SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

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Tim Lund
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SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Tim Lund » 20 Jun 2011 16:17

From a document posted on the Lewisham planning portal, June 13th, as evidence for support for this proposal:
Sydenham Mosaic Committee wrote:Articles in Sydenham Society Newsletter
Autumn, 2009, outlining and welcoming alternative ideas and constructive discussion. Further updates in Winter 2009, Spring 2010, Talk given at A.G.M. on 31.4.10 and grant of £500 made. Summer 2010 saying preliminary sketches available for public comment on 12`" June Assembly. Further articles in Autumn 2010 and Spring 2011.

Articles in Thorpe Residents' Association Newsletter
Talk at AGM January 2010 and article in January Newsletter. Again, both in February 2011

Arts Festival Visual Arts Trail
Open House for a weekend in July 2009 and 2010 for visitors variously to see film of Artist in his studio, the Artist's C.V. examples of his work and to make comments on the designs and suggestions for content.of mosaic. 40 attended in 2009 and 75 in 2010
Are any representatives of either the Sydenham Society, the Arts Festival Visual Arts Trail or the Thorpe Residents' Association able to confirm that their organisations do support this proposal?

Tim Lund
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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Tim Lund » 20 Jun 2011 17:06

And this from last Friday's South London Press:
A DESIGNER who has been tasked with creating a mosaic for a community centre has defended criticism of the plans, describing the current building as a "monstrosity".

Artist Oliver Budd has come under fire from neighbours and society members over his designs for a mosaic set to be displayed on the front of the Naborhood Centre in Sydenham Road, Sydenham.

The Sydenham Mosaic Committee was set up two years ago to help spruce up the outside of the 1960s building, which will be renamed the Sydenham Centre.

Members of the group have raised £23,000 for the project in addition to a further £10,000 from the borough council's Sydenham Local Assembly cash pot.

But a group of campaigners, including members of Friends of Home Park and the Sydenham Society are against the design. Mr Budd said: "The idea to create this mosaic is a way of improving the front of this building, which is a monstrosity at the moment. "The controversy over this has come about because some people want to retain the building's 1960s look.

"But, quite frankly, it looks awful and is not attractive at all." Critics believe the project is unsuitable and money could spent more wisely on other schemes. The design is made up of 12 circular panels, each representing themes related to the history of Sydenham, surrounded by white ceramic tiles.

The mosaic will be discussed at a council planning committee later in the year.

Do you agree with Mr Budd's views? Email letters@slp.co.uk
[Note - I have corrected the number of roundels from that given in the SLP]

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Rachael » 20 Jun 2011 17:09

So is Sydenham Society for or against? And who are the members of the Sydenham Mosaic Committee? When and where do they meet and are the meetings open to the public?

Tim Lund
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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Tim Lund » 20 Jun 2011 17:39

rshdunlop wrote:So is Sydenham Society for or against? And who are the members of the Sydenham Mosaic Committee? When and where do they meet and are the meetings open to the public?
Re the Sydenham Society, I'm not sure what the position is, even though I am a member. As a former Chair, I have to admit that it is difficult to know when to consult members - it's certainly impractical to consult on every single issue. However, contact details for current officers are given on their web site here, so you could also try to find out. Are you a member?

Re the Sydenham Mosaic Committee membership, I can't say for sure, but in the document which has just appeared on the Lewisham planning web site, Pat Trembath, Robert Side and Valerie Kelly are mentioned as having met a Lewisham planning officer, Phil Ashford to discuss this. I have no idea when this group meets - if its meetings were open to the public, would you be able to attend them?

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Tim Lund » 20 Jun 2011 18:02

Here's a version of how it will look, taken from the planning application, with numbers added to refer to the roundels

Image

A slightly higher quality image can be downloaded here

I have also taken the list of roundel themes given by Valerie Kelly in the Spring Sydenham Society newsletter this year and matched them as well as I can to the numbers above:

Image

Finally, I have reproduced the income and expenditure numbers given by Chris Best in the recent thread on the Sydenham Assembly. The Excel workbook can be downloaded here, but for the sake of those just browsing - at least not on mobile devices - here it is

Image

One thing which occurs to me looking at this is that three of the twelve roundels do not seem to have been accounted for, which would suggest the cost is understated by £4,320. I'm not sure either about the significance of VAT not being added for some of the items, in particular most of the actual work. I think building work - except new build - is subject to VAT, so maybe it's that this work will be done by someone not subject to VAT. I'm also interested that the design consultancy has VAT charged at 17.5%, which implies it has already been done. I assume this is Oliver Budd's contribution, which would suggest he has now done what he's going to do, and been paid. As such, I wonder if it would be possible to see all twelve designs in more detail than given in the planning application.

