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Tag Archives: Lightbox

modfather236_1It’s good to see that Woking Lightbox is finally acknowledging Paul Weller’s importance to the town with an exhibition of photographs of the Modfather by Lawrence Watson ( until 25 September).  It’s also cool to see the show is titled Town Called Malice, a reference to the storming Jam song about Woking that the modern-day town of soaring office blocks and flats has tried to ignore. It’s a pity of course that the exhibition does not include any pictures of Weller’s early years with the Jam, or indeed hardly any of the Style Council – but then photographer Lawrence did not meet up with Weller until 1988, when the Style Council had almost run its course.  It’s also a shame that the cheapest souvenir of the show seems to be a £30 book of photographs. PS Now that Eric and Alec Bedser are being honoured with statues in Woking , can Weller be far behind?

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There are at least one or two things which make one uneasy about the council’s response to its alarming debt levels of almost £100m http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/s/2053718_woking_borough_council_debts_highest_in_the_county

One is the assurance, according to the Woking News and Mail,  that the Lightbox, above, will pay its £638,000 money back. Er, how can it, when admission is free? At the very least, we need a bit more clarity about the financial arrangements here. Then there is the sun-seeking Canopy, and the mysterious finances of the energy-efficiency company, Thameswey, that Woking council has set up, and whose workings trouble a number of contributors to the forum on the council’s website. An airy wave of the arm from the council’s chief executive, Ray Morgan, who says council taxpayers have nothing to worry about, really won’t do.

I’m a great supporter of the Lightbox, unlike some, but I do think a transparent, easily accessible exposition of its finances, and its financial relationship with Woking council would help clear the air.  The Canopy, which I welcomed as giving the town a new, modern look, has had enormous cost overruns, and the council has proved strangely shy about giving details about the energy savings it has so far accumulated.  All this creates an atmosphere of suspicion towards new projects, such as the Woking Gateway. It really is time for Woking council to develop a new relationship with its council taxpayers, and keep them up to date with the full, financial facts. The council is now reported to be considering scrapping Woking’s Christmas lights this year to save money, and its car parking revenue is projected to be down by £1.3m this year. It’s not looking too good

This blog is all about Woking.  The dead brought it to life, and the Martians thought they’d finished it off. There’s no two ways of saying this: the centre of the town is unlovely. The concrete brutalism of the borough council offices is a symbol of the overall ugliness and an example of the town’s architecture at its worst. But the Lightbox has shown that radical design can make a difference. Other new buildings, when they come, can help mould a new look. I’d like this blog to become a forum for debate about the future of the town, and to process news and other discussion topics about the place.