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Good post Matt
It’s very easy to focus on a particular school when negative things occur in Education, and sometimes the focus will be justified. I am not going to offer any comment on Bryn Alyn.
Education in Wrexham was shaped until the 1970s by the Butler Education Act of 1944. This created a 3 tier system of post-11 Education and by the 1960s Wrexham’s youngsters were taught in a range of schools and institutions that supposedly matched their abilities or needs. As now, within the town itself there was Morgan Llwyd and St Josephs, a Boy’s Grammar (Grove Park), a Girl’s Grammar (Grove Park), a Grammar Tech (Yale), two Secondary Moderns (Bryn Offa and St David’s), and a Technical College. Whatever the philosophical rights and wrongs of each and any of these, that offered 8 different Institutions providing some sort of contrasting Education for youngsters. This system was abandoned in the 1970s for understandable reasons. Unfortunately the successor system was flawed.
Within England, by the time of the Blair Governments, there was a recognition that bog-standard, one size fits all Comprehensives were not adequate in meeting the needs of the youngsters attending them and addressing their multi-varied needs. A lot of soul-searching then went on to find a system that gave all youngsters the opportunity to fulfill their potential. This is still going on. What is clear in Wales and Wrexham is that this process has not been undertaken and it needs to happen. Otherwise, we will be playing Pass the Special measures Parcel forever and a day
I am not in the anti-Ty Pawb camp. At this stage that doesn’t make much sense. We are, as they say, where we are.
I am, however, not oblivious to the immense negativity surrounding the Arts Hub and certainly think that much needs to be done to either make it successful OR if needs be, to minimise the losses.
We have had something like 3 years to work out exactly what the Arts Hub project is all about, some 3 years since WCBC took some of the “suggestions” that Quarterbridge came up with, and we should be better positioned at this stage than we appear. After all, the Welsh Assembly has picked up a big shovel, taken a pile of dosh collected in and handed it over to WCBC to spend on this building. We would have to be dumb not to be able to make a success of the project, especially when we remember that the Peoples Market was actually trading very successfully in this unit until close to the time that it closed for refurbishment.
Firstly, my logic tells me that we needed to conduct a MARKETING exercise on this unit before we moved too far in its development, determining what the nature of the Hub would be and my rationale tells me that the most likely combination to be successful would have been a mix of Arts and Crafts with the emphasis on retail. This would have allowed small local producers of A & C to dominate and the Market element would have been a natural accessory to the other. These sorts of places are popular nationwide. This would have meant the de-emphasis of “high” arts and performance, which invariably will struggle for funding and a real emphasis on businesses operating within the A & C world. Secondly, the naming of the entity, Ty Pawb, strikes me as naval gazing. The potential customer base is Welsh, Anglo-Welsh, English and other, yet we have put the economics of the brand name behind the politics.
We are a few weeks away from the opening of the Hub. If it’s successful, the whole Independent sector of Wrexham could share in the success. It is not too late for some serious fine-tuning. Much needs doing…….and I hope that the discussion moves on to constructive ideas about how to turn this potential white elephant into a successful entity
- This reply was modified 4 days, 5 hours ago by Alunh.
I really hope that Ty Pawb is a roaring success.
Jim draws attention to some vital facts and the only reason that facts like these are ignored is because many of them are abstract. Firstly, the money going into Ty Pawb from the Welsh Assembly is not generated by some Welsh Assembly PLC but is drawn from the Welsh tax payer. That means me and you. Similarly anything provided by WCBC comes from the same source. Over the last few decades the Car Park, Peoples Market and adjacent shops have been revenue earners above and beyond the staff they have employed and the businesses that have operated within their scope. That has been good for the town. Net revenue drawn from the profits has fed into the WCBC system.
Whilst there are reasons that WCBC has moved from the prior template, it has now moved into unknown terrain. Not only has it had to bite the bullet on the possible net revenue stream but ongoing losses and subsidies are penciled in. These may (or may not) be temporary. Either way we have to add the net revenue lost to the loss to understand the financial sacrifice being made here. It is a ++ game.
That is why WCBC has to get this project right and hit the ground running. At this point I am concerned. Hopefully my concerns prove completely wrong. The proof of the pudding will be in the Marketing, Advertising and Organisation of the project.
- This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Alunh.
