Talkswindon

Coffee Talk & What's On => Rm 101. Misc. Odds and Ends => Topic started by: Provocateur on April 21, 2008, 01:15:15 PM

Title: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Provocateur on April 21, 2008, 01:15:15 PM
I had a moment of hilarity this morning in reaction to the latest gumpty from the Swindon Development Company, wheeled out to breathe some spin into the next 'vibrant and exciting' stage of the regeneration of out now demolished town. Was he refering to an exciting new business premises? A two mile ditch that actually joined to a canal network ? A final resultion of the 30 year shame of The Mechanics Institute? Nope. He was extoling the exciting new possibilities offered by the town's latest contribution to global warming and community spirit - the 35 square meter TV in the Wharf Green Square. This is the same square which has been ripped up and redeveloped three times in ten years - and which affords wondorous views of the empty covered market, the muilti-storey car park and the to-ings and fro-ings of the customers of McDonalds and Argos... It's also [irony bypass] the same Wharf Green which won't feature either a canal or a wharf if the hare-brained canal project goes ahead...

Could anyone have conceived of a more appropriate symbol of our swindon culture than a 35 meter TV screen which will be on 24/7, 365 days of the year?! Its a temple to our Chavopolis - though to listen to our man this morning, you'd have thought that the thing would create some sort of sea-change. He actually said that, aside from the inevitable sport and music, it would feature (and I quote) 'cultural programming' - such as ballet and opera! How long the TV screen will continue to broadcast such delights to a swindon audience before having an airgun pellet or ball bearing smashed through it was left unclarified... Having realised that the one big draw of any certainty, the European cup, has fallen flat due to England's non qualification, it seems the screen promoters believe that its the Olympics which will have people 'flocking' to the screen. What I predict is a bunch of bored dads staring slack-jawed whilst their families shop - and glazed eyed youth in the queue for McDonalds. As for those community moments which 'bring people together to collectively experience cultural moments' (like the laughably suggested Last night At The Proms?!) - anyone with a single operating brain cell is going to remember that any shared experience is also going to be with the Kappa-suited hordes who've been topping up with lager and wkd round the corner in Fleet Street. That alone is going to make any such event the sort of 'shared community experience' that most people would run a mile to avoid - and very much more of an extension of the no-go area which our chavs have already made that part of town after dark. After-all, now they have everything they need; cheap booze, fast food - and now the cathode ray god. Why even go home of a summer's night?!

How on earth is this going to be policed? Its the place where every underage drinker will collect, where every discerning drunkard will chose to collapse on their backs, where every aggressive 16 year old baseball cap wearing wannabe hardman will hang-out, where every lout, beer boy, chav, and chavette on the way home will chose to wait for a taxi, where inumerable chip papers, drinks bottles and litter will be strewn. One thing's for certain, its a place where, after dark, a lot of law abiding people will prefer not to be.

Who's paid for this permanent bill-board to the bbc?

Who'll pay for it when (not IF) it gets vandalised?

Who has considered the extra policing which it will require? How will that be funded?!

As we're constantly having environmental costs stuffed down our throats by the people who insist we pay for Home Information Packs, by government through punitive taxes on petrol, by councils who only collect rotting rubbish once a fortnight, what's athe carbon footprint of this 24/7 edifice to light entertainment?! What's its energy consumption - and who's paying for it?! Who's managing the environmental double standard?
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Alex on April 21, 2008, 03:44:44 PM
I was putting my training in neuro linguistic programming (NLP) into practice to try with all my remaining energy to find one glimmer of positivity about this chavtastic symbol and do you know, I think I have!

It will keep the local chiropractors/ physiotherapists/ acupuncturists in business for the foreseeable future! All those people with hunched up shoulders and jaws jutting out to watch the goings-on in the sky -if they stay in that position for any length of time, they'll  suffer excruciating  neck and shoulder pain, which even the alcohol won't diminish.

Hooray for SBC- friend of the local manual therapists.

See, I knew I could.. ;D
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Bobby Bingo on April 21, 2008, 07:15:19 PM
We have seen these large T.V. screens before. Remember the one at Wimbledon which became affectionately known as "Henman Hill"
Could this be Bluh's B****ck?
I did hear the council have engaged a person from B.B.C. Swindon Sound to run it. I wonder at what cost?
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: ZPW on April 21, 2008, 07:15:50 PM
Alex, what a PollyAnna you do be.

Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Alligator on April 21, 2008, 07:33:21 PM
What I think is missing from this idea is a full explanation of how this giant TV will be put to use.  As I understand it, it will spend most of its days blasting out BBC News 24, so I'd hope that this bod from the beeb will be offered free of charge (or included in our licence fees)

However I have no doubt that there will be occasions when the masses want, and the powers that be will allow, something else to be shown, World Cup football, Olympics events, televised concerts, footballers wives, Hollyoaks etc but this alone won't necessarily be enough to draw in the crowds to watch it here.  People can watch all these at home or in a pub.

