Cut arts funding? That will hit working class

Gazette: Cut arts funding? That will hit working class Cut arts funding? That will hit working class

ARTS funding in Colchester should be protected for the benefit of all, a Tory councillor has claimed.

Dennis Willetts has called for Colchester Council’s spending on the MercuryTheatre and arts centre to be protected from cuts.

Budget proposals from the administration propose a 10 per cent cut in the theatre’s funding, plus a 5 per cent drop for the Arts Centre and the Firstsite grant slashed by 15 per cent over two years.

But initial plans put forward by Mr Willetts, Conservative group spokesman for finance, were derided as “Willetts’ World” by cabinet councillors in a reference to the cult 1992 film Wayne’s World.

Mr Willetts said: “I am a fan of the arts – I like rockmusic and am a bass player. The arts are important for everybody, not just for an exclusive elite.

“I would hope youwill reconsider this because what we don’t want to see is the Mercury Theatre being visited less and the arts centre scraping by.

“We don’t want to see the average working-class person like myself, on a pension, not be able to afford to go to some of these magnificent centres, while the venues are filled with people in dinner jackets.”

The comments came during Colchester Council’s latest cabinet meeting.

He also attacked plans to cut funding to Age UK Colchester and described the overall proposals as “pessimistic scaremongering”.

However, Lib Dem Paul Smith, who is responsible for finance at the council, said the plan stopped the authority facing a situation of having to announce even more cuts if the Government grant was cut by more than expected.

“This is Willetts’ World economics and not how to run the council,” he said.

The final budget proposals are set to be reviewed by a scrutiny committee in January before being debated by full council in February.

Mr Willetts said a full alternative budget from the Conservative opposition would be released later this month.

Comments (11)

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9:14am Mon 9 Dec 13

Bert_Stimpson says...

If so much money was not wasted on the golden turd and the firsts*ite arts elite, there would be enough to keep funding the Arts Centre and the Mercury Theatre at their current rates. The Council need to wake up, admit firsts*ite has been an expensive flop, cut it loose and extricate themselves from the cultural quarter mess sooner rather than later. Yes, it will hurt in the short-term (and there may be a few bruised egos) but it is so much better than chucking more public funds into this unwanted vanity project.
If so much money was not wasted on the golden turd and the firsts*ite arts elite, there would be enough to keep funding the Arts Centre and the Mercury Theatre at their current rates. The Council need to wake up, admit firsts*ite has been an expensive flop, cut it loose and extricate themselves from the cultural quarter mess sooner rather than later. Yes, it will hurt in the short-term (and there may be a few bruised egos) but it is so much better than chucking more public funds into this unwanted vanity project. Bert_Stimpson

10:31am Mon 9 Dec 13

tomtheDJ says...

Bert_Stimpson wrote:
If so much money was not wasted on the golden turd and the firsts*ite arts elite, there would be enough to keep funding the Arts Centre and the Mercury Theatre at their current rates. The Council need to wake up, admit firsts*ite has been an expensive flop, cut it loose and extricate themselves from the cultural quarter mess sooner rather than later. Yes, it will hurt in the short-term (and there may be a few bruised egos) but it is so much better than chucking more public funds into this unwanted vanity project.
agree 100% bert.
tory or not, protect the basic arts ANYWHERE, not just the golden thinking arts elete..
we have our own funded arts and heritage centre in my village, but has had to charge admission for a while now.
its survive, or die...
[quote][p][bold]Bert_Stimpson[/bold] wrote: If so much money was not wasted on the golden turd and the firsts*ite arts elite, there would be enough to keep funding the Arts Centre and the Mercury Theatre at their current rates. The Council need to wake up, admit firsts*ite has been an expensive flop, cut it loose and extricate themselves from the cultural quarter mess sooner rather than later. Yes, it will hurt in the short-term (and there may be a few bruised egos) but it is so much better than chucking more public funds into this unwanted vanity project.[/p][/quote]agree 100% bert. tory or not, protect the basic arts ANYWHERE, not just the golden thinking arts elete.. we have our own funded arts and heritage centre in my village, but has had to charge admission for a while now. its survive, or die... tomtheDJ

11:08am Mon 9 Dec 13

super waluigi says...

Some people prefer music, others prefer the mercury, some prefer visual art.

People like Bert Simpson openly admit that he does not like visual art, there for does not like the vaf. But realistically, if we risk losing any of our art facility's, and I include the football, cinema, zoo and minories in this, then only the town folk loses out and tourism numbers will drop.
Some people prefer music, others prefer the mercury, some prefer visual art. People like Bert Simpson openly admit that he does not like visual art, there for does not like the vaf. But realistically, if we risk losing any of our art facility's, and I include the football, cinema, zoo and minories in this, then only the town folk loses out and tourism numbers will drop. super waluigi

11:48am Mon 9 Dec 13

Bert_Stimpson says...

super waluigi wrote:
Some people prefer music, others prefer the mercury, some prefer visual art.

