Council takes hands-on control of new arts hub in Wrexham

Reporter:

Amy Sargeson

Plans for a trust to operate Wrexham’s new £4.5 million arts hub have been scrapped.

Wrexham Council will instead operate the facility when it opens in April next year, with alternatives set to be considered after it has been running for three years.

A report due to go before the authority’s executive board next week states legal advice was sought over the management of the facility.

The outcome of that was it was though it should be ensured that the hub is a viable business before it is outsourced to other operators.

The report states: “Establishing the most suitable management arrangements for these future services is not clear cut.

“Complexities regarding state aid and procurement legislation would not necessarily result in the local influence that has been envisaged.

“It makes sense therefore, to ensure that a viable business is established prior to entering into any externalisation of the service.

“It is therefore proposed that the services should remain in-house for the first three years of operation with an annual review of performance in order to focus resources on achieving the income targets in the Business Plan.

“By establishing a viable business and by developing strong stakeholder engagement in the management of the building and services, the council will be in a stronger position in the future to move towards achieving the vision of externalising the management arrangements to a locally influenced Not for Profit Delivery Organisation (NPDO).”

As well as the management structure, the name of the new hub will also be confirmed next week.

Members will agree on the name for the arts hub within the building of the OW People’s Market in Wrexham.

A shortlist of three options was put forward for a public vote which took place between July and August this year.

The shortlist was unveiled at the Guildhall and included three Welsh language names: Cartef (Home), Ty Pawb (Everybody’s House) and Oriel M (Gallery M).

Cllr Hugh Jones, said they are now 26 months away from the opening of the £4.5 million facility which is “one of the biggest projects Wrexham has embarked upon in recent years”.

He has recommended the executive board agree to keeping the development “in-house for at least three years” and that a further report should be provided on management structure and local engagement.

Cllr Jones added: “During the design and build phase of the OW People’s Market, consideration has been given to the naming and associated branding of the new Arts and Market centre at completion.

“As work progressed on branding consultation with stakeholders concluded that the name OW People’s Market should be replaced with a name that gives a new vision and represents the combined nature of the new development more effectively.

“The new name of the Arts and Markets development at the OW People’s Market will represent the nature of the new development and will reflect the majority choice of all those who took part in voting on the new name from the shortlist of three,” he added.

Email:

amy.sargeson@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Leader

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Most Read