Same old, same old

After many, many, many, many, many months of consideration the White Elephant Enclosure (WEE) Mismanagement Committee has finally produced a report that details Smalltown and Dullbridge Town Council’s draft priorities for the WEE.

The report, which will be delivered to the Smalltown and Dullbridge Town Council meeting at the Town Council Committee meeting on Monday night, appears to have been produced by some form of Artifical Intelligence which has a brain the size of a pea.

During their many, many, many, many, many months of research the WEE Mismanagement Committee has been able to ascertain that the WEE should:-

  • be a centre for the creative arts in our towns.
  • offer opportunities for our community to enjoy the performance/exhibition of creative arts.
  • be a community resource for a diverse range of creative groups in our towns to participate in their chosen field.

In other words they have spent many, many, many, many, many months to come up with a few lines that state the obvious and will continue to support the same old ideas that haven’t worked previously.

However, any one who was hoping that the WEE might finally be able to cut its losses or pay its own way in the future, rather than rely on tax payer cash, will be disappointed because:-

  • It is expected that in the long run, the Town Council will provide subsidies for the provision of the above facilities of between £50k and £75k per annum from the Town Council.

Now where have we heard that before? Wasn’t that the claim made ten years ago when Squire Teflon saved the WEE for the nation by spending £1 of his own money, before SaD TC went on to spend almost £1 million on the venue?

With the latest 2023/24 budget requiring a record cash injection from SaD Town Council of £180K what makes the Mismanagement Committee think they can suddenly reduce that? The report doesn’t include any suggestions for reducing the burden.

However, the WEE Mismanagement Committee has confirmed that they plan to:-

  • seek grant aid from external bodies such as the Council of Arts to subsidise performances/events that augment the commercial offer of the WEE.
  • participate in the Somerset Council Art Strategy and work more closely with other local theatres/art facilities.

SomersetClive has forgotten the exact amount of previous grant funding and other handouts awarded to the WEE from outside bodies, but it is thought to be in the region of £350K, with some of the money being earmarked for replacement seating and refurbishment of the toilets – work which was either done as cheaply as possible or not at all.

The WEE Mismanagement Committee will also be looking to justify the spending and convince everyone that a council-run WEE is exactly what residents want by continuing to manipulate the figures in the same way the Smalltown Culture and Arts Manager (SCAM) did, rather than admit the truth:-

  • As well as the financial cost, the number and diversity of attendees at, and participants in, events will be key measures to understand the success of the facility.

If this is the basis by which success will be judged, then they may as well give up now. It doesn’t take a genius to work this out – ticket sales and user numbers are poor, with only a very small percentage of Smalltown residents using the facility and even fewer people from Dullbridge.

The report concludes:-

  • The Town Council remains open-minded about how the objectives are fulfilled and by whom.

Which means they don’t have a clue how they will achieve any of this, thereby confirming that not only is the idea of SaD Town Council trying to continue to run the WEE as a commercial venture a waste of space, but so are the Councillors who make up the WEE Mismanagement Committee.

In short, Smalltown and Dullbridge Council’s grand vision for the WEE is to continue to do the same thing, but in the hope of a different outcome.

Definition of insanity anyone?

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