Kidderminster Library gallery campaigners fight on despite vote defeat

A CAMPAIGN group set to up to battle proposed changes to Kidderminster Library’s gallery have vowed to keep fighting, despite the plans being given the go-ahead - by just one vote.

Worcestershire County Council’s planning and regulatory committee voted to move the library’s top-floor gallery to the first floor of the building at its meeting yesterday, by seven votes to six.

The authority needs to save £1.8 million of the libraries and learning budget and the plans would also see the gallery’s Steinway piano moved to the Kidderminster Town Hall or Corn Exchange.

The county council wants to make way for offices for its staff but members of the Kidderminster Gallery Friends fear it could “alienate” the arts community.

They have been campaigning for months in a bid to stop the proposals going ahead and have been left angered that they were put through.

Stephen Brown, secretary of the group, slammed the meeting as a “travesty of justice”.

“It leaves a sour taste in your mouth,” he said. “The only positive thing is that it wasn’t a unanimous vote. We don’t accept at this stage that the fight is over.

“What it’s done is completely alienate the arts community and the wider community of Wyre Forest.”

He added: “We are now considering our options. We’re not ruling anything out, including taking legal action.”

The county council said the changes would save £206,000 a year as staff would be relocated from Elgar House.

It claimed the move would also help secure the future of Kidderminster Library by contributing to the overall savings target of the libraries and learning service.

Conservative John Campion, the county council's cabinet member with responsibility for the libraries and learning service, said: "Throughout this process we have recognised this has been a controversial issue and have listened to everyone's concerns.

“As I have said before, it has been heartening to see so many people come out and display their passion for their local library service and gallery.

“We hope that, in the long term, people will see that these small changes will actually help to save the library and keep the art and gallery space for people to use and enjoy in the future.”

He said the savings needed to be made, adding: “The compromises we have reached will help ensure we all continue to enjoy a comprehensive local library service."

Comments (23)

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9:19am Wed 12 Dec 12

stour67 says...

I thought the £10 mill white elephant on fine point was to house all the council workers,am i missing something.
I thought the £10 mill white elephant on fine point was to house all the council workers,am i missing something. stour67

10:28am Wed 12 Dec 12

HowardM says...

Despite the County still saying yesterday the piano will move to the Corn Exchange - we have been told by "a senior county councillor" it wont - they currently have NO location for it.
Depite being told by the original architect that the Gallery has special acoustics, air conditioning and humidity control as part of its £300k+ fit out 20 years ago, the council officer from Property Services told Planning yesterday "none of that exists" - then, alegedly, went on to say "the acoustic tiles would be moved to the new Gallery space"! Clever, if they dont actually exist in the first place? People must judge for themselves whether to believe the original designer, who has great pride in his creation, or a representative of WCC who want to push this destruction through at any cost - even knowingly "misleading" a Council Committee in the process it seems?
Despite the County still saying yesterday the piano will move to the Corn Exchange - we have been told by "a senior county councillor" it wont - they currently have NO location for it. Depite being told by the original architect that the Gallery has special acoustics, air conditioning and humidity control as part of its £300k+ fit out 20 years ago, the council officer from Property Services told Planning yesterday "none of that exists" - then, alegedly, went on to say "the acoustic tiles would be moved to the new Gallery space"! Clever, if they dont actually exist in the first place? People must judge for themselves whether to believe the original designer, who has great pride in his creation, or a representative of WCC who want to push this destruction through at any cost - even knowingly "misleading" a Council Committee in the process it seems? HowardM

10:31am Wed 12 Dec 12

HowardM says...

For clarity - the original architect/designer did not address the Planning Committee yesterday - my comment above could be read to presume that, which was not my intention
For clarity - the original architect/designer did not address the Planning Committee yesterday - my comment above could be read to presume that, which was not my intention HowardM

10:56am Wed 12 Dec 12

FlipC - The Mad Ranter says...

"Conservative John Campion, the county council's cabinet member with responsibility for the libraries and learning service, said:" etc. or in other words - We think we're right and you're wrong.

Webcast is currently archiving, but 6+7=13 and not only are there 14 members on the committee, but 10 of them are Conservatives... who broke ranks?
"Conservative John Campion, the county council's cabinet member with responsibility for the libraries and learning service, said:" etc. or in other words - We think we're right and you're wrong. Webcast is currently archiving, but 6+7=13 and not only are there 14 members on the committee, but 10 of them are Conservatives... who broke ranks? FlipC - The Mad Ranter

11:55am Wed 12 Dec 12

jon cooper says...

@stour67: Even though WCC and WFDC have similarities in overspending, they do have different budgets. It appears WCC would have to pay WFDC a fee to house office space. No doubt i'll be corrected if i'm wrong ;-).

