Friday, 20 November 2015

The opaque world of funding East Devon's arts and culture

What does an authority chose to subsidize?
Futures Forum: "Not fit for purpose" ... What shall we do with the unwanted Exmouth beach huts? ... Bulldozing one set of assets whilst subsidising another

A piece from the EDW blog starts by comparing the subsidies given to 'the arts and the community' by the District Council to:


18 NOV 2015

Yet another example of East Devon District Council cherry-picking which assets it sells and which it keeps.

You might think it was simple: sell those that don’t make money and keep those that do. But it isn’t that simple when it comes to the arts and the community.

Money was poured into the Honiton Beehive complex (£300,000 plus and maybe much more gifted, not loaned), the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, also in Honiton, has never made money but we are not allowed to know exactly how much it loses and the Manor Pavilion (Sidmouth) is similarly a financial mystery.

EDDC hived off its leisure facilities to Leisure East Devon years ago but we are never too sure how much that company still receives in subsidy – information is scant.

But not so Seaton Town Hall – the town’s only arts and entertainment venue run by local social enterprise company Seaton’s Voice and called The Seaton Gateway.

Seaton to lose its Voice? | East Devon Watch

The latest Pulman's Weekly highlights the issues for Seaton:

SEATON: Councillor brands town hall advice 'perverse' | Pulman's View from Colyton

SEATON: Town council to press on with town hall transfer process | Pulman's View from Seaton

In Honiton, the Beehive Centre has courted considerable controversy this year:

Honiton councillor resigns over Beehive Community Complex | Exeter Express and Echo
Questions raised over finances of £2m Honiton Beehive centre ahead of independent audit | Exeter Express and Echo
Councillors call for police to investigate Honiton Beehive Community Complex finances | Exeter Express and Echo

And whilst the Thelma Hubert Gallery in Honiton has done very well
Honiton gallery welcomes record weekly attendance - News - Midweek Herald

... and whilst the subsidies have been reduced
23 September 2015 - East Devon annual report puts spotlight on council’s outstanding delivery, particularly in housing - East Devon

... nevertheless, the District Council is still committed to putting money into this particular asset - by way of the EDL:
Futures Forum: "Not fit for purpose" ... What shall we do with the unwanted Exmouth beach huts? ........ Bulldozing one set of assets whilst subsidising another

There have been uncertainties about the future of Sidmouth's Manor Pavilion:

Popular Sidmouth theatre is ‘set to survive and thrive’ - News - Sidmouth Herald
Town asks for cash to take over theatre | Exeter Express and Echo
SIDMOUTH: Plans for theatre trust move forward - View from Sidmouth

Meanwhile, in Exmouth, there are plans afoot for the 'leisure facilities' on the seafront:

22 June 2015 - £18 m waterfront transformation beckons for Exmouth - East Devon
End is nigh for Exmouth businesses as plans unveiled for seafront transformation | Exeter Express and Echo

And so much of this 'art and culture' is badly designed:
Futures Forum: The Carbuncle Cup Prize for East Devon's new buildings

See also:
Futures Forum: "Tourism rises" ... but questions remain for East Devon

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