People like Bert Simpson openly admit that he does not like visual art, there for does not like the vaf. But realistically, if we risk losing any of our art facility's, and I include the football, cinema, zoo and minories in this, then only the town folk loses out and tourism numbers will drop.
Some people prefer not to waste £28m+ on an elitist vanity project.

The money could and should of been spent elsewhere. Continuing to chuck any money at the golden turd and the cultural quarter fiasco is an obscene waste of public money given the perilous state of finances in our country at present.

Britain's oldest recorded town should and could be better known for its history and Roman heritage. Not for an over-budget, unloved and under-utilised architectural eyesore and Council ego trip.

"Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations."
[quote][p][bold]super waluigi[/bold] wrote: Some people prefer music, others prefer the mercury, some prefer visual art. People like Bert Simpson openly admit that he does not like visual art, there for does not like the vaf. But realistically, if we risk losing any of our art facility's, and I include the football, cinema, zoo and minories in this, then only the town folk loses out and tourism numbers will drop.[/p][/quote]Some people prefer not to waste £28m+ on an elitist vanity project. The money could and should of been spent elsewhere. Continuing to chuck any money at the golden turd and the cultural quarter fiasco is an obscene waste of public money given the perilous state of finances in our country at present. Britain's oldest recorded town should and could be better known for its history and Roman heritage. Not for an over-budget, unloved and under-utilised architectural eyesore and Council ego trip. "Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations." Bert_Stimpson

1:37pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Reginald47 says...

'The average working-class person like myself' - who do think you're kidding Willets?
'The average working-class person like myself' - who do think you're kidding Willets? Reginald47

4:11pm Mon 9 Dec 13

tomtheDJ says...

Bert_Stimpson wrote:
super waluigi wrote: Some people prefer music, others prefer the mercury, some prefer visual art. People like Bert Simpson openly admit that he does not like visual art, there for does not like the vaf. But realistically, if we risk losing any of our art facility's, and I include the football, cinema, zoo and minories in this, then only the town folk loses out and tourism numbers will drop.
Some people prefer not to waste £28m+ on an elitist vanity project. The money could and should of been spent elsewhere. Continuing to chuck any money at the golden turd and the cultural quarter fiasco is an obscene waste of public money given the perilous state of finances in our country at present. Britain's oldest recorded town should and could be better known for its history and Roman heritage. Not for an over-budget, unloved and under-utilised architectural eyesore and Council ego trip. "Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations."
Good comment Bert -
"" "Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.""
councils over the years make decisions, they have too, but some clearly make the wrong ones or make ones clearly in the wrong place.
history has shown that hirise flats were thought of as the answer to a prayer, until the bill for knocking them down 30 or more years later was a proven money and decision loss.
Colchester will see that nearly £30 million and counting will
be seen as another prayer gone wrong.
you could put all thats within the turd into an empty shop in town and get more visitors than you do now or in the future.

wrong place for a wrong idea compounded by wrong decision makers in the wrong council backed jobs.

yet sadly, no one at CBC has the ed BALLS to stand up and say so..
[quote][p][bold]Bert_Stimpson[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]super waluigi[/bold] wrote: Some people prefer music, others prefer the mercury, some prefer visual art. People like Bert Simpson openly admit that he does not like visual art, there for does not like the vaf. But realistically, if we risk losing any of our art facility's, and I include the football, cinema, zoo and minories in this, then only the town folk loses out and tourism numbers will drop.[/p][/quote]Some people prefer not to waste £28m+ on an elitist vanity project. The money could and should of been spent elsewhere. Continuing to chuck any money at the golden turd and the cultural quarter fiasco is an obscene waste of public money given the perilous state of finances in our country at present. Britain's oldest recorded town should and could be better known for its history and Roman heritage. Not for an over-budget, unloved and under-utilised architectural eyesore and Council ego trip. "Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations."[/p][/quote]Good comment Bert - "" "Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations."" councils over the years make decisions, they have too, but some clearly make the wrong ones or make ones clearly in the wrong place. history has shown that hirise flats were thought of as the answer to a prayer, until the bill for knocking them down 30 or more years later was a proven money and decision loss. Colchester will see that nearly £30 million and counting will be seen as another prayer gone wrong. you could put all thats within the turd into an empty shop in town and get more visitors than you do now or in the future. wrong place for a wrong idea compounded by wrong decision makers in the wrong council backed jobs. yet sadly, no one at CBC has the ed BALLS to stand up and say so.. tomtheDJ

7:32pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Jess Jephcott says...

