Lancashire Telegraph'Portas arts cash could be a disaster for Nelson' (From Lancashire Telegraph)

When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.

'Portas arts cash could be a disaster for Nelson'

Lancashire Telegraph: Mary Portas in Nelson on Tuesday Mary Portas in Nelson on Tuesday

TWO artists are to be commissioned to spend three months coming up with ‘creative, effective and unusual happenings’ in Nelson town centre as part of the Mary Portas scheme.

The Queen of Shops visited the town on Tuesday to see what progress had been made after Nelson was chosen as one of 12 Portas towns.

Nelson has received £100,000 to transform its high street and work has started on a number of projects to regenerate the fortunes of the town centre.

Ideas so far include turning Manchester Road into Nelson’s own version of the Rusholme curry mile, in Manchester, and creating a student cafe and common room to attract young people into town.

And around £16,000 is to be spent on the arts project, which could include staging musicals, plays and art workshops, to draw people into the amphitheatre area.

But Coun Eileen Ansar, who represents Clover Hill ward and is Nelson Town Council chairman said: “This looks like it is going to be another disaster like the zumba classes and morning boot camp.

“If they were proposing taking up one of the empty units, where college students could sell their own artwork, then I would understand it. But this is fairly ridiculous.”

Senior regeneration officer Judith Watmough, from Pendle Council, said: “We purposely haven't said what exactly will happen there as we want the artists to give us their creative ideas.”

Kirsty Rose, from Pendle Leisure Trust, said: “We’ll be choosing two artists to use the amphitheatre and empty shops.

“We’ll want them to work with local businesses and attract young people into town.”

The deadline for artists to submit bids is February 22.

Application forms are available from Pendle Council’s Regeneration Team by contacting Judith on 01282 661040 or on judith.watmough@pendle.gov.uk.

Comments (16)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:52pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Izanears says...

I cant't agree more with Councillor Ansar. And as for the Curry Mile idea, well. the mind boggles.
I cant't agree more with Councillor Ansar. And as for the Curry Mile idea, well. the mind boggles. Izanears
  • Score: 0

5:28pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Catty50 says...

My lord! Curry mile haha haven't we already got that! It's all that nelson has. What about new shops? Or is it far too late ?no one wants to step into nelson town centre anymore as they feel threatened and unsafe get real council leaders!,
My lord! Curry mile haha haven't we already got that! It's all that nelson has. What about new shops? Or is it far too late ?no one wants to step into nelson town centre anymore as they feel threatened and unsafe get real council leaders!, Catty50
  • Score: 0

7:01pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Sajdin says...

Yep, wasting more money !

And Eileen Answer, always have to be in the limelight !
Yep, wasting more money ! And Eileen Answer, always have to be in the limelight ! Sajdin
  • Score: 0

7:07pm Fri 1 Feb 13

justaworkinlad says...

The way to regenerate the town centre is to attract major retailers (don't write off this idea yet) First of all give Orange or Carphone Warehouse or O2 or any other major mobile company a unit rent free for two years, what happens next is the other major mobile suppliers want to trade in the same area so as not to loose out on the custom. Repeat this with McDonalds or Burger King etc. I know major retailers always want to trade against each other. Now if that idea fails you must demolish the centre and cover it with grass, in no time at all one of the big names in retail will come along and want to build on it.
The way to regenerate the town centre is to attract major retailers (don't write off this idea yet) First of all give Orange or Carphone Warehouse or O2 or any other major mobile company a unit rent free for two years, what happens next is the other major mobile suppliers want to trade in the same area so as not to loose out on the custom. Repeat this with McDonalds or Burger King etc. I know major retailers always want to trade against each other. Now if that idea fails you must demolish the centre and cover it with grass, in no time at all one of the big names in retail will come along and want to build on it. justaworkinlad
  • Score: 0

10:41pm Fri 1 Feb 13

trajan says...

