£500,000 funding boost for Old Police Station project

PLANS to turn Colchester’s Old Police Station into a business centre for the creative industries have received a £500,000 boost.

Arts Council England has decided to award £499,999 to Firstsite to help the arts organisation transform the Grade II listed building on Queen Street into a Creative Business Centre.

Wayne Warner, commercial director at Firstsite, said: “The Colchester Creative Business Centre will regenerate a mostly derelict building within Colchester into a vibrant hub of creativity and support the increasing creative sector within the area."

See Thursday's Gazette for the full story.

Comments (34)

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1:21pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Bert_Stimpson says...

Let's chuck good money after bad. Can't believe the leeches at firsts*ite have hoodwinked more public funds. It is no wonder this country is in a fiscal hole.
Let's chuck good money after bad. Can't believe the leeches at firsts*ite have hoodwinked more public funds. It is no wonder this country is in a fiscal hole. Bert_Stimpson
  • Score: 0

3:00pm Wed 23 Jan 13

paperboy10 says...

I don't normally like commenting on these things as i think this service generally attracts sad people like Bert-Stimpson who make comments with no or little insight into the matters he is trolling..however... Bert, if you had of protested this new funding with intelligence and with an informed point of view instead of the child like way in which you have portrayed yourself then you might had got my respect. Bert, you probably know nothing of Firstsite's work over the past two decades, you like lots of simple minded folk have chosen to hound this amazing organisation with nothing but negativity, probably because you are the sort of person who needs a local rag to tell you how to think and are not capable of forming a sensible and balanced argument yourself. You have probably never even walked into Firstsite. This funding is just what Colchester needs, it will help develop a dirty part of town, generate opportunities for young people who desperately need our support during this difficult time, it will also build income and buisness within our town which will then help other buisness. You have no idea of the level of work and dedication that Firstsite would put into a funding application of this magnitude, so to call Firstsite 'leeches' is just plain rude to be honest. Can i ask, what have you ever done for Colchester?..btw, The Arts Council have a budget to fund these projects, that's why it's called The Arts Council, there not taking money from hospitals.. You are quite literally an idiot Sir !
I don't normally like commenting on these things as i think this service generally attracts sad people like Bert-Stimpson who make comments with no or little insight into the matters he is trolling..however... Bert, if you had of protested this new funding with intelligence and with an informed point of view instead of the child like way in which you have portrayed yourself then you might had got my respect. Bert, you probably know nothing of Firstsite's work over the past two decades, you like lots of simple minded folk have chosen to hound this amazing organisation with nothing but negativity, probably because you are the sort of person who needs a local rag to tell you how to think and are not capable of forming a sensible and balanced argument yourself. You have probably never even walked into Firstsite. This funding is just what Colchester needs, it will help develop a dirty part of town, generate opportunities for young people who desperately need our support during this difficult time, it will also build income and buisness within our town which will then help other buisness. You have no idea of the level of work and dedication that Firstsite would put into a funding application of this magnitude, so to call Firstsite 'leeches' is just plain rude to be honest. Can i ask, what have you ever done for Colchester?..btw, The Arts Council have a budget to fund these projects, that's why it's called The Arts Council, there not taking money from hospitals.. You are quite literally an idiot Sir ! paperboy10
  • Score: 0

4:14pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Bert_Stimpson says...



Firsts*ite is a stain on this town and a monument to public sector incompetence. It has failed to deliver and has consumed more than £28m of public funds to date - money that could and should have been spent elsewhere.

Where do you think the Arts Council funding comes from? Do they have a secret orchard of money trees to get it from? No they don't.

Between 2011 and 2015, the Arts Council will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery.

So, yes they are spending £1.4 billion of public money that could be spent on 'hospitals' as you put it. Equally, the National Lottery money could be spent on any number of more deserving causes.

More public money wasted on the firsts*ite parasites. It's a joke. No doubt you have a vested interest in keeping this particular gravy train going, but don't start throwing out random 'idiot' insults.

The good folks of sunny Colchester are better informed than the arts elite would like them to have. That is why Firsts*ite is a widely despised organisation and no one visits the golden turd.

Over and out.
[Is that you Nathan?] Firsts*ite is a stain on this town and a monument to public sector incompetence. It has failed to deliver and has consumed more than £28m of public funds to date - money that could and should have been spent elsewhere. Where do you think the Arts Council funding comes from? Do they have a secret orchard of money trees to get it from? No they don't. Between 2011 and 2015, the Arts Council will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery. So, yes they are spending £1.4 billion of public money that could be spent on 'hospitals' as you put it. Equally, the National Lottery money could be spent on any number of more deserving causes. More public money wasted on the firsts*ite parasites. It's a joke. No doubt you have a vested interest in keeping this particular gravy train going, but don't start throwing out random 'idiot' insults. The good folks of sunny Colchester are better informed than the arts elite would like them to have. That is why Firsts*ite is a widely despised organisation and no one visits the golden turd. Over and out. Bert_Stimpson
  • Score: 0

4:17pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Bert_Stimpson says...

Correction: 'The good folks of sunny Colchester are better informed than the arts elite would like them to be.'
Correction: 'The good folks of sunny Colchester are better informed than the arts elite would like them to be.' Bert_Stimpson
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Jess Jephcott says...

