ECHO COMMENT: We must think big or arts centre is just a pipe dream
A DEDICATED arts centre seems to have gone back to the top of many wish lists in Cheltenham.
Last week we reported on how many live bands felt they were struggling to grow because of the lack of a venue like the Axiom, which closed 10 years ago.
Today, well-known local record shop owner Martyn Hooper joins the debate, saying the YMCA building in Vittoria Walk, could be converted into a centre.
Local politicians have made clear that it won't be easy. Without an obvious funding stream, where would the money for a successful conversion of the YMCA, the Axiom itself or any other building come from?
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
The answer has to be to think big. Without support from all advocates of the arts in Cheltenham, from the borough council, through Cheltenham Festivals, to the dozens of groups involved on an annual basis, we're not going to get anywhere.
And thinking big should surely turn attention back to the Quadrangle, that hideous building next to the town hall, which is a blight on the centre of the town.
If we really are serious about giving Cheltenham the sort of venue its culture and character deserve, then the town's leaders need to sell the idea to the private sector.
Anyone visiting the Literature Festival would have seen that the audiences and talent are here.
Developing the Quadrangle could even give a permanent home to some festival events, lessening the impact on Montpellier Gardens and Imperial Square.
If the right connections are made, some serious money could surely be attracted. If they aren't, then a new arts centre for Cheltenham is likely to remain a pipe dream anyway.
IF ever there was an illustration of why parents need to be aware of what their youngsters are getting up to online, then the way Damien Howes tricked a 13-year-old is surely it.
Thankfully, police found a note in his victim's scrapbook that led them to Cheltenham before Howes could live out his sick fantasies.
But he had no trouble posing as a 17-year-old, with all his contact with the girl being made through a dating site from his mobile phone.
The family went through a terrible ordeal until the girl was found and it is a sinister warning.