|Denise Wyatt, Leader of Southampton Independents|
What is the Southampton Labour-run City Council hiding about the Arts Complex a.k.a. Studio 144?For many months, Southampton Independents have been asking about the cost and the over-runs of the Arts Complex, otherwise known as Guildhall Square or Studio 144. Businesses and charities have even been put in trouble because of it, as reported by the Daily Echo and from reports we have heard from business tenants of the Arts Complex. Are they paying to high rents because the project is a disaster? We suggest that they are.
Southampton Independents has listened to the 95% plus of people who think the Arts Complex is less important than our roads, care for the elderly and vulnerable, and keeping weekly bins. There doesn’t seem to be any accountability for the millions – not from the “Southampton Cultural Development Trust” nor Labour Councillor Satvir Kaur – neither seem able or willing to explain.
The Acting Chief Financial Officer was asked by our Councillor Andrew Pope to reign-in the tens of millions already spent on the project, to stop further waste. She told him the Council would wait. Councilllor Pope said that was unwise, because it was over-time and over-budget. More time has passed and more money has been spent. How? Why? Residents deserve answers.
Councillor Pope has now asked for the Council’s secret audit report that has been presented to Labour Councillors behind closed doors. It’s a scandal that Council officers appear to be stalling until they have “doctored” the report. But it’s no surprise that Labour wants to cover it up, while the supposed “opposition” Southampton Tories stay silent. Instead of asking the right questions, Tory councillors applaud the massive expenditure of public money.
Councillor Pope did not vote for the extra millions for the Arts Complex. But 47 other councillors did – Labour, Tory or “Coxford Three”? Those 47 councillors need to explain to residents and those who have lost services why they have agreed for the Council to spend public money on the wrong priorities.
Only Southampton Independents stood up for the right priorities. That is why we are asking Southampton residents for vote for our candidates in the City Council elections in May.
Why else have the costs been hidden?
Why else have decision and reports been kept secret?
Southampton Independents demand to know how much these “Arts” and wrong priorities have cost in Southampton while our services and the vulnerable suffer!
Leader, Southampton Independents