This is superb news for Colchester. A real kick start for the whole regeneration project in the Queen Street area. Bring it on. As for Bert, just ignore the idiot.
This is superb news for Colchester. A real kick start for the whole regeneration project in the Queen Street area. Bring it on. As for Bert, just ignore the idiot. Jess Jephcott
  • Score: 0

5:41pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Bert_Stimpson says...

The regeneration of Queen Street and the development of the cultural quarter has been an unmitigated disaster to date.

There is no reason to believe chucking another £500k at the self-appointed arts elite to indulge their creative fantasies will change this.

The only creativity I admire from the Firsts*ite leeches is their ability to ride this gravy train to the end of the line.

The sooner Firsts*ite funding is stopped the better.

The hard working residents of this town (and country) don't deserve to see so much public money wasted in this way.
The regeneration of Queen Street and the development of the cultural quarter has been an unmitigated disaster to date. There is no reason to believe chucking another £500k at the self-appointed arts elite to indulge their creative fantasies will change this. The only creativity I admire from the Firsts*ite leeches is their ability to ride this gravy train to the end of the line. The sooner Firsts*ite funding is stopped the better. The hard working residents of this town (and country) don't deserve to see so much public money wasted in this way. Bert_Stimpson
  • Score: 0

5:50pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Hamiltonandy says...

The Arts Council gets its funding from the taxpayer via the government. So essentially it competes with other government departments - including the NHS.
.
It is meanfor "paperboy10" to personally attack Bert_Stimpson just because you disagree with him.
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Look at the successful development of the Colchester Arts Centre and Mercury theatre. It is shameful how funding has been cut to these popular organisations to prop up the failed "cultural quarter" that includes the VAF.
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Leeches or parasites would be a correct description of the Firstsite art elite. If a referendum was held I doubt there would be much support to continue local taxpayer funding of Firstsite or the failed status symbol called the VAF. The taxpayer is forced to see so much of our money wasted on expanding the failed "cultural quarter" concept rather than developing a retail shopping area.
.
Eventually even councillors will wake up to the drain on resources and abandon their irrelevant status symbol. The pretence that art elite will bring in huge numbers of tourists has been exposed and the quoted numbers of visitors to the VAF are whatever Firstsite says they are.
The Arts Council gets its funding from the taxpayer via the government. So essentially it competes with other government departments - including the NHS. . It is meanfor "paperboy10" to personally attack Bert_Stimpson just because you disagree with him. . Look at the successful development of the Colchester Arts Centre and Mercury theatre. It is shameful how funding has been cut to these popular organisations to prop up the failed "cultural quarter" that includes the VAF. . Leeches or parasites would be a correct description of the Firstsite art elite. If a referendum was held I doubt there would be much support to continue local taxpayer funding of Firstsite or the failed status symbol called the VAF. The taxpayer is forced to see so much of our money wasted on expanding the failed "cultural quarter" concept rather than developing a retail shopping area. . Eventually even councillors will wake up to the drain on resources and abandon their irrelevant status symbol. The pretence that art elite will bring in huge numbers of tourists has been exposed and the quoted numbers of visitors to the VAF are whatever Firstsite says they are. Hamiltonandy
  • Score: 0

6:56pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Simon Taylor says...

paperboy10 wrote:
I don't normally like commenting on these things as i think this service generally attracts sad people like Bert-Stimpson who make comments with no or little insight into the matters he is trolling..however... Bert, if you had of protested this new funding with intelligence and with an informed point of view instead of the child like way in which you have portrayed yourself then you might had got my respect. Bert, you probably know nothing of Firstsite's work over the past two decades, you like lots of simple minded folk have chosen to hound this amazing organisation with nothing but negativity, probably because you are the sort of person who needs a local rag to tell you how to think and are not capable of forming a sensible and balanced argument yourself. You have probably never even walked into Firstsite. This funding is just what Colchester needs, it will help develop a dirty part of town, generate opportunities for young people who desperately need our support during this difficult time, it will also build income and buisness within our town which will then help other buisness. You have no idea of the level of work and dedication that Firstsite would put into a funding application of this magnitude, so to call Firstsite 'leeches' is just plain rude to be honest. Can i ask, what have you ever done for Colchester?..btw, The Arts Council have a budget to fund these projects, that's why it's called The Arts Council, there not taking money from hospitals.. You are quite literally an idiot Sir !
I think you should comment more often!
[quote][p][bold]paperboy10[/bold] wrote: I don't normally like commenting on these things as i think this service generally attracts sad people like Bert-Stimpson who make comments with no or little insight into the matters he is trolling..however... Bert, if you had of protested this new funding with intelligence and with an informed point of view instead of the child like way in which you have portrayed yourself then you might had got my respect. Bert, you probably know nothing of Firstsite's work over the past two decades, you like lots of simple minded folk have chosen to hound this amazing organisation with nothing but negativity, probably because you are the sort of person who needs a local rag to tell you how to think and are not capable of forming a sensible and balanced argument yourself. You have probably never even walked into Firstsite. This funding is just what Colchester needs, it will help develop a dirty part of town, generate opportunities for young people who desperately need our support during this difficult time, it will also build income and buisness within our town which will then help other buisness. You have no idea of the level of work and dedication that Firstsite would put into a funding application of this magnitude, so to call Firstsite 'leeches' is just plain rude to be honest. Can i ask, what have you ever done for Colchester?..btw, The Arts Council have a budget to fund these projects, that's why it's called The Arts Council, there not taking money from hospitals.. You are quite literally an idiot Sir ![/p][/quote]I think you should comment more often! Simon Taylor
  • Score: 0

8:27pm Wed 23 Jan 13

Barside1 says...

