Author Topic: Ever Declining Town Centre  (Read 40777 times)

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Offline the gorgon

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #140 on: April 23, 2015, 03:41:19 PM »

I've mentioned before the idea of turning the MI and old railway museum into a museum and art gallery.  Swindon has a great collection of modern art which might be enough encourage some visitors out of the outlet village if it was only 10mins walk away.

Have you asked Perkins or Renard? On the face of it that would be the best solution for everyone.

They have a vision for the area around theatre square and are busily applying for funding so they won't even bother listening.

Muggins - one potential solution for muggers alley, as it's fairly wide, is to convert part of the Hawksworth Way to Station Rd section into a one way road to provide a link to the railway station, with the remainder being a foot/cyclepath.  Having traffic going along that length will deter criminals.

Offline Phil Chitty

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #141 on: April 23, 2015, 04:23:31 PM »
Muggins - one potential solution for muggers alley, as it's fairly wide, is to convert part of the Hawksworth Way to Station Rd section into a one way road to provide a link to the railway station, with the remainder being a foot/cyclepath.  Having traffic going along that length will deter criminals.

Or even better get a few run over.

Offline Phil Chitty

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #142 on: April 23, 2015, 04:47:44 PM »
They have a vision for the area around theatre square and are busily applying for funding so they won't even bother listening.

Getting both English Heritage and National Lottery to stump up for converting the Mechanics to the Museum would be pretty easy.

Offline the gorgon

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #143 on: April 23, 2015, 06:24:24 PM »
Muggins - one potential solution for muggers alley, as it's fairly wide, is to convert part of the Hawksworth Way to Station Rd section into a one way road to provide a link to the railway station, with the remainder being a foot/cyclepath.  Having traffic going along that length will deter criminals.

Or even better get a few run over.

If cars and cycles are physically separated then it shouldn't be an issue.


Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #144 on: April 23, 2015, 08:44:41 PM »
I too am thinking that to save billions being spent on a new state of the art Museum and Art Gallery, there is a building that could be saved at less cost that would fit the purpose. Thus killing two bird with one stone.

A new museum and art gallery might cost millions (not billions), but saving the Mechanics will cost tens of millions. Refurbishing the Mechanics will be more expensive that starting from scratch.

The NMIPT website confirms that the MI has been valued at £1. The land is worth far more than that, so the building actually has a negative value. It is considered to be a liability not an asset. the website also states that it will cost upwards of £12 million to refurbish the building. This is an old figure so with inflation, the NMIPT's figure becomes £15-20 million. I have heard alternative estimates of £30 million plus.

I doubt that SBC are planning to spend £30 million on the art gallery.

I like the idea of a gallery and museum in the MI but without funding it is just an idea. The solution only kills two birds with one stone if SBC were liable for the MI. At the moment SBC are not responsible for that bird, so why take on the liability? If a private investor can't find a commercially use for the building then I doubt that SBC can. If SBC take over the building without a profitable use it is going to need money upfront and ongoing subsidy year after year.

Which services should we cut to pay for it?

The council had the opportunity to take control of the building in the past - before austerity. They didn't want it then so I doubt that they want it now that the bank account is empty. The council are disposing of leisure centres because of maintenance and running costs. If they are getting rid of modern buildings in moderate condition, why would they want to acquire a derelict building in need of significant work?

Offline Tobes

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #145 on: April 23, 2015, 09:50:17 PM »
Yup. Spot on.

Its time people stopped imagining solutions which are impractical, rely on inaccurate 'guestimates' and suppositions- and (at best) rely on huge windfalls from mysterious benefactors.

We'd all wish it were otherwise, but wishing just wastes time - 25 years now and counting.

If anyone really is serious about saving the building, its time they got on and delivered something tangeable.


I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Muggins

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #146 on: April 24, 2015, 09:37:15 AM »
"The council had the opportunity to take control of the building in the past - before austerity"

I think you'll find that they were made that offer in a time of 'Austerity'.  I seem to remember some period of Austerity in every blessed decade I've been on Earth. 

This is the most comfortable period of 'Austerity' I've lived through, with the most money floating about, it's just not public money, it's there though.

I think you'll find that the Council didn't buy it because it needed so much doing to it and guess what, being in a period of austerity, they didn't have the money to do it up - I could have given them the £1 that was being asked for the building! 

It was as usual the triumph of revenue over capital!
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Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #147 on: April 24, 2015, 09:56:26 AM »
Quote


The NMIPT website confirms that the MI has been valued at £1. The land is worth far more than that, so the building actually has a negative value.

Not a negative value.
It's worth the value of the land plus, the townwide community value, plus the nationanal heritage value, plus the trade link value, plus the tourism link to the town, plus the image factor of Swindon actually giving  damn about anything other than developers, etc
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #148 on: April 24, 2015, 06:16:55 PM »
Quote


The NMIPT website confirms that the MI has been valued at £1. The land is worth far more than that, so the building actually has a negative value.

Not a negative value.
It's worth the value of the land plus, the townwide community value, plus the nationanal heritage value, plus the trade link value, plus the tourism link to the town, plus the image factor of Swindon actually giving  damn about anything other than developers, etc

Therein lies the rub. 

The historical, social and heritage value we see in a place, building or artifact often has virtually zero commercial value.   This usually isn't a problem if the place, building or artifact has been given to a genuine heritage preservation organisation like English Heritage or the National Trust, and has been given to it in relatively good condition.  This isn't the case with the MI,  it's a money-pit of a  basket case.