Without something extra to draw people in, perhaps a sense of community, or a sense of fun, all this will achieve will be to provide the winos, chavs and pikeys with some entertainment while they hang out with their mates outside Mcturdies or make their way to Argos for the latest Elizabeth Duke Diamonique jewellery.

Can anyone shed any light on how this will be managed? a big TV alone seems to be a bit half hearted to me, a bit like a parent telling the kids to go and watch TV 'cos you can't be bothered with talking to them.



Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Geoff Reid on April 21, 2008, 07:41:20 PM


Post #1  - Post of the week, deffo.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Mart on April 21, 2008, 08:41:46 PM
From the Beeb back when prescott was just a greedy git and not a victim deserving of our pity.

Plans to set up a giant TV screen in Wrexham town centre have been abandoned because the council says it is unable to meet its share of the cost. Planning permission had been granted for the 8mx5m screen to be erected in Queen's Square, showing BBC programmes, major events and local information. The Wrexham screen would have been the first of its kind in Wales. Wrexham council said it needs to divert £225,000 allocated for the scheme to help maintain front-line services. The planned screen would have provided a mixture of live and local information, 24 hours a day, and was given planning permission in September 2005.

Planning permission, £225k over 3 years? Lordy.

Edinburgh Evening News a couple of months ago.

A GIANT TV screen to be installed in the centre of Edinburgh for major sporting events will cost taxpayers around £200,000 over the next three years. The decision to give the project the go-ahead was today blasted by voluntary groups and opposition councillors, at a time when the council faces a funding crisis. Tory culture spokesman Gordon Buchan said it was "obscene" to spend so much money on the project. "I don't think we should be squandering this much money on it considering the council's ongoing financial trouble," he said. "It's a bit perverse to spend £200,000 for a widescreen TV when there are community groups facing losing their funding and when we can't afford to repair our roads and pavements properly."

Perverse, excellent word.

The UK’s urban screens strategy has been dominated by the BBC’s ‘Big Screen Network’. This undertaking is driven by the BBC’s updated remit of ‘public space broadcasting’ and since 2003 has resulted in the installation of eight ‘Big Screens’, 25 meters square, in major cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Hull and Bradford. By the time of the Olympics, a much larger network called ‘Live Sites 2012’ is planned that will increase their number to 60 screens, all equipped with live camera feeds, Bluetooth uploading and networked streaming capabilities. For the BBC it is about providing a local site for national occasions such as Wimbledon, Eurovision or the Proms, similar to combining a public television service with the events management of a tourist board. Their technology partners are Philips who manufacture the biggest Vidiwall screens, mainly used in sports stadiums but which are now finding an expanding market through public screens. The conference and artists' commissions were funded by Arts Council England, for whom we might imagine this represents an attractive platform for ‘participatory arts’ and reaching ‘new audiences’ now that prior opportunities for involvement in mass media such as television broadcasting have moved beyond their reach. The purchase of the screens is borne by City Councils for whom the screens offer an opportunity to ‘re-animate city centres’. In practice this could mean drawing in lively crowds to their nondescript precincts through what is termed by some urban theorists ‘the production of place’, but particularly the kinds of places where that liveliness can be administered, programmed and evaluated. This is in turn is allied to the wishes of the property developers who would like to orientate those bored and undirected crowds away from casual vandalism and to stimulate local business (often deterred by developer's concentration on higher rent residential properties).

The kinds of places where that liveliness can be administered, programmed and evaluated.  Sounds, erm, unpleasant.

The telly selly bit

The world's first Public Space Broadcasting screen in Manchester 's Exchange Square was launched as an experiment in 2003. Having proved itself to be a powerful magnet for urban regeneration and animation for the city's public space, the model has now been rolled out in Birmingham, Liverpool and Hull, and more recently in Leeds, Rotherham, Bradford and Derby. Discussions are underway with many of the UK's major cities with a view to further extending the project. The next screen is planned for Swindon in early 2008.

From this I infer that a big telly animating your urban centre will prompt the immediate award of city status, bit of a change from a cathedral isn't it?

And the greeny bit.

In terms of carbon emissions, the EST says old-style TVs produce 100kg of climate-warming CO2 per year - while larger, plasma screens (there are no small plasma TVs) will pump out 400kg. Supporting these claims, the EST points to research from the government-funded Market Transformation Programme, which advises the government on sustainability policy. This says that, on average, the power consumption of a cathode-ray screen is 3.4 watts per screen inch, while plasma uses 9.4 watts per screen inch - based on figures from 2005. So does that make these sleek new TVs the gas-guzzling 4x4s of home entertainment? Not exactly. Flat-screen TVs broadly come in two varieties - plasma (which go from about 42ins to an almost cinematic 100ins-plus, and LCD, which are smaller, but, crucially, getting bigger all the time). Peter Raynes, professor of opto-electronic engineering at the University of Oxford, says modern LCD screens use a similar amount of power to bulky old cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions. Plasma televisions are currently less efficient and will use more power, he says.