I'm a little confused over this project.

Who is in the driving seat?

Firstsite?

CBC?

Anyone else?

Where does this leave 15 Queen Street?

Someone remind me of the road map for the Cultural Quarter please - where the **** does it start and finish?

I would also like to see proof of the latest visitor figures for Firstsite - the stats I was sent recently appear to have been inflated again - only this time, by a far bigger margin.

What's of greater concern is that interested parties in CBC have no intention of challenging these figures.

We are keeping our own records and they make very interesting reading.
I'm a little confused over this project. Who is in the driving seat? Firstsite? CBC? Anyone else? Where does this leave 15 Queen Street? Someone remind me of the road map for the Cultural Quarter please - where the **** does it start and finish? I would also like to see proof of the latest visitor figures for Firstsite - the stats I was sent recently appear to have been inflated again - only this time, by a far bigger margin. What's of greater concern is that interested parties in CBC have no intention of challenging these figures. We are keeping our own records and they make very interesting reading. Barside1
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Thu 24 Jan 13

wellnow says...

Any money put into the blot on the landscape called queen st can only be good.however, the state of our town is no advert to prudent use o f monies up to now so we all have to just wait and see.no matter what we say on here will not change things one jot.
Any money put into the blot on the landscape called queen st can only be good.however, the state of our town is no advert to prudent use o f monies up to now so we all have to just wait and see.no matter what we say on here will not change things one jot. wellnow
  • Score: 0

1:47pm Thu 24 Jan 13

totallyfootball says...

Simon Taylor wrote:
paperboy10 wrote:
I don't normally like commenting on these things as i think this service generally attracts sad people like Bert-Stimpson who make comments with no or little insight into the matters he is trolling..however... Bert, if you had of protested this new funding with intelligence and with an informed point of view instead of the child like way in which you have portrayed yourself then you might had got my respect. Bert, you probably know nothing of Firstsite's work over the past two decades, you like lots of simple minded folk have chosen to hound this amazing organisation with nothing but negativity, probably because you are the sort of person who needs a local rag to tell you how to think and are not capable of forming a sensible and balanced argument yourself. You have probably never even walked into Firstsite. This funding is just what Colchester needs, it will help develop a dirty part of town, generate opportunities for young people who desperately need our support during this difficult time, it will also build income and buisness within our town which will then help other buisness. You have no idea of the level of work and dedication that Firstsite would put into a funding application of this magnitude, so to call Firstsite 'leeches' is just plain rude to be honest. Can i ask, what have you ever done for Colchester?..btw, The Arts Council have a budget to fund these projects, that's why it's called The Arts Council, there not taking money from hospitals.. You are quite literally an idiot Sir !
I think you should comment more often!
Your first line says it all and we can all see why, how long did it take you to put all that together? As for calling someone else rude they would have to get up very early in the morning to beat you! Firstsite should go to the back of the money queue now and wait for there turn to come around again also stop disguiseing worthy projects to cover their own self centred kudos. The Old Odeon needs the money more than the Old Police Station if we are going to talk about eyesores.
[quote][p][bold]Simon Taylor[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]paperboy10[/bold] wrote: I don't normally like commenting on these things as i think this service generally attracts sad people like Bert-Stimpson who make comments with no or little insight into the matters he is trolling..however... Bert, if you had of protested this new funding with intelligence and with an informed point of view instead of the child like way in which you have portrayed yourself then you might had got my respect. Bert, you probably know nothing of Firstsite's work over the past two decades, you like lots of simple minded folk have chosen to hound this amazing organisation with nothing but negativity, probably because you are the sort of person who needs a local rag to tell you how to think and are not capable of forming a sensible and balanced argument yourself. You have probably never even walked into Firstsite. This funding is just what Colchester needs, it will help develop a dirty part of town, generate opportunities for young people who desperately need our support during this difficult time, it will also build income and buisness within our town which will then help other buisness. You have no idea of the level of work and dedication that Firstsite would put into a funding application of this magnitude, so to call Firstsite 'leeches' is just plain rude to be honest. Can i ask, what have you ever done for Colchester?..btw, The Arts Council have a budget to fund these projects, that's why it's called The Arts Council, there not taking money from hospitals.. You are quite literally an idiot Sir ![/p][/quote]I think you should comment more often![/p][/quote]Your first line says it all and we can all see why, how long did it take you to put all that together? As for calling someone else rude they would have to get up very early in the morning to beat you! Firstsite should go to the back of the money queue now and wait for there turn to come around again also stop disguiseing worthy projects to cover their own self centred kudos. The Old Odeon needs the money more than the Old Police Station if we are going to talk about eyesores. totallyfootball
  • Score: 0

1:51pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Barside1 says...