Not sure why the council hasn't considered selling off the footbal stadium as it is wholly used by a private company at our cost.
Not sure why the council hasn't considered selling off the footbal stadium as it is wholly used by a private company at our cost. Jess Jephcott

7:46pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Hamiltonandy says...

If only Colchester Council had insisted on a viable commercial use for the VAF. Instead like a malignant cancer it is sucking the financial lifeblood out of popular art institutions such as the Mercury and Colchester Arts Centre.
.
People have voted with their feet and only a tiny minority go into the VAF. The Queen Street area could be transformed into a vibrant retail area if Colchester Council was prepared to admit the "cultural quarter" has and still is a misuse of public funds.
.
Economic always force the right decision. Hopefully the abandonment of the "boutique cinema and high class restaurant" proposal will finally bring reality to the town hall social club.
If only Colchester Council had insisted on a viable commercial use for the VAF. Instead like a malignant cancer it is sucking the financial lifeblood out of popular art institutions such as the Mercury and Colchester Arts Centre. . People have voted with their feet and only a tiny minority go into the VAF. The Queen Street area could be transformed into a vibrant retail area if Colchester Council was prepared to admit the "cultural quarter" has and still is a misuse of public funds. . Economic always force the right decision. Hopefully the abandonment of the "boutique cinema and high class restaurant" proposal will finally bring reality to the town hall social club. Hamiltonandy

8:58pm Mon 9 Dec 13

jut1972 says...

Hamiltonandy wrote:
If only Colchester Council had insisted on a viable commercial use for the VAF. Instead like a malignant cancer it is sucking the financial lifeblood out of popular art institutions such as the Mercury and Colchester Arts Centre.
.
People have voted with their feet and only a tiny minority go into the VAF. The Queen Street area could be transformed into a vibrant retail area if Colchester Council was prepared to admit the "cultural quarter" has and still is a misuse of public funds.
.
Economic always force the right decision. Hopefully the abandonment of the "boutique cinema and high class restaurant" proposal will finally bring reality to the town hall social club.
What abandonment of the boutique cinema? Has that been canned or are you wishing it so?
[quote][p][bold]Hamiltonandy[/bold] wrote: If only Colchester Council had insisted on a viable commercial use for the VAF. Instead like a malignant cancer it is sucking the financial lifeblood out of popular art institutions such as the Mercury and Colchester Arts Centre. . People have voted with their feet and only a tiny minority go into the VAF. The Queen Street area could be transformed into a vibrant retail area if Colchester Council was prepared to admit the "cultural quarter" has and still is a misuse of public funds. . Economic always force the right decision. Hopefully the abandonment of the "boutique cinema and high class restaurant" proposal will finally bring reality to the town hall social club.[/p][/quote]What abandonment of the boutique cinema? Has that been canned or are you wishing it so? jut1972

10:07pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Hamiltonandy says...

To answer "jut1972" question I would be delighted if there was a flood of new business taking over the abandoned "cultural quarter". Unfortunately every proposal so far has been abandoned because they relied on Colchester Council lending large amounts of public money with limited guarantees of a return.
.
There does not seem any business prepared to risk its own money when the council reports clearly indicate the growing sector in Queen Street will continue to be nightclubs and takeaways. Colchester Council has stated there are four developers competing for the site but the only one made public is Curzon cinemas. I understand their bid follows on previous ones that Colchester Council lends them public money to pay for the building development. The repayments would come from a share of the profits should it be successful.
..
It would be great if I had been misinformed and Curzon cinemas was prepared to invest its own money. It is Xmas after all and miracles do happen!
To answer "jut1972" question I would be delighted if there was a flood of new business taking over the abandoned "cultural quarter". Unfortunately every proposal so far has been abandoned because they relied on Colchester Council lending large amounts of public money with limited guarantees of a return. . There does not seem any business prepared to risk its own money when the council reports clearly indicate the growing sector in Queen Street will continue to be nightclubs and takeaways. Colchester Council has stated there are four developers competing for the site but the only one made public is Curzon cinemas. I understand their bid follows on previous ones that Colchester Council lends them public money to pay for the building development. The repayments would come from a share of the profits should it be successful. .. It would be great if I had been misinformed and Curzon cinemas was prepared to invest its own money. It is Xmas after all and miracles do happen! Hamiltonandy

10:39pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Reginald47 says...

You have been - as usual
You have been - as usual Reginald47

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