Personally, I don't really like it. Bit Bladerunner for me and I think it will be an oaf magnet.


Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: ZPW on April 21, 2008, 09:07:12 PM
Letsby infected by Alex's attitude.

What is there at Wharf Green that would be spoiled at all by all the vitamin defficients congregating?
Hmm.. McDo's, Noone-deserves-to-shop-at-Argos,....? the nasty pasty bakers, the back end of Boots?

Good place for it if you think on... All the dreaful,dreadful flip-flop wearing proteges of Colin-give-me-condoms-Lovell all gathered together in one place.
If you shunt the do'nut oik from outside the Brunel Cnetre to Wharf Green, then the wozzers will have all they need and won't actually have to shift their lardy arses at all, mekking it vee easy to measure their liveliness.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: concerned_of_Old_Town on April 21, 2008, 09:23:22 PM
Some more information on how it works can be found here
http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/big_screen/

Must admit when the idea was first mooted approx 2 years ago was quite enthusiastic about the idea as thought it be a "quick win" to revitalise the town centre and stimulate some kind of coffee/artistic quarter.

However disappointed that can only show BBC and a certain amount of locally produced content.  Also disappointed that council seemed to have missed a trick to link to revitalise the indoor market at same time (they have already rejected idea to transform it into upmarket coffee area) instead just want it to be empty and rot (just like swindon college, Mechanics Insitute, half of swindon).
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: komadori on April 22, 2008, 12:15:46 AM
Also disappointed that council seemed to have missed a trick to link to revitalise the indoor market at same time (they have already rejected idea to transform it into upmarket coffee area) instead just want it to be empty and rot (just like swindon college, Mechanics Insitute, half of swindon).

Upmarket coffee area right next to the new chav-magnet.... Hmm.... Wouldn't be the greatest marketing move. That said, there was nothing either 'upmarket' or 'coffee' about the plans for the market. According to the planning applications, Prezzo, Wagamama and La Tasca were to be the occupants.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: swearingran on April 25, 2008, 01:06:20 PM
Why cant this bloody town ever come up with sensible cost effective ideas?? :idiot2:
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Alligator on April 25, 2008, 01:25:45 PM
Why cant this bloody town ever come up with sensible cost effective ideas?? :idiot2:

When you say "this bloody town" who or what, exactly are you referring too?  The town is made up of people, all of whom could, if they are so inclined, lobby for something they think is worthwhile.

You clearly think the TV isn't sensible or cost effective, what would you like to see instead?

I too have my doubts about the value of this TV, but I do admire those people that have spent the time and effort making an effort.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: swearingran on April 25, 2008, 01:31:35 PM
Good afternoon,  I must apologise for the venting of the spleen....I would like to see ideas from the People of swindon, School children and/or College Students.  So much talent and ideas are wasted into the unknown.  Thats all I meant.  Just the ramblings of an old lady. :D
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on April 25, 2008, 02:14:17 PM
Gran - no need to appologise from my perspective.  ;)

The problem to me seems to be that too many ideas are generated by people who actually have a different agenda than the objectives they claim. The TV isn't something being proposed for our wider social 'benefit' - its merely something to try and drive more footfall into the town centre. By achieving that, it increases the profitability of the businesses located nearby. That means increased rents can be charged - that means increased profits for the SMC. If it lifts the character and class of the area by getting more families into that part of town, or attracts a wider cross section of society, then maybe it'll be worth it - but given its location, how likely is that, in all seriousness?!

From a wider social perspective though, its easy for the rest of us to recognise the shortfalls in the logic or planning. If there's one thing worse than an apathetic maintenance of the status quo, its a stumbling rush to change everything an adopt any new idea, simply because it's new. Sadly, such moves often magnify the very problem they purport to be addressing. It's the philosophy which has given us the town we've got. Its why we now have a demolished town centre, which in the midst of an eccenomic downturn, is going to sit empty for years - a bomb-site vista which will deter investment, depress property prices and increase the likelihood of future compromise. Its why also we're being presented with a dead-ended canal as a fait accompli before the plan or its implications has been fully considered.

Isn't it strange that to try an engender a sense of shared 'community' that we've been bequethed a 35 square meter television screen - not in a park, or a proper town centre, but right next to a centre of drunken trouble which most people avoid after dark? A huge television next to a McDonalds in Swindon: given the stereotypical view of the town's limited cultural offerings, it does nothing but confirm a lack of vision or imagination in my view. Like the title of this thread says, what a monument...!

