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Working for a regional theatre in Farnham

Waverley's Cultural Strategy
Waverley Borough Council
Waverley Arts and Entertainment

WBC Demonstration1st October 2008 Waverley Councillors voted in favour of the East Street development which demands the demolition of the Redgrave Theatre. The most important planning application in Farnham’s history has been passed by an overwhelming majority of 33 votes to 1. 
6,000 objectors said NO to this proposal but their voices were unheard.

Waverley's approach to conservation

Brightwells House 1995 Brightwell House 2004

...Brightwell House before and after Waverley's treatment

Bowling Green after Waverley  Bowling Green befoe Waverley
...and the Bowling Green before and after Waverley's treatment

As custodians of Grade II listed Brightwell House and its listed curtilage, Waverley Borough Council has been responsible for the dereliction and destruction of these facilities. The last 10 years has seen the once charming Brightwells Gardens, bowling green and theatre become a target for vandals and despite the Council's efforts to 'tidy up' the site we are left with these ugly scars. In 1999 the former Redgrave Theatre Trust handed over £21,000 for repairs to Brightwell House, when they surrendered their lease to Waverley. The Council did not carry out these repairs and this historic house now needs restoration costing around £2million, much of it due to water penetration.

January 2010
Waverley have demolished their unwanted properties around Brightwell House and have laid turf to improve visual aspect. The Redgrave cannot be demolished by the Council as it is a listed building. Permission has been granted for the developer, CNS to demolish the theatre as part of their particular scheme. CNS say work on the site may not start until late 2011 due to the crisis in the financial markets.

A new Cultural Strategy for Waverley

Waverley Borough Council has issued their the Cultural Strategy on their website at www.waverley.gov.uk the Council say this information is just for 'communication' and not for consultation. Recently there was wide consultation with the Public on Sports and Leisure Centre facilities but this time the public is not being asked for their views. Many people will just not be aware of what is on offer or of what is at stake regarding the arts. We need your action now to tell WBC.

There is scant reference to theatre at all in the document, except for the grand-sounding Waverley Theatre Forum, the group set up to help amateur societies to work together more effectively. In no way does that support professional live theatre and its aspiration to provide excellence nor does it ask the public what it thinks of what is on offer.

Having a Cultural Strategy is not a mandatory element for a Council. But a focus on the Arts would be a wise and valuable counterbalance to have as part of your Council’s Offer to the public who elected you.

If you too feel that WBC have got it wrong, please write to Kelvin Mills Director of Leisure, Waverley Borough Council, the Burys, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1HR. In considering a Cultural Strategy, tell him they need to focus on the Consumer and not solely on those existing organisations who receive Council grant support.

Waverley's Cultural Strategy
Tell them that it’s a basic tenet of market research that:
Understanding Needs must always start with the Consumer, not the Supplier

Waverley extends CNS contract for two more years

4th November 2008
Waverley Borough Council decided to extend the contract with Crest Nicholson Sainsbury for another 2 years to allow time for Compulsory Purchase Orders to be implemented and for the economic conditions to improve.

The Council resolved to carry out rolling viability checks on the development before the contract becomes unconditional.

FTA says: The Council claims to be 'in charge' of this development but we ask, who can predict the outcome? In this uncertain financial climate, other options may lie ahead.

East Street Plans not to be called in

28th October 2008

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government issued a statement giving her decision not to call in the East Street plans stating they are ‘not of wider than local interest’. 

Waverley decline a replacement theatre

29th October 2008

Waverley Borough Council declined to include a 106 agreement (a binding condition) with the developers for a replacement theatre.
FTA says: Now that these plans have been approved, WBC is driving ahead regardless of the public’s wishes and the opportunity to bring serious improvement to the plans.