Friday, 13 July 2007

What the letters say

My elector Anthony Platt has the first letter in today's Bury Free Press. Anthony is a regular BFP correspondent, and as leader of "the 32" has been a long-term critic of the Cattle Market development (and the closure of the Manor House Museum). Not surprising then that he should have something to say about the statement attributed to a Centros Miller unnamed "spokesman".

However, he goes on to make the same mistake as so many others have done, in thinking that the recent Council resolution about naming the development could have successfully "required" Centros Miller to turn back the clock, start the process of consultation again, and presumably change their marketing name. He also repeats the suggestion that Conservative councillors "voted down" the motion, when in fact we voted for something else.

I wonder if this process of renaming would have produced something as imaginative as Paul Saunders' Parkway Centre?

It is interesting to see another claim on the Market Cross (Woolwich) from Ronald Hynd, this time for the creation of a clock museum, while more public lavatories could be housed in an empty shop. He says: "Let's spend a little on culture and lavatories" - but we already spend more than most district councils on culture (over £750,000 p.a. on the Arts and Heritage alone) and as much as many on public loos (£314,500 p.a.) The former Manor House Museum cost about £250,000 each year, resulting in a subsidy of nearly £25 per visitor. Every £1 on Band D council tax produces £37,000.

As they say in the USA, you can do the math. So would you like your council tax to go up to provide these two facilities?


21st Century Mummy said...

Whatever becomes of the ground floor of the Market Cross, I feel it would be beneficial to have something that continues to draw people into what is currently the centre of Bury St Edmunds.

Loos would do the job nicely, but personally I would prefer something that is cultural, complementing the Art Gallery that sits above and makes a fine use of what is a beautiful building.

If it were used as an enterprising arts centre (not just a gallery)for emerging graduate artists and craftspeople it would fulfill such a purpose and provide a creative platform to launch a thousand talents.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

Thanks, 21stCM.

Since leaving your comment I have added some indicative figures to my post. At a rough guess I would say that your idea would cost over £100,000 p.a., excluding staffing and maintenance costs which could double that. In other words over £5 on council tax which equals a 3.25% rise for Band D.

Sorry to sound so mercenary!

(Would you agree with my figures as a rough guide David?)

21st Century Mummy said...

Paul, I don't think you're what your talking about is 50p a month? I think might be able to have a couple less chocolate bars a month to afford that ;-)

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

Well put 21stCM! - but would each of the other 37,000 or so council taxpayers, particularly those from Haverhill or the outlying villages?

colin said...

The maths seem a little on the high side paul, are we using the ASDA model or the local authority one?, have we only seen one side of the cost model, on the plus side there would be savings else where.
But then some one presented one sided figures for the closure of Manor House, forgetting the removal and storage costs, how much a week did that over sight cost us ???

how about open air french toilets in the centre of the market, no better idea in the centre of the cattle market developemnt then at least some vistors will go there.

david said...

Paul - I don't want to get dragged into a debate about the 2008/2009 budget until Policy Development meets on 05 September.

However, if I wanted to look at a clock, I would go to Sneezums. They have gots lots - and watches too! How exciting!

21st Century Mummy said...

Don't you just love the name Sneezums? I like to go past it just to say...atishoo! ah bless me...

P.S. Paul...okay, in that case, I'll save myself 4 chocolate bars a month if that'll help. ;-)

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

Colin - my figures are on the low side actually, and the fact that David hasn't yet criticised them means they must be half reasonable.

ASDA or council? I guess there's an obscure joke there somewhere. I love your comments for sheer whackiness!

You'll find all the costs you think were forgotten in the Heritage Review document. That's another of the many areas where David and I agree.

Love the French loos idea!

21stCM - what are we going to do with 74,000 chocolate bars a month???

david said...

The Manor House Museum was bound to fail right from the start, and when the councillors who originally supported its creation had in the main moved on, the next generation of local worthies lacked the will to defend the losses incurred.

A similar fate awaits the new public hall when we are all pushing up the daisies, but 'der management' are so locked into the whole concept that they can't see it.

An even worse example of a folly is the multi-deck on Parkway, which has lost money every year since it opened.

Given that, you are entitled to think that SEBC wouldn't even consider a plan to build a second multi-deck - but you'd be wrong!

david said...

Breaking News! Ernie Broom has just dropped by with my badge 'Yes! I want a new ASDA store in Bury St Edmunds' as seen on page one of the BFP.

I will be wearing it with pride from now on.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

The multi-storey has at last come into its own.