The now infamous 'County Library Review' is a sad reality. WCC are looking to make savings/cuts to the county library service as a WHOLE to reach their target of £1.8million. The appalling deficit that WCC have incurred is of no fault of the taxpayer, the blame purely lies with WCC's quite irresponsible spending culture, (take note WFDC) !

However, it is quite alarming for the whole county - let alone the district - that some political campaigners cannot accept the reality that 'The Gallery' space within Kidderminster Library does in fact come under the jurisdiction of the county library review.

Some folk see WCC's threats to our libraries as sheer "propaganda". It is unfortunate that the realities of the library review have not been taken seriously, and if anyone attended the public consultations regarding the very real plight of our libraries in Wyre Forest alone, then the message would have come across loud and clear from 'non-political' bodies who have deep concerns for the survival of actual libraries in the Wyre Forest area. The survival of Stourport Library is becoming more and more of a concern ! However difficult it is to accept, we really need to shoulder the burden of cuts together, and that includes politicians, (in my opinion).

To put it very bluntly, the gallery as a musical venue is ill used. For reasons only known to a few, it has only recently come to light that as a musical entity, the gallery has been used no more than four times in the last 12 months. Kidderminster Library is a fantastic facility that like many others, i use often. It would be a complete tragedy to make Kidderminster's library facilities inferior, to accommodate an area that by and large lies empty !

.
@stour67: Even though WCC and WFDC have similarities in overspending, they do have different budgets. It appears WCC would have to pay WFDC a fee to house office space. No doubt i'll be corrected if i'm wrong ;-). The now infamous 'County Library Review' is a sad reality. WCC are looking to make savings/cuts to the county library service as a WHOLE to reach their target of £1.8million. The appalling deficit that WCC have incurred is of no fault of the taxpayer, the blame purely lies with WCC's quite irresponsible spending culture, (take note WFDC) ! However, it is quite alarming for the whole county - let alone the district - that some political campaigners cannot accept the reality that 'The Gallery' space within Kidderminster Library does in fact come under the jurisdiction of the county library review. Some folk see WCC's threats to our libraries as sheer "propaganda". It is unfortunate that the realities of the library review have not been taken seriously, and if anyone attended the public consultations regarding the very real plight of our libraries in Wyre Forest alone, then the message would have come across loud and clear from 'non-political' bodies who have deep concerns for the survival of actual libraries in the Wyre Forest area. The survival of Stourport Library is becoming more and more of a concern ! However difficult it is to accept, we really need to shoulder the burden of cuts together, and that includes politicians, (in my opinion). To put it very bluntly, the gallery as a musical venue is ill used. For reasons only known to a few, it has only recently come to light that as a musical entity, the gallery has been used no more than four times in the last 12 months. Kidderminster Library is a fantastic facility that like many others, i use often. It would be a complete tragedy to make Kidderminster's library facilities inferior, to accommodate an area that by and large lies empty ! . jon cooper

11:32pm Wed 12 Dec 12

Stephen Brown says...

I read much on here about democracy, localism, petitions delivered or not delivered, and the right of people to have their say - which is then duly ignored by the local council(s) and how the local council's are wrong to do that. All of these things have been in play here and should send a cold shiver down the spine of democratically minded people.

Yet there seems to be some sort of debate going on that those campaigning are in some way wrong or ignorant of implications to defend this arts and performance space in this way, or we have not been cognisant of wider implications because of a view that we have to accept what WCC tell us is so. That is not a premise that I accept and neither do the Friends.

We had the spectacle yesterday of the chair of planning misdirecting committee members elsewhere every time the matter of 'loss of community space' was raised by councillors, despite its change of use and absolute imperative as the main issue (even the biased officers report said so) as it related to policy or associated ones that may make it uncomfortable for the council to deal with. So, political leverage was applied to direct members elsewhere in my opinion so as to cloud the issue - and I quote the chair 'you must keep to planning matters' whatever they were in this context in his mind, probably the corrupted versions referred to in the largely ‘political’ officers report, despite the fact that this decision is in breach of several key planning policies related to national planning policy para 70, Kidderminster Central Area Action Plan, Adopted Core Strategy. How is that reconcilable? WFDC planning recognised it and voted ‘NO’ so how come WCC planning didn’t follow suit? Read on…..

Further, we were subjected, when it looked like things were not going the council's way, to a completely appalling intervention by a council employee, who in my opinion, made a statement of factual inaccuracy relating to the design and build of the gallery by saying it was neither acoustically designed nor did it have environmental controls. He also even had the gall to say local artists were in favour of it. This ignorance or wilful neglect of duty, or what some might say misleading 'instruction', led those councillors who were clearly unhappy about the application to change their mind (in my opinion) and vote in favour, and thus, make a material difference to the planning application outcome.

