Does Redditch need an arts and culture centre?

First published in News

RESIDENTS are being asked to have their say on whether Redditch could support a centre for the arts and whether townsfolk actually want one in the borough.

Residents are being asked what the think an arts centre in Redditch could look like and how strongly they feel about the matter in a three-point survey just launched as part of the review.

Redditch councillor for Headless Cross and Oakenshaw, Gay Hopkins, who chairs the overview and scrutiny review, encouraged residents to share their views. “What we are focusing on here is whether people believe that an arts and culture centre should be established in the borough and, if so, what activities should be available at this type of centre.

“We are keen to hear what residents think and so we are consulting this winter. Please feel free to take part and let us know your views.”

The short survey is available to complete at www.redditchbc.gov.uk/oswork and paper copies of it are available on request from all of the council’s customer service centres.

Members of the review will also be attending a number of local PACT (Partners and Communities Together) meetings and the Church Hill, Matchborough, town centre, Winyates and Woodrow carol services to discuss the matter.

The final report due in March next year will help to determine how feasible it could be for an Arts and Culture Centre to be established in Redditch, as the four borough councillors and one co-opted member representing local arts that make up the group look at sites where a centre could potentially be based, as well as what finances may be required to establish and maintain such a facility.

The results of the review will go to the council’s decision-making executive committee.

Launched in October 2012 the review is the latest piece of overview and scrutiny work helping to improve local services by monitoring the work of the council and making recommendations on the way services are provided by the council

Although supportive of the arts, Redditch MP Karen Lumley does not think an art centre is a priority. “I believe that arts are an important aspect of society for many people and can help bring communities together.

"In these difficult economic times however, I do not feel that an arts centre should be a priority for the use of taxpayers’ money.

“However, I do very much support the use of funds and grants from organisations specifically dedicated to arts funding and would encourage the council to look at this."

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