Peterlee pavilion's £400,000 revamp is one giant leap

Work on the £400,000 revamp of a controversial landmark has finally been completed.

The Apollo Pavilion in Sunny Blunts, Peterlee, underwent six months of improvements to reinstate its original features and landscape the area.

Built in 1969 by Victor Pasmore and named after the first manned moon mission, it was meant to symbolise post-war simplicity and has become a world-renowned piece of art.

But it also became a magnet for troublemakers, who used it as a drinking den and daubed it with graffiti.

The restoration project has seen the staircase, which had been removed, replaced, giving visitors access to the upper level of the structure, and renewal of its lighting and two original murals.

The surrounding space has also been re-cobbled and reed beds and plants added to the west end of its lake.

To mark its unveiling, residents and guests were invited to see the improvements, with Mr Pasmore's son John revealing a plaque to commemorate the day.

John said: "I am delighted that the Apollo Pavilion has been restored to its original state and once again reflects my father's vision.

"The piece once more forms a focal point for the Sunny Blunts Estate, as it was designed to do so.

"A lot of time and effort has gone into this project, and on behalf of my family and my father I would like to thank all those who have worked hard to highlight his work at Sunny Blunts, so ensuring vital funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund."

The restoration project has also seen a community education officer appointed, with a programme of events and activities being set up for residents and schools.

Coun Eunice Huntington, Durham County Council's cabinet member for healthier communities, said: "The refurbishment of the pavilion provides a real boost to the regeneration of this part of Peterlee and will enhance its role as a tourist destination.

"The unveiling also marks the start of an education and community programme which will promote understanding and appreciation of the pavilion."

The artwork marked the culmination of Pasmore's work as consulting director of urban design with Peterlee Development Corporation, a position he was appointed to in 1955 with a view to creating a more modern character to the area.

The restoration project was funded with 336,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and 65,000 from the former Easington District Council.