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Everything posted by grey_man

  1. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    Even that straw man is a straw man - because I've just agreed with you. I've got to hand it to you. I guess that's how you manage to rack up thousands and thousands of posts by constantly misrepresenting what people say and then whinging on till they admit you can have the last word. Not big on irony though, are you?
  2. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    You raised the subject of vanity projects. Of course, you've done your usual feeble attempt at creating a straw man argument, because I agree with you that a theatre should be commercially viable. There you go. Something else we agree on.
  3. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    More straw men and personal comments. And you've answered your own question about the Parr Hall. Now that you've raised the subject, there is already a vanity project in the middle of the new development and it is being funded by the people of Warrington. So if you object to that sort of thing, then we agree on something.
  4. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    The Parr Hall isn't a theatre at all (and doesn't claim to be) and the Pyramid is an arts centre that is capable of staging small shows. The space is comparable to those found in some local schools and FE facilities. Local theatre groups, which include my family members and friends, have to go to Runcorn to stage anything significant. Local cultural groups and people within the council have been raising this issue for years so why you're claiming that there have been two theatres in the town all along is baffling. You're making it far too easy. Which is why you end up resorting to straw man arguments and personal comments. The only people running the town down are those with low expectations for it.
  5. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    I have. I don't just sit around whinging thousands of times on here like some people. I always go to source. They won't say. So, they've gone from publicising the costs in support of a business case, to increasing them (still in support of a weaker but viable business case) to pretending they don't exist. Occam's Razor leads to one conclusion. The business case has gone. As for all the other stuff in your post - it's just your usual straw man stuff full of things I never said, so I'll ignore that bit. BTW, somebody should have told the city of culture bid team that the town already has two 'municipal theatres'. It would have helped the bid no end and I can't believe they overlooked the facts you've just made up supplied.
  6. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    I have seen the plans. And my opinion is that it's an unambitious identikit development focused on chains. I'm also sticking to my opinion that the area around the council's offices will be dead space in the evenings, apart from the sorts of people you don't want to share that space with. I also wonder whether the council now regrets not including a theatre in the development, given that it's going to be an ongoing issue with its cultural 'ambitions'. Here's a question for you though and I can predict your response. Why did the council suddenly stop publishing the cost of the development?
  7. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    It's only 'oh dear' if you redefine market stalls as shops and restaurants. Which you've done and for which I've congratulated you for at least making the effort. In other news: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jan/19/uks-live-entertainment-industry-hits-new-highs
  8. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    It's not inaccurate. The new development is desperately unimaginative, is focused too much on national chains, will create a large dead space in the evenings because of the inclusion of the council's offices and is a missed opportunity to create a new theatre. Nice try with the attempt to redefine an indoor market as a high street though. Very good.
  9. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    I have business interests and property and family in Warrington. Even if I didn't, I still wouldn't need your permission to have an opinion. And you have ten times more opinions than me anyway, most of them moaning about other people from what I can tell. It really grips your pipe that other people don't do what you tell them to do, doesn't it? Have you spoken to anybody about it?
  10. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    I don't whinge as much as you, if that's the question. Seeing as you've posted ten times more stuff than I have. Seems nobody whinges more than you. You even whinge about whinging.
  11. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    Or they could hope for some imagination. They could certainly wonder why the council has chosen to create a vast dead space in the middle of the development each evening by siting its offices in the middle of it all. They might also wonder why the budget for the whole thing has become such a secret. Of course there will always be happy clappers no matter what people wish for their town, but if they don't like their fellow townsfolk, they can always choose to live elsewhere.
  12. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    Yes. But it's a market. Big difference to the High Street. I'm not saying Warrington is different to anywhere else. It's probably better than most from what I can see. Doesn't get away from the fact that there is a very limited vision of what constitutes a development of a town centre. If you look at the Time Square development, it's essentially a retail park in the town centre. Multiplex surrounded by chain restaurants.
  13. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    It's a market, with stalls.
  14. Manx Arms

    Yes, but one of those that the council should keep an eye on as at least some form of protection.
  15. Manx Arms

    It's listed locally as an historic asset.
  16. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    The reason for that is that when you look at the models used, they are just emulating out of town parks because that's what they think works. You can guarantee that the restaurants they are trying to attract to the Time Square development are Pizza Hut, Frankie and Bennys, Nando's and so on. It's basically The Halton Centre but in the middle of Warrington. God forbid they should create a model based on local businesses and independent shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.
  17. Give Warrington town centre a chance!

