Author Topic: SBC [Meaning Council Tax Payers] May Face £400,000+ Mechanics Institute Bill  (Read 64215 times)

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Offline Muggins

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Do you think then, that although some may think the Trust is 'stuck in it's ways' that the wrong message has got out?

Because the Trust's rep/s have been very successful at tunring up at almost everything over the years and making sure that some publicity or other is handed aorund and that some part of the meetings has received verbal information.  So much so that we cannot say that we did not know about the Trust and it's planned. Are you saying we are bored with it? Have you heard a groan go up?

Are people against the idea of the Trust itself or the people who represent it? And that's as personal as I'm going to get.

Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

ph1lc

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Or are people just against the eyesore that it the Mechanics, any way past caring whether it is saved or bulldozed.

Offline Muggins

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Some maybe, but most not I suspect. At least for the time being it's a tucked away eyesore.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline I Could Do That

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Antipathy to the trust is simple - if 4 years ago they had not existed Mr Singh would have got planning permission and the blot would have been removed from the landscape.

But 4 years down the line, despite the trust's continual sniping nothing has happened , and now the taxpayers of the borough look to be £400K out of pocket.

Some of us don't want the "blot" removed from the landscape.
Mr Singhs' abhorrent plan would have sliced the building in half (not just the bit people don't like), and buried it under a characterless pile of crap.
That's why he escaped getting ODPMd, by the skin of his teeth. That's also why he went into a sulk, removed the tiles, from the roof that was being repaired. Also the reason he should pay for the repairs.
What Mikeheal says is also true. There are grants and funds available, if only SBC would work with the trust, and recognise the significance of the MI.
In this respect, the trust has done extremely well, taking on the giants, to preserve the status of the MI.
It's also public knowledge, that they have submitted their plans, which meet the criteria, for a listed building.
Those plans have been fully approved.
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Offline Karsten

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I think it time to try to raise funds and thought I'd do some research.

Nationwide have a bank account for charities, clubs etc.
http://www.nationwide.co.uk/savings/business_accounts/treasurerstrust/apply.htm

I will give £50 pounds to start an account, if at least another 10 people will form a Mechanics Restoration club or perhaps a ltd company. 
The purpose is to raise minimum £50k to match EH's 200k.
If the money is raised and EH and SBC will not take ownership and then transfer it, the money will be given to SBC to pass to Swindon charities.
Simples.

Are there 10 people interested enough to think outside the box?

Anyone tried building 3D buildings in google earth?  I think it's time the MI gets a much bigger audience.
A basic 3D model of it, could be part of a new Lottery bid and would help convince EH and SBC.
Anyone know who is in charge of access to the building in SBC.
It could be possible to take photos of the insides and create a google earth walk thru of the building.
People can then see inside safe and sound and click on webpages and perhaps leave comments and ideas.
The account can be listed on the bottom of webpages.

15yrs is too long to wait, and its time to finish what SBC has relucantly started.
I'm sure they wish there was someone willing to take on the building.

Anyone wishing to talk about this can call me or email.
Karsten@swindon.org.uk     616813.


Offline I Could Do That

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On the face of it, I am willing to put £1,000 into that type of scheme.
In theory, that leaves it open to 49 other interested civilians, maybe small business sponsorship (in return for a bit of publicity), or hundreds of other volunteers.
Where the scheme falls flat on it's face, is that if SBC don't take ownership, then EH will not cough up any funding, and lottery funding will also be blocked.
I certainly would not trust SBC to donate my money to a suitable cause (remember the WiFi).
I would also prefer to help the trust, and get SBC and EH on side, as I feel the trust have saved the building (against all odds), from a much worse fate.
Again, my one criticism would be, that it hasn't been put across, to the general public, that we (Swindon ancestory) essentially paid for the building in the first place, to benefit the town.
It then went on to benefit the town (indeed the nation) extremely well.
Of course, this historical "image repair" is also the duty of our civic "leaders", and local media.
The Adver portrayed the skyscraper burial as "The Mechanics' is about to be saved". A bit like "saving" someone from drowning, by tying weights to their feet.
Once restored, Swindon would lose it's crap image.
No amount of media "Pride in Swindon" campaigns will have any impact, if the gems, and very roots of the town, are pilfered by developers.
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Offline Tobes

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No amount of media "Pride in Swindon" campaigns will have any impact, if the gems, and very roots of the town, are pilfered by developers.

