YOUR SAY - Artrix dominates this week's double letters page - The Droitwich Standard

YOUR SAY - Artrix dominates this week's double letters page

Droitwich Editorial 24th Feb, 2023   0

ARTRIX and its future has dominated this week’s letters pages as residents had their say on the need to get it back up-and-running.

Here are some of the many we received –

 

‘Artrix was one of our reasons for choosing Bromsgrove’

WE RELOCATED to Bromsgrove in 2015.




A big part of the decision to choose Bromsgrove was Artrix.

At the time, the town had a lovely vibe, with several restaurants in the town centre and Artrix within walking distance of our home.


We went to the venue several times each year, both to big gigs in the main hall, and to the small room that housed the comedy club.

The only thing that would have made the venue better (in my view) was if it had a restaurant offering pre-gig meals.

I would happily pay more than 20p on my council tax to see this venue back in action. It was such a great venue and for us, it is sorely missed.

Bromsgrove is no longer the place we bought into, with Prezzo and Pizza Express both gone from the town centre as well as the demise of Artrix, and a void in their place.

The centre of town now feels like a hostile environment on a weekend evening, and there are no mainstream eating venues.

The new places that have sprung up to replace the restaurants don’t cater for people who want a relaxing meal, they are basically drinking and grazing venues, catering for teenagers and young adults.

It no longer feels like the kind of place to wander down to for a meal and a couple of drinks, it feels like a war zone.

Please help with the Artrix cause. The town is infinitely better with it than without it.

Linda Mingay

‘Extra council tax would be small price to pay’

I WOULD be more than happy to pay extra money on my council tax bill to reopen the Artrix.

It’s a brilliant venue and we have missed it very much

Melanie Kirby

‘As a pensioner, I would rather not pay’

YOUR article states ‘the lowest earners were exempt from paying council tax so would be unaffected’.

As a state pensioner my wife and I pay all of our council tax so would have to pay this levy – this is totally unacceptable

D Beckford

‘Modest amount for big arts reward’

WE SUPPORT the proposal for a modest amount of the district council rates to fund Artrix and are pleased some councillors are pursuing this.

Overheads and revenue operational costs, obviously, will require careful consideration.

An Artrix trustee recently informed me, perhaps, £200,000 may be required and external sponsors may be necessary.

Our only reservations are the chosen location may too far from the town centre and we found cars’ parking charges with no cash payment machines made by the local college frustrating shortly before the enforced closure.

I was also pleased to see some local arts groups’ letter requesting the re-opening for their use.

We consider the venue to be the only remaining ‘Jewel’ in a much reduced Bromsgrove ‘Crown’ and cannot understand how other county towns still have viable facilities.

Ralph and Sarah Gordon

‘Bromsgrove District Council needs to show Artrix some love’

WE LOVED Artrix and used it many times.

It would definitely be worth it to us to pay slightly more on our council tax for its return. However Bromsgrove Council needs to really help support it, in all ways not just financial. Bromsgrove feels a lesser place for the lack of an arts venue.

Sarah Davies

Artrix one of many amenities lost in Bromsgrove

THE AMENITIES which Bromsgrove has lost over very recent years is lamentable.

Artrix is a modern versatile amenity for the arts which once heralded Bromsgrove as a vibrant town with a forward looking community.

Look at recent amenity losses, buses to Birmingham, pressures on transport, schools and health services to mention a few from which we all suffer.

It is always significant to read how new estates are advertised to welcome buyers new to the town.

The amenities that are listed in brochures as selling points often no longer exist or are being depleted rapidly.

Surely it is time local needs are addressed by cross party support and political party bickering is left at the door when we all need these amenities.

In your article deputy council leader Geoff Denaro is quoted as saying: “This has not yet been debated and is coming up at council next week” and: “I imagine it would also take a great deal more than £92,000 – or one per cent on the council tax – to get Artrix reopened again.”

A more downbeat reflection on a proposal which needs maximum co-operative cross party thought and consideration, real thought not biased, is hard to imagine.

A new idea is jumped upon before even being considered and no alternative appears to warrant public view.

No wonder we are often left with half-baked ill thought out schemes which leave the future of the town in such a mess.

Graham Dallas

Many people would be happy to pay more towards Artrix’s return

Myself and numerous other Bromsgrove residents would be very happy to pay extra council tax in order for Artrix to reopen.

Please pass this on to local council

Sue Forrest

Wish WE had Artrix

YOU HAVE a great newspaper and really got us interested in this week’s headline story.

We, my wife and I, live on the edge of Northfield and we used to love visiting the Artrix either for on stage events or art exhibitions.

We even had some of our Covid jabs there.

Crikey I wish we’d got an Artrix up here so to hear that your once wonderful facility is going to die unless the public start lobbying is very, very sad news.

In this time of political bleakness the only thing we’ve got to keep us going is the arts for our mental wellbeing etc.

Apart from the pandemic the thing that killed the venue for us was the totally stupid special phone app parking system.

