Monday 23 July 2007

Arrowcroft's True Feelings About The Warehouse

My thanks to V, who sent me this email.

It very neatly points out the contradiction between Arrowcroft's recent claim that they now want the Warehouse Theatre in their project, and the real viewpoint of Arrowcroft.

The viability of Fairfield Halls also seems to be in dispute as well.

"Dear Ken,

Re Nicholas Hai's 'Warehouse welcomed' (quoted on Catarena Message Board from Marple), you would not think so to read the "put-downs" on both the Warehouse Theatre and Fairfield Halls in Arrowcroft's submission to the Inspector for the public inquiry!

For those without the "benefit" of this document, I quote from it below.

Retail and Leisure

10.50 (Apart from the Vue Cinema and Clocktower) "in-town entertainment and leisure facilities are rather dated, not market facing and lacking in quality.

The Warehouse Theatre is a small arts-based facility which has lost grant support. The Fairfield Halls which was at one time a leading venue attracting major popular acts such as the Beatles and Rolling Stones" [the arena is not big enough to attract the modern equivalent either !] "now suffers from declining audiences, inadequate facilities and too small a capacity for many current touring acts. We understand that Croydon Council is currently considering the future of Fairfield Hall and Peggy Ashcroft Theatre."

Economic Benefit of Arena

2.5.7 "The Warehouse is a small arts based (80 seats due to health and safety restrictions) facility which has lost grant support."

1.2.7 "The Fairfield Halls have also been losing audiences and are not financially sustainable as they stand."

2.5.5 "The published accounts of Fairfield Halls show that it has been highly dependent upon grants of one sort or another for many years." [How many years ago did they have their council grant cut to nil because of council overspending and the need to balance the budget?] "It is in need of essential refurbishment and updating as it lacks air conditioning and many features are outworn.

Attracting an investment partner to fund these improvements would be difficult and it seems unlikely without large scale government funding that Fairfield Halls will be brought up to modern standards in the near future."

I suppose giving the Inspector the impression that Fairfield is on its last legs gives them the excuse for pinching all their parking spaces!

But then again Dudley Mead (Cabinet member for Finance and Major Projects) in a letter to me dated 12 April 2007 said "Please also note that the Fairfield is continuing to make great progress - with rising audiences."

So who's right?

I've been there six times in six months, and five times the seats were all full, or almost full

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Truth - how dare you point this all out.

Fairfield - Rest in Peace if the arena gets built.

Warehouse - 'generous offer of £3Million', but guess who gets the money if the Warehouse can not put together a robust business plan for a new theatre (following a three or four year decant from the site)?

Yep. Arrowcroft. So what incentive does Arrowcroft have to actually make their arrangement with the Warehouse work? £3Million says they have an incentive to stop it working!

Stanhope on the other hand have to hand their £3million+ over to the council for arts related projects on site.

Once again Arrowcroft are playing in the shadows.

IF Arrowcroft really want to commit to the Arts in Croydon they would sponsor something Arts related in Croydon (like Stanhope does) or something community orientated like the learning centre at Crystal Palace Football Club (like Stanhope).

The odd thing in all this is that the Fairfield Halls have not (yet) objected to the Arena. Perhaps the councillors that sit on its board (Cllr Dudley Mead is one of them) stop them opposing council policy?

Now that the council has guaranteed £300,000 capital expenditure on the Fairfield for the next three years, perhaps the board of fairfield will recognise the real risks to their business that an Arena provides and do the right thing by their charity and formally oppose the planning application and the CPO.