If Firstsite is a charity ( usually most adept as raising funds for itself ), then having put 25% into the kitty for The Old Police Station via another Arts Council handout, does it in turn receive 25% of any rental income in the future?

I'm assuming the other 75% is shared between CBC and any other interested parties?

Is this ligitimate business practice?

CBC and Firstsite is some kind of love affair by the looks of things.
If Firstsite is a charity ( usually most adept as raising funds for itself ), then having put 25% into the kitty for The Old Police Station via another Arts Council handout, does it in turn receive 25% of any rental income in the future? I'm assuming the other 75% is shared between CBC and any other interested parties? Is this ligitimate business practice? CBC and Firstsite is some kind of love affair by the looks of things. Barside1
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Hamiltonandy says...

Totallyfootball mentioned the abandoned Odeon cinema. You could add to that the unique historic Jumbo. Unfortunately the people who bought these at a high price just assumed they could develop them as they wished.
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A well known pub group looked at using the Odeon and turned down as unviable. No idea about Jumbo. It is shameful buildings can be left to fall apart and no use made of them.
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There may be limited funding to develop the old police station but will there be ongoing subsidies to keep the art elite in this extension to the VAF? Colchester Council seems, on last reports, to be keeping the same council tax yet costs of services go up by inflation or more.
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Add to that the council seems to be offending all sections of the public - except the art elite. The elected dictatorship refuses reasoned debate so the humiliating failures of this arrogant bureaucracy are unlikely to stop.
Totallyfootball mentioned the abandoned Odeon cinema. You could add to that the unique historic Jumbo. Unfortunately the people who bought these at a high price just assumed they could develop them as they wished. . A well known pub group looked at using the Odeon and turned down as unviable. No idea about Jumbo. It is shameful buildings can be left to fall apart and no use made of them. . There may be limited funding to develop the old police station but will there be ongoing subsidies to keep the art elite in this extension to the VAF? Colchester Council seems, on last reports, to be keeping the same council tax yet costs of services go up by inflation or more. . Add to that the council seems to be offending all sections of the public - except the art elite. The elected dictatorship refuses reasoned debate so the humiliating failures of this arrogant bureaucracy are unlikely to stop. Hamiltonandy
  • Score: 0

6:18pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Al Paca says...

Odd to see "creative" and "industry" in the same sentence...

OK, website design fits, but what else? Examples, please!

Surely industries that are viable are just that.
Odd to see "creative" and "industry" in the same sentence... OK, website design fits, but what else? Examples, please! Surely industries that are viable are just that. Al Paca
  • Score: 0

6:46pm Thu 24 Jan 13

jut1972 says...

So the arts council give 0.5m to a project in Colchester and everyone moans... if we didnt apply for that grant it would have gone elsewhere.

This will help turn a crappy old bar building into something attractive and provide much needed jobs.

It will provide competition to 15 Queen Street which has to be good.

The only points I agree with above are over the financial management of Firstsite whilst any investment in Colchester is good news, on past form are Firstsite capable of spending this money wisely? Hopefully there are enough strings attached to force some rigour and discipline.
So the arts council give 0.5m to a project in Colchester and everyone moans... if we didnt apply for that grant it would have gone elsewhere. This will help turn a crappy old bar building into something attractive and provide much needed jobs. It will provide competition to 15 Queen Street which has to be good. The only points I agree with above are over the financial management of Firstsite whilst any investment in Colchester is good news, on past form are Firstsite capable of spending this money wisely? Hopefully there are enough strings attached to force some rigour and discipline. jut1972
  • Score: 0

7:02pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Hamiltonandy says...

The old police station was providing real jobs for retail business. There was a bar employing quite a few staff.
.
The notorious track record of the Arts Council suggests this latest project will be unviable and needing ongoing subsidies.
.
The old police station was providing real jobs for retail business. There was a bar employing quite a few staff. . The notorious track record of the Arts Council suggests this latest project will be unviable and needing ongoing subsidies. . Hamiltonandy
  • Score: 0

7:15pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Jess Jephcott says...

What a load of miserable gits you lot really are. Most towns would rejoice at this cash injection into our cultural programme. Well done Colchester for winning this award and well done the usual moaning minnies who have stepped up the mark and had another go at dragging us all down to their sad, negative, level.
What a load of miserable gits you lot really are. Most towns would rejoice at this cash injection into our cultural programme. Well done Colchester for winning this award and well done the usual moaning minnies who have stepped up the mark and had another go at dragging us all down to their sad, negative, level. Jess Jephcott
  • Score: 0

9:07pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Barside1 says...

Jess - with all due respect, there is a bit more to this than you may imagine.

And, best you don't refer to anyone as an 'idiot' until you see the wider picture.
Jess - with all due respect, there is a bit more to this than you may imagine. And, best you don't refer to anyone as an 'idiot' until you see the wider picture. Barside1
  • Score: 0

11:06am Fri 25 Jan 13

Hamiltonandy says...