I will regenerate the town through the medium of transcendental meditation with use of a giant bong sat around the erect shuttle.............
half the town is already stoned so should be a good do.
I will regenerate the town through the medium of transcendental meditation with use of a giant bong sat around the erect shuttle............. half the town is already stoned so should be a good do. trajan
  • Score: 0

11:03am Sat 2 Feb 13

ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123 says...

justaworkinlad wrote:
The way to regenerate the town centre is to attract major retailers (don't write off this idea yet) First of all give Orange or Carphone Warehouse or O2 or any other major mobile company a unit rent free for two years, what happens next is the other major mobile suppliers want to trade in the same area so as not to loose out on the custom. Repeat this with McDonalds or Burger King etc. I know major retailers always want to trade against each other. Now if that idea fails you must demolish the centre and cover it with grass, in no time at all one of the big names in retail will come along and want to build on it.
well this has got to be the most stupid out of this world statement of 2013,well done m8 you made my day!!the last part of your text sounds good but should cover the complete town centre,
[quote][p][bold]justaworkinlad[/bold] wrote: The way to regenerate the town centre is to attract major retailers (don't write off this idea yet) First of all give Orange or Carphone Warehouse or O2 or any other major mobile company a unit rent free for two years, what happens next is the other major mobile suppliers want to trade in the same area so as not to loose out on the custom. Repeat this with McDonalds or Burger King etc. I know major retailers always want to trade against each other. Now if that idea fails you must demolish the centre and cover it with grass, in no time at all one of the big names in retail will come along and want to build on it.[/p][/quote]well this has got to be the most stupid out of this world statement of 2013,well done m8 you made my day!!the last part of your text sounds good but should cover the complete town centre, ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123
  • Score: 0

11:10am Sun 3 Feb 13

Cllr R.Smith says...

Curry Mile! I think they have completely run out of ideas and I've said right from the start of the pilot, NO ART! If only the Tory Councillor actually consulted with Nelson Councillors, but no this had to be Tory Party project and they have blown the money on nothing. They wouldn't consult with Nelson Councillors because we are labour, but it's us who know Nelson the best and all they have done is shut us out. The best thing for Nelson is for Mary Portas not to come back and the remaining money given to Nelson Area Committee where we the Nelson Councillors will know best on how to make a bit of a difference so maybe major retailers will invest in the town.
Curry Mile! I think they have completely run out of ideas and I've said right from the start of the pilot, NO ART! If only the Tory Councillor actually consulted with Nelson Councillors, but no this had to be Tory Party project and they have blown the money on nothing. They wouldn't consult with Nelson Councillors because we are labour, but it's us who know Nelson the best and all they have done is shut us out. The best thing for Nelson is for Mary Portas not to come back and the remaining money given to Nelson Area Committee where we the Nelson Councillors will know best on how to make a bit of a difference so maybe major retailers will invest in the town. Cllr R.Smith
  • Score: 0

2:22pm Sun 3 Feb 13

Lucy Porter 101 says...

All Labour do is snipe from the sidelines... Why don't they actively get involved in trying to make Labour a better place...

The Councillor above talks about waiting to be consulted... Come on.... You have to do better than that... It's your job to get up and make a difference... Don 't just sit there waiting.

But I also have to say he says that the money should just be given to the Area Committee because he says they know where to spend it..... Nelson has been declining under Labour rule for decades.... If they know what needs doing why are they not doing it??

for the record incidentally I can see some benefits from a curry mile... I think the arts project would be stupid!
All Labour do is snipe from the sidelines... Why don't they actively get involved in trying to make Labour a better place... The Councillor above talks about waiting to be consulted... Come on.... You have to do better than that... It's your job to get up and make a difference... Don 't just sit there waiting. But I also have to say he says that the money should just be given to the Area Committee because he says they know where to spend it..... Nelson has been declining under Labour rule for decades.... If they know what needs doing why are they not doing it?? for the record incidentally I can see some benefits from a curry mile... I think the arts project would be stupid! Lucy Porter 101
  • Score: 0

2:45pm Sun 3 Feb 13

Cllr R.Smith says...

Labour have been making Nelson a little bit better, it is hard with all the bureaucracy that goes with local government as everything is much more expensive to implement.

I was only giving my person opinion as a Nelson Borough Councillor, and I have not been consulted on the Mary Portas project. Why should I take the time to constantly have to lobby a conservative executive member when my time is better spent in the Job center or at the housing benefits office fighting for residents who have had their benefits cut in most cases in error that are not their fault. I'm sorry but I will always fight for those who have nothing and I will stand by my original statement that this should have been dealt with by the Nelson area committee.

