Monday, October 25, 2010

Paying People To Hang Around On High Street

Recently Sutton Council held an event, 'The Art of Suburbia' to reopen the High Street. The funding for the 2 day event was £81,300 of which £36,000 was from the Arts Council, meaning that taxpayers living outside Sutton were helping the Council to indulge itself. The relaunch was not exactly as described with lighting columns left disconnected and lumps of tarmac crudely filling holes left along the pavement. Work was not due to be completed for another week, having run overtime.

The headline act 'Trans Expresse' (pictured right) were a French troupe of drummers whose piece de resistance was to attach themselves to one of the biggest cranes in London and drum in middair on a giant children's mobile. This was witnessed by about 250 people on a cold, dark Friday evening. That'll be £162.50 per person to watch someone hanging around on Sutton High Street, something people can do for free on most days.

On the Saturday, an extraordinary claim by the Council that 25,000 came to see the launch. I'm not sure who counted nor if the people that just came to shop (or even just hang around) were included in that figure. Nonetheless, even allowing for the most rose-tinted of spectacles, this appears optimistic. Those that did come witnessed a giant robot, some giant painting and a giant accident when a lady in a motorised scooter drove off the edge of a raised platform on the new Trinity Square.

Meanwhile the main local paper, the Sutton Guardian, were hugged closely by the Council who made them 'Official Media Partners', thus ensuring that the headlines that followed were favourable. Fortunately, the Guardian followed up the next week by asking residents what they thought of the overall expense.

The irony was not lost when reading the launch day programme which explained that one of the groups of performance artists were named "The Bureau of Silly Ideas." (Too many jokes, too little time so I'll leave you to add your punchlines.)


David B, CB said...

25,000 people? That means about one in seven people who live in the borough came to see this.

I rather doubt that figure. I’d be surprised if there were 25,000 shoppers in Sutton during the whole of Saturday.

It would be wholly disingenuous to claim every shopper visited Sutton only to see this pantomime. But then disingenuity, the ability to claim black is white without flinching, is a skill this council has perfected over the years.

I can only conclude that Sutton Council must have used the same people to count heads as produced the 90% inaccurate business plan for Sutton Life Centre.

Viv said...

A shocking waste of money to desecrate a reasonably OK High St into a combination of Tianenman Square and a prison exercise yard.

The seats are already leaking colour and leaving brown stains on the grey prison yard (hope it's from the seats anyway!) The big stone blocks, if they are seats (not sure - maybe more street art??), do not drain after rain and so are quite unusable at times.

Even more shocking is the constant failure of the Sutton Guardian to hold the council to account for its decisions. They had the courage to criticise Cheryl Cole who visited Nonsuch during the week, but not brave enough to utter a whisper of criticism over all the appalling decisions made recently by this council.

¬ said...

Now don't get me wrong, I like to a good round of finger-pointing as a much as anyone else. But seeing as we are engaging in an orgy of blaming here, let us not spare criticism for the good people of Sutton whose electoral endorsement of the unrepentant Liberal Democrat spend-thrift leadership has legitimised this kind of madness.

The collective insanity of the Borough's electorate has given the architects of this disaster another four year term to f@ck up our neighbourhoods and bump up our council tax even more.

Criticism needs to come with perspective and it is my sad conclusion that the people of Sutton either don't give a rat's arse or like this kind of crap.

Whichever conclusion it is, I'm stumped.


David Pickles said...

Let's not forget the old adage - "those who live in glass houses should not throw stones". Very rich coming from former Cllr Scully - who still sticks like glue to a "conservative" party who have condemned the middle classes to ever higher tuition fees, who have raped the welfare state and who doggedly pretend they are "furious" with the EU - when in theory they are the propoents of european cohesion. When people like Cameron, Osborne (and Scully) come clean with the populace - and the voters - and dare to point out that the sum of money that Osborne is stealing from the people of this country exactly equals the amount he is quite happy to pay the EU - then maybe people like me will begin to take the "tories" seriously again. Until then - I'll leave everyone else to make "their own conclusions".

"¬" said...


Emerging - bleary-eyed, sodden, clutching the grapes of wrath in trembling digits with Dionysus hot on his tails - resplendent out of the River Styx of political oblivion...FORMER Councillor David Pickles.

He lives!!!

And so much for that shallow dross about retiring from politics and never posting again. How we've missed him.

Anyway, seriously good contribution from Pickles there. Although judging by his post he has invested heavily in Quotation Marks Plc - throwback to the old Gordon Gekko days, chummy? Is the lack of intellectual depth and meaning really sufficiently compensated by the frankly baffling inclusion of quotation marks at every, and inappropriately, conceivable moment.

Lol, what a wazzock. Change the tune and, by all means, keep 'em coming you muppet.

David B, CB said...

Paul, you really should have locked the catflap.

David Pickles said...

.......think the fact that "Cllr" Scully led the "tories" to an inglorious and most unexpected defeat says it all really. Of course, under the "tories" you can be well rewarded for being hopeless.

Vocal Majority said...

And how did you do in the election, Pickles?

David B, CB said...

VM, don’t you mean “how” did “you” do in the “election”, “Pickles”?

Unknown said...

David P

Well I'm glad that you are doing well enough to be able to afford to live with a LibDem administration.

I lost. I'm over it. Life moves on. Now can we go back to the main task of getting some sanity in the Civic Offices. No mention from you about the £100,000 cost of having a party in Sutton High Street; nothing about £40,000 on a website and nothing about the fact that this is at the time when 20% of Sutton Council's employees are going to get the boot, you and I are going to pay yet more in council tax and the last 2 LibDem councils in London are planning to merge.

Instead you concentrate on Europe which neither of us can control. I stood for local election, not national or European. There is plenty for us to concentrate on here. As well as being pointless, it is actually counter-productive to your argument because everyone has stopped listening to you, so your more valid points get swallowed up in the white noise of misdirected polemic.

Secretary of State for Guinness said...

David Pickles sadly doesn't have the brain power to tackle local issues without some flacid reference to the EU. Remember: it's much easier to endlessly blame something which is completely out of your reach/control/remit because you can wax lyrical ceaselessly without the need to tackle real problems and find practical solutions.

It's lazy politics and utterly self-serving. Sutton Council is better off without David Pickles.

Good riddance.