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> Greenham Common control tower, an appalling eyesore..., .. why are Libdems making idiots of themselves trying to save this?
Sherlock
post Jun 17 2013, 11:06 AM
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dannyboy
post Jun 17 2013, 12:45 PM
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It would make a good pub. I have a feeling the locals might not like that idea though.
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Simon Kirby
post Jun 17 2013, 12:57 PM
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It is a bit of an eyesore in its present condition, but I think it would make a fantastic cafe/museum if it was tidied up and the grounds were better presented. It's an iconic building with its lookout, which would make a fantastic viewing gallery. There is pretty much nowhere nice to sit and have a cup of coffee in Newbury after the walking the dogs, the best option is the tea shop on the Greenham estate, but you're literally sitting in the middle of a trading estate so that's far from ideal. A control tower cafe would be just fantastic.

I'm not overjoyed at the idea of spending public money buying it, especially when it is already in public ownership. The ideal situation would have been for WBC to make something of it, and frankly it's pretty rubbish that they've just left the building to moulder, and if they can't provide the facilities at Greenham Common it also undermines the likelihood of them having the nouse to make a decent fist of the Sandleford Country Park, which as dannyboy says is just a fancy name for what in reality is going to be a bit of open space without any facilities.

I would like to see it turn into a cafe/museum, and ideally I'd like it to be privately run at no public cost, but if that isn't possible (and I accept that it might not be financially viable) then I would support it with public money. But WBC are taking the pish by selling what was given to them in trust for the public benefit, and in this I agree with the Lib Dems. I also don't see how the tiny little Greenham Parish Council can hope to buy, develop, and manage it, and while the Town Council might have the resources they can't currently be trusted with the responsibilities they already have, so the idea of giving them more responsibility is ridiculous.


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Andy Capp
post Jun 17 2013, 01:03 PM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Jun 17 2013, 01:45 PM) *
It would make a good pub. I have a feeling the locals might not like that idea though.

A long time ago there used to be one near there.

What I have noticed is that the North Gate car park is becoming increasingly full these days. Perhaps that is indicative of the potential for visitors elsewhere on the common?
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dannyboy
post Jun 17 2013, 01:06 PM
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QUOTE (Andy Capp @ Jun 17 2013, 02:03 PM) *
A long time ago there used to be one near there.

What I have noticed is that the North Gate car park is becoming increasingly full these days. Perhaps that is indicative of the potential for visitors elsewhere on the common?

before my time.
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dannyboy
post Jun 17 2013, 01:09 PM
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tiny little Greenham Parish Council can hope to buy, develop, and manage it,


I notice the Tally Ho has been off loaded by the developers, so if even tinyer Hungerford Newtown can manage it...
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Simon Kirby
post Jun 17 2013, 01:24 PM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Jun 17 2013, 02:09 PM) *
tiny little Greenham Parish Council can hope to buy, develop, and manage it,


I notice the Tally Ho has been off loaded by the developers, so if even tinyer Hungerford Newtown can manage it...

Sorry, who bought the Tally Ho?

But whatever. Greenham PC doesn't levy a precept on my tax bill so they can do what they like really, and if they make a success of it then jolly good luck to them.


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Simon Kirby
post Jun 17 2013, 01:30 PM
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OK, I found it. That's a private limited company organised by community-minded individuals who want to run a village pub. They've raised the capital, though they haven't yet successfully ran the pub.

A little parish council spending many £hundreds of thousands of public money on a tea shop to be run by local government officers is not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination.


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On the edge
post Jun 17 2013, 02:32 PM
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The present proposal is just gesture politics. Why hasn't Mr S-H opened his mouth since the WBC took control in 1997? Its a white elephant and as no practical use has been found for it during those 16 years its right it should be disposed of to the highest bidder and the money used properly.

Collecting derelict buildings, with only the haziest idea as to what to use them for seems to be a Parish disease in these parts. Thatcham has just done the same!

I know its probably seen as old fashioned these days, but I was taught to come up with the requirements before the solution. Oh well, not really my concern, I don't live in Greenham so won't get suckered into paying for it.

Thankfully, its outside Newbury Town Council's jurisdiction, so it can be of absolutely no interest to them.


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dannyboy
post Jun 17 2013, 02:35 PM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jun 17 2013, 02:24 PM) *
Sorry, who bought the Tally Ho?

But whatever. Greenham PC doesn't levy a precept on my tax bill so they can do what they like really, and if they make a success of it then jolly good luck to them.

You already know the answer.

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dannyboy
post Jun 17 2013, 02:38 PM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jun 17 2013, 02:30 PM) *
OK, I found it. That's a private limited company organised by community-minded individuals who want to run a village pub. They've raised the capital, though they haven't yet successfully ran the pub.

A little parish council spending many £hundreds of thousands of public money on a tea shop to be run by local government officers is not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination.

did I say it was?

I was merely saying that if 10 like minded people can organise things to buy a community asset so can another.

Just because one group is connected to something you find abhorent does not mean they can't go down the same route & not spend a penny of 'public' money.
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On the edge
post Jun 17 2013, 02:43 PM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Jun 17 2013, 03:38 PM) *
did I say it was?

I was merely saying that if 10 like minded people can organise things to buy a community asset so can another.

Just because one group is connected to something you find abhorent does not mean they can't go down the same route & not spend a penny of 'public' money.


A 'group of like minded people' is not the same thing as 'Greenham Parish Council' by any stretch of the imagination. The proposal here involves Greenham Parish Council and consequently public money. Great, if 'like minded people' want to do that, can they step forward please?


