Thursday, October 19, 2006

Winter Gardens concerns

I haven't seen the new plans for the Winter Gardens yet, my chance comes next week on Tuesday. However a statement made on behalf of the Conservative Group on Bournemouth Borough Council by our group leader, Stephen MacLoughlin, today gives a good summary of my concerns:

'The one good thing that came out of the glitzy launch of the new Winter Gardens (Echo report 17th October) was the exciting range of events suggested by the Bournemouth Council's arts partners. With the town centre practically taken over by bars and clubs in recent years, we certainly need a greater range of cultural activity to appeal to a broader cross section of people.

The town could well get precisely that if the the aspirations of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Dance South West, the Arts Institute at Bournemouth and Bournemouth University are made a reality. Of course, there is the risk that such 'high-brow' cultural events may not pay, which would almost certianly mean the public would be called on upon to subsidise them through their Council Tax. The Council would then have to take a view on how much it could afford in the years ahead.

However, the immediate questions for the Council Tax payers of Bournemouth are, 'Do we need a new building costing £15million? Are there existing facilities which, with some investment, could be used instead (e.g. the Pavilion complex)?'

The people of Bournemouth and the Council now need to take a long, hard look at the plans for the new Winter Gardens because any mistakes now could be very expensive in the future.'

Well said Stephen.

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