandstand had received on Facebook, and it has surprised me. People were consulted at a presentation in Botwell Library.

“This is helping resolve the traffic problems in the high street as well recognising Hayes' heritage.”

Hillingdon Is Here sought views from residents at the site, as construction nears completion.

Clive Clunk, 48, who moved to the area when he was two years old, said: “It's a waste of money. It was supposedly built to bring the town together. But the money could be spent on better things, such as low cost housing for people in real need.”

Long-term Hillingdon resident Steve Hardbord, 58, said: “I am not really impressed by the bandstand to be honest. Compared to the old one I think it looks a bit cheap – it looks like an Ikea knock-off. But I'll save my opinion until it's finished - we'll have to see whether it makes any difference to the traffic when it's finished.”

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Kevin Russell, 52, has lived in Hayes and Northolt his entire life. He said: “This is the first time I've seen the bandstand. I didn't know the old one – which I liked - had been replaced. It's modern and quite attractive – obviously not finished yet – it depends what they will put on the base of it. But it's quite distinctive I suppose. It depends how it fits in with everything else when it's finished.

“Hayes could do with a bit of money being spent on it. It's been constantly going downhill since I was a boy. To have that recognised with an effort to try and improve things is good. There is also an issue with the traffic, which is a nightmare around here. So anything which tackles that gets my vote.”

Gemma Tilby, 23, a resident of Hayes her entire life, said: “It'll look better when it's finished but no-one ever seem to be working on it. It's pretty much the same to the old one – just different colours. It'll probably get vandalised as soon as it's finished.”

Some residents on Facebook complained of losing the 'iconic' former bandstand and labelled the replacement 'hideous' and a waste of cash.

Hillingdon is Here asked the canopy's designer Xavier Llarch Font for his views.


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Mr Font, who is also responsible for designing the station clock in front of the new Hayes and Harlington station, said: “We looked at the intangible history of Hayes to inform the design of the canopy. Hayes was very relevant during the industrial revolution, and later as a hub for music and sound technology. And we used the old bandstand to inspire the new one.”

He said: “There was a rumour that this canopy was celebrating 50 years of Sergeant Pepper – but we never related it to any band. For us it only about a material connection between the industry of the past and present.”

He said: “After some research we realised that instead of it being used by bands, it was used an informal play structure. We saw kids running up and down and using it almost like a stage. So our bandstand has a concrete base split into three parts, which is a sort of informal stage. And we also realised that retired gentleman would spend all day on the benches there, so that's why the canopy has an embedded bench to it. And more benches are set to be built.

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"With the introduction of the new roundabout there will be lots of circular elements, and - in addition to space restrictions – this is why the roof is round. And this disc shape is also a metaphor for vinyl.

“The site where the old vinyl factory used to be is now the home of the Coyle Owen company that produces anodised aluminium – so there is an industry connection between the past and the present. So we felt it was really interesting to build a 'vinyl' disc out of aluminium tinted a gold colour.

“By doing this we are supporting local industry as much as we could. We used wood to bring some warmth to the town centre, to make the area that bit softer."

Mr Font was philosophical about some of the negative comments, saying: “When you put something in the public realm you should always expect a fair amount of criticism. As a norm people dislike change and anything new. I can sympathise with their opinion; the old bandstand was there for a long time and is a part of their memories and they don't yet relate to the new one. So it is understandable.”

Hillingdon Council provided a statement in response to the criticisms.

It said: “A consultation plan for the Hayes Major Scheme was developed to understand residents’ views in more detail and allow people who live, work and run a business in Hayes to give feedback on the provisional plans.

“A full six weeks was allowed for responses with the consultation starting on 2 December 2014 which revealed that residents favoured a modern replacement for the existing bandstand, rather than a traditional one.

“Since starting highway works in February 2015, the council distributed information bulletins to residents and businesses to ensure local people were kept up to date with the project, and that the finished landmark feature designs would be well received. A model of the canopy was displayed at a town centre information day on 17 July 2015, and the overall response supported creating a 'wow' factor for Hayes.

“The canopy feature and new seating is due to be completed once the final phase of constructing new roundabouts is finished around mid-September.”


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