I'm indebted to regular contributor Millicent for winkling out a news item about a regeneration project in West Bromwich, based on an art gallery, which on the face of it seems to have gone horribly wrong.
The Public in West Bromwich opened recently, three years late and £20m over budget. The centre has attracted very few visitors, with one concert drawing an audience of just 17 people. Despite the Arts Council coughing up £30m for the project, the local council has now been forced to donate a further £3m on top of the £500,000 a year it already contributes to the running costs and the £14m it paid out in the first place. A new architect had to be appointed during construction when the first went bust, but the whole thing still had to be put into administration in 2006 and only threw open the doors six weeks ago. According to the article:
A local newspaper counted 12 people walking into the centre during a quarter-hour period at Friday lunchtime. Five went straight through and out the other side; three were contractors; two went in to use the toilet and two sat down for a tea.
Sound familiar? Well before you get all hot and steamy under the proverbial, the story was in the dreaded Daily Mail, which is not a paper known for its, er, appreciation of the arts. Nonetheless I have to say it sent a bit of a shudder down my spine!
Click here to read full story in the Daily Mail. And don't forget to wash your eyes out with soap afterwards.