Too many 'bold visions' and swift solutions seem glib to me - I think its right to question - and given the history of experience regarding such projects, you're right to be sceptical.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Alligator on April 25, 2008, 02:52:13 PM
Whilst I agree that the benefits of the TV may be questionable, or at least not obvious, especially when you consider the environment it's in today and who's likely to be around to watch it on a wet Tuesday evening in November. 

However I do think that the other points that Tobes has made aren't all bad things if you look at it from a different angle.  If the TV is well managed and is put to use to show films and events with wide-ranging appeal then it may help to rejuvinate an area that is currently the home to chavs and winos.  More people in the area for longer may mean more profitable businesses in town which in turn will employ people, who then spend their money in other businesses and so on.....this isn't a bad thing.

The TV isn't in the immediate vicinity of any pubs that have a licence to sell alcohol in the area and if I recall correctly it falls within one of the 'alcohol free' zones.  However, as I've already said, I think this needs effective management to avoid turning into an open cinema for the winos and chav scum and herein lies the challenge.

Personally I think that now the TV is here we should look for the positive possibilities and work towards making them happen rather than assume the worst. 
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on April 25, 2008, 03:52:02 PM
Quote
Personally I think that now the TV is here we should look for the positive possibilities and work towards making them happen rather than assume the worst.

Whats the worst assumption to make? That all will be rosy - or, given that the 'regeneration' (demolition) looks suspiciously like a stalled failure, thanks to the eccenomic situation? Is a big TV next to a McDonalds, empty market place and a concrete multi-story an enhancement of the positive, or an inditement of everything that's already wrong?

There are positive possibilities with the TV - but they'll run in the face of common sense, the location and the locals. Given that the square has been redeveloped three times in ten years, as a TV licence tax payer and a rate payer, I'd want a little more than hopeful 'fingers crossed' reassurance about what the screen is going to achieve.

What I predict are large drunken crowds during televised sporting fixtures and slack-jawed apathy / avoidance the rest of the time. Thats if it isn't vandalised within a short time. As a pessamist, I'm always happy to be proven wrong.  ;) Lets see.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Chav on April 25, 2008, 05:41:10 PM
hello

Quote
If the TV is well managed and is put to use to show films and events with wide-ranging appeal then it may help to rejuvinate an area that is currently the home to chavs and winos.

Does that mean they will ave diskovary and national geografik channels ?

Quote
Whilst I agree that the benefits of the TV may be questionable, or at least not obvious, especially when you consider the environment it's in today and who's likely to be around to watch it on a wet Tuesday evening in November. 

Me n me burberry brolly.
I ave just bin done 4 no TV lisence innit !
Soooo Maccy D's n big TV  O0 great  :popcorn:

                                                     Chav   :angel:
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Buster on April 25, 2008, 05:42:24 PM
Quote
Personally I think that now the TV is here we should look for the positive possibilities and work towards making them happen rather than assume the worst.

Whats the worst assumption to make? That all will be rosy - or, given that the 'regeneration' (demolition) looks suspiciously like a stalled failure, thanks to the eccenomic situation?

This is an interesting point.  I raised it with Justin Tomlinson today on the Adver web chat and I will be directing my questions about the certainty of the finances for the new developments to Phil Young.  However I do think your view here is somewhat negative.  To say that the redevelopment has stalled at this stage realy seems to be jumping the gun.  At least I hope it is.  :-\

If anything I would say that the arrival of the TV may be in the wrong order and may have been rushed through for the olympics or Euro 2008 (not that many of the locals will have cause to be watching that this time round  :'( )  what should have happened is for this to have waited until the other developments were completed.

I'm going to drop an email to Phil Young about the redevelopment and in particular the finances of the developers for the investment and will then start a thread on here to share his response (If I get one)

I hope that the more optimistic view prevails, the pikeys and chavs can be managed if the will of the good people of Swindon act together.  When the new development is complete the TV will be a stones throw from there so the dynamics of the town centre will probably change.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Chav on April 25, 2008, 07:19:34 PM
ere who can I see to borrow the remote control  ???
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on April 30, 2008, 05:47:56 PM
Quote
SHOPPERS will be dancing their way through the town centre when live ballet comes to Swindon this summer.

The Royal Opera House has announced it will be screening a live performance of The Royal Ballet's Romeo And Juliet on the big screen in Wharf Green.

The show will be beamed live from Covent Garden on Sunday, June 1 at 3pm.


http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/swindonnewsheadlines/display.var.2234380.0.ballet_on_the_big_screen_in_town_centre.php

 :spin: ROFL! Thats just going to go down a STORM with the burghers of the burger, isn't it!!

