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Warrington named the worst place in Britain for culture

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Would there be any scope for setting up a community interest company (CIC) to cover any of the lesser routes ?

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But why run umpteen buses an hour from town to Dallam and all the other so called popular routes when anyone with a decent pair of peepers can see that these buses are running virtually empty for the majority of the day? I followed a bus from the terminus at Dallam last week right into the town centre when it turned into the bus station and it never stopped once to pick up or drop off. Surely that can't be cost effective?

 

I hope it was one of GHA's. Depending on time of day, the outbound bus might have been very well loaded. Having cut one of our busiest routes (despite the competition) from every 6 minutes a few years ago to every 15, we'll not be looking to cut it further.

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I hope it was one of GHA's. Depending on time of day, the outbound bus might have been very well loaded. Having cut one of our busiest routes (despite the competition) from every 6 minutes a few years ago to every 15, we'll not be looking to cut it further.

 

Where does the "our" come from Steve, aren't we all deregulated and independent now.  I wonder how Fairbrothers can run a pound to town service when the Warrington Transport bus is closer to £3

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This thread is all over the place but at lease Steve is making the link by suggesting that it's our fault the town's heritage is being torn down because we won't pay more for buses and in council tax. Of course we'd all love to forgo the cheaper and more convenient use of cars and we'd all love to pay more council tax, but as PJ points out the increase of 1.9 percent last year was - by a massive coincidence obv - just below the increase that would give us a say in the matter. What I thought was most coincidental about it was that it wasn't precisely just below the percentage point that would trigger a public consultation but far enough away so it might actually look like a huge coincidence. 

 

 

I had in mind voting nationally for parties offering to cut tax (though the tax take seems to go up anyway) rather than local taxation.

 

I really didn't think there was much secret about the council tax being below the threshold for a referendum (which would itself cost money). It just alleviates the damage caused by the cuts in government grant. A few pence a week to help stave off cuts to services. If you object, that is the problem (as with that Bill Bryson observation that the country is a lot richer than it was when he first came to Britain, yet we're scrabbling to keep basic public services going.)

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I had in mind voting nationally for parties offering to cut tax (though the tax take seems to go up anyway) rather than local taxation.

 

I really didn't think there was much secret about the council tax being below the threshold for a referendum (which would itself cost money). It just alleviates the damage caused by the cuts in government grant. A few pence a week to help stave off cuts to services. If you object, that is the problem (as with that Bill Bryson observation that the country is a lot richer than it was when he first came to Britain, yet we're scrabbling to keep basic public services going.)

Then don't be so cowardly and let the people you claim to represent give you your answer instead of presuming and patronising and treating us like idiots.  It's called democracy ,  try it, don't just pay lip service to it.

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I had in mind voting nationally for parties offering to cut tax (though the tax take seems to go up anyway) rather than local taxation.

 

I really didn't think there was much secret about the council tax being below the threshold for a referendum (which would itself cost money). It just alleviates the damage caused by the cuts in government grant. A few pence a week to help stave off cuts to services. If you object, that is the problem (as with that Bill Bryson observation that the country is a lot richer than it was when he first came to Britain, yet we're scrabbling to keep basic public services going.)

 

I don't object at all. Assuming it is spent on front line services, especially those for the town's most vulnerable people and on issues that affect everybody. I don't think those are always the council's priorities unfortunately, as we have seen.

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Where does the "our" come from Steve, aren't we all deregulated and independent now.  I wonder how Fairbrothers can run a pound to town service when the Warrington Transport bus is closer to £3

 

Steve is a director of the company. 

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I don't object at all. Assuming it is spent on front line services, especially those for the town's most vulnerable people and on issues that affect everybody. I don't think those are always the council's priorities unfortunately, as we have seen.

Well let us be fair,  front line services are rather important but pale into insignificance when the Council fancy brand new offices in a town centre location to brag about and work from.

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Well let us be fair,  front line services are rather important but pale into insignificance when the Council fancy brand new offices in a town centre location to brag about and work from.