This is something that all of us should be deeply concerned about as this matter was not decided on planning issues but the BOLD imperatives and political balance of the council. I have already had one committee member approach me to express the same opinion and who wants to do something about it as that person does not believe the planning outcome was based on sound ‘planning’ reasons.

In my book that is maladministration, and one that should be investigated and which should be subject to legal scrutiny of the planning process here.

I remain impressed at the council’s creativity in this matter in declaring this was not a decision rooted in ‘cuts’ or loss of community space but about modernisation of the library (one built at enormous cost just some 16 years ago), and their attempt to say it accords with national planning policy. Another total corruption of fact. Is there no end to the lengths they will go to?

The further arrogance and political motives in play shown by some was also evident as one councillor could not wait to get to the question to 'recommend' by so moving the second I finished talking - and before any debate on the issue had taken place from other committee members. This was then exacerbated by another councillor stating publicly 'the people of Kidderminster have only themselves to blame" (for the loss of this facility). Err, no, we have WCC to blame and their willing cronies. That for me was a shocking thing to say and demonstrates a level of contempt not only for the area but also its artist and wider community who have worked bloody hard over the years to keep arts alive and kicking in this area despite total apathy from WCC to the gallery. I also made particular emphasis to state this was a Wyre Forest and Worcestershire facility in keeping with the council's own 'arts matter' strategy and represented a 'landmark' building in that accord as this is about the wider context.

We then had to suffer another council officer championing The Hive (that costs us £1million a year) in a disgraceful attempt to justify the sacrifice of a purpose built facility being lost for the sake of £68k a year, and now we are told the Hive is also 'performance' space. Ahh, it all now becomes clear I see - Worcester has its gem so screw Wyre Forest. The said council officer clearly ignorant of the complaints of university students at the Hive about 'noise' when studying as it is a public building, or that staff themselves feel it is 'not' a performance space and was never built as such; but it is now being 'forced' upon them by WCC hierarchy. How do I know? I ask staff questions...like the Friends have asked the public and arts community - which is what WCC singularly failed to do in their reckless pursuit of their objective.

WCC probably now feel this issue has been put to bed and will arrogantly expect the arts community that has battled to save this facility to 'work' with them. What a joke these people are. They really do believe they are untouchable. Out of touch is how I would describe it!

I would rather have spent the last 6 months or so working with the council on finding ways to further improve the gallery and get funding to make it work in the spirit of 'localism' that this council tell us it is in favour of. Unfortunately, the council prefer to blame anyone and everyone but themselves for where we are and take no responsibility whatsoever as they use up all of our positive energies to achieve their negative agenda.

I fully expect things will get worse as more similar issues arise, as the council does the willing dirty work of its national paymasters without compunction and blame the 'people' for this state of affairs. Well, this ain't the fault of the people, it's the fault of Govt and their inability to regulate the markets and banks to ensure economies don't tumble. So the fallout on all of us will continue while some believe the propaganda that somehow communities are to blame and must pay the price. If that sounds political it’s because everything about this issue has been political and if the cap fits……………
.

I want to thank all councillors both on WFDC and WCC who got the bigger picture and stood up for their communities which they value and made decisions based on planning issue and not party whips; and in particular those Conservative members who deserve the utmost respect for putting their communities before party. They truly represent local democracy in this sense.

