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Geoffrey Settle

Warrington's bid for City of Culture 2021 DOESN'T reach the FINAL 5

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I started a thread on Stokes bid last week and it's ended up a discussion on Wrestling - but a great contribution by Grey Man about his home Town (I think) of Stoke-on-Trent. Lets test his knowledge of his (adopted Town of Warrington) and yours.

I held a painting/photo competition last year and created a Digital Gallery about Warrington's Heritage as a response to the southern claim that we had no culture. It seemed to go down well and raised a few bob for charity.   

The gallery captures some good aspects of Warrington - what do you think is good about Warrington's Culture besides it's heritage - let's see if we can match Grey-Man's Stoke on Trent - one of our 10 rivals.

I am calling for Warrington to sign the Pledge of Peace as requested by the Oldham delegation last year when they visited the Peace Centre - and remember our 1999 bid as City of Peace.

 

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grey_man    165

All I can say is good luck. :) The chance of Warrington winning this bid is about the same chance I have of a night out with Scarlett Johansson. The council is wasting its money, time and resources on this bid at a time it says it doesn't have enough of any of them. If it wasn't for the word 'city' in the title, it probably wouldn't bother with it. 

By the way, I'm a Fellow of the RSA so I can tell you that it has a thriving regional events programme and its mission is for the whole of society so it's far from a 'southern' organisation. I'm glad they upgraded Warrington from bottom to fourth from bottom (or whatever it was), and Warrington is a great place to live and the people are wonderful, but this is not a town with a great deal of culture and its heritage has been badly neglected. It also doesn't have a council with any respect for those things.  

There are obviously people in the town who do, but when the council's head of planning is somebody who was happy to allow construction of a car park on top of Roman buildings in Chester, you haven't a hope. 

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grey_man    165
12 hours ago, Geoffrey Settle said:

So what will the Town have as part of it's Culture bid that will help it stand out from the crowd?

From the press announcements so far it appears to be a committee to consider the idea of a theatre and the Bridge Street development. So the council's idea of culture seems to be an Imax cinema and Frankie and Benny's, in which case The Halton Centre should put in a bid. Meanwhile, the campaign appears to be to get kids to stand outside the mural at The Pyramid while wearing campaign t-shirts and hope nobody notices there is very little to offer. There is nothing that would make it stand out above a small town like Newcastle-under-Lyme never mind Stoke or the other cities on the shortlist, with the exception of St Davids. Even that can point to a cathedral and the Eisteddfod. 

In my opinion, the council has had zero interest in culture and heritage for years. Warrington has the cultural attractions of a much smaller town. Right now, you have people campaigning to maintain even the most basic vestiges of culture like libraries, which it is clear the council would cheerfully shut tomorrow if it were allowed. From what I understand the siting of libraries in the new neighbourhood hubs is a transparent attempt to meet the council's legal obligations to provide a library service while - possibly unlawfully? - diverting funds into leisure centres and propping up the misbegotten LiveWire organisation. 

It wants Warrington to become a city, yet has resisted the calls for the town to behave like one culturally. You could ask a thousand questions about all of this. But my main one would be why the council didn't use the opportunity of the town centre redevelopment to create a theatre and new library. It could easily have achieved this, while moving the council's offices to a much cheaper and more practical site on a business park with a counter in the town centre, yet it didn't. It has given millions to LiveWire, including to hasten the creation of the Sankey Hub, with no apparent result, that could have been used on a cultural project in the town centre. Instead it is creating offices for no other reason than to feel good about itself. Offices that will be dead space in the evening and have nothing to do with culture or improving the town. Tells you all you need to know about its priorities. It has missed the chance to transform the town.  

The question is - why is it wasting its time and money on this bid when it could be doing something productive. 

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Davy51    233

Providing it is not detrimental to the town 's historic library, surely it is beneficial to have libraries in district hubs & leisure centres. Not all of the book readers feel confident enough to travel into town,many being of the older generation, but the inclusion of local libraries also encourages people out of their houses to enable them to meet their neighbours & potentially make new friends. In later years loneliness is a killer just like medical conditions & anything that alleviates such feelings should be encouraged.

