Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Benefits of a Vibrant, Culturally Rich City

Checking through the minutes of the actual council meeting which presented the West Park Centre Options Appraisal I find that the court, I mean the council, did indeed agree with (or rather say yes to] the Report's recommendation to consider two options: partial demolition or total annihilation. So Corporate Property Management (the very name conjures up the antithesis of West Park has been about!) writes up five notional options then dismisses three of them, without debate. Eh! How does that work?

In the situation we find ourselves in i.e. with a thriving council arts centre specialising in

1. music for children and adults with special/additional needs and including [rather a nice role reversal]main stream learners, and with the toilets, hygiene suites, disabled minibus parking and access

2. housing a music service [office, rehearsal and performance areas and storage], and

3. housing four of Leeds main classical ensembles [orchestras, opera and choruses and storage and parking]

in a building needing a makeover (and especially its shoddy electrics putting right), having endured  a "temporary closure", but where finances may be an issue, there should be three simple options:

1. Destroy everything (in the name of health and safety)
2. Keep some of it (in the name of compromise and money saving)
3. Refurbish the lot (after listening to reason)

Now I have not here even touched upon the 30-odd other regular [part-time and full] users of the centre]. They are well documented earlier on in this blog.

But the beauty of the West Park users is that we don't have to go looking for them, for tenants. They all want permanent  offices and storage space, and regular rehearsal and performance space and free parking.

So either you want the Culture and the Arts or you don't. You want to care for your most vulnerable children  and adults. or you don't. You want to care for your minorities [Travellers, Irish Arts, unions, gamblers, weight-watchers] or you don't. And actually I think that Leeds does.

"All people of Leeds will enjoy the benefits of a vibrant, culturally rich city".

So, what we are saying is, if you care for these things, then you won't close down the very building that have given them life all these years, or make it so small that it cannot function.

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