    Fair play Gary but each one of those points you raise comes with some caveat or other. Of course all town centres face the same challenges and some are coping better than others. I sense there may be improvements in some aspects of Warrington and it's certainly doing better than some other places, but the town really needs to get to grips with the development and preservation of its culture and heritage. Bowling alleys and multiplexes won't cut it and it's evident that the Time Square development also represents some missed opportunities, not least the chance to create a proper theatre. I'd imagine the biggest concern will be that the potential increase in the town's population by a fifth and the ongoing destruction of green belt, parkland and any site of any historic interest whatsoever will simply choke the town. There seem to be signs that some people are keen to push back against this but they're up against some pretty powerful vested interests and elements at the council that would cheerfully see the whole place concreted over.
  18. We've got 20 years to find out how well this all works out, although it could go spectacularly belly up in the interim.
  19. From The Times Ban on local council investments in risky property portfolios Andrew Ellson, Consumer Affairs Correspondent December 27 2017, 12:01am, The Times Councils will be banned from borrowing to invest in commercial properties amid concern that they are putting taxpayers’ money and local services at risk. The Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) has outlined rules that will stop councils borrowing money to fund the purchases unless they benefit local residents. The plans, which have been published under a consultation, are likely to derail many councils’ investment plans, which can include buying shopping centres, retail parks and supermarkets. Earlier this year an investigation by The Times revealed that local authorities were making multibillion-pound bets on commercial property to replace revenue lost through government cuts. Freedom of information requests to every council in the country found that they had paid £2.7 billion for commercial properties since 2015, up from £500 million over the previous three years. Much of the money was borrowed from the Public Works Loan Board. Experts warned that some councils were building “exceptionally risky” portfolios with little or no investment experience, raising concerns that services would have to be cut or taxes increased if the property bubble bursts. Now the DCLG wants to stop councils from borrowing solely to generate a rental income. The consultation document says: “Borrowing solely to invest in a yield-bearing opportunity is borrowing in advance of need.” Borrowing in advance of need is banned under local government finance regulations. The rules will not prevent councils buying commercial property out of existing revenues or reserves but few, if any, have enough spare cash to do that. Professional investors hailed the new rules, saying that councils’ spending sprees were driving up commercial property prices. In parts of the country local authorities make up a third of buyers. The cross-bench peer Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, chairman of OUM Property fund managers, said: “The government has woken up to this gross abuse of public money and cracked down on councils gambling on property at long last . . . Why has it taken so long and so much forensic investigative journalism before it was stopped?”
  20. Latest on this from The Times. Warrington is the second biggest borrower in the country. Councils put £4bn on property to save towns Tom Knowles , Property Correspondent April 12 2018, 12:01am, Local councils have spent £3.8 billion buying up office blocks, shopping centres, leisure centres and warehouses over the past five years in an attempt to protect struggling town centres. A sharp decline in the number of private investors looking for returns by placing their money in the renovation of town centres has led local authorities to step in. At the same time an ever-greater pressure to deliver services while keeping council taxes low has led local authorities to look for other sources of income. However, experts have warned that many local authorities are buying up property without a broader masterplan or vision for regeneration, meaning that they are sitting on a “ticking time bomb” if the property bubble bursts. If that happened and a local council then struggled to pay back its loans, it could be forced to cut local services or increase taxes. Figures compiled by the property consultancy Carter Jonas and Revo, which represents Britain’s £360 billion retail property industry, show that councils invested £3.8 billion in commercial property assets between 2013 and 2017. About £1.7 billion of that was spent on office space; retail accounted for nearly £1.2 billion; £600 million was spent on shopping centres and £400 million on retail parks. The remainder went into warehouses, leisure centres and mixed-use schemes. Steve Norris, head of regeneration at Carter Jonas, said: “Since the recession the private sector has pulled away from struggling town centres and is a lot more risk-averse. That means local authorities are having to take on a lot more of the risk, by assembling sites or funding regeneration themselves.” The research said that Spelthorne borough council in Surrey, which contains the towns of Ashford, Shepperton, Staines and Sunbury, was the biggest local authority spender, buying up £477 million of assets in its area. This is more than double its nearest rival, Warrington borough council, which spent £219.5 million; largely because Spelthorne bought BP’s International Centre for Business & Technology in Sunbury for £360 million. The largest purchase of a retail centre was The Glass Works in Barnsley by Barnsley metropolitan borough council for £120 million, followed by The Mall in Camberley bought by Surrey Heath borough council for £86 million. Dr Norris said that councils needed a long-term plan for the properties they bought and a vision for how they could deliver long-term benefits. “In a lot of cases, property comes on the market and there is a knee-jerk reaction by councils to buy it, but they need to think really carefully about why they are doing that,” he said. “This could be a ticking time bomb. The property market is cyclical, so inevitably there will be a downturn, there is also Brexit looming and we’re not sure what the impact of that will be on the property sector. And the whole retail sector is changing and struggling as retailers pull out of shopping centres rather than look to expand.”
  21. The wonders of officialdom...

    Because it's often true. But only because the poor dog has been brutalised by the idiot on the other end of the lead.
  22. And say hello to potholes
  23. Question. When did the council stop referring to its investment in Redwood Bank in its financial and strategic announcements?
  24. Rail Nationalisation

    To be fair, this is true. Then again, homelessness and asset stripping would have come as a blessed relied to the tens of millions deliberately starved and murdered under communism.
  25. Failed City of Culture bid

    I've communicated directly with Dan. And I was at an RSA conference in London that day otherwise I would have attended. But thanks for your usual input. Don't worry. It will all soon be over. People will just give up eventually.