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grey_man    165
1 hour ago, Davy51 said:

Providing it is not detrimental to the town 's historic library, surely it is beneficial to have libraries in district hubs & leisure centres. Not all of the book readers feel confident enough to travel into town,many being of the older generation, but the inclusion of local libraries also encourages people out of their houses to enable them to meet their neighbours & potentially make new friends. In later years loneliness is a killer just like medical conditions & anything that alleviates such feelings should be encouraged.

Absolutely but that's not what the council is doing. It's a bit of smoke and mirrors that allows it to disguise spending it is legally obliged to dedicate to libraries. The council's attitude to the library service has become very clear.

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6 hours ago, grey_man said:

Absolutely but that's not what the council is doing. It's a bit of smoke and mirrors that allows it to disguise spending it is legally obliged to dedicate to libraries. The council's attitude to the library service has become very clear.

The more places I visit the more I see libraries closing - just been to Parbold today and their library closed a few months ago so I think that they have to go to Skelmersdale while in Lichfield over the weekend the large library is about to close and be turned into accommodation. (Lichfield's population is only just half the size of Warrington and a City, with a Theatre, lovely main park with great facilities). The usage of libraries is much lower than it ever used to be but with the new technology and I'd suggest fewer people reading books for fiction or fact the demand has plummeted - how many book shops have closed in the last decade in Warrington? In general I think that Hubs are trying to incorporate the library service albeit in a smaller area - I imagine you can look up books and get them sent to your local library to collect, after all our library service in now computerised which is great when you want to renew your books and can't get there because of the reduced opening hours. 

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grey_man    165
44 minutes ago, Geoffrey Settle said:

The more places I visit the more I see libraries closing - just been to Parbold today and their library closed a few months ago so I think that they have to go to Skelmersdale while in Lichfield over the weekend the large library is about to close and be turned into accommodation. (Lichfield's population is only just half the size of Warrington and a City, with a Theatre, lovely main park with great facilities). The usage of libraries is much lower than it ever used to be but with the new technology and I'd suggest fewer people reading books for fiction or fact the demand has plummeted - how many book shops have closed in the last decade in Warrington? In general I think that Hubs are trying to incorporate the library service albeit in a smaller area - I imagine you can look up books and get them sent to your local library to collect, after all our library service in now computerised which is great when you want to renew your books and can't get there because of the reduced opening hours. 

The problem is a lack of imagination from councils. In 2014, William Sieghart produced a great report for Government into how libraries could be transformed to meet modern needs. It found that a third of libraries currently did not even offer visitors Wi-Fi. “So they’re slated for closure while everyone’s in the Costa opposite, where there’s a loo, hot drinks and internet access”, according to the report.

You wouldn't trust anybody in a management position at LiveWire to find their arse with both hands and they've clearly already decided the Libraries are going, especially those in the South so they couldn't be entrusted with this. But where's the vision?

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Confused52    10

That really does not align with the DCMS vision of public sector services using libraries as trusted community points for services. That kind of Hub is about promoting the trusted qualities of Library staff rather than dumbing them down into an adjunct of the non-statutory leisure facilities taking cash from the statutory library service. I cannot see the Secretary of State approving the livewire plan for reorganisation and DCMS have to be consulted. As for the ludicrous idea that footfall matters more than borrowing figures, the fact that people at Orford Hub wander in to the library and go out without taking out books or consulting staff does not make it successful! Livewire made up the numbers and criteria to support their core business of leisure. As we know, to a man who only has a hammer everything looks like a nail!

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Davy51    233

The days of a library being the centre of local knowledge & news are long gone ,even the leisure readers are not as frequent visitors as they used to be thanks to e books ,but the social aspect of hubs incorporating small libraries could be immeasurable in the well being of local populations. The old aspect of people socialising at night has dwindled because of less people drinking & the fear by some of going out at night.At to that lack of bus services & extortionate taxi fares & it is easy to see why going out at night is a no no for many people especially the elderly.