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by leenewham » 20 Jun 2011 23:49

When we looked at improving Home Park, we gave a number of options such as the outdoor gym, improving the current play area and creating an outdoor seating/theatre space. We consulted with local schools, public, visualised all 3 proposals (it was actually the first What If) put them on this forum, set up a blog which people could vote on for their favoured proposal and held public meetings which were published on this forum, on the blog and with posters.

With the mosaic it suddenly appeared at a Sydenham Assembly and I"ve been told, came last in the first round of 'electronic' voting and yet somehow managed to get all of it's funding! Infact Cllr Best said "Everyone at the last meeting will know the electronic voting was not a great success!".

Looks like lots of people thought that way: http://sydenham.org.uk/forum/viewtopic. ... c&start=20

We have had no options, no alternative artists to choose from, no real consultation. Even when I've designed a pack of biscuits for a supermarket I gave at least 3 options. Even the What If's I've done for free, many of those have more than one option, Billings had 4 initially.

I feel sorry for Oliver Budd as he is just an artists who has been commissioned to work on a project and taken a lot of flack. It's not his fault although his comments in the paper were, I thought, misguided. A mosaic won't change the building that he calls 'hideous', it will be the same building with a mosaic all over it.

There was supposed to be match funding for this project, but now it has yet another 2 grand of public money on top of the 10 grand it got a a flawed assembly meeting that was generally regarded as a farce. This assembly has been used as a public vote of support for the mosaic! In addition to this the mosaic got funding from the Sydenham Society and the Arts Festival (apparently) which certainly seems to support the view that, especially with the exposure in the Sydenham Society newsletter that the mosaics had, that the Sydsoc support the scheme. They certainly haven't opposed it, not publicly anyway!

I'm a bit miffed that the paper Tim quoted above brought Friends of Home Park into this, my opposition to the mosaic is nothing to do with Friends of Home Park and it's unfair to bring them into the argument without permission of the group as a whole.

A couple of other points I'm interested in finding the answers to:

Where are the burglar alarms going to be repositioned? They don't appear in the sketches.

Have they carried out a site survey to see if the render can actually carry the weight of the tiles and the removal of the current decoration (surely the first thing to do like get permission to do it before starting work).

Why is roundel 2 partially obscured by a window? Is this an error?

Why is the signage so high up on the building? You will only read it from the other side of the road.

Will the signage be bird proofed as it's so near the top of the building to stop it being covered in bird poo. In which case that's a lot of money to spend on raised lettering that will have spikes placed all over it rendering it ugly from the word go.

The post office appear to have painted above their part of the building, do they need to be consulted (as a tenant I'm presuming not, but worth asking, especially as the building will for some time be covered in scaffolding)?

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Voyageur » 21 Jun 2011 08:52

The mosaic sounds like a mighty fine idea to me - hope they get the go ahead.

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Annie » 21 Jun 2011 14:25

I quite like the idea,I think its good to show Sydenhams history, and the building itself is so boring and dated/tired, I am not always up for changing old for new but on this subject it can only be good to spruce it up,and at the end of the day the building will still be there in the 60s style.

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Tim Lund » 21 Jun 2011 14:31

Annie

The question is whether this is the best way to spruce it up, which is where Lee's comments on doing a consultation involving more than one option are relevant. With such a process, he would argue we could have found a better way.

The implications of going for this particular way of sprucing up the Naborhood Centre are that up to £12,000 of public money has NOT gone to alternative good causes which the people of Sydenham could have voted for instead.

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Robin Orton » 21 Jun 2011 15:40

The last I heard from Valerie Kelly, the planning officers were thinking about setting up some sort of walk-in exhibition where people could look at the plans and ask questions, including the sort of technical issues raised by Lee above.

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Voyageur » 21 Jun 2011 15:51

£12,000 sounds pretty reasonable for the work involved. I think that the environment people live in affects their general outlook, and an interesting and artistic facade to a grotty looking building can only help. I am sure others will disagree, but each to their own.

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Tim Lund » 21 Jun 2011 16:03

Voyageur - of course the built environment matters, but the question is whether this is the best way of improving it. £12,000 does indeed sound good value, but it is just part of at least £50,000, the rest of which will in principle come from private sources. Was there really no better way private sector and community contributions could be pooled with public money for this? It's hard to say because we've not had a proper range of alternatives offered!

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Voyageur » 21 Jun 2011 16:46

Tim Lund wrote:Voyageur - of course the built environment matters, but the question is whether this is the best way of improving it. £12,000 does indeed sound good value, but it is just part of at least £50,000, the rest of which will in principle come from private sources. Was there really no better way private sector and community contributions could be pooled with public money for this? It's hard to say because we've not had a proper range of alternatives offered!
I appreciate that you are unhappy about not being consulted (although maybe others were?) but the sum of money would probably barely cover the cost of a sleeping policeman. It sounds great value for money to me, and I would be absolutely delighted if something similar were to be proposed for CP.