Sorry Jess, the so called "cultural quarter" has nothing to do with real art but is just a bureaucratic delusion that pouring huge sums of public money into useless status symbols benefits the public.
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Unless people support a project it is doomed to a humiliating failure and it does not matter how much is wasted, it will still fail.
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It is essential we protect and improve successful organisations such as the Colchester Arts Centre and the Mercury Theatre. Neither of these reduce the retail potential of Colchester. The cultural barbarians that insisted on keeping large areas of Queen Street as permanent financial black holes should apologise for misusing so much public money.
.
Contrast this with the Minories that was privately donated to benefit the town. I despise the greed and **** for glory by the elected dictatorship destroying our town.
Sorry Jess, the so called "cultural quarter" has nothing to do with real art but is just a bureaucratic delusion that pouring huge sums of public money into useless status symbols benefits the public. . Unless people support a project it is doomed to a humiliating failure and it does not matter how much is wasted, it will still fail. . It is essential we protect and improve successful organisations such as the Colchester Arts Centre and the Mercury Theatre. Neither of these reduce the retail potential of Colchester. The cultural barbarians that insisted on keeping large areas of Queen Street as permanent financial black holes should apologise for misusing so much public money. . Contrast this with the Minories that was privately donated to benefit the town. I despise the greed and **** for glory by the elected dictatorship destroying our town. Hamiltonandy
  • Score: 0

1:07pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Barside1 says...

I've just received some very interesting information about the 'Cultural Quarter'!!!!

If some of the people involved in this end up in prison it will serve them ******* right!
I've just received some very interesting information about the 'Cultural Quarter'!!!! If some of the people involved in this end up in prison it will serve them ******* right! Barside1
  • Score: 0

2:04pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Bert_Stimpson says...

Sounds interesting Barside.

The sooner firsts*ite is shut down and the funding stopped the better. I hope the Gazette journos take a close look at the latest set of accounts filed by the public sector parasites. Income sources, staff numbers, wage bills etc...

firsts*ite gives charities a bad name. Masquerading as an 'arts elite' and taking a good wage from the public purse year after year. It's a gravy train not a charity.

Stop the funding Colchester Council. Give it to the Arts Centre, give it to the Mercury. Give it to the library. Even employ more roadsweepers for all I care.

You owe firsts*ite nothing. They have let you down, underdelivered and dragged you down with them. What's more important? The residents of Colchester or keeping the 'arts elite' in crayons and cappuccinos with free public money each year?
Sounds interesting Barside. The sooner firsts*ite is shut down and the funding stopped the better. I hope the Gazette journos take a close look at the latest set of accounts filed by the public sector parasites. Income sources, staff numbers, wage bills etc... firsts*ite gives charities a bad name. Masquerading as an 'arts elite' and taking a good wage from the public purse year after year. It's a gravy train not a charity. Stop the funding Colchester Council. Give it to the Arts Centre, give it to the Mercury. Give it to the library. Even employ more roadsweepers for all I care. You owe firsts*ite nothing. They have let you down, underdelivered and dragged you down with them. What's more important? The residents of Colchester or keeping the 'arts elite' in crayons and cappuccinos with free public money each year? Bert_Stimpson
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Jess Jephcott says...

Absolutely amazing! We are given a shed load of money for a project in Colchester and a minority can only complain about it. It beggars belief.
Absolutely amazing! We are given a shed load of money for a project in Colchester and a minority can only complain about it. It beggars belief. Jess Jephcott
  • Score: 0

5:13pm Fri 25 Jan 13

romantic says...

I welcome the injection of this cash into the "Cultural Quarter", but have serious worries about the abilities of Firstsite to manage the project.

Like many others, I would love to see the visitor figures, and have indeed requested them several times, but so far have not had any reply. I´m sure if they were at or close to the projections, they would be splashed all over the place, so let´s assume that they are not.

I think the talk of an "arts elite" may be valid to some extent, but we shouldn´t go to the extreme of saying that any funding for any sort of arts project is unjustifiable. Just because we do not like everything which is done as art does not make it an invalid use of public money. Art can be uplifting and inspirational. The exhibitions in Firstsite are interesting in their own way, but then so are the ones in the Minories, which presumably receives a fraction of the funding.

But at the same time, it seems fair that funding which comes from public sources (and the Arts Council is funded by us, the taxpayer) should be accountable.

The pattern has repeated itself from day one. The only information given is "the party line". There is no transparency or accountability. Any requests for information are ignored. Somebody from Firstsite appeared briefly on these boards, but was never heard from again. I hope he´s not buried under the patio!

The Gazette seems unwilling or unable to dig any deeper, so it is left to the general public to find out what they can. Certainly intrigued to know what Barside1 knows. The Gazette could investigate more closely, but I suspect they will not.

