Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Regal Cinema celebrates Christmas with huge Heritage Lottery Fund win

The Regal Cinema in Tenbury is celebrating Christmas early this week thanks to confirmation of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of over £680,000 to repair and conserve the building and run a two year programme of community activities, it was announced today.

The news will be warmly welcomed by Tenbury Town Council and the cinema volunteers, who have campaigned passionately to see the Grade II listed Art Deco building restored and conserved.

Unlike many cinema’s of the period which have fallen into disrepair and dereliction, the construction of a community centre at the rear of the building in the 1980’s has seen the Regal Cinema act as a focal point for local groups and activities ever since.

Built to replace the New Picture House, which was on the site since 1917, the Regal Cinema was acquired by the Council in 1972. Located on Teme Street in Tenbury town centre it has been cited an excellent example of a 1930s ‘super cinema’ constructed on miniature scale. 

Designed by specialist cinema architect Ernest Robert, it is nationally recognised by the Cinema Theatre Association as having ‘one of the most astonishing auditorium decorations of 1930s cinemas in Britain’ in the form of a painted mural by George Legge - a ‘trompe l’oeil’ Italian scene around three sides of the interior. 

Currently in poor condition and suffering from water ingress through its roof and walls, the grant money will ensure that this precious 20th century artwork is conserved and saved for future generations.

Anne Jenkins, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the West Midlands, explained the importance of the award:

“The Regal Cinema is a real local community hub and widely used by a variety of groups from amateur dramatics to brass band playing, arts societies and local charity functions among many other uses. The HLF grant will ensure that as well as being able to preserve the interior, the Council can now develop further educational activities and interpretation for people of all ages so they can learn about the past of this beautiful building while using it today.”

Community activities to be run in conjunction with the project include the recruitment and training of volunteers to carry out research for a booklet, oral histories to be recorded and made into a CD, cinema tours, a teacher/student resource pack called ‘Producing the Regal’, and a young people’s annual film project.

Neville Topping, Project Manager and Grant Administrator said:

"This is a tremendous collective success. The Town Council, local enthusiasts, building users, design consultants, professional advisers and the Heritage Lottery Fund have worked together to ensure the future of the Regal and everyone involved should be proud of their contribution."

The Mayor of Tenbury Wells, Councillor Elizabeth Weston, said:

“News of the award has been greeted with absolute delight by Councillors and townsfolk. It is a wonderful Christmas gift for Tenbury Wells to know that part of its heritage will be preserved for future generations.”
Shropshire Star - Delight
Worcester News - Future Secure
Tenbury Advertiser

Regal Renovation - Good News (Definitely)

The HLF have finally announced that they have awarded Tenbury Town Council £681,300 towards the renovation of the Regal Cinema.
This appears to be 90% of the required funding so some additional money will have to be raised, or taken from Town Council reserves.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Regal Renovation - Good News (Probably)

The Heritage Lottery Fund have decided yet again to delay the press release about the outcome of the grant application for the renovation to the Tenbury Regal until the new year.

There has been an indication that no news, is good news, but why the news release has been postponed twice is unknown.

Strangely the HLF website seems to be indicating that Tenbury Town Council have been awarded  £739,500, but this could be the announcement of the "first round pass".  All very confusing.  Anyone would think they were a quango.

Get Home Safely This Christmas

Some advice from West Midlands Police.
  • Order a Taxi and make sure it's licensed
  • Never leave with people you don't know
  • Don't leave any of your mates behind
  • Text the registration number of the taxi to someone you trust
  • Share a taxi with a friend or someone you know
  • Always sit in the back seat of the taxi

Tescos Planning Meeting POSTPONED

Due to the heavy snowfall over the weekend and the freezing weather conditions expected this evening, the meeting to discuss the resubmitted planning application to build a Tescos foodstore on the Cattle Market site in Tenbury Wells has been postponed until the 5th of January.
The new meeting date will take place at the Tenbury High School from 6pm

Friday, 17 December 2010

Malvern Hills District Council - Financial Crisis

Malvern Hills District Council faces a 26.85% reduction in funding over the next two years.

This means that they have to find savings of £1.3 million pounds.

As MHDC is already extremely efficient in financial terms, the only place left to cut is front line services, such as rubbish collections, road sweeping or toilet cleaning.

As they are unable to increase the Council Tax, they will also have to look at other ways of raising funds such as increasing Car Parking charges.

Leader of the Council, Phil Grove, has set up an urgent meeting in London next week with Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to explain that it would be almost impossible to achieve these savings without affecting  front line services.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Tenbury Town Council re-consider Tesco application.

The Tenbury Town Council met tonight in special session to re-consider their support for Tesco.  Usually the Town Council cannot return to a subject (after a vote) for several months but on this occasion decided that enough additional information had come to light to vote again.

After a rather confused meeting, where it became clear that there were still many questions to which the Council didn't have the answers to, they voted on a proposition to support the planning application.