 

Indeed. Let's wait and see how much of the £100 million + budget for the Bridge Street development is to be spent on them. Either we'll find out thanks to some gobshite or other putting in an FOI request to uncover the costs, including construction and fit-out. Although it wouldn't be a surprise to find that this is refused on some grounds. Or we'll find out sometime after next year's elections.

 

Steve - do you know?

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Grey Man, are you putting in a FOI request then :wink:  I remember once talking to a clerk of a Parish council who said she put off FOI requests by asking for hundreds of pounds to compensate having to do it.

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Grey Man, are you putting in a FOI request then :wink:  I remember once talking to a clerk of a Parish council who said she put off FOI requests by asking for hundreds of pounds to compensate having to do it.

 

I'm sure some gobshite will have already done it. I think whoever it is will have wondered why the council was so coy about the number, that they had to bury it in the total cost of the development :wink: 

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PS. Worth pointing out that offices are something I know a lot about. It's how I make my living. My guess is that the budget for the new council offices is in the range £20 million to £60 million depending on their spec. Might be higher. Might be slightly less. It could be one reason they refused to declare the details of the intended use for the enormous capital spending funding they raised recently. But who the hell knows? What we do know is that the whole Bridge Street development won't break even for 25 years, assuming it doesn't go over budget and the predicted returns materialise over that period. When you factor in optimism bias, this development may never pay for itself. They are lumbering the town with a quarter century of debt and a large chunk of it is being spent on shiny offices for themselves at a time they are pleading poverty.    

 

I assume they'll argue that they will divest other buildings they currently occupy, but as other local authorities have found, that may or may not happen in which case they will be paying for empty offices as well as the new ones. This may also link to the heritage issue in some ways and one question worth asking is why the new offices need to be in a High Street location in the first place. This means that there is both a cost for the new offices and an opportunity cost too. This is prime retail land which means the council is forgoing income and creating a dead spot in the night time economy that is the main function of this development. You might also ask why they aren't moving into existing buildings like the former NWDA HQ and/or the many empty speculative offices dotted around the town.The Town Hall would then remain as the flagship building while day to day operations are dealt with elsewhere.    

 

What is interesting to me is how they've managed to get away - till now - with hiding this expenditure in plain sight by bundling it up with the Bridge Street development. It's the classic sleight of hand we have come to expect from them. 

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I wonder how much improvement and restoration and protection of historic and important heritage sites in the town could be afforded if we weren't spending however many millions on the vanity project of new Council Offices?  Will we ever be given the figure of its cost?

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I wonder how much improvement and restoration and protection of historic and important heritage sites in the town could be afforded if we weren't spending however many millions on the vanity project of new Council Offices?  Will we ever be given the figure of its cost?

 

Even if they don't admit to a figure - I reckon they'll claim 'commercial confidentiality' as a reason for not admitting to it - we'll be able to create a ball park figure once the spec is known. This needs a thread of its own though.  

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Don't fret folks we will soon be getting the benefit of the new traffic management software, No need to knock down buildings for new roads then will there? :rolleyes:

 

Will do wonders for the cultural heritage in the area.

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Office block £22m. Savings from closing 5 offices

 

New Town House

 

Quattro

 

St Werbergh's old school

 

Customer Contact Centre

 

Rylands Street

 

All in the report to Exec Board last April.

 

  

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Meanwhile, a bit closer to the topic, a row of terraced houses in Liverpool has won the Turner Prize.  Culture surely is in the eye of the beholder & what now of Crosfield's Transporter Bridge for next year's Turner Prize aided by a bit of pushing by the council ?

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Office block £22m. Savings from closing 5 offices

 

New Town House

 

Quattro

 

St Werbergh's old school

 

Customer Contact Centre

 

Rylands Street

 

All in the report to Exec Board last April.

 

  

 

NTH/Quattro has had millions spent on them in the past few years so probably still being paid back?