Labour does wish that we have had control for decades but lets not forget how well the LibDems did at managing the area committee, remember the lack of Christmas decorations. At least the town center looks festive now!
Labour have been making Nelson a little bit better, it is hard with all the bureaucracy that goes with local government as everything is much more expensive to implement. I was only giving my person opinion as a Nelson Borough Councillor, and I have not been consulted on the Mary Portas project. Why should I take the time to constantly have to lobby a conservative executive member when my time is better spent in the Job center or at the housing benefits office fighting for residents who have had their benefits cut in most cases in error that are not their fault. I'm sorry but I will always fight for those who have nothing and I will stand by my original statement that this should have been dealt with by the Nelson area committee. Labour does wish that we have had control for decades but lets not forget how well the LibDems did at managing the area committee, remember the lack of Christmas decorations. At least the town center looks festive now! Cllr R.Smith
  • Score: 0

4:42pm Sun 3 Feb 13

Kevin, Colne says...

For over 25 years the political elite in Nelson have clung tenaciously to the belief that the centre of the town can be revived as a retailing destination, or if not retailing then it can find some other role.

To this end during this period they grasped every passing straw no matter how short or weak and approved the building of the Victory Centre, the ACE Centre, Number One Market Street, the new baths and indoor sauna, the Nelson Interchange and the expansion of the Arndale Centre.

Each and every one of these was hailed as another step in the regeneration, and hence revival, of the town centre.

In addition they have redeveloped and transformed the street scene. Aesthetically Nelson has improved dramatically for the better but this does not alter by one jot the economics and social changes that have decimated independent retailing, nor the technological change that is shaking some of the bigger, national retailing groups.

After a quarter of a century someone, somewhere should have got the message by now that the forces that you are confronting are structural in nature and of very great intensity.

To now be committing 16% of the Portas Scheme monies on arts projects including employing two artists to spend three months generating ‘creative, effective and unusual happenings’ in the town is beyond parody.

This suggests very strongly that the Portas Pilot is descending into syllogistic action: ‘we need to action good ideas, this is a good idea let’s action it’.

Once a project moves into this mode then failure is virtually guaranteed.

After two decades of decline Nelson town centre has reached a point at which the level of shops that now exist can survive and in some cases prosper, although I expect that this remains fragile.

The best thing to have done with the £100,000 would have been to invest it in an income producing asset and used half of the income generated to provide a subsidy against the business rates for existing businesses in the town. The other half of the income would be reinvested.

Next year, repeat the process and so on, thus allowing the magic of compounding to work its wonders. Admittedly £100,000 is not a great deal for a scheme like this, but it’s all we’ve got.

Squandering it is tragic.
For over 25 years the political elite in Nelson have clung tenaciously to the belief that the centre of the town can be revived as a retailing destination, or if not retailing then it can find some other role. To this end during this period they grasped every passing straw no matter how short or weak and approved the building of the Victory Centre, the ACE Centre, Number One Market Street, the new baths and indoor sauna, the Nelson Interchange and the expansion of the Arndale Centre. Each and every one of these was hailed as another step in the regeneration, and hence revival, of the town centre. In addition they have redeveloped and transformed the street scene. Aesthetically Nelson has improved dramatically for the better but this does not alter by one jot the economics and social changes that have decimated independent retailing, nor the technological change that is shaking some of the bigger, national retailing groups. After a quarter of a century someone, somewhere should have got the message by now that the forces that you are confronting are structural in nature and of very great intensity. To now be committing 16% of the Portas Scheme monies on arts projects including employing two artists to spend three months generating ‘creative, effective and unusual happenings’ in the town is beyond parody. This suggests very strongly that the Portas Pilot is descending into syllogistic action: ‘we need to action good ideas, this is a good idea let’s action it’. Once a project moves into this mode then failure is virtually guaranteed. After two decades of decline Nelson town centre has reached a point at which the level of shops that now exist can survive and in some cases prosper, although I expect that this remains fragile. The best thing to have done with the £100,000 would have been to invest it in an income producing asset and used half of the income generated to provide a subsidy against the business rates for existing businesses in the town. The other half of the income would be reinvested. Next year, repeat the process and so on, thus allowing the magic of compounding to work its wonders. Admittedly £100,000 is not a great deal for a scheme like this, but it’s all we’ve got. Squandering it is tragic. Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 0

7:31am Mon 4 Feb 13

I Love Nelson! says...