4 For the motion, 4 Against, 2 Abstentions
The Mayor then used her casting vote to reject the proposition.

This means that whilst their support is documented in the Recommend to Refuse document, they will be speaking against the development at the Planning Meeting.

Worcester News

Tenbury Pump Rooms - Tourism Plan

Pump Rooms
Since the Tenbury Pump rooms were renovated using various grants, they were designated as a tourist attraction.  The problem was, that they were only opened infrequently, and when they were, there was very little to see.

Now following a request from the Tenbury Museum society, plans are being drawn up for Pump Room artifacts to be returned and one of the former bathrooms to be recreated.

The Pump Rooms will then be staffed on occasions by museum volunteers to show tourists around.  At other times, when not in use for functions, the Town Clerk will facilitate access.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Tenbury Twitchers sight Bittern

(This Bittern - Not photographed in Tenbury)

A Bittern is said to have been spotted on the River Teme in Tenbury and has caused some excitement amongst the twitching fraternity.

Once thought extinct, the Bittern remains one of England's rarest birds, with number continuing to fall.

It is thought that the UK population may be as low as 50 birds, who are rarely found this far north.

The boom of the male bittern is the lowest-pitched and the most far-carrying song produced by any European bird. It can be heard up to 5 km away in the right weather conditions.

Additional pictures and information from
Teme Valley Wildlife.
BBC Hereford & Worcester
Bittern's Fishing Success

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Tenbury Town Council & Tesco

A few weeks ago Tenbury Town Council voted in favour of the new Tesco development on the Old Cattle Market site, but they have now decided in light of new evidence that they wish to discuss the matter again and re-vote.

A meeting has been scheduled for next Monday, but if the format is the same as the last meeting there will be no opportunity for members of the public to speak.

The Town Council have received a number of letters about the development, including one from a couple who live on the Isle of Man.  They wrote to say that in their opinion Tesco shouldn't be allowed to open a store in Tenbury as their local high street had been ruined by competition from Tesco.  What they, and many Tesco objectors still don't take into consideration is the proposed store isn't a Superstore (which on average is twice the size of the proposed store) and will therefore carry fewer lines that will compete with local shops.  All of the criticism I have seen published refer to Superstores or Larger (most or all of which aren't located directly in the High Street).

I think that there are still defects with the application, but decisions shouldn't be swayed by incorrect comparisons.  Many shops have opened and closed in Tenbury through the years and will continue to do so with or without Tesco.

Far better to concentrate on the defects in the application such as their complete misunderstanding of the available public transport which they feel could be used by staff and shoppers alike.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Art was never like that.....

.....when I was at School.
School Art, and learning through creative real life experiences are new concepts to many of us that suffered through the very poor 1960s-70s educational system, but now schools are creating artworks that in some cases are difficult to differentiate from professional work
If you have a few minutes over the next couple of week, take a look at the exhibition "upstairs" (or by lift) in the Tenbury Wells library.

There is a comprehensive display of artwork created by local schools with the help of Nancy Evans, the Teme Valley Artist in Residence.
Other photo's

Santa & Lantern Parade

Tenbury Wells traditional Santa & Lantern Parade 2010.

Trace & Place - Money well spent.

Over the years I have seen many many school productions.  Some that verge on professional, others well, probably best forgotten.

Most have been either scripted plays or popular musicals.  Trace & Place performed at the Tenbury Regal was neither.
Firstly it was highly ambitious, not so much in it's content, but by virtue of the fact it was performed by children from five schools, working together.  Now it's difficult enough to create a production at one school, but five geographically remote schools is bordering on madness, but project Co-ordinator & Creator Caroline Palethorpe did just that, and very well.

It also appeared to me (and I might be wrong) but the performers were not all the "usual suspects".

The drumming was brilliant, if you like that sort of thing (and usually I don't).

Some of the meaning behind the drama, I have to admit I didn't understand, but the performances on the whole were good.

There was some good use of technology, but I found that the projected text was both too small and too quick for my poor eyes not helped by me sitting right at the back of a full house, but given the lack of time available, shortened even further by the power cut on Friday quite understandable.

The other thing worth remembering is that the performance was only a small part of the project, and whilst many may scorn grant funded art projects, this one does seem to have delivered.

Other photo's
Tenbury Advertiser

Sunday, 5 December 2010

New Mistletoe Queen is Crowned

Yesterday saw the Crowning of the 2010 Mistletoe Queen by Tenbury Mayor, Liz Weston.

The Mistletoe Queen and Holly Prince are crowned each year as part of National Mistletoe Day, during the Tenbury Mistletoe Festival.
Left to Right - The attendants Evie Grove (Deputy Head Girl) & George Dicken (Deputy Head Boy) The Mistletoe Queen Alice Williams, the Holly Price Oliver Palethorpe.
Left to Right - The attendants Evie Grove (Deputy Head Girl) & George Dicken (Deputy Head Boy) The Mistletoe Queen Alice Williams, the Holly Price Oliver Palethorpe.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Window Competition - Winner

Little Dress Shop - Winner
Tenbury Mayor, Liz Weston presents the award to the winner of this years Mistletoe themed window dressing competition Sue Todd-Wood of the Little Dress Shop.