I can’t see how the idea of being a Tory (or not) has crept into this argument Benjamin. It’s great that young people are imbued with social conscience but that doesn’t mean that we should move the goalposts on voting merely because people appear to care about issues all of a sudden. Caring and understanding are two different matters and I’m not actually sure at what age it is wise to allow youngsters to vote. The suggestion about Rate paying or tax paying was somewhat tongue in cheek but the idea behind it was that at least those who did these two things were perhaps showing signs that they had moved from one stage of life (childhood) to another (adulthood). A good example of this links in with the discussion about student fees where I have seen little real debate involving youngsters about the implications of waiving the fees when perhaps 50% of the population are attending University. How many of those supposedly imbued with social conscience actually understand the old left wing adage of needs and abilities and that the real losers in waiving University fees would be the more vulnerable in society.
But we digress. The real issue is whatever age we come up with is arbitrary and I would be very uncomfortable with 16
Leaving all of the above aside……….I’m not sure at what age people should vote. It used to be 21 and now it’s 18. Some suggest 16 using the lame argument that youngsters don’t engage. I don’t like 16 because I don’t particularly like 18. If 16, why not 14…or 12. Ideally, a successful democracy needs people who understand the issues……..but that’s a laugh as well. Perhaps stick with 18 but add to it those who are paying taxes or rates over 16. That has an amazingly educational effect
Funny how the pendulum swings from one silly position on this subject to another.
For several years people have been screaming at the Council to provide cheap access to the town, especially around Christmas. The opposition to this was very logical, it being premised on the need to get in parking revenue to fund services.
Finally the need to get shoppers and tourists into Wrexham to encourage the town’s traders appeared to have trumped the parking revenue emphasis. Free parking throughout December.
Far be it from me to moan about free parking but the predictable inverse effect was noted immediately. Provide free parking between 7.00 and 10.00 in the morning, especially within the town, and what you get is two things. No revenue and Car Parks full of town centre workers. The actual consequence is to deny those shoppers who want to park conveniently a parking space whilst denying the Council revenue. Of course….there is an alternative. Make the Car Parks free from 10.00am instead of 3.00pm, thus retaining work force revenue and keeping the car parks relatively free for the shoppers and tourists. They were told
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Alunh.
I don’t think that you have to go as far as this Jim.
The original reasoning behind the Arts Hub scheme was to replace one of the 3 Markets, the Quarterbridge observations being that 3 Markets were not viable. The idea was to put in place a Hub that would be financially at arm’s length from the Council, sourcing its primary funding from 3rd party bodies like the Arts Council. It was assumed that the central logic of the Arts Hub was Arts provision though the Hub would be coupled with a Market component due to public pressure. A profitable entity was desirable but it was accepted right from the start that the funding formula made it less necessary for profitability to be achieved from the off. Losses would be covered from beyond the Wrexham Rate Payer and not affecting alternative budgets. Because of this, a less profit centred, tailored for the market-place Hub was projected.
Time, Jim, to ditch that approach. The Hub should hit the ground running and no units should be allowed that do not potentially or actually suggest an instant return. This is already the case where the Market traders are concerned but it should also be the case where the Arts units are as well. No Arts for Arts sake; let the Hub justify itself by its relevance and by its utilisation. This is where there are templates elsewhere and WCBC should be looking at them
There are two issues in play here, accessibility and payment.
My priority for parking and the disabled would be to maximise accessibility and to that end I would expand the times that a disabled person can access Wrexham’s main streets. In Abergavenny, they have helped revitalise the Markets by increasing the number of dedicated parking places near or in the town’s centre. This has helped reinvigorate the Markets and the Independent shops.
The payment issue is much less important than ensuring that people who find it difficult accessing the shops (and similar) can do so conveniently. It may be that a greater access policy combined with car parking charges and meters could generate funds to help offset cuts. As mentioned, there are alternative methods of helping people who have both a disability and a limited income
- This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Alunh.
Got to support the very relevant points made by Nen and MP1953.
I’ve got a shop in Bank Street. It’s hard work. It’s quite soul destroying when the remark is made that Wrexham is a dump and there’s nothing in it. Bank Street is a great example of a vibrant street and when I look at those parts of Wrexham’s retail and cafe offer that didn’t even exist a few years ago, it does make me wonder. Ok there are problems…many of them. Equally, a town that puts out the welcome mat to visitors……coming by Bus, Car, Train Bike or on Foot…..has a chance at getting better….much better.
This is not about Pedestrians vs Car drivers, Tax payers subsidising, or any such like. It’s simply about getting people into town by hook or by crook, spending money, and encouraging Business and Enterprise to flourish. Believe it or not, Entrepreneurs will invest in Wrexham but they do need to see signs of encouragement and a willingness to set the scene correctly. Bike lanes, a Bike Park, better Bus services, a Coach Park……bring them all on
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Alunh.
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