I was at the meeting with Mary Portas along with Peter Dewhurst, who is on the Town Team and supposedly supporting to project.

One of the points Mary specifically raised at the meeting was that she was really happy to see someone from the local press on the Town team and that he could be a real benefit to the project by publicising the positive aspects of Nelson to the wider audience.

I don't think this is the kind of help she had in mind.
I was at the meeting with Mary Portas along with Peter Dewhurst, who is on the Town Team and supposedly supporting to project. One of the points Mary specifically raised at the meeting was that she was really happy to see someone from the local press on the Town team and that he could be a real benefit to the project by publicising the positive aspects of Nelson to the wider audience. I don't think this is the kind of help she had in mind. I Love Nelson!
  • Score: 0

7:54am Mon 4 Feb 13

Poco123 says...

Wat use is a curry mile, We have enough problems in this
Town as is. We need more shops and
The Arndel needs to lower Ther rents along with the indoor market
So they will attract more new business and not all the copy cat ones we have
now. look at Burnley town center if we could have half of that
Nelson would be a better place
But I think cert people just want to take the easy route
And just go for easy options
Wat use is a curry mile, We have enough problems in this Town as is. We need more shops and The Arndel needs to lower Ther rents along with the indoor market So they will attract more new business and not all the copy cat ones we have now. look at Burnley town center if we could have half of that Nelson would be a better place But I think cert people just want to take the easy route And just go for easy options Poco123
  • Score: 0

7:55am Mon 4 Feb 13

Poco123 says...

Wat use is a curry mile, We have enough problems in this
Town as is. We need more shops and
The Arndel needs to lower Ther rents along with the indoor market
So they will attract more new business and not all the copy cat ones we have
now. look at Burnley town center if we could have half of that
Nelson would be a better place
But I think cert people just want to take the easy route
And just go for easy options
Wat use is a curry mile, We have enough problems in this Town as is. We need more shops and The Arndel needs to lower Ther rents along with the indoor market So they will attract more new business and not all the copy cat ones we have now. look at Burnley town center if we could have half of that Nelson would be a better place But I think cert people just want to take the easy route And just go for easy options Poco123
  • Score: 0

9:09am Mon 4 Feb 13

Kevin, Colne says...

I Love Nelson! wrote:
I was at the meeting with Mary Portas along with Peter Dewhurst, who is on the Town Team and supposedly supporting to project.

One of the points Mary specifically raised at the meeting was that she was really happy to see someone from the local press on the Town team and that he could be a real benefit to the project by publicising the positive aspects of Nelson to the wider audience.

I don't think this is the kind of help she had in mind.
Well process is important. I think what would worry me about the Portas process would be the dangers inherent in getting together a group of people that wanted a place to succeed. In know that this may sound barmy but has anyone considered that a group of people sharing a common aim with such enthusiasm might be a real weakness?

Much depends on the individuals, of course, but there must be a danger of ‘group think’ in which ideas are not properly scrutinised for critical flaws. If this happens then the group becomes blind to the real risks and their probabilities and will end-up taking things forward simply because they sound like a ‘good idea’ and everyone on the Team agreed.

In a project like this you’re going to have hits and misses. You have only £100,000 so the real task is to have the highest number of hits, and you achieve this by keeping the misses to a minimum.

I think that one way to aid this process is for a Town Team to have a person or persons who doesn't like the place and is tasked with the role of taking ideas away, trying to destroy them and bringing that assessment back to the full team for proper debate. If after all this the idea still looks like a hit rather than a miss, then try it because it might be!

