Watford Concerts Archive

Summary of issues, November 2009

  1. Renovation:
    Astonishingly, this has been planned without any consultation with interested parties - i.e. those with a history, understanding, investment in the building etc. - and as a result I am concerned about the musical fabric as well as the question as to whether good solutions to a number of issues have been adopted - eg lighting, staging etc.   Due to the lack of consultation my knowledge of plans is minimal but I do fervently disagree with some elements I do know of and believe that many others would share my concern.  I know that at least two others with unarguable professional knowledge and experience of the hall are worried about the risk of damage to the musical fabric, in one case after discussion with the company appointed to advise about the acoustic - which was also selected without any consultation. 
  2. The management plan:
    Its an extremely questionable operating model, one which is the same in principle as that which already failed twice at the hall, cannot generate the maximum value from the investment of public funds involved and takes no account of the unique nature of the building and the potential to derive financial value from this.   It was chosen on the basis of a weak and misguided vision and without effective analysis of risks or due consideration of alternatives.  In the context of the change in economic outlook since the plans were made they are even more likely to fail.  In order to generate long-term growth the operation needs to be charitable, not commercial. I will be releasing more information about this since the question generates much interest.  In short I believe that the council is missing an opportunity of huge significance - and one which may not recur.  It made a similarly wrong move in 1994, when effective management of the situation would have greatly reduced costs and opened the door to capital lottery funding for renovation of far greater significance than is now bring considered:  it would be tragic to see this happen again but it appears impossible to prevent such a situation.
  3. Watford Concerts:
    We have no basis from which to plan future concerts i.e. despite my efforts over the last 8 months:
    There has been no discussion of any kind even concerning allocation of dates, let alone how to develop the artistic programme in a co-ordinated manner with all relevant parties - i.e. HQ Theatres, BBC, us, Watford Philharmonic etc,   
    There has been no discussion of financial implications of any kind, except that it has been confirmed to Watford Musical Heritage that council support ends in December,  The council has published proposals for grants which make no mention of any need to support music projects of any kind at the Colosseum in the future and made no response when I took issue with this.   In the Watford Observer on October 22 the Mayor simply said that we could apply for grants but she could give no guarantees, a statement which gives no basis for confidence in the outcome, which in any case would be too late to produce concerts for 2011 which, if the hall is to reopen then, should already have been planned and financed.
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