However, I have a message for WCC. "Enjoy your hollow victory while you can because it ain’t over yet. Watch this space”…………
……………..
I read much on here about democracy, localism, petitions delivered or not delivered, and the right of people to have their say - which is then duly ignored by the local council(s) and how the local council's are wrong to do that. All of these things have been in play here and should send a cold shiver down the spine of democratically minded people. Yet there seems to be some sort of debate going on that those campaigning are in some way wrong or ignorant of implications to defend this arts and performance space in this way, or we have not been cognisant of wider implications because of a view that we have to accept what WCC tell us is so. That is not a premise that I accept and neither do the Friends. We had the spectacle yesterday of the chair of planning misdirecting committee members elsewhere every time the matter of 'loss of community space' was raised by councillors, despite its change of use and absolute imperative as the main issue (even the biased officers report said so) as it related to policy or associated ones that may make it uncomfortable for the council to deal with. So, political leverage was applied to direct members elsewhere in my opinion so as to cloud the issue - and I quote the chair 'you must keep to planning matters' whatever they were in this context in his mind, probably the corrupted versions referred to in the largely ‘political’ officers report, despite the fact that this decision is in breach of several key planning policies related to national planning policy para 70, Kidderminster Central Area Action Plan, Adopted Core Strategy. How is that reconcilable? WFDC planning recognised it and voted ‘NO’ so how come WCC planning didn’t follow suit? Read on….. Further, we were subjected, when it looked like things were not going the council's way, to a completely appalling intervention by a council employee, who in my opinion, made a statement of factual inaccuracy relating to the design and build of the gallery by saying it was neither acoustically designed nor did it have environmental controls. He also even had the gall to say local artists were in favour of it. This ignorance or wilful neglect of duty, or what some might say misleading 'instruction', led those councillors who were clearly unhappy about the application to change their mind (in my opinion) and vote in favour, and thus, make a material difference to the planning application outcome. This is something that all of us should be deeply concerned about as this matter was not decided on planning issues but the BOLD imperatives and political balance of the council. I have already had one committee member approach me to express the same opinion and who wants to do something about it as that person does not believe the planning outcome was based on sound ‘planning’ reasons. In my book that is maladministration, and one that should be investigated and which should be subject to legal scrutiny of the planning process here. I remain impressed at the council’s creativity in this matter in declaring this was not a decision rooted in ‘cuts’ or loss of community space but about modernisation of the library (one built at enormous cost just some 16 years ago), and their attempt to say it accords with national planning policy. Another total corruption of fact. Is there no end to the lengths they will go to? The further arrogance and political motives in play shown by some was also evident as one councillor could not wait to get to the question to 'recommend' by so moving the second I finished talking - and before any debate on the issue had taken place from other committee members. This was then exacerbated by another councillor stating publicly 'the people of Kidderminster have only themselves to blame" (for the loss of this facility). Err, no, we have WCC to blame and their willing cronies. That for me was a shocking thing to say and demonstrates a level of contempt not only for the area but also its artist and wider community who have worked bloody hard over the years to keep arts alive and kicking in this area despite total apathy from WCC to the gallery. I also made particular emphasis to state this was a Wyre Forest and Worcestershire facility in keeping with the council's own 'arts matter' strategy and represented a 'landmark' building in that accord as this is about the wider context. We then had to suffer another council officer championing The Hive (that costs us £1million a year) in a disgraceful attempt to justify the sacrifice of a purpose built facility being lost for the sake of £68k a year, and now we are told the Hive is also 'performance' space. Ahh, it all now becomes clear I see - Worcester has its gem so screw Wyre Forest. The said council officer clearly ignorant of the complaints of university students at the Hive about 'noise' when studying as it is a public building, or that staff themselves feel it is 'not' a performance space and was never built as such; but it is now being 'forced' upon them by WCC hierarchy. How do I know? I ask staff questions...like the Friends have asked the public and arts community - which is what WCC singularly failed to do in their reckless pursuit of their objective. WCC probably now feel this issue has been put to bed and will arrogantly expect the arts community that has battled to save this facility to 'work' with them. What a joke these people are. They really do believe they are untouchable. Out of touch is how I would describe it! I would rather have spent the last 6 months or so working with the council on finding ways to further improve the gallery and get funding to make it work in the spirit of 'localism' that this council tell us it is in favour of. Unfortunately, the council prefer to blame anyone and everyone but themselves for where we are and take no responsibility whatsoever as they use up all of our positive energies to achieve their negative agenda. I fully expect things will get worse as more similar issues arise, as the council does the willing dirty work of its national paymasters without compunction and blame the 'people' for this state of affairs. Well, this ain't the fault of the people, it's the fault of Govt and their inability to regulate the markets and banks to ensure economies don't tumble. So the fallout on all of us will continue while some believe the propaganda that somehow communities are to blame and must pay the price. If that sounds political it’s because everything about this issue has been political and if the cap fits…………… . I want to thank all councillors both on WFDC and WCC who got the bigger picture and stood up for their communities which they value and made decisions based on planning issue and not party whips; and in particular those Conservative members who deserve the utmost respect for putting their communities before party. They truly represent local democracy in this sense. However, I have a message for WCC. "Enjoy your hollow victory while you can because it ain’t over yet. Watch this space”………… …………….. Stephen Brown

9:14am Thu 13 Dec 12

Gobby Robby says...

I'm open minded on this issue but it does sound like the Council hasn't reverted from its undemocratic processes as seen during the great car park fiasco. You should name names Stephen ?
I'm open minded on this issue but it does sound like the Council hasn't reverted from its undemocratic processes as seen during the great car park fiasco. You should name names Stephen ? Gobby Robby

9:25am Thu 13 Dec 12

FlipC - The Mad Ranter says...

Webcast is now up at http://www.worcester
shire.public-i.tv/co
re/portal/webcast_in
teractive/71056
13 members as Mrs Moffett was unable to attend. Vote occurs at 01:05:31 so we all get to see who voted against the deferment and for the proposal... oh wait no we don't because the camera is trained on the chairman during the show of hands.

Awesome display of open democracy married to technology.
Webcast is now up at http://www.worcester shire.public-i.tv/co re/portal/webcast_in teractive/71056 13 members as Mrs Moffett was unable to attend. Vote occurs at 01:05:31 so we all get to see who voted against the deferment and for the proposal... oh wait no we don't because the camera is trained on the chairman during the show of hands. Awesome display of open democracy married to technology. FlipC - The Mad Ranter

11:17am Thu 13 Dec 12

jon cooper says...

OH MY GOD !!!!!!!
It isn't just local councils/local authorites who ignore public petitions and public voice. You can quite rightly add this description to certainly one major local political movement too. No "propaganda" on show in that statement whatsoever !

Anyway, back to 'The Gallery'...I think it's worth remembering as to why The Gallery, and more to the point, the county library service itself has been put under threat. WCC has an appalling deficit, it needs to be bridged. Again, this certainly is not the fault of the humble taxpayer, the blame for me lies purely with WCC's irresponsible spending culture ! Typically frontline services WILL be targeted, and WCC fully intend to target a £1.8million saving from the library service alone. (Just as a side issue, i think our local elected representitives really should shoulder the burden of cuts on their own hearty allowances, in accordance with modern times) !

For those who attended the public consultations regarding the plans for Kidderminster Library and Stourport Library, will realise what a plight our libraries are in. In fact, across the whole of the UK, many communities are facing the same form of crisis. This situation is certainly not unique to Worcestershire !

WCC appears to have looked at Kidderminster Library, and where a feaseable cut could be made, without upsetting the structure of the library itself - which is the most important issue to the majority of people. 'The Gallery' within the library has obviously been that particular target. And although i have every sympathy towards the regular campaigners point of view regarding the gallery itself; the truth is, the majority of the time as a musical venue, 'The Gallery' has been a dormant facility, and it appears it has been for some time.

Bearing this in mind, WCC were still willing to relocate the gallery as a musical facility elsewhere in Kidderminster Library. Reading very carefully the ORIGINAL 'Kidderminster Library FAQ's' released earlier this year proves this.......

"A flexible meeting room space that supports community requirements will be created on the 1st floor of the library to replicate as far as
possible, existing facilities on the 2nd floor. 2 meeting rooms with partition walls will support the creation of flexible layouts to provide event
and performance space as well as meeting space. The new, flexible meeting room space on the first floor opens out into the main body of
Library and we will ensure that furniture is easily moveable to facilitate the quick and easy creation of a larger performance or event space.
We anticipate that there will be no change in the size of audience that can be accommodated in the new performance space. The largest
audience would be 90, an increase of 10 on the current available space. Refreshment facilities will be included in the meeting space, along with
storage space for seating.
At present we have 2 meeting rooms with folding partitions separating them with a Tea point total Area= 68.8 sq m. The new scheme will have
3 meeting rooms 2 of which have separating folding screens and with 2 tea point total area = 102.5 sq m in addition the space can be opened
up to the rest of the first floor by pushing the bookcase back.
We will employ an Acoustic engineer as part of redesign the first floor space to ensure optimal acoustic performance in the space"...

It truly saddens me that the gallery campaign didn't play ball with WCC on the original plan of relocating The Gallery. If this original proposal was proved to be "propoganda", and WCC did an almighty u-turn; THEN, in my opinion, this campaign would have had enough reason to challenge WCC !