I’m sorry to have droned on, but that’s as I see things. I’m not on the Team and by the way this isn’t a pitch to join it. You need smart people and that’s not me. It would be great to here that my conjecture is wrong.
[quote][p][bold]I Love Nelson![/bold] wrote: I was at the meeting with Mary Portas along with Peter Dewhurst, who is on the Town Team and supposedly supporting to project. One of the points Mary specifically raised at the meeting was that she was really happy to see someone from the local press on the Town team and that he could be a real benefit to the project by publicising the positive aspects of Nelson to the wider audience. I don't think this is the kind of help she had in mind.[/p][/quote]Well process is important. I think what would worry me about the Portas process would be the dangers inherent in getting together a group of people that wanted a place to succeed. In know that this may sound barmy but has anyone considered that a group of people sharing a common aim with such enthusiasm might be a real weakness? Much depends on the individuals, of course, but there must be a danger of ‘group think’ in which ideas are not properly scrutinised for critical flaws. If this happens then the group becomes blind to the real risks and their probabilities and will end-up taking things forward simply because they sound like a ‘good idea’ and everyone on the Team agreed. In a project like this you’re going to have hits and misses. You have only £100,000 so the real task is to have the highest number of hits, and you achieve this by keeping the misses to a minimum. I think that one way to aid this process is for a Town Team to have a person or persons who doesn't like the place and is tasked with the role of taking ideas away, trying to destroy them and bringing that assessment back to the full team for proper debate. If after all this the idea still looks like a hit rather than a miss, then try it because it might be! I’m sorry to have droned on, but that’s as I see things. I’m not on the Team and by the way this isn’t a pitch to join it. You need smart people and that’s not me. It would be great to here that my conjecture is wrong. Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 0

9:56am Mon 4 Feb 13

Kevin, Colne says...

Poco123 wrote:
Wat use is a curry mile, We have enough problems in this
Town as is. We need more shops and
The Arndel needs to lower Ther rents along with the indoor market
So they will attract more new business and not all the copy cat ones we have
now. look at Burnley town center if we could have half of that
Nelson would be a better place
But I think cert people just want to take the easy route
And just go for easy options
I think it fair to say that rents are sticky on the way down. In short it takes a prolonged period for them to be reduced, and then not by much.

Your observation about Burnley is correct but it is the fact that Burnley is located 2 miles to the west of Nelson and retailing parks in Colne are 2 miles to the east of Nelson that provides part of the explanation for the town’s retailing collapse. Once a significant proportion of the town has access to a car then the marginal cost of travelling to Burnley or Colne in terms of both time and perceived cost is extremely small but the marginal benefit in terms of shopping experience is high.

Moreover, many national retailers adopting bricks n’clicks need far fewer outlets in bricks to achieve national coverage. This leads me to the view that the idea of attracting additional national retailers to Nelson is a non-starter. Frankly, the place is lucky to retain the ones that it has.

In my dafter moments, of which I have many, I sometimes think that the Portas Team should have considered making an outrageous bid to buy the Arndale Centre for £100,000, subject to contract of course. That’d show ‘em!
[quote][p][bold]Poco123[/bold] wrote: Wat use is a curry mile, We have enough problems in this Town as is. We need more shops and The Arndel needs to lower Ther rents along with the indoor market So they will attract more new business and not all the copy cat ones we have now. look at Burnley town center if we could have half of that Nelson would be a better place But I think cert people just want to take the easy route And just go for easy options[/p][/quote]I think it fair to say that rents are sticky on the way down. In short it takes a prolonged period for them to be reduced, and then not by much. Your observation about Burnley is correct but it is the fact that Burnley is located 2 miles to the west of Nelson and retailing parks in Colne are 2 miles to the east of Nelson that provides part of the explanation for the town’s retailing collapse. Once a significant proportion of the town has access to a car then the marginal cost of travelling to Burnley or Colne in terms of both time and perceived cost is extremely small but the marginal benefit in terms of shopping experience is high. Moreover, many national retailers adopting bricks n’clicks need far fewer outlets in bricks to achieve national coverage. This leads me to the view that the idea of attracting additional national retailers to Nelson is a non-starter. Frankly, the place is lucky to retain the ones that it has. In my dafter moments, of which I have many, I sometimes think that the Portas Team should have considered making an outrageous bid to buy the Arndale Centre for £100,000, subject to contract of course. That’d show ‘em! Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 0

12:12am Tue 5 Feb 13

lancashirelass100 says...

What a waste of money! Clearly Mary Portas hasn't got a clue. Unless businesses come back to Nelson it may as well be accepted to be a lost cause. It was once a flourishing place but where did it all go wrong?
What a waste of money! Clearly Mary Portas hasn't got a clue. Unless businesses come back to Nelson it may as well be accepted to be a lost cause. It was once a flourishing place but where did it all go wrong? lancashirelass100
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree