Friday, June 22, 2007


Tower Arts Centre Update

Just back from the "Save the Tower Arts Centre" demo. A good turnout with 50+ people despite the threatening weather. Mark and Belinda Oaten were both there as promised, along with several Winchester City Councillors and two Lib Dem County Councillors.

Lynda & Miles Banister from Oliver's Battery, who organised tonight's demo, have also set up an online petition at Please sign it. Signatories so far include Benjamin Zephaniah, Tom Paxton, Gordon Giltrap and Dave Swarbrick, all of whom have performed at the Tower.

A few pics (the second one says it all):

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Tower Arts Centre under threat

Winchester MP Mark Oaten and his wife Belinda have joined forces with local Lib Dem councillors in the campaign to save the Tower Arts Centre. Tory controlled Hants County Council is negotiating with the centre's neighbouring King's School over a possible transfer of the popular Winchester venue, but its future is uncertain. HCC believe the Tower will become redundant as the new Discovery Centre (revamped library) in the city centre will include a 'performing arts space.'

Winchester Lib Dem Group leader Therese Evans said, " When Winchester City Council agreed to contribute £1 million to the Discovery Centre there was no mention that this would be at the expense of Winchester's other arts venues. Tower Arts attracts quality artists and has sell-out performances. It would be a huge loss if it closes."

Tower Arts attracts audiences who may not be traditional theatregoers and has over the years run an enormous range of arts related workshops for children and young people. Many aspiring musicians have been given their first opportunity to perform there. The 'Summersound,' event in 2006 used outside space and a lorry load of sand to create a beach atmosphere. It is difficult to see how this kind of event could ever be accommodated in the Discovery Centre.

I will be joining Mark and other campaigners at a demonstration in support of the Tower's continuing independence and management at the Centre tomorrow (Friday) at 7.30pm.

Monday, June 11, 2007



Just before Easter I was walking along Oliver’s Battery Road South when I was surrounded by a group of teenage lads. “Why haven’t we got anywhere to play football?” they said. “You’re on the council or something, aren’t you?”

We talked for a few minutes and next day I received a well argued e-mail from one of the boys making the case for extra football goals on the Recreation Ground. I presented the case on their behalf at the next evening’s Oliver’s Battery Parish Council meeting and was impressed with the enthusiasm and support for the idea from the Parish Councillors. They agreed on the spot to pay for the goals and had them installed within ten days (see picture). All credit to Frazer from Oliver’s Battery and Jack from Badger Farm and their friends for making the suggestion and to the Parish Council for their swift action in response.

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