 

St Werberghs old School - Isn't that just social Services now which I thought was now a separate company and out of Council control?

 

Customer Contact Centre - Again cost a few quid to set-up only a few years ago so has it all been paid for?

 

Rylands Street is practically empty these days anyway compared to how it used to be

 

So if the new one costs £22M what are the projected savings from the old ones and are there any early termination clauses for buildings not owned etc etc... and why in this period of Government cuts are the Council even contemplating spending £22M on offices anyway?

 

Steve, you are the main man when it comes to blaming less services on government cuts so are new offices more important than looking after the elderly or fixing the roads now then? or are you finally going to admit that there is money available but you lot just don't spend it correctly?

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I'm really not going to do the fine-tooth comb on stuff that's been past exec board, audit committee and in some cases scrutiny committee too. All capital spending needs long term savings or some other return on the investment to justify it. No doubt some will go wrong - I'm not sure the pavilion in Bank Park will recoup the cost but sometimes you have to be bold and accept some risk on trying (in that case) to revitalise bits of the town. The Youthzone plan has perhaps had the greatest scrutiny as the returns on the investment would be hard to quantify, as reduced anti-social behaviour isn't easy to attribute to one scheme (based on experience in other towns). As for Bridge St I don't think you can both blame the Council for the demise of the "high street" and for the (costly) attempt to revitalise the area. It does (on topic) provide a new use that retains the facade of Boots (which ultimately would otherwise be "at risk").

 

But in terms of revenue spending there will be pain. It's been much quoted but this is the Tory leader of Lincolnshire county council:

Councillor Hill said: “Councils across England are facing the deepest cuts in the history of local government.

 

“Imagine if every council in England stopped filling in potholes, turned off every street light, and closed all parks, children’s centres, libraries, museums and leisure centres.

 

“Even that would still not save enough to plug the financial black hole we’re facing by 2020.

 

“At this council, having already reduced our budget by £129 million over the last four years, we’re faced with at least the same massive cut again."

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But in terms of revenue spending there will be pain. It's been much quoted but this is the Tory leader of Lincolnshire county council:

Councillor Hill said: “Councils across England are facing the deepest cuts in the history of local government.

 

“Imagine if every council in England stopped filling in potholes, turned off every street light, and closed all parks, children’s centres, libraries, museums and leisure centres.

 

“Even that would still not save enough to plug the financial black hole we’re facing by 2020.

 

“At this council, having already reduced our budget by £129 million over the last four years, we’re faced with at least the same massive cut again."

So knowing this and as we are having to cut back on vital services and have very limited funds, lets build ourselves a nice shiny new office complex smack in the centre of the town at the cost of tens of millions we simply don't have.  Tell me Steve, which services will be cut to pay for this vanity project?

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I'm really not going to do the fine-tooth comb on stuff that's been past exec board, audit committee and in some cases scrutiny committee too. All capital spending needs long term savings or some other return on the investment to justify it. No doubt some will go wrong - I'm not sure the pavilion in Bank Park will recoup the cost but sometimes you have to be bold and accept some risk on trying (in that case) to revitalise bits of the town. The Youthzone plan has perhaps had the greatest scrutiny as the returns on the investment would be hard to quantify, as reduced anti-social behaviour isn't easy to attribute to one scheme (based on experience in other towns). As for Bridge St I don't think you can both blame the Council for the demise of the "high street" and for the (costly) attempt to revitalise the area. It does (on topic) provide a new use that retains the facade of Boots (which ultimately would otherwise be "at risk").

 

 

Some or all of the people doing the checks and balances are the only ones set to benefit from the new offices.  As for your attempt to compare projects which will benefit the residents of the town against one which benefits only council officers, do not even try to justify it that way.  The council officers both past and present are responsible for spending a fortune to turn Bridge Street into the mausoleum it is today.  It is simply a monument to the worst thing that ever happened in this towns post war history and as such has negative connotations.  You aren't even changing that though.

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