WCC have i believe handled this delicate situation very badly in my view. The actual plight of our libraries are not common knoweldge; and exactly like WFDC, WCC have failed to in their duty to get the message across ! And to be quite honest, there are other people out there who really should have been responsible enough to explain the whole county library situation, instead of making it a one dimensional affair, which it clearly isn't !
OH MY GOD !!!!!!! It isn't just local councils/local authorites who ignore public petitions and public voice. You can quite rightly add this description to certainly one major local political movement too. No "propaganda" on show in that statement whatsoever ! Anyway, back to 'The Gallery'...I think it's worth remembering as to why The Gallery, and more to the point, the county library service itself has been put under threat. WCC has an appalling deficit, it needs to be bridged. Again, this certainly is not the fault of the humble taxpayer, the blame for me lies purely with WCC's irresponsible spending culture ! Typically frontline services WILL be targeted, and WCC fully intend to target a £1.8million saving from the library service alone. (Just as a side issue, i think our local elected representitives really should shoulder the burden of cuts on their own hearty allowances, in accordance with modern times) ! For those who attended the public consultations regarding the plans for Kidderminster Library and Stourport Library, will realise what a plight our libraries are in. In fact, across the whole of the UK, many communities are facing the same form of crisis. This situation is certainly not unique to Worcestershire ! WCC appears to have looked at Kidderminster Library, and where a feaseable cut could be made, without upsetting the structure of the library itself - which is the most important issue to the majority of people. 'The Gallery' within the library has obviously been that particular target. And although i have every sympathy towards the regular campaigners point of view regarding the gallery itself; the truth is, the majority of the time as a musical venue, 'The Gallery' has been a dormant facility, and it appears it has been for some time. Bearing this in mind, WCC were still willing to relocate the gallery as a musical facility elsewhere in Kidderminster Library. Reading very carefully the ORIGINAL 'Kidderminster Library FAQ's' released earlier this year proves this....... "A flexible meeting room space that supports community requirements will be created on the 1st floor of the library to replicate as far as possible, existing facilities on the 2nd floor. 2 meeting rooms with partition walls will support the creation of flexible layouts to provide event and performance space as well as meeting space. The new, flexible meeting room space on the first floor opens out into the main body of Library and we will ensure that furniture is easily moveable to facilitate the quick and easy creation of a larger performance or event space. We anticipate that there will be no change in the size of audience that can be accommodated in the new performance space. The largest audience would be 90, an increase of 10 on the current available space. Refreshment facilities will be included in the meeting space, along with storage space for seating. At present we have 2 meeting rooms with folding partitions separating them with a Tea point total Area= 68.8 sq m. The new scheme will have 3 meeting rooms 2 of which have separating folding screens and with 2 tea point total area = 102.5 sq m in addition the space can be opened up to the rest of the first floor by pushing the bookcase back. We will employ an Acoustic engineer as part of redesign the first floor space to ensure optimal acoustic performance in the space"... It truly saddens me that the gallery campaign didn't play ball with WCC on the original plan of relocating The Gallery. If this original proposal was proved to be "propoganda", and WCC did an almighty u-turn; THEN, in my opinion, this campaign would have had enough reason to challenge WCC ! WCC have i believe handled this delicate situation very badly in my view. The actual plight of our libraries are not common knoweldge; and exactly like WFDC, WCC have failed to in their duty to get the message across ! And to be quite honest, there are other people out there who really should have been responsible enough to explain the whole county library situation, instead of making it a one dimensional affair, which it clearly isn't ! jon cooper

6:13pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Gobby Robby says...

The situation certainly isn't unique to Worcs, every Council is having their grant cut by Eric Pickles so that the blame will go local rather than national. Bizarrly it seems to be working. The cuts aren't due to an irresponsible spending culture at Worcs any more than cuts at Hertfordshire Council are due to an irresponsible spending culture there. Yes there will have been daft spending but even if there wasn't Pickles would still have handed down a reduced grant thereby ensuring the Council had to make cuts (unless it could raise Council Tax which they're not allowed to do, I wonder why?).
The situation certainly isn't unique to Worcs, every Council is having their grant cut by Eric Pickles so that the blame will go local rather than national. Bizarrly it seems to be working. The cuts aren't due to an irresponsible spending culture at Worcs any more than cuts at Hertfordshire Council are due to an irresponsible spending culture there. Yes there will have been daft spending but even if there wasn't Pickles would still have handed down a reduced grant thereby ensuring the Council had to make cuts (unless it could raise Council Tax which they're not allowed to do, I wonder why?). Gobby Robby

2:14am Fri 14 Dec 12

Stephen Brown says...

While it is true that the bulk of cuts is coming down from on high, WCC does have its own preferences on spending cuts and on what in my opinion it wastes its money on.

For example, £200k on the private Ashmolean Museum in a cabinet members ward, outrageous ringfencing of £1million a year on The Hive pfi project (versus - off the top of my head - other major WCC libraries costing around or less than £200k per year), £1.8million on groundworks at Hartlebury for an incinerator we don't need and cannot afford (and the further likely £6million a year blackhole they will have to make up for paying for pfi costs on the incinerator if it goes live without Combined Heat and Power as accorded in the planning permission).

And that's just the stuff I know about which is an immediate £2.8million by my calculation. What else is there? Just remember they are axing about 1,000 jobs too.

So there is actually also an issue of how WCC spends its money in a time of cuts, that will and does impact negatively on other services, causing greater than needed cuts in services like libraries, day services, homecare; which will rightly worry many. And it's also part of the rationale why we should not accept at face value what the ruling Tory group tell us is so on the money front as they are working on their own agenda here.