By all means fund the arts scene in Colchester, but does everything have to go through Firstsite?
I welcome the injection of this cash into the "Cultural Quarter", but have serious worries about the abilities of Firstsite to manage the project. Like many others, I would love to see the visitor figures, and have indeed requested them several times, but so far have not had any reply. I´m sure if they were at or close to the projections, they would be splashed all over the place, so let´s assume that they are not. I think the talk of an "arts elite" may be valid to some extent, but we shouldn´t go to the extreme of saying that any funding for any sort of arts project is unjustifiable. Just because we do not like everything which is done as art does not make it an invalid use of public money. Art can be uplifting and inspirational. The exhibitions in Firstsite are interesting in their own way, but then so are the ones in the Minories, which presumably receives a fraction of the funding. But at the same time, it seems fair that funding which comes from public sources (and the Arts Council is funded by us, the taxpayer) should be accountable. The pattern has repeated itself from day one. The only information given is "the party line". There is no transparency or accountability. Any requests for information are ignored. Somebody from Firstsite appeared briefly on these boards, but was never heard from again. I hope he´s not buried under the patio! The Gazette seems unwilling or unable to dig any deeper, so it is left to the general public to find out what they can. Certainly intrigued to know what Barside1 knows. The Gazette could investigate more closely, but I suspect they will not. By all means fund the arts scene in Colchester, but does everything have to go through Firstsite? romantic
  • Score: 0

6:03pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Bert_Stimpson says...

Latest set of firsts*ite accounts were filed with Charities Commission yesterday.

Should be available to view in full by next week. Year ending March 31st 2012. Income £1.46m, spending £1.94m apparently.

Wow, that works out at spending of about £37,000 a week. It also says that they have 69 staff.

Recession? What recession? Public money wasted. Thanks Colchester Council.

www.charity-commissi
on.gov.uk
Latest set of firsts*ite accounts were filed with Charities Commission yesterday. Should be available to view in full by next week. Year ending March 31st 2012. Income £1.46m, spending £1.94m apparently. Wow, that works out at spending of about £37,000 a week. It also says that they have 69 staff. Recession? What recession? Public money wasted. Thanks Colchester Council. www.charity-commissi on.gov.uk Bert_Stimpson
  • Score: 0

6:43pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Hamiltonandy says...

All the Art Council funding has to go through Firstsite so that is why they are in control of the old police station despite Colchester Council buying it.
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By the way Colchester Council is responsible for most of the maintenance of the VAF and presumably will be the old police station if the new lease follows the VAF lease to Firstsite.
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I am saddened to see so many art groups and art exhibitions around the country closing down partially or completely just so a few status symbol projects can be started. So many artistic talent is ignored in favour of ego trips for the favoured members of the art elite. As "Jess" suggests - shedloads of money!
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With the economy flatlining for two years now, there is every prospect of continuing reductions in Art Council funds. Who will cover the loss of local grants except Colchester and Essex County Councils. Yet the taxpayer has no voice as no councillor opposes this misuse of public money on the "cultural quarter" projects.
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Colchester Council refuses to respond to factual points in "have your say" speeches at council meetings. ECC does not allow the public to speak. The Firstsite group have always avoided communicating with anyone other than art fanatics or funders.
.
I would protest outside the VAF but so few go by or in it that it would be a waste of time. Apart from using the great Gazette forum, I look forward to denouncing councillors at any public ceremonies in town. The proposed "opening" of the new bus station deserves my creative art on a protest board.
All the Art Council funding has to go through Firstsite so that is why they are in control of the old police station despite Colchester Council buying it. . By the way Colchester Council is responsible for most of the maintenance of the VAF and presumably will be the old police station if the new lease follows the VAF lease to Firstsite. . I am saddened to see so many art groups and art exhibitions around the country closing down partially or completely just so a few status symbol projects can be started. So many artistic talent is ignored in favour of ego trips for the favoured members of the art elite. As "Jess" suggests - shedloads of money! . With the economy flatlining for two years now, there is every prospect of continuing reductions in Art Council funds. Who will cover the loss of local grants except Colchester and Essex County Councils. Yet the taxpayer has no voice as no councillor opposes this misuse of public money on the "cultural quarter" projects. . Colchester Council refuses to respond to factual points in "have your say" speeches at council meetings. ECC does not allow the public to speak. The Firstsite group have always avoided communicating with anyone other than art fanatics or funders. . I would protest outside the VAF but so few go by or in it that it would be a waste of time. Apart from using the great Gazette forum, I look forward to denouncing councillors at any public ceremonies in town. The proposed "opening" of the new bus station deserves my creative art on a protest board. Hamiltonandy
  • Score: 0

8:59pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Barside1 says...

Arts funding is a hotbed of corruption - so beware!

No media outlet will be seeing what I've got access to, but it has now been handed over to a third party and they will undertake 'a thorough investigation'.

An example of something similar if I may.

Does anyone remember what happened to Screen East up in Norwich?

Well, let me tell you.

The Finance Director was hiving off funds for himself, thousands of pounds over a very long period.

To cut a long story short - he got rumbled, turned up at court crying like a baby and ended up in prison.

Serves him ******* right!

That was only part of the story - and what a story!

Screen East had the plug pulled on them.

Not long after, the UK Film Council went the same way.

Anyone who is fooled by all this funding lark needs to look outside the box, many individuals involved in the process do so for personal gain.

Back to the film thing.

One individual was on a salary of £60,000 and 'bungs' in excess of £100,000 per year!

He was just one of many lining his own pockets from the public purse.