As the link on the adver does appear to work - there's more here: - http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/big_screen/

Quote
On Friday 2nd May, 2008, Swindon will join the ranks of eight major cities across the country when the biggest TV screen in the South of England gets switched on…

Yes, Wharf Green in Swindon has become the first place in the South of England to get a big screen TV and the first to join the Big Screen big boys of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Hull, Rotherham and Derby.

But it's no ordinary telly that's been set up in front of the Brunel West Car Park in town.

For a start it's massive (35 metres square massive) and, from the beginning of May, is going to be on a lot (24 hours a day, 365 days a year a lot).
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: swearingran on May 01, 2008, 10:10:06 AM
help an old lady out....Did I read some where that one of the first things to be shown on this brilliant tv screen is BALLET?  Please tell me it isn't so.  I can see it now.  Women one side looking for the size of the nut cracker suite and men and boys on the other attempting to look up tutu's.....me in the middle tutting, saying eat some food instead of toilet paper.  I know it's supposed to be culture and inspire, but who's the role model in ballet? WAYNE SLEEP :2funny:
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Bobby Bingo on May 01, 2008, 11:10:24 AM
Yes you are quite right ballet and other artistic items will be featured. The council can the guage from the amount of people that regularly watch if a concert hall would be a viable proposition for Swindon. Drunks, dossers and yobs that frequent the area could also be included in any survey.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: swearingran on May 01, 2008, 06:53:31 PM
I can't wait to watch life imitating life! :D
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: swearingran on May 01, 2008, 06:54:37 PM
Oops too much Sonategon....I meant to say Life imitating Art. :D
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: ford on May 01, 2008, 07:47:25 PM
It was on today.
Not ballet though.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: swearingran on May 02, 2008, 08:12:17 AM
oh well, can't have everything.  I just wanted to watch the drunks trying to prance about.... :)
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on May 15, 2008, 09:07:40 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/7401814.stm

Quote
A number of Rangers supporters in Manchester for the Uefa Cup final clashed with riot police after a big screen in the city centre broke down.

Officers came under attack after the screen in Piccadilly Gardens failed.

Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Bobby Bingo on May 15, 2008, 09:15:31 AM
Just imagine the furore if the Ballet on Screen failed at Wharf Green. It would make last nights problem in Picadilly Gardens, Manchester appear quite tame.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: PAV on May 15, 2008, 12:01:59 PM
Does it have sound?
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on May 15, 2008, 12:52:57 PM
It does...
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Bobby Bingo on May 15, 2008, 04:04:05 PM
But on the opening day it was out of sync.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Geoff Reid on May 15, 2008, 06:37:05 PM
But on the opening day it was out of sync.

'Out of sync' seems to be the hallmark of anything digital these days.  :bash:

Bring back analogue please......
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: kecl on May 28, 2008, 05:44:21 PM
Gosh, shock, horror, surely this can't be true? 

I did chuckle at this bit:  a large group of youths were seen riding their bikes all over the new benches and into the freshly painted walls.

Into the freshly painted walls :WTF:, is this the latest Swindon youth craze, hit the wall of death with Swindon Suicide Freestylers. Bless their little cotton socks. ;)

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/swindonletters/display.var.2299557.0.letter_from_nick_beaumontjones.php

Letter from Nick Beaumont-Jones todays Adver:

WHAT a wonderful new amenity the New Swindon Company and the council have created in Wharf Green. Although the cost was high there is not doubt about its value for money when one sees the improvement to the streetscape and the opportunity for high quality community activities to be held there.

What a great shame that there appears to be no management regime in place to protect the area from vandals, litter louts and other undesirables. Last night a large group of youths were seen riding their bikes all over the new benches and into the freshly painted walls. The damage they caused to the benches was considerable and added to that already caused by skateboarders only the week after the area was formally opened. Calls to the police to deal with the vandals fell on deaf ears.

This morning litter is strewn over the area (some only a few inches from the new, and already badly stained, litter bins), a vagrant was sleeping on one of the benches, plants have been pulled out of the landscaped area, the new York stone paving is splashed with stains and Wharf Green was beginning to slip back into its old, sad ways.

Come on Swindon. We all know there is a massive amount of pride in the town. Let's make Wharf Green the first step towards showing our visitors that we can be a quality destination and not the town that time forgot.