Wise and true words - the evidence is all around us. That said, lack of action saving the MI is no better, especially if the place is doomed by a grade 2 status which renders private finance almost impossible.

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Do you think then, that although some may think the Trust is 'stuck in it's ways' that the wrong message has got out?

If the Trust is stuck in its ways (and all the observable evidence and many of Daniels responses seem to suggest that they are) - then the 'wrong' message hasn't gone out - merely a truthful one which relates to their vision, one which the majority of people can see is nothing more than a fanciful pipe dream. Clinging to an impossible dream is as dangerous to the MIs future as any developers plans - possibly more so.

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Because the Trust's rep/s have been very successful at tunring up at almost everything over the years and making sure that some publicity or other is handed aorund and that some part of the meetings has received verbal information.  So much so that we cannot say that we did not know about the Trust and it's planned. Are you saying we are bored with it? Have you heard a groan go up?

It seems to me that anyone except the most idealistic dreamers can see that the Trusts plans are simply not credible. They HAVE NO FINANCE to back their plans. It renders their vision simply that of a bunch of idealists, not realists. Every time they raise publicity but don't actually achieve anything, it simply reminds everyone of the collective failure to get anything done. Its the equivalent to 'compassion fatigue'. Every time the subject is raised, it does indeed seem to result in a collective groan. People have long since stopped believing anything will ever happen except that the building will continue to decay.

Folks like Ph1 have reached the stage where they'd prefer risking throwing the baby out with the bath water, level the place, and get on with things. I utterly disagree with the sentiment - but I can understand why many of the people of this town might go with that thought. After all, why not? This town is already a dumping ground for the unimaginative and the un-cultured. Some seem to believe that yet another lump of concrete makes no difference now.

As for their 'awareness raising' - constantly reminding those people of the rotting defunct nature of the building merely re-affirms its status as a civic embarrassment. Its becoming counter productive. The Trust's failure to raise cash or produce a backer after all these years must surely show that they're demonstrably failing to do what they originally set out to achieve. They've diluted their message and their strategy, lost credibility and now seem rather irrelevant to the buildings likely fate (other than as a potential creator of barriers to those who would save the building in some practical form).

I have no agenda, no axe to grind - merely my observations from the last ten years.
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 Karsten

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Where the scheme falls flat on it's face, is that if SBC don't take ownership, then EH will not cough up any funding, and lottery funding will also be blocked.

If a group or company had 50k then both EH or SBC have clear powers to just take the building as it's clear that the current owner has endangered it.

I chatted to Chris Green today, and probably shouldn't have said SBC 'brought the roof' down. It was a bit too theatrical.
Chris Green worked on the restoration of Wessex Water HQ and definitely cares about the MI building.
Apparently, Mr Singh has already built 'apartments' in the Southern part and in the roof of the Library.
It seems the rafters of the North roof are not steel, but wood and although they are damaged, they are still in place.
It is the battening and soaked roofing between the rafters that collapsed. 
With some work the roof could be salvaged.

Perhaps in an ironic twist it will allow for a more modern roof to be installed.
I think a Nu-heat PV solar roof financed by the Feed in Tariffs would be in line with the spirit of the MI.
The temporary roof already installed should last a few years and keep the MI weather tight.

What is more serious is the flooding of the basement under the Fly tower and the bowling alley.
It’s being emptied but that might cause other problems more serious than the collapse of the North roof.

The work is scheduled to End in May, so any new alternative ideas  would be best ready by then, with decent funding all ready sorted.