If it was down to me there would be no arts funding - full ******* stop!
Arts funding is a hotbed of corruption - so beware! No media outlet will be seeing what I've got access to, but it has now been handed over to a third party and they will undertake 'a thorough investigation'. An example of something similar if I may. Does anyone remember what happened to Screen East up in Norwich? Well, let me tell you. The Finance Director was hiving off funds for himself, thousands of pounds over a very long period. To cut a long story short - he got rumbled, turned up at court crying like a baby and ended up in prison. Serves him ******* right! That was only part of the story - and what a story! Screen East had the plug pulled on them. Not long after, the UK Film Council went the same way. Anyone who is fooled by all this funding lark needs to look outside the box, many individuals involved in the process do so for personal gain. Back to the film thing. One individual was on a salary of £60,000 and 'bungs' in excess of £100,000 per year! He was just one of many lining his own pockets from the public purse. If it was down to me there would be no arts funding - full ******* stop! Barside1
  • Score: 0

9:03pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Boris says...

If Barside1 is the person I think he is, then he is one of the most respected people in Colchester, and someone who has contributed far more to the cultural life of Colchester than Kath Wood, Wayne Warner and other secretive Firstsite panjandrums put together.
A few months ago he published the results of a count of the number of people going into the VAF. If I remember right, 11 people in one hour, but nine of those were VAF staff going back in after having gone out. Only two were bona fide visitors.
Certainly on my various visits to the VAF, I have never seen more than a handful of people beyond the reception area.
The art on display is mostly trivial. The special exhibitions are disappointingly inadequate.
Speaking only for myself, I have no problem with the VAF having cost £28 million, and I have no problem with the annual cost of keeping it going. The only problem is its location, and the fact that as a result of the arrogant demands made by Firstsite, we now no longer have a bus station in Colchester.
If Barside1 is the person I think he is, then he is one of the most respected people in Colchester, and someone who has contributed far more to the cultural life of Colchester than Kath Wood, Wayne Warner and other secretive Firstsite panjandrums put together. A few months ago he published the results of a count of the number of people going into the VAF. If I remember right, 11 people in one hour, but nine of those were VAF staff going back in after having gone out. Only two were bona fide visitors. Certainly on my various visits to the VAF, I have never seen more than a handful of people beyond the reception area. The art on display is mostly trivial. The special exhibitions are disappointingly inadequate. Speaking only for myself, I have no problem with the VAF having cost £28 million, and I have no problem with the annual cost of keeping it going. The only problem is its location, and the fact that as a result of the arrogant demands made by Firstsite, we now no longer have a bus station in Colchester. Boris
  • Score: 0

9:38pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Barside1 says...

Indeed Boris, it is I.

Thanx for your comments.

Was just around the corner from you yesterday morning having coffee with Mr Bobby Hunt!

Here is another hint at 'visitor numbers'.

One particular student who has been warming the bean bags for the past fortnight has ( due to cigarette breaks ) accounted for 150 visits to Firstsite alone.

That's about 15 visits a day and he has never looked at anything in the building other than his mobile telephone.

He is not the only one.

The group of students who hang out in the area account for literally thousands of head counts per annum, in fact, without them there would be entire segments of an hour at a time when not a single person steps into Firstsite to see the exhibitions or anything else.

I have got two sets of up to date visitor data for Firstsite that cover September 2012 through to the end of December '12.

I have the Firstsite stats - but better still, I have another set.

The students have been ******* great!

Here is a clue to how it was done.

Look up in the windows.

xxx
Indeed Boris, it is I. Thanx for your comments. Was just around the corner from you yesterday morning having coffee with Mr Bobby Hunt! Here is another hint at 'visitor numbers'. One particular student who has been warming the bean bags for the past fortnight has ( due to cigarette breaks ) accounted for 150 visits to Firstsite alone. That's about 15 visits a day and he has never looked at anything in the building other than his mobile telephone. He is not the only one. The group of students who hang out in the area account for literally thousands of head counts per annum, in fact, without them there would be entire segments of an hour at a time when not a single person steps into Firstsite to see the exhibitions or anything else. I have got two sets of up to date visitor data for Firstsite that cover September 2012 through to the end of December '12. I have the Firstsite stats - but better still, I have another set. The students have been ******* great! Here is a clue to how it was done. Look up in the windows. xxx Barside1
  • Score: 0

11:42pm Sat 26 Jan 13

Boris says...

Thanks, Barside1. Bobby will have been very happy with to-day's result at the Breezeblock Palace, so you will need another coffee with him next week to celebrate. You are always welcome at mine if in the area and in need of refreshment.
I am still wondering how an active person like you can find the time to spend all day observing idle students and the like. Are you making a new DVD about the VAF's impact on Colchester?
Thanks, Barside1. Bobby will have been very happy with to-day's result at the Breezeblock Palace, so you will need another coffee with him next week to celebrate. You are always welcome at mine if in the area and in need of refreshment. I am still wondering how an active person like you can find the time to spend all day observing idle students and the like. Are you making a new DVD about the VAF's impact on Colchester? Boris
  • Score: 0

8:32am Sun 27 Jan 13

Barside1 says...

I don't even need to be in Colchester Boris to observe the daily head count going into Firstsite.

