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Tamworth Arts Centre : History

Click here to return to Tamworth Arts Centre Contents1974 - Conversion work begins - again! Costs attacked

Tamworth Herald – 05/07/74
Conversion to Arts Centre next month?
Conversion of Tamworth’s former Baptist Chapel into a town arts centre will start in August if the Borough Council gives the go-ahead at its meeting on Tuesday.

The Council’s Resources Planning Committee, urging that work should start as soon as possible, has accepted a recommendation from the Leisure Activities Committee that the scheme should have a higher priority.

Revised estimates put the cost of the work at £40,000 - £6,000 higher than last September’s figure “because of the continuing effects of inflation”.

Resources Planning Committee members heard that delays had been caused by a Government ban on inviting tenders for new construction work, and by the council’s own problems following a cut-back in loan allocations.

Five weeks ago, Tamworth arts organisations upset by the delays put forward a plan to do some of the work themselves until funds were available.

Tamworth Herald – 15/11/74
Click here to go to the top of the page.£340 a week to run Arts Centre

Running costs at Tamworth’s Church Street arts centre could reach £17,000 a year. But annual income is likely to be more than £3,000, councillors have learned.

Figures were disclosed at a meeting of the Borough Council’s Leisure Activities Committee within which contractors starting work on the conversion of the former Baptist church into an arts centre at a cost of £17,000.

Councillors agreed to a request by Tamworth Arts Advisory Group that the Borough Council manage the centre, and a plan is being drawn up on the priority of appointing a full-time manager.

County Borough Treasurer Mr. Talbot said more than £12,000 would have been spent on converting the building when the scheme was completed.

With a manager’s salary, the estimated annual running costs could come close tp £17,000.

Mr. Brian Moore, Tamworth’s Recreation and Amenities Officer, said he had feared that if the Arts Advisory Council ran the centre, the strongest Arts groups would “take things over” with the possibility of the building being managed in a way the Borough Council would not want.

“The Arts Council thought this was almost bound to happen if we did not ru the centre”, he said.

But with a full-time official in the centre, such as senior citizens’ and ladies’ clubs would be able to meet there in the daytime making the best use of the money being spent.

The committee was told that the Advisory Council would still advise the Borough Council on the arts centre and would use the building as its base.

Councillor Alan McDonald said “Although these arts groups do a geat deal in their own fields, we must allow this scheme to have the advantage of professionalism.”

Mr. Talbot claimed it had originally been agreed that the Arts Advisory Council should itself run the centre.

But Councillor Jim Poulton commented: “Whoever manages it, the Borough Council will have to foot the bill”.

The Arts Council of Great Britain is to grant £5,000 towards the conversion costs and may make another grant later. The Tamworth Advisory Council is contributing £2,500.

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