Mistletoe Sacrifice

Mistletoe Festival 2010, originally uploaded by @WR15.
About 40 people gathered on the Burgage, Tenbury Wells to participate in the Mistletoe Foundation Druidic Ceremony, witnessed by a BBC Film Crew, program makers from BBC Radio 4 and numerous photographers from various publications.

The ceremony which lasted about an hour thanked the natural word for all its gifts, such as the Sun, Wind & Rain and for the Harvests such as Hops and Apples.

At the culmination of the ceremony the Mistletoe harvested this morning is thrown into the River Teme as an offering.

More photo's

Ceremonial Mistletoe Harvest

Members of the Mistletoe Foundation met this morning in Tenbury to carry out the Druidic Mistletoe Harvesting ceremony (whilst being recorded by Radio 4).  The Mistletoe is cut with a Golden Sickle and caught in a white sheet so that the Mistletoe doesn't touch the ground.
The Mistletoe will be paraded through Tenbury at about 2pm this afternoon, (starting at he Rose & Crown, Burford) and a further ceremony will be held on the Burgage before the Mistletoe will thrown into the River Teme as an offering.

Radio 4 will be in attendance along with a number of photographers from various publication.
Radio 4 Open Country

Friday, 3 December 2010

Tesco Planning Meeting Arranged

Malvern Hills District Council have booked Tenbury High School as the location for the Northern Area Planning meeting on December 20th at 6pm.

Although some documents and reports are still incomplete, Council Leader Phil Grove said tonight  "At this stage we have no plans to postpone the meeting"
From my (and other peoples) investigations, a number of questions have been raised.

  • 1. Who now owns the land and have they been served with the appropriate notice/certificate/documentation that a planning application is in progress.

    It appears that the former owners, Chase Tenbury LLP have been struck off for failing to complete statutory returns, and in theory all their assets have passed to the Crown.

  • 2. Tesco's have not put in a Conservation Area application to demolish the Old Infirmary.

    As far as can be ascertained, they originally planned to make an application that would be considered at the same time as the planning application.  It is understood that they have now decided/been advised that they needn't make the application until after the planning application has been decided as the need for the demolition is intrinsic to the scheme.  Therefore if the scheme is passed, that automatically grants them permission to demolish.

  • 3. Tesco's have not put in a Listed Building Consent Application to demolish the buildings behind the Old Fire Station and to remove some of the railings.

    Once again they appear to be relying on the "intrinsic to the scheme" theory.

  • 4. The Environment Agency has raised concerns that not enough information has been supplied and therefore at this stage they are objecting to the scheme.
If Tesco's are correct and they can reply on the "intrinsic to" how do MHDC allow agencies such as English Heritage to comment on the demolition as they would not be consulted about the planning application.

I have asked Cllr Grove that "IF" there is a need to defer the decision, this is publicised prior to the meeting (which will need to go ahead as it is considering other planning applications at the same time) and not once everyone has braved the December night and turned up at the school.

Market Street Toilets - CLOSED

The new "Iconic" public toilets in Market Street, Tenbury Wells, have had to be closed.  It appears that insufficient (or perhaps no) lagging has been installed to protect the water pipes during cold weather.

It is not yet confirmed whether the work was incorrectly specified or incorrectly installed, but whatever the outcome it is a further embarrassment for Malvern Hills District Council.  The new toilets took an incredible 3 years to design and build and have only been open less than six months.

Tomorrow is the Mistletoe Festival, one of the days that attract visitors to town and yet again, there is a strong possibility that the toilets will not be available.

The Town Council have already raised their disappointment at the state of the toilets during Applefest and had asked that additional cleaning be scheduled on festival dates.

On a brighter note, WCC have actually managed to grit the Town Centre pavements this year.

Major Power Outage - Tenbury

IMG_1337Roughly one third of the shops and other businesses in Teme Street, the Crossing Lights and Christmas Decorations lost their power this afternoon.

The fault has been traced to a single cable and EON are currently excavating in search of the problem.

The duty "jointer" is on his way to Tenbury to splice in a new section of cable.  Early indications point at "old" infrastructure rather than overload or other reason for the fault developing.

It is hoped that the power will be restored in the next four hours, or at the very worst by very early morning.

New Photo Magazine in Town

At the moment it's something of a best kept secret, but there is a new online magazine in town, with the most amazing photographs.

I would recommend you all to visit it's fantastic and puts my efforts to shame.

Also it's time to collect the latest issue of the Teme Valley Times from Tenbury News, the Post Office and other local suppliers.

Coldest Night So Far : 2

In Tenbury last night the temperatures fell to a low of -12.2 c. 

The lowest recorded temperature yesterday was -20.9 c at Altnaharra.

Hard to believe now:
Global temperature has warmed to near record levels in 2010 say climate scientists from the Met Office and the University of East Anglia. Provisional figures for the three main global temperature datasets put 2010 on track to become first or second warmest in the instrumental record.