I could actually be following proceedings from anywhere in the world - perhaps even by sitting on a bean bag nestled in a crater on the moon.

Just for the record - my concern about The Visual Arts Facility is that the concept was 'sold' to funders ( willing however ) on false data and Firstsite continues to be the source of inflated figures that form part of the drive towards sucking more money from the public purse.

What I hadn't quite grasped was that Firstsite are in effect the dudes who hang out the cap with their comrades silently waiting in the wings for the sound of 'gold' dropping from above.

Once the gold has dropped certain hands appear from nowhere to grab a piece and scurry away in the shadows to shine it up with a duster and hide it away for a rainy day.
I don't even need to be in Colchester Boris to observe the daily head count going into Firstsite. I could actually be following proceedings from anywhere in the world - perhaps even by sitting on a bean bag nestled in a crater on the moon. Just for the record - my concern about The Visual Arts Facility is that the concept was 'sold' to funders ( willing however ) on false data and Firstsite continues to be the source of inflated figures that form part of the drive towards sucking more money from the public purse. What I hadn't quite grasped was that Firstsite are in effect the dudes who hang out the cap with their comrades silently waiting in the wings for the sound of 'gold' dropping from above. Once the gold has dropped certain hands appear from nowhere to grab a piece and scurry away in the shadows to shine it up with a duster and hide it away for a rainy day. Barside1
  • Score: 0

11:21am Sun 27 Jan 13

Bert_Stimpson says...

http://www.charity-c
ommission.gov.uk/Acc
ounts/Ends00/0001031
800_AC_20120331_E_C.
pdf

Felt a bit sick reading these. And remember, these are for the year ending March 31st 2012. Hate to think about how much more has been wasted since then....
http://www.charity-c ommission.gov.uk/Acc ounts/Ends00/0001031 800_AC_20120331_E_C. pdf Felt a bit sick reading these. And remember, these are for the year ending March 31st 2012. Hate to think about how much more has been wasted since then.... Bert_Stimpson
  • Score: 0

2:33pm Sun 27 Jan 13

Bert_Stimpson says...

I was also looking at the Colchester Council spending over £500 for October 2012. No idea where the September file is - maybe there's something they don't want us to see on it.

The Council spent £39,768 on the 'VISUAL & MEDIA ARTS CENTRE' as they call it in October 2012.

This includes £21,580 to 'OTHER PEOPLE'S SCULPTURES' - based in Norwich. Not sure what it is.

£17,035.92 went to F A FIRMAN (HAROLD WOOD) - a bespoke glass company!

2 further payments of £576 went on something but the details were redacted for some reason. You've got to love transparency!

If anyone is doing a forensic examination of the amount of cash squandered on the firsts*ite money pit, don't forget to include the Colchester Council spending data too.

Firsts*ite leeches millions of public money each year and yet Colchester Council still pumps in an extra £40k in one calendar month over and above the handouts.

It is madness given the current economic climate and the very real problems facing this town.

"Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results"
I was also looking at the Colchester Council spending over £500 for October 2012. No idea where the September file is - maybe there's something they don't want us to see on it. The Council spent £39,768 on the 'VISUAL & MEDIA ARTS CENTRE' as they call it in October 2012. This includes £21,580 to 'OTHER PEOPLE'S SCULPTURES' - based in Norwich. Not sure what it is. £17,035.92 went to F A FIRMAN (HAROLD WOOD) - a bespoke glass company! 2 further payments of £576 went on something but the details were redacted for some reason. You've got to love transparency! If anyone is doing a forensic examination of the amount of cash squandered on the firsts*ite money pit, don't forget to include the Colchester Council spending data too. Firsts*ite leeches millions of public money each year and yet Colchester Council still pumps in an extra £40k in one calendar month over and above the handouts. It is madness given the current economic climate and the very real problems facing this town. "Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results" Bert_Stimpson
  • Score: 0

2:49pm Sun 27 Jan 13

Barside1 says...

For Romantic.

hello,

The Gazette are very unlikely to be doing a 'strip and search' inspection of anything.

One of their reporters is a regular visitor, seems like the guys are under more than enough pressure already to get any form of newspaper on the doormat.
For Romantic. hello, The Gazette are very unlikely to be doing a 'strip and search' inspection of anything. One of their reporters is a regular visitor, seems like the guys are under more than enough pressure already to get any form of newspaper on the doormat. Barside1
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Sun 27 Jan 13

Barside1 says...

Poor old CBC!

Are you the suckers that have to foot the bill every Firstsite's 'visitors' drive into one of the light poles that run around the perimeter?

Two 'poleaxed' by the same vehicle.

What a great bit of driving that was.

We saw it and heard it.

Two more shunted into a while later.

Then another...

And just today, for good measure, a pole seemed to be obstructing a stray motorist - probably scanning her SatNav.
Poor old CBC! Are you the suckers that have to foot the bill every Firstsite's 'visitors' drive into one of the light poles that run around the perimeter? Two 'poleaxed' by the same vehicle. What a great bit of driving that was. We saw it and heard it. Two more shunted into a while later. Then another... And just today, for good measure, a pole seemed to be obstructing a stray motorist - probably scanning her SatNav. Barside1
  • Score: 0

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