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Sherlock
post Jun 17 2013, 02:46 PM
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I agree that a visitor centre/cafe would be a great addition to the common but I think the current building would be the worst possible home for it. A wooden, one story building - more like the one at the Nature Discovery Centre - would be much more appropriate.

I thought it was wonderful when the common was returned to being a common. We have an everlasting monument to its former deadly purpose - the cruise missile bunkers - we don't need this ugly, tacky and I expect expensive-to-maintain building as well. If any public money is spent it should go on providing a decent car park at that location, the current one must kill a few car suspensions ever year.
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dannyboy
post Jun 17 2013, 02:47 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Jun 17 2013, 03:43 PM) *
A 'group of like minded people' is not the same thing as 'Greenham Parish Council' by any stretch of the imagination. The proposal here involves Greenham Parish Council and consequently public money. Great, if 'like minded people' want to do that, can they step forward please?

Why does it have to by public money? GPC might be able to raise the funds elsewhere.

The lack of like minded people often means that a public funded body has to step in. Save local history for the community & all that crap.
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On the edge
post Jun 17 2013, 03:10 PM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Jun 17 2013, 03:47 PM) *
Why does it have to by public money? GPC might be able to raise the funds elsewhere.

The lack of like minded people often means that a public funded body has to step in. Save local history for the community & all that crap.


Then why do the sponsors even mention Greenham Parish Council? Of course, Parish Councils can and should look elsewhere for funding, but we've seen very little evidence of that happening in West Berkshire.

Arguably the lack of 'like minded people' means that the public don't see this as a priority issue, and certainly not one they are willing to stump up the funds to support - after all, they have had 16 years to do that. The real evidence is that not even Greenham Common Trust could find an effective use / user for the building.

Public funded bodies are useful but should only be set up when the public want them. I'd have rather more faith in the petition if the wording said something like 'we are chargepayers in Greenham Parish and are happy that our community charge should be increased by x to pay for the Control Tower'.



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Simon Kirby
post Jun 17 2013, 04:05 PM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Jun 17 2013, 03:38 PM) *
Just because one group is connected to something you find abhorent does not mean they can't go down the same route & not spend a penny of 'public' money.

That's perfectly true, and I apologise if I've made a false assumption in thinking that Left-Hook intended to use public money. If GPC are indeed organising a community company to buy the site with private money and no public contribution then I think that's absolutely excellent and I'll probably donate something myself.

Has he published the business case?


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dannyboy
post Jun 17 2013, 04:31 PM
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I have no idea if any business case has been issued.

AS far as I see it this building, like it or not, is part of the local history & unfortunately local councils do have a duty of care towards 'heritage' & what not. So are, duty bound to look after the little bit we have left.
other wise all the not so nice bits with any historical interest would be turned into flats or bulldozed to make way for flats.

If one local body can pass on the upkeep & care of the building to another, whilst returning the building to a useful local benefit, I can't see the problem.

Sitting on that flat roof of a summer evening after a blastround the common on the bike, drinking a pint sound like a good idea to me.

The lack of 'like minded people' is just symptomatic of modern culture. Peope more than likely don't even realise thay can do anything to 'save' this building, or any other.
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Simon Kirby
post Jun 17 2013, 04:49 PM
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QUOTE (dannyboy @ Jun 17 2013, 05:31 PM) *
AS far as I see it this building, like it or not, is part of the local history & unfortunately local councils do have a duty of care towards 'heritage' & what not. So are, duty bound to look after the little bit we have left.

Just on that specific point: no, you are mistaken. The Parish Council has no such duty. We have discussed in other threads how there are only two duties placed on a Parish Council, one is to receive accounts of parochial charities, and the other is to provide allotments.

It isn't even completely clear to me that a parish council even has a power to buy a building in order to turn it into a tea shop, though I'm guessing such a power may possibly exist, but I'd still be obliged is someone could cite the Act for me that creates the power.


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dannyboy
post Jun 17 2013, 04:58 PM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jun 17 2013, 05:49 PM) *
Just on that specific point: no, you are mistaken. The Parish Council has no such duty. We have discussed in other threads how there are only two duties placed on a Parish Council, one is to receive accounts of parochial charities, and the other is to provide allotments.

It isn't even completely clear to me that a parish council even has a power to buy a building in order to turn it into a tea shop, though I'm guessing such a power may possibly exist, but I'd still be obliged is someone could cite the Act for me that creates the power.

I did say local councils

So a PC has no such actual legally defined role, but if they are the only ones who actually want to save a little bit of heritage so what.

I don't care if they do have the 'power' or not. If the local council wants to off load what must be a drain on resources to a group who want to turn that state of affairs around and if it happens that GPC are the only people who have the balls to come up with a viable plan to save the tower best of luck to them.

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Richard Garvie
post Jun 17 2013, 06:29 PM
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If only the people signing the petition realised that the "private" bidder wants to turn it into a war museum and cafe... Swift Hook is also keeping quiet about the fact that hundreds of thousands of pounds will also need to be mortgaged by GPC to fund the works... it's 'The Priory' all over again, another Lib Dem scheme to thwart a community minded individual from doing something in the public interest.

I personally see all of this as empire building by the Lib Dems. Buy a disused building with one mortgage, and then take out a second mortgage to fix it up. They then blasted the council for letting a not for profit run the commons etc. (no doubt Swift Hook has been eyeing these up too). And they even have the cheek to blast the district council for investing additional money in our roads (whilst calling on residents to report pot holes to them!!). Lib Dems = politically, morally and soon to be financially (at our cost) bankrupt.
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