The problem, (as I see it at least), is that it has been, and will continue to be, virtually impossible for any commercial investor(s) to balance the preservation requirements against the commercial imperative to see a profitable return on the investment.

At this point I reckon only a virtually 'no strings attached' re purposing of the building or National organised restoration campaign effort will save it from deliberate, (necessary on safety grounds), demolition.

I don't think that SBC should have much of a role in it, (apart from the legalities of planning), and I've been consistently against council involvement for as long as I've been interested in the MI.

What is particularly sad about the entire debaclé is that, (imho), the MI and railway village should be nationally recognised, nationally owned and nationally maintained and cherished as both the birthplace of the National Health Service and significant landmarks in our industrial and social heritage. Instead, small town 'born and bred' thinking and behaviour has contributed to the Institute becoming a monument to a greater disinterest and apathy and is crumbling at approximately the same rate as the NHS is being deliberately dismantled.

 


Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #149 on: April 25, 2015, 12:46:51 AM »
 :clap: :clap: :clap: Agree with all of that.

Offline the gorgon

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #150 on: April 25, 2015, 08:28:46 AM »
Quote


The NMIPT website confirms that the MI has been valued at £1. The land is worth far more than that, so the building actually has a negative value.


Not a negative value.
It's worth the value of the land plus, the townwide community value, plus the nationanal heritage value, plus the trade link value, plus the tourism link to the town, plus the image factor of Swindon actually giving  damn about anything other than developers, etc


Therein lies the rub. 

The historical, social and heritage value we see in a place, building or artifact often has virtually zero commercial value.   This usually isn't a problem if the place, building or artifact has been given to a genuine heritage preservation organisation like English Heritage or the National Trust, and has been given to it in relatively good condition.  This isn't the case with the MI,  it's a money-pit of a  basket case.

The problem, (as I see it at least), is that it has been, and will continue to be, virtually impossible for any commercial investor(s) to balance the preservation requirements against the commercial imperative to see a profitable return on the investment.

At this point I reckon only a virtually 'no strings attached' re purposing of the building or National organised restoration campaign effort will save it from deliberate, (necessary on safety grounds), demolition.

I don't think that SBC should have much of a role in it, (apart from the legalities of planning), and I've been consistently against council involvement for as long as I've been interested in the MI.

What is particularly sad about the entire debaclé is that, (imho), the MI and railway village should be nationally recognised, nationally owned and nationally maintained and cherished as both the birthplace of the National Health Service and significant landmarks in our industrial and social heritage. Instead, small town 'born and bred' thinking and behaviour has contributed to the Institute becoming a monument to a greater disinterest and apathy and is crumbling at approximately the same rate as the NHS is being deliberately dismantled.

 


Actually Tredegar in Wales (where Aneurin Bevan architect of the NHS came from) probably has a stronger claim to being the birthplace of the NHS. The fact he was a committee member of the Tredegar Workmen’s Medical Aid Society suggests that might have been the inspiration, I don't think he ever said "we are going to Swindon-ise you" either.
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health/going-tredegar-ise-you-bevan-told-2187499

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #151 on: April 25, 2015, 09:49:19 AM »
True that a number of medical funds were being set up in the 1870's.  Daniel Gooch kickstarted the GWR Medical Fund Hospital on Milton Road in Swindon in 1871 with a donation of £1,000.

Speaking about the creation of the NHS, Aneurin Bevan said, (of the GWR Medical Service):

"There it was, a complete health service, all we had to do was to expand it to embrace the whole country!".

He didn't mention Tredegar in that example, but I wouldn't really want to argue the semantics of who started what first because I think more important to note that, for the first time ever, 'common' people all over the UK were working together to build a health service which would benefit society as a whole, not just the working classes and members (and families) of trade unions, but everyone. 

The GWR Medical Fund Hospital closed in the early 1960's........ and was replaced by The Princess Margaret Hospital,  the first purpose-built general hospital in this country funded by the NHS.


Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #152 on: April 26, 2015, 12:10:05 AM »
Quote
The GWR Medical Fund Hospital closed in the early 1960's........ and was replaced by The Princess Margaret Hospital,  the first purpose-built general hospital in this country funded by the NHS.

And I believe that's now demolished and replaced with flats high quality apartments .
Just about sums up Swindon
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #153 on: April 26, 2015, 08:54:47 AM »
Yes, indeed,  but it was pretty much a concrete block with windows, no redeeming features not built to last.

And in a daft place for a town set to grow as it was in the 60's with traffic increase easily predicted. 
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Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #154 on: April 26, 2015, 11:16:29 AM »
Quote
The GWR Medical Fund Hospital closed in the early 1960's........ and was replaced by The Princess Margaret Hospital,  the first purpose-built general hospital in this country funded by the NHS.

And I believe that's now demolished and replaced with flats high quality apartments .
Just about sums up Swindon

Are you seriously suggesting that the PMH site shouldn't have been redeveloped?

Option A
Preserve PMH as a monument to the NHS.

Option B
Government sell the site and use the money to help fund the NHS.
Thousands of people have new homes.
A greenfield site elsewhere is saved.

Option B is the clear winner. A victory for common sense.




Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #155 on: April 26, 2015, 02:49:05 PM »
And at the same time more or less, they shut down the trading estate just down the road, was it called the isis T Estate?, loss of a few good jobs but houses more important, kep the back door open and let a few more in and then well need even more homes..

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Ever Declining Town Centre
« Reply #156 on: April 28, 2015, 10:12:48 AM »

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