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grey_man    165
10 minutes ago, Davy51 said:

The days of a library being the centre of local knowledge & news are long gone ,even the leisure readers are not as frequent visitors as they used to be thanks to e books ,but the social aspect of hubs incorporating small libraries could be immeasurable in the well being of local populations. The old aspect of people socialising at night has dwindled because of less people drinking & the fear by some of going out at night.At to that lack of bus services & extortionate taxi fares & it is easy to see why going out at night is a no no for many people especially the elderly.

There's a lot that can be done with libraries, as the report I mentioned shows, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/388989/Independent_Library_Report-_18_December.pdf

I don't imagine anybody at LiveWire read it before trying to close them all, but it's all laid out there with case studies  

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grey_man    165

Geoff (and others)

I don't know whether you're still interested but this is the video supporting Stoke's bid. 

http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/video-why-would-anyone-want-to-live-in-stoke-on-trent/story-30236025-detail/story.html?641

I wouldn't even say Stoke is favourite but you can see Warrington's problem. Not only is it an inferior candidate, all I've seen so far from WBC are some t-shirts, a couple of press releases and a competition to get kids and amateur artists to send some work in to be pinned up in the council's offices. You have to wonder whether anybody thought any of this through before spending time and money on it.  

This is not to say that Warrington isn't a great place in many ways, but you just know if the council came up with a promotional video, it would be like this.
 

 

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grey_man    165

Having something to say and planning. The council has zero interest in culture and heritage. All it's interested in is itself and it's why this bid is happening. I know there are great people working at the council but the culture is all wrong. The message put out so far for this bid is amateurish and pathetic. Questions need to be asked when the bid fails.

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Evil Sid    229

Questions will be asked but they will probably get the usual answer. in fact they probably have a committee already set up to deal with the reasons why the bid failed. (always best to get your excuses sorted out first):rolleyes:

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grey_man    165

The excuse will be to say that it shows Warrington's ambition, when it actually shows the opposite. They can then get back to the real work of fitting as many people as possible into the borough.

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Davy51    233

Warrington should stick to what it does best, attracting business & providing jobs, Oh, & being the "nation's most central location".

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grey_man    165
31 minutes ago, Davy51 said:

Warrington should stick to what it does best, attracting business & providing jobs, Oh, & being the "nation's most central location".

Exactly. The whole city thing is a numbers game for the council. No need to have things like theatres, galleries, parks and libraries when you can just have lots of people, cars and business and retail parks and up your income and get your city status that way. 

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grey_man    165

I need to leave this subject alone now,  but before I do, the final thousand words painted by a picture. 

 

17903924_10154787205678882_4714991280271320612_n.jpg

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Agamemnon1    5
On 28/03/2017 at 1:43 PM, grey_man said:

All I can say is good luck. :) The chance of Warrington winning this bid is about the same chance I have of a night out with Scarlett Johansson. The council is wasting its money, time and resources on this bid at a time it says it doesn't have enough of any of them. If it wasn't for the word 'city' in the title, it probably wouldn't bother with it. 

By the way, I'm a Fellow of the RSA so I can tell you that it has a thriving regional events programme and its mission is for the whole of society so it's far from a 'southern' organisation. I'm glad they upgraded Warrington from bottom to fourth from bottom (or whatever it was), and Warrington is a great place to live and the people are wonderful, but this is not a town with a great deal of culture and its heritage has been badly neglected. It also doesn't have a council with any respect for those things.  

There are obviously people in the town who do, but when the council's head of planning is somebody who was happy to allow construction of a car park on top of Roman buildings in Chester, you haven't a hope. 

Hi grey_man. If your luck is anything like mine , You will probably end up with Ingamar Johansson and not Scarlett ! 

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Dizzy    293

Nice that she's supporting Warrington's bid I suppose  ......probably just wanting more publicity though really.

Not sure she really helps Warrington and the 'culture' aspect  very much though especially when things like this are splashed across the national news pages, internet and youtube though :lol:

Cringe....... shameful...... and pretty pathetic to be honest

 

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