Cllr Campion has been quoted as saying the sum of £200k is a "little amount of money" when trying to justify the Ashmolean spend. Yet here we are losing a purpose built facility for considerably less at £68k (even though in my mind and most everyone's else I imagine it is a large sum) which beggars the question of just how does the council and Cllr Campion do their sums if they act in such a cavalier manner with our money? There is far more to this than meets the eye.
While it is true that the bulk of cuts is coming down from on high, WCC does have its own preferences on spending cuts and on what in my opinion it wastes its money on. For example, £200k on the private Ashmolean Museum in a cabinet members ward, outrageous ringfencing of £1million a year on The Hive pfi project (versus - off the top of my head - other major WCC libraries costing around or less than £200k per year), £1.8million on groundworks at Hartlebury for an incinerator we don't need and cannot afford (and the further likely £6million a year blackhole they will have to make up for paying for pfi costs on the incinerator if it goes live without Combined Heat and Power as accorded in the planning permission). And that's just the stuff I know about which is an immediate £2.8million by my calculation. What else is there? Just remember they are axing about 1,000 jobs too. So there is actually also an issue of how WCC spends its money in a time of cuts, that will and does impact negatively on other services, causing greater than needed cuts in services like libraries, day services, homecare; which will rightly worry many. And it's also part of the rationale why we should not accept at face value what the ruling Tory group tell us is so on the money front as they are working on their own agenda here. Cllr Campion has been quoted as saying the sum of £200k is a "little amount of money" when trying to justify the Ashmolean spend. Yet here we are losing a purpose built facility for considerably less at £68k (even though in my mind and most everyone's else I imagine it is a large sum) which beggars the question of just how does the council and Cllr Campion do their sums if they act in such a cavalier manner with our money? There is far more to this than meets the eye. Stephen Brown

3:15am Fri 14 Dec 12

DOEPUBLIC says...

The simple fact unless I am mistaken is that the 'gallery' was built with lottery funding. This decision chooses to rob the Wyre Forest public of a gift.
Clearly not a clear cut position.
The simple fact unless I am mistaken is that the 'gallery' was built with lottery funding. This decision chooses to rob the Wyre Forest public of a gift. Clearly not a clear cut position. DOEPUBLIC

12:19pm Fri 14 Dec 12

Mr.Fie says...

Lottery Funded and Acoustically Designed.

I spent 3 years at college and I have gone to university to study Music Technology and it is disgusting to think of the expense, time and planning that would have gone into the acoustics designed into this space to turn it into offices. What a waste.. then again how have they wasted the money when it has clearly been a stolen from the lottery fund.

All politicians once they get any form of power become completley detached to the general public.
I cant remember the last time any decission represented anything I would have been supportive of here.

They need to steal this public space from us to make savings yet our 'democratically' (think a handful of people voted...wink wink) elected "Police Commisioner".. already on silly money, wants to throw another £50k at his mate per year as a thank you.

Sadly I dont see things getting any better in this Country until the **** really does hit the fan.
Lottery Funded and Acoustically Designed. I spent 3 years at college and I have gone to university to study Music Technology and it is disgusting to think of the expense, time and planning that would have gone into the acoustics designed into this space to turn it into offices. What a waste.. then again how have they wasted the money when it has clearly been a stolen from the lottery fund. All politicians once they get any form of power become completley detached to the general public. I cant remember the last time any decission represented anything I would have been supportive of here. They need to steal this public space from us to make savings yet our 'democratically' (think a handful of people voted...wink wink) elected "Police Commisioner".. already on silly money, wants to throw another £50k at his mate per year as a thank you. Sadly I dont see things getting any better in this Country until the **** really does hit the fan. Mr.Fie

8:05pm Fri 14 Dec 12

stour67 says...

The S**t has hit the fan it called tory-liberal democrat S**t .
The S**t has hit the fan it called tory-liberal democrat S**t . stour67

12:31am Sat 15 Dec 12

DOEPUBLIC says...

For those where life seems a lottery the gallery is a valuable space for connection and reflection.

For the connected it is a community asset for community building and engagement.

For the engaged it is a place of use for entertainment.

For the entertained it is a space to plan and play in

For the planner it is a space to exploit.

For the dis-engaged it is a space of no use, a waste of money, or an asset to be exploited as in a lottery of community assets.
For those where life seems a lottery the gallery is a valuable space for connection and reflection. For the connected it is a community asset for community building and engagement. For the engaged it is a place of use for entertainment. For the entertained it is a space to plan and play in For the planner it is a space to exploit. For the dis-engaged it is a space of no use, a waste of money, or an asset to be exploited as in a lottery of community assets. DOEPUBLIC

12:40am Sat 15 Dec 12

DOEPUBLIC says...

Can the gallery space be listed as a community asset? and therefore protected? Does the localism legislation provide a stumbling block in the path of WCC's plan to not 'Think Local' ?