Nick Beaumont-Jones Centre Director The Brunel Swindon
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: komadori on May 29, 2008, 12:44:30 AM
Before living in Swindon I lived in Harlow. In Harlow, as in Swindon, people either had 'massive pride in the town' or a strong feeling that it was rubbish, with very few having a view that it was an okay, average place. What seems to differentiate Swindon from Harlow is that in Harlow people had pride in the town for what it is (a post-war New Town, with all the architectural and town planning oddities that come with that) whereas in Swindon the pride is in what the town was (a railway town) rather than in what it became (a post-war London overspill town). It's almost as though people wish that the estates in North-east and south-east Swindon didn't exist, whereas in Harlow developments, though not exactly celebrated, are recognised as being a part of what the town is. Everytime I read a comment like Mr Beaumont-Jones' about Swindon becoming a 'quality destination' its like reading a request to obiliterate Swindon's economic basis as an industrial and commercial town.

Industrial or commercial centres tend to be neither pretty nor tourist magnets. There's nothing wrong with that, and its about time people started to be proud of what we've got and can achieve based on that, rather than wishing to be something prettier but ultimately less viable.

(Apologies for a rather random rant written after spending the evening in the pub.)
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on October 27, 2008, 11:11:28 AM
Anyone stumbling across this thread may be interested to know that the wonderous TV (is it Bluh-ray?!) will now be bracketed by a cut-price discount store ( http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=3745.0 ), McDonalds, the empty and undeveloped covered market, the multi-story car park and will be within high interest rate I'm-a-chav-and-I-need-my-baubles-NOW gobbing /wkd bottle lobbing distance of a 'Brighthouse' shop ( http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=3628.0 ) .

... even the weird multicoloured 'glowing condoms' illuminated art-piece down the road is missing half its bulbs and is full of verdegris...

Viva Swindon and the 'vibrant' vision... Is there nothing that can be done to stop this town slipping any further into grey mediocrity?!

 :'(
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Bobby Bingo on October 27, 2008, 03:30:30 PM
Yes - Get the martial arts chap as the elected mayor. He will then kick some ass!!
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: concerned_of_Old_Town on October 27, 2008, 07:36:46 PM
I was excited when the proposal for TV was announced as thought just the thing which could kick start the re-generation but case of reality not matching the vision.

I was looking at the whole area on Saturday and concluded that  even the Chavs are boycotting it (even though there was some fair ground ride there).  The thing what really got me was the flower/tree bed to the left of the screen is severely overgrown with weeds and is a right state (only six months old) and seems to reflect the lack of pride the re-generation and stagnation has caused.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on October 27, 2008, 07:37:46 PM
Doh... Poor old swindon... I seems that what ever's attempted always gets mired by the grim (or is that twin?) realities of ecenomics and an agressively proletarian population... No project is ever going to succeed if it doesn't recognise those two issues.

Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Mart on October 27, 2008, 07:55:05 PM
The world's first Public Space Broadcasting screen in Manchester 's Exchange Square was launched as an experiment in 2003. Having proved itself to be a powerful magnet for urban regeneration and animation for the city's public space, the model has now been rolled out in loads of other towns and cities including Birmingham, Liverpool, Hull, Leeds, Rotherham, Bradford, Swindon and Derby.

S'magnet, powerful one too. Stand by for regeneration and animation.

Moneyspinner for the BBC and Philips, website and everything.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on February 04, 2014, 10:01:55 AM
I just thought I'd disinter this old thread from six years ago to ask... Has anyone actually WATCHED anything on the Big Screen? I mean, instead of glancing at it as they walked past (though why anyone would even be in Wharf 'Green' to begin with is the first mystery)... Perhaps you were bored whilst waiting for your significant other to get a new washing line from Argos, or maybe you were waiting for your McDonalds icecream milkshake to melt down enough to slurp up your straw...?

The reason I ask, is that I read this piece in The Adver, and once again I'm left pondering the point of our digital White Elephant. With so much being cut at the moment, how much has this thing cost us over the years, how much does it continue to cost us, and, frankly, what purpose does it serve if it doesn't actually ever screen anything of any real community interest? I know there's some 'worthy' stuff on their every-so-often, but I hardly think those things are meeting either a mass audience or are being delivered in a particularly effective manner.

Am I alone in feeling more than a little cynical...?

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10983884.Big_screen_switch_off/ (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10983884.Big_screen_switch_off/)

Quote
IT WAS announced yesterday that no matches from the World Cup will be shown on the big screen in Wharf Green this summer.

The decision has been made to both prevent trouble as well as help pubs in the town centre which will be showing the games.

The World Cup is due to be held in Brazil from June 12 until July 13, with interest from fans set to be high.

However, the decision has been taken that no match, regardless of which team is playing or kick-off time, will be shown and talks are still ongoing as to whether either the opening or closing ceremony will be shown.

InSwindon is the company responsible for controlling the screen and says as its funding comes from businesses in the town centre, it is important they are not seen to undermine them.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Muggins on February 04, 2014, 10:10:11 AM
I've sat and watched it twice, sat on a bench having a McDonalds. Well not watching it exactly, as you say Tobes, it was on and my eye's strayed to it out of curiosity.   