It was just what you needed on a dark winter’s night to turn up for a show and find that you needed to be Brain of Britain to park your car legally. So, get that sorted, find the finance and we’ll be there supporting you. That’s a promise.

Please don’t let the Artrix go forever it’s too important!!

Mike and Fran Vines

Northfield

 

Artrix such an important asset

I WRITE in response to the article in the Standard to say that if there was an option to reopen The Artrix, I would definitely be prepared to pay extra council tax to facilitate this.

It was such an important asset for the town and it has been greatly missed by so many people.

Mrs K Green

Appalled at lack of support

BEING a semi-professional musician for nearly 40 years I am appalled at how these venues have been treated especially during the Covid epidemic.

I have performed at this venue numerous times and supported the local community with schools and such whilst doing shows there.

The arts and music industry has not been supported by the government, especially again during the restrictions, however they wanted us to go out on the streets to perform for people who were restricted to their homes for no pay?

By day I’m a civil servant and have been for 27 years I’m proud to do what I do but my biggest passion is performing on stage with fellow musicians.

I don’t get paid a lot for the work I’m doing but that’s not why I do it. I love seeing peoples faces light up with enjoyment.

Let’s keep live entertainment and get the Artrix opened as it should be.

Mark Jackson

Artrix return would also boost economy as well as the arts

I AM A trustee of Bromsgrove Arts Alive, which a fortnight ago wrote an open letter to Bromsgrove District Council re the future of Artrix, but this letter is written in my private capacity as someone who, from April 2005 to June 2016, was closely involved with the arts centre in both paid and volunteer roles.

My understanding from that period, and I am open to factual correction, is that –

Artrix had been granted only a 25-year lease from the council from 2005. This made it very difficulty for it to obtain any grants or financial assistance from any other bodies which would want a longer term commitment.

The £61,000 annual grant from Bromsgrove District Council from 2016 onwards, referred to in the article in last week’s Standard, ended in 2018, and from then on it would have proved again very difficult to obtain further external funding if the council, which owned the venue, was not prepared to give an ongoing financial commitment.

Thus a long term commitment of a percentage of the council tax to assist in the operation of the venue would increase the opportunities of obtaining financial assistance from other sources.

What always has seem to be overlooked by the district council from day one of Artrix is the positive economic benefits to the town and district of having an arts centre.

I went to The Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury recently to see Fairport Convention, a band which had played at Artrix on a couple of occasions.

The adjacent parking was free after 5.30pm, there were taxis bringing audience members to the venue, the restaurants and bars in close proximity were busy and the theatre was full, with people buying drinks, coffees and ice creams before the show and in the interval.

In another article in last week’s Standard, it was stated by the council the redevelopment of the BirdBox at the bottom end of the High Street would create a new ‘town centre destination’, ‘strengthening the evening economy’. Similarly the reopening of Artrix would stimulate also the ‘evening economy’ at the top end of the High Street.

An Arts Council report in the early 2010s stated for every £1 spent in an arts centre, an additional £4 was spent in the local area. Thus, the council could consider running Artrix at a budgeted loss, knowing that, as a result of it being a lively and popular venue (and once it had become established from about 2010 onwards it was never a problem selling tickets for shows), significant revenues would be generated for local businesses elsewhere in the town and district.

Will the council have the vision to do so ?

Nick Taylor

Disgraceful that town does not have a theatre

I WOULD absolutely be prepared to pay. Artrix was brilliant and I was a regular visitor. Every town around here has a theatre.

Even Droitwich has one – it’s disgraceful that Bromsgrove doesn’t!

Judith Tipper

We need Artrix back

IN ANSWER to your question about whether people would pay extra council tax to help get Artrix back – we would, most definitely.

We really do need our theatre / art space back again.

Very much missed.

Tina Hunt

I’d pay extra to bring Artrix back

I WOULD be happy to increase my payment by 20p or more if required to get the Artrix back.

Lisa Bayliss

It’s a scandal Artrix has not reopened

ARTRIX continues to be an embarrassment for a town with an enviable cultural heritage in arts and community engagement.

It is tragic the huge resource that is Artrix is wasted by the prevarication and dithering of the trustees – two thirds of whom are district councillors, including Councillor King who ironically was pictured outside the Artrix supporting a third party plan to repurpose the theatre.

The trustees commissioned a report on the future of the Artrix through Birmingham University and the results of which have never been made public, such lack of transparency from the trustees and councillors alike speak volumes..

Its continued absence is nothing less than a scandal.

Mike Smith

 

EDITORS COMMENT 

YOU ONLY have to look at these two letters pages to see the strength of public feeling on Artrix and its future.

By the time you read this, the centre will have been discussed by the district council and the holding trust.

As many have said, Bromsgrove is one of the few places in Worcestershire – and the Midlands – to not have a designated arts venue.

We need a plan in place to get it reopened for the good of the town’s arts and people’s enjoyment.

 

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