This is the nature of forums though, and someone somewhere would object no doubt. . . as I amat the prospect of a massive football stadium being built in CP park.

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Rachael » 21 Jun 2011 17:03

Voyageur - it is indeed the case that those that like the mosaic will be happy with the cost and consultation (about which more later), and that those that aren't, won't be. Plus ca change.

Even if I did like the mosaic (which I don't), I would have been surprised at the way this project has been carried out to date. The vast majority of the 'consultation' was actually about telling people, not consulting them. Even the proposed exhibition now is about presenting people with a fait au complet, not offering alternatives.

As Tim says, it's not about the amount of money, it's about the range of things that could have been done with that money, and whether a mosaic is the right choice. There has been no choice - the residents of Sydenham have been told this is what they are getting (subject to planning). That smacks of high-handed patronage to me, however benign the intentions of those proposing the project. None of the objectors are against improving our environment, however many seem to feel that this mosaic would actually achieve the opposite and make Sydenham look worse. But that is a separate issue from the one which exercises me, which is the arse-about-face (can I say that, admin?) way in which the project has been imposed on Sydenham.

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by ALIB » 21 Jun 2011 18:08

^^^^^^^

i agree entirely

I would also like to know (for curiosities sake) who the initial proposers of the mosaic were. Not in a 'name and shame' kind of way, but purely out of interest so the mechanism of how the idea evolved can be open to scrutiny

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by scott.l.hamilton » 21 Jun 2011 18:37

The expression "polishing a turd" comes to mind when I think of the mosaic. It will not change the landscape of the highstreet, the perception of the highstreet by locals nor the "hideous" building it will be placed on.

This is not a value added activity and this money could and should have been spent on a more far reaching program to benefit the area, both traders and residents .

I do not know how much it cost to create the signage for Billings, or to re-paint the front of a store, but why not create a fund where shops were able to present proposals for facelifts that would cost £2-5K. This would have improved a larger section of the highstreet and enticed trade in successful establishements and their adjacent establishments. This could have improved anywhere from 10 - 25 shops in the area, enough to be considered a movement and make a difference

Instead, £50k is being spent in a manner which is irresponsible and will not better the area or increase the use or functionality of the centre.

Also, the time and money spent by the council with "presentations" and open houses could be better spent working to deliver projects which add value, not just a photo op in front of a big mosaic.

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Robin Orton » 21 Jun 2011 19:30

In answer to ALIB, the sponsors of the mosaic are Valerie Kelly and Bob Side - see http://thorpesresidents.blogspot.com/20 ... rk-in.html

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by Rachael » 21 Jun 2011 20:10

It sounds like the project is well supported in the Thorpes - although I note that the enthusiastic article Robin posted the link to was written by one of the main donors. Any residents of the Thorpes care to comment?

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by leenewham » 21 Jun 2011 21:11

I can answer your questions on Billings Scott.

• The enamel sign cost about £400 (it was made by the same people that make the london underground signs).

• I sourced the white brick tiles on the front at around £20per m2 (I don't know if these were the ones Amo used).

• The awning cost about £1350.

• The window graphics (which are still to come, he's holding back until the butcher part is installed) cost around £285 installed.

• One tin of paint for the roller shutter and some elbow grease to clean the window frame.

• Design was free as it was for a shop in Sydenham which my business supports and we do pro-bono as part of the What If Sydenham project.

• Wherever possible we reused what the shop already had to keep costs low. Original shop fronts should be cherished rather than ripped out. It's also more sustainable.

Compare that with Paulros who spent an estimated 7-12 thousand on ripping out the original shop front, breaking planning regulations, made their business and the high street look worse and had to shut down.

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Re: SAYING YES TO THE MOSAIC ON THE NABORHOOD CENTRE?

Post by scott.l.hamilton » 21 Jun 2011 22:02

Thank you Lee,

So assuming the costs you can definitively give and adding a 47% opportunity cost for paint, grease, tiles flyers etc. gives a resource requirement of £3000. This would "rejuvenate" 16 shops for £50k. It is my opinion, but that would be an impressive and committed effort to improving the whole street, much more powerful than tarting up a defunct council building.

And maybe that is the point, using community "rejuvenation" money and charitable investment to improve the appearance of a council building they can't / haven't maintained on their own? (potential thread on its own)

BTW, where is the pavement /layout upgrade promised once the gas work finished?

more smoke and mirrors...

wish I was able to be more involved and apologies, but as an NHS employee I have been a bit busy of late. and £50k would provide a community nurse for local residents to provide closer to home care vs. a cat in a cup.

Nothing against the artist(s), just against the choice of spending...

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