Is is heartening to see that some Conservatives stepped up to the mark, but a shame that others just thought of. their own numbers.
Can the gallery space be listed as a community asset? and therefore protected? Does the localism legislation provide a stumbling block in the path of WCC's plan to not 'Think Local' ? Is is heartening to see that some Conservatives stepped up to the mark, but a shame that others just thought of. their own numbers. DOEPUBLIC

1:15am Sat 15 Dec 12

Stephen Brown says...

DOEPUBLIC - On behalf of the Friends I had already got it listed as a community asset but that was something else ignored in the planning application decision despite its material consideration in such things!

Nice missive before by the way!
DOEPUBLIC - On behalf of the Friends I had already got it listed as a community asset but that was something else ignored in the planning application decision despite its material consideration in such things! Nice missive before by the way! Stephen Brown

6:45am Sat 15 Dec 12

DOEPUBLIC says...

Thanx for the clarity Stephen. Is the ignorance open for challenge if the asset is listed? Would the lottery funding itself be horrified at this violation of a funded asset? It's very sad to see it be decided by the vote of one politician in the end. Can the decision be taken to government ministers? What is Mark Garnier's position?
Thanx for the clarity Stephen. Is the ignorance open for challenge if the asset is listed? Would the lottery funding itself be horrified at this violation of a funded asset? It's very sad to see it be decided by the vote of one politician in the end. Can the decision be taken to government ministers? What is Mark Garnier's position? DOEPUBLIC

9:30am Sat 15 Dec 12

DOEPUBLIC says...

The clear disconnect to me is that the WCC leadership do not recognise the Health an Social care contribution this creative space serves. If used appropriately with the correct level of concern and engagement the space could reduce the need to interventions.
So for the cost of political credibility a small space has become the point of contention between a few individuals.
Reflecting sadly how the market mentality and numbers have replaced community values. It is very clear how local individuals in this case are prepared to think. Especially when the figures for library services in more affluent areas are considered. What % reduction would be required in The Hive and Broadway initiatives for this go be resolved ?
The clear disconnect to me is that the WCC leadership do not recognise the Health an Social care contribution this creative space serves. If used appropriately with the correct level of concern and engagement the space could reduce the need to interventions. So for the cost of political credibility a small space has become the point of contention between a few individuals. Reflecting sadly how the market mentality and numbers have replaced community values. It is very clear how local individuals in this case are prepared to think. Especially when the figures for library services in more affluent areas are considered. What % reduction would be required in The Hive and Broadway initiatives for this go be resolved ? DOEPUBLIC

9:35am Sat 15 Dec 12

DOEPUBLIC says...

Sorry, 'reduce the need to interventions' should read 'reduce the need for interventions.' Also for 'this go be resolved' should read 'this to be resolved'.'
Sorry, 'reduce the need to interventions' should read 'reduce the need for interventions.' Also for 'this go be resolved' should read 'this to be resolved'.' DOEPUBLIC

1:09pm Tue 18 Dec 12

HowardM says...

DOEPUBLIC - it was raised with the MP some months ago but the response basically was it was a County Council issue and he didnt want to get involved.
DOEPUBLIC - it was raised with the MP some months ago but the response basically was it was a County Council issue and he didnt want to get involved. HowardM

1:56pm Tue 18 Dec 12

DOEPUBLIC says...

Thanks for that HowardM.
Thanks for that HowardM. DOEPUBLIC

2:07pm Tue 18 Dec 12

Stephen Brown says...

DOEPUBLIC - the Hive is ringfenced so they won't touch it and as for Broadway, it's a cabinet members ward so draw your own conclusions (especially about why Ashmolean got the money). They would also say all libraries are taking a cut. Except it is not true in the case of the Hive which is now the landmark, flagship, flavour of the month, next best thing until the next best thing.

The cabinet see Wyre Forest as a soft touch, aided and abetted by 'our' two council cabinet members from WF.

I guess people are aware that the architect's design for Kidderminster Library and Gallery won a presitigious award in 1999 as the BEST large public building. You do not get those for just putting up a library as the competition is fierce, and there would have to be 'stand out' features to set it apart.

I wonder what those features were? ERR, let me think...............
....
DOEPUBLIC - the Hive is ringfenced so they won't touch it and as for Broadway, it's a cabinet members ward so draw your own conclusions (especially about why Ashmolean got the money). They would also say all libraries are taking a cut. Except it is not true in the case of the Hive which is now the landmark, flagship, flavour of the month, next best thing until the next best thing. The cabinet see Wyre Forest as a soft touch, aided and abetted by 'our' two council cabinet members from WF. I guess people are aware that the architect's design for Kidderminster Library and Gallery won a presitigious award in 1999 as the BEST large public building. You do not get those for just putting up a library as the competition is fierce, and there would have to be 'stand out' features to set it apart. I wonder what those features were? ERR, let me think............... .... Stephen Brown

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