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I certainly would not trust SBC to donate my money to a suitable cause (remember the WiFi).
I would also prefer to help the trust, and get SBC and EH on side, as I feel the trust have saved the building (against all odds), from a much worse fate.
Again, my one criticism would be, that it hasn't been put across, to the general public, that we (Swindon ancestory) essentially paid for the building in the first place, to benefit the town.
It then went on to benefit the town (indeed the nation) extremely well.
Of course, this historical "image repair" is also the duty of our civic "leaders", and local media.
The Adver portrayed the skyscraper burial as "The Mechanics' is about to be saved". A bit like "saving" someone from drowning, by tying weights to their feet.
Once restored, Swindon would lose it's crap image.
No amount of media "Pride in Swindon" campaigns will have any impact, if the gems, and very roots of the town, are pilfered by developers.


SBC already fund most of the charities in Swindon and that funding is being cut.  If funds were raised, but no solution found, then it would go to replace the lost funding.  It is easy to make sure that happens.
You should read up on the MI, it wasn’t built for or by the people of Swindon, it was built by and for members of GWR.
There are some older people that I have spoken to that have no love for the MI as it was perceived as a club for GWR workers and their families.
The children’s fete was too. 
People did live in Swindon before GWR, after all “Swine Town” is not Rail related at all. 
Swindon was a market town.  The market stood once where the South Hall and extension now stand. 
The original plan of the MI reminds me of a Light bulb with the market being the bulb and the MI the screw.

What is great about all the Mechanic Institute buildings is that they were the forerunners of public education, just like Swindon’s ‘Community centre’ and the Health Hydro were forerunners of the National Health system.
Of course if GWR hadn’t packed people into the Railway village like rats in a cage and had provided decent work conditions then the cholera and plague outbreaks wouldn’t have happened.  That’s history though, gory and h‘orrible, but kids like it like that. :-P

It wasn’t always better in ye olde days, it is often one’s memory that was better.



Offline I Could Do That

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"You should read up on the MI, it wasn’t built for or by the people of Swindon, it was built by and for members of GWR.
There are some older people that I have spoken to that have no love for the MI as it was perceived as a club for GWR workers and their families.
The children’s fete was too. 
People did live in Swindon before GWR, after all “Swine Town” is not Rail related at all.  "

You've just lost a thousand pounds.
Swine Town, referred to Old Town, "New Swindon" grew from the GWR.
Hence it was still built for the people of (new)  Swindon.
The people that "hated" it were mainly Old Town residents, who viewed New Swindon as a land of immigrants and roughnecks.
Read about it? I am the proud owner, of a book, by Swindon's Trevor Cockbill. The book portrays the development of New Swindon, via the GWR and it's culture.
I had to track a copy of it from America. Couldn't get one in Swindon. Says it all really.
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Offline Ringer

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"You should read up on the MI, it wasn?t built for or by the people of Swindon, it was built by and for members of GWR.
There are some older people that I have spoken to that have no love for the MI as it was perceived as a club for GWR workers and their families.
The children?s fete was too. 
People did live in Swindon before GWR, after all ?Swine Town? is not Rail related at all.  "

You've just lost a thousand pounds.
Swine Town, referred to Old Town, "New Swindon" grew from the GWR.
Hence it was still built for the people of (new)  Swindon.
The people that "hated" it were mainly Old Town residents, who viewed New Swindon as a land of immigrants and roughnecks.
Read about it? I am the proud owner, of a book, by Swindon's Trevor Cockbill. The book portrays the development of New Swindon, via the GWR and it's culture.
I had to track a copy of it from America. Couldn't get one in Swindon. Says it all really.


ICD

Good points, but what was the population of Old Town at the time? Would anyone aged 20 at the point that the GWR ceased to exist be aged around 85 years now?
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There are some older people that I have spoken to that have no love for the MI as it was perceived as a club for GWR workers and their families. The children?s fete was too.

Does the book make any reference to the point that if  about 14,000 people worked inside then up to 14,000 families would have made up the majority of the families in the town when the GWR ceased? Were there any little firms in Swindon that also supplied services, components to the works? If there were then it could not have been many people in the town that did not gain anything from the GWR?

I must get a copy of the book.
To qualify for inclusion there is only one rule - something described must have been said to have happened. `If the facts don`t fit the legend, print

Offline I Could Do That

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As the Mechanics' was built in mid 1800's, you would hope that nobody has had a , one to one, conversation with any of the original people that hated it.
I'm pretty certain, the majority of New Swindon grew as a result of the works, therefore, as you say, it would have  been pretty challenging to find someone not connected to it in some small way.
Ringer, when I get home. I'll look up the ISBN number.
See if we can get another copy of the book on home soil.
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Offline Brian V Cockbill

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Try contacting brian.v.cockbill@talk21.com about Trevor Cockbill's books.

Offline I Could Do That

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 O0
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Offline Richard Symonds

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O0

What does that mean ICDT?

Look at your emails please!
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline I Could Do That

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Sorry Richard, what does what mean? ( the  O0 animation means cheers / cool / thanks  ?)
Just got home from work. Will give you a call soonish. Got a couple of bits 'n' bobs to sort out, but in reply to your email the answer is kinda "yes..... yes, but...?....?, and otherwise yes"
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Offline I Could Do That

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Scrub that. Going out of town again, to see a live band.
If only we could do that in The Mechanics'.
Tomorrow, I'm out with the bike gang, so I'll send a pm tonight,  when I get home  :coolsmiley:
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Offline Karsten

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‘Swine dun’ [pig hill] does refer to Old Town which is in the Doomsday book, but Swindon wasn't just the Railway Village, GWR and old Town.
Rodbourne, Gorse hill and Stratton are all towns/villages from then, that form Swindon today.
The 15,000 workers of GWR came from all over and most were brought to 'Swindon' from Wales and Ireland.
The reason for building the ‘Barracks’.

The final blast of the GWR Works hooter was 26th March 1986, so there are quite a few people that do remember working there and being a member of the MI.  Quite a few have died of Swindon's disease too.
In 1986 only a few thousand worked at GWR, but the population of Swindon was over 100k+.
If you were 20 in ‘86 then you’d be 45 now, but most workers when it closed were already older.
I had to sit through a talk given by Labour’s last Mayor, telling us of the ‘Good Old days’ at GWR, when he was a rivet boy.   
Riveting stuff. (not) :-O  :azn:

The MI was built 150++ yrs ago and in the latter years of it being managed, it didn't do very well at all.
It was in need of serious repair even before it was transferred to BREL and then neglected even further before being sold for 50k to the guy that converted the Corn Exchange into the Mission.

Swindon now has a population of 180k and growing, I think you will find it hard today to find a connection to GWR or the MI with most people living in Swindon. 
In my daughter's primary they have pupils who speak 31 languages as their mother tongue. 
Swindon was and continues to be a town of immigrants.

Most people living in Central don’t know about the MI.  I have spoken to lots of people in Central over the years when I’ve stood in local elections in Central and it’s my personal experience that there was a lot of bad feeling towards the MI members club before it closed.
Of the few people that do know something about it, 50% were for it and 50% were not. 
The people who remembered the MI are Swindon born usually, some remember bowling or dancing there, others remember smashing the windows with stones when it stood empty.

The building does deserve to be saved, but I don’t think the people of Swindon have a duty to pay for it.
It’s unreasonable to demand people care about something that hasn’t concerned them.

But I bet if fund raising did start, then you would find a lot of people willing to give.
Both SBC and EH would have more trust in a group that already had proved its worth by raising 50k.
For a start it would enable EH to grant the 200k (earmarked for the MI in 2002) to that group as it is a condition of that grant.  :banana:

If fund raising doesn’t start, it will remain in the current owners hands or be passed to another property developer to avoid paying for the current moth balling and the first chance of convincing SBC/EH to take the building and hand it over to a responsible group will disappear.
If that happens then I think it’s doomed, doomed, I say.  Doomed.
Or maybe domed and converted into a mosque..

All meant in best possible way.. :-P   :angel:

Offline I Could Do That

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Can you confirm that SBC are interested, in your arrangement?
Are you standing for election again?

All meant exactly as it says.
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Offline Karsten

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There is no arrangement.
It's an idea/suggestion on how to get things moving.

I will probably stand in the local elections, if the guy that registered the 'Protest Vote' party lets me stand as its candidate.

Offline MikeHeal

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How might I be of help?