I thought it ironic that they are switching off for one of the very things I thought it was put there for. (bad grammar I know).

I wonder how much outcry there will be that it won't be on? 

And I wonder at the outcry if the local pubs did the same?
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Richard Symonds on February 04, 2014, 10:47:53 AM
The Council is seeking savings tomorrow night at Cabinet when the budget is to be discussed.

Either turn this television off completely and save the cost of having it, believed to be £35,000 per annum or get someone else to pay for it!

Simple really isn't it, but apparently not for the Conservative Administration, it would appear?
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Geoff Reid on February 04, 2014, 03:29:40 PM
InSwindon Ltd (or however the BID company defines itself) seem to be responsible for the day to day running costs of the screen which, of course, means that BID partners get to control what is, and what is not shown on the screen.

It is for exactly the same reason that (I believe) Swindon Town Centre will never have a traditional English market within the BID district.  The BID partners will allow any number of faux markets - farmers markets, french farmers markets and rotting wooden christmas sheds - but they won't entertain anything which they deem 'threatens' their trade.

I've said it before, the BID district/Town Centre is little more than a milking parlour and it is one reason that I spend very little time or money there.

I also think it's sad that the sale of alcohol in the town centre is given such economic weight and that the public behaviour of those who have been sold alcohol is of such concern to the vendors of the same.

Something is seriously out of whack in the BID District.

Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Richard Symonds on February 04, 2014, 03:57:56 PM
Interesting perspective Geoff and the failing Farmer's market is proof of that fact.

In St Albans from where I write the shops actually benefit from the hugely successful Wednesday and Saturday markets as the stalls are a mere six feet from the shops and people flit between the two.  There would be a riot by the likes of Marks and Spencer if the market were to be closed down as it is the reason why people queue to come into town and use both facilities which compliment one another and not compete with one another.

Perhaps the party of business who control Swindon Borough Council ought to get into their cars and come down here on a Saturday to see what happens in a truly vibrant retail environment.

But meanwhile the centre of Swindon continues its slow lingering death and when one of the big boys move out it will be too late to save it as everyone goes elsewhere in the Borough or to Bristol, Bath, Oxford or Reading to do their Serious Shopping.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: the gorgon on February 04, 2014, 05:55:45 PM
Only ever watched it whilst eating a recently purchased Greggs pasty  :popcorn:

Mind you it has to be said that I think BBC paid for this originally as there are other towns and cities out there that have them.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on February 04, 2014, 07:00:09 PM
Quote
Mind you it has to be said that I think BBC paid for this originally as there are other towns and cities out there that have them.

So, if paid for by the beeb, its paid for by ordinary people using a form of taxation...
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Richard Symonds on February 05, 2014, 10:18:53 AM
Turn it off as I am sure we must be at the very least paying for the electric!!
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on February 05, 2014, 11:24:48 AM
Quote
Turn it off as I am sure we must be at the very least paying for the electric!!

If the businesses of the town centre agreed to sponsor it to fully fund it - with a small donation from SBC to allow local third sector providers to promote their services, wouldn't that be a happy compromise?
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Muggins on February 05, 2014, 12:05:27 PM
that's a good idea Tobes and I think we discussed that on TS when it first went in. 

However, if it was a small amount from SBC for the vol sector to promote itself, then why can't the businesses donate that time direct.

No need for the Rate payers to get involved at all.

No doubt SBC considering itself as it does as a business, would be charged full rate to promote itself!

Would it be worth our money to promote them though?
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on February 05, 2014, 01:15:22 PM
Mind you, according to The Adver, as Swindon's the town with the most lard-arses per head of population in the west, perhaps a massive telly by a fast food joint really ought to be seen as a piece of reflective civic art...?

 >:D

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10986620.We___re_the_fattest_town__figures_say/?ref=var_0 (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10986620.We___re_the_fattest_town__figures_say/?ref=var_0)
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Muggins on February 05, 2014, 01:55:38 PM
Yeh, and don't forget I'm one of 'em! :santa_cheesy:

In fact I could be Swindon's new monument.
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on February 05, 2014, 03:22:24 PM
Muggs, if I outlast you, I will stir your ashes into a big metal sculpture casting of you on The Chariot with a Maccy D's in one hand and an outstretched finger ready to poke a recalcitrant councillor in the eye.

I'll sneak it down to Wharf Green and bolt it down to the paving slabs  :thumb:
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Muggins on February 05, 2014, 04:57:22 PM
Fitting tribute to a big lady I think, but could I be holding a McDonalds Vanilla milkshake - that's my weakness.
Not that I have them very often, and they give me an ice cream headache every time.

I like the pointing figure idea, every time a councillors goes through standards committee, he can be led down there and made to stick his own eye on it. It could be called the Swindon Poke!  As in pig in a.....

 :santa_angry:  I like this expression too. Failing that it will have to be what my family calls the 'Muggins Wither' but they've never managed to catch that on camera.   
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on October 06, 2014, 12:28:34 PM
Just thought I'd bring this thread up again. In another on TS, I've been accused of 'having a downer' [by implication, unfairly] on an aspect of regeneration.

I think this latest twist regarding the proven failure and huge cost of The Big Screen in Wharf Green proves something; that criticism can very often be absolutely justified - and in the age of the internet, views expressed in advance or at the time of a perceived mistake being made can no longer be swept under the carpet or ignored.

Worse than pessimism is a polly-annerish desire to view everything with a political objective through rose-tinted specs.

History, in the form of Wi-Fi and numerous other less than sparking examples (to which this can now be added), shows the financial cost of projects which aren't subjected to the proper scrutiny we expect from our public servants.

 http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/11515701.Private_firm_takes_on_the_Big_Screen/ (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/11515701.Private_firm_takes_on_the_Big_Screen/)

Quote
NEWS
Private firm takes on the Big Screen

THE big screen at Wharf Green is to be run by a private company in an attempt to generate income for the town.

Having accepted it lacks the necessary expertise, the council is to sign a contract with b-focused, which runs screens in Bristol, Plymouth and Portsmouth.

It is hoped that this company will be able to use both the screen and the surrounding area to put on events, working with other commercial enterprises.

The council will retain 70 per cent of any income generated, while b-focused will keep the rest.

Initially the screen, and therefore to a large extent the content, was operated by the BBC. But in 2013 the BBC pulled out due to funding reasons.The council decided to independently run the screen on a six-month trial basis to work out what it needs to help it generate income and promote local events.

During that time the costs have been assessed and a schedule to get advertising revenue has been developed. A plan to get rid of the screen was considered but it was decided this would be a backwards step that could cost in excess of £100,000.


... and can we remember what was discussed here on TS right back at the beginning of this project, eh?

As usual, sensible questions at the time have been reflected by wise words from Bob Wright:

Quote
Not everyone is in favour of the screen and some have questioned whether people even want it, given that key football matches are not shown, often on police advice.

Councillor Bob Wright (Lab, Central) said: “I don’t think there ever was a demand for a big screen.

“This was part of regeneration and was meant to be a draw and it has had limited benefits. When public demand was there for football events the matches were not available.

“Local residents have complained about the noise from the screen use. Alternative better big screens now exist in local venues.

“Seeking commercial gain when it is not a council core activity just means we are being diverted from the more pressing issue of why the regeneration has had limited success at Wharf Green. A big screen has not been a big attraction and has been relatively expensive.”
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: I Could Do That on October 06, 2014, 03:15:06 PM
I read that article.
I also thought Bob Wright summed it up very accurately  :thumb:
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Geoff Reid on October 06, 2014, 08:16:15 PM
Can anyone actually identify a single 'innovative', 'vibrant' and/or 'visionary' scheme the council has pursued for financial gain which has both worked as promised and not resulted in costs/loss to the tax payer?
Title: Re: Swindon's new monument to itself...
Post by: Tobes on October 06, 2014, 10:57:08 PM
Quote
Can anyone actually identify a single 'innovative', 'vibrant' and/or 'visionary' scheme the council has pursued for financial gain which has both worked as promised and not resulted in costs/loss to the tax payer?

I can't...  :-\

I actually feel slightly sorry for the conservatives on this issue, as it appear that they're trapped in an ideological cleft stick. The policy of the national party is to pare everything back to the bone - meaning councils are becoming administrators of an ever limited fiefdom which has seen ever more elements of their traditional provision dominated by short termism and profiteering private companies.

What else would a conservative party do? i guess as the local party is dominated by suit wearing members who believe they have innate business skills, on one level it at least in theory makes sense that they could/should use those skills to ensure 'bang to the buck' is achieved by managing the civic possessions to maximum efficiency.

What I find strange though, is as you point out Geoff - where are the successes? Are they merely hidden from us - or ignored by the local media? Does the local party simply think its been unlucky rather than incompetent? Or do they blame the opposition? .... Or even us.... ?

I suppose I'd rather see the council trying to invest our money wisely in projects which ought to make a return on that investment if the profit can be used to protect otherwise slashed service and provision - and I accept it won't always work, but recent experience seem to show a lot of projects which I argue on balance have worked against civic and societal interests.

I hope they either raise their game - or change policy and stick to what they ought to be able to do.

Like preventing a road junction in the busiest part of town which disabled pedestrians can't use.

Or granting lucrative licenses to fraudsters, repeat offenders and violent criminals.

... and plenty more besides...!  :coolsmiley: