Maltings not fulfilling its remit on visual art
DORIEN Irving’s letter in last week’s Advertiser about the Maltings artist-in-residence was very much to the point. I agree that a study of crime in Berwick is very negative and a waste of funds.
At present there is work underway planning revitalisation of the high street with a view to pulling Berwick out of its prevailing despondency. Examining crime in Berwick is surely counter-productive.
Apparently Cecilia Stenbom lives in Newcastle, so she is unlikely to stay long in the town she is studying. Not so much an artist-in-residence, rather an occasional visitor.
Since the Maltings took over responsibility for delivering the visual arts the offering has dwindled. We have lost the Gymnasium Gallery where many exciting shows and events were held. Pictures used to be displayed in the Maltings, but that doesn’t happen any more. The Berwick Arts Group used to hold its popular annual show there until it got its marching orders.
The only remaining exhibition space is the Granary Gallery and the offering there have hardly been sensational. The show of Berwick’s Burrell Collection seems to have been on forever. Berwickers have seen the works many times over the years - they were on permanent display in the old library and then were shown in the museum.
The next show in the Granary Gallery will be a ready made travelling exhibition. It will come in a box and just needs to be put up on the walls. It seems to me that the specially appointed and well paid head of visual arts is having an easy ride.
The Maltings’ preoccupation with converting the cinema equipment to digital has taken up all their efforts and probably all their funds. In their concentration on cinema and neglect of graphic arts, the Maltings is surely not fulfilling its remit and Berwick is being short changed.
Quay Walls, Berwick
Is money spent on artists for Berwick well spent?
Could I ask via your publication for some clarification please.
I understand Berwick has a ‘visual arts co-ordinator’ and an ‘artist in residence’ .
1: Who is the ‘co-ordinator’ and where does he reside?
2: Who and/or what does he co-ordinate?
3: Who is our artist in ‘residence’ ?
4: What does she do?
5: Where does she reside?
6: What is the financial cost of each of these posts?
7: Who pays?
8: Do the people of Berwick consider this money well spent ?
I speak as a long-established, independent, resident artist, gallery owner, picture framer, advisor, co-ordinator and general artists’ scratching post. I have no vested interest as such, but simply ask openly and sincerely on behalf of the people (including the many artists) of Berwick and surrounding area.
Bridge Street, Berwick
Wind energy is not a realistic alternative
I SEE that Bridget Gubbins (‘Anti-wind campaigners put on the spot by nuclear “no”,’ Letters, 14 February), is still trying to claim that wind is an alternative to base load generators such as nuclear, coal and gas.
National Grid do not agree with her. They say that even if we build DECC’s worst case 23GW of onshore and 51GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 (we currently have 5.6GW and 2.6GW respectively, a total of 4,378 turbines) we would still need 30.5GW of new nuclear, 36GW of new gas and 5.5GW of new coal-fired capacity in order to keep the lights on.
It is not anti-wind campaigners who are being “put on the spot”. Windies are increasingly seeing their faith position undermined by evidence from the real world.
When the UK recorded its fourth highest electricity load (demand) ever of 60,050MW on 7 December, 2010, the entire UK wind fleet was producing only 300MW, 5.8% of its 5,200MW headline capacity. At the same time Denmark recorded a load factor of 4% (142 MW/3,500MW) and Germany 3% (830MW/25,777 MW).
We repeatedly see the UK wind fleet contributing less than 1% of its headline capacity during periods of high demand.
Ofgem, the industry regulator, warns that there is now a 50% chance of power cuts if we get a hard winter in 2015. This is because over 30% of base load, thermal power stations are due to be shut down and have not been replaced in time.
Anti-nuclear zealots are currently celebrating Germany’s latest attempt to end its reliance on nuclear power. They have closed seven reactors, but nuclear still provides more electricity than Germany’s huge wind and solar capacity combined (16% of output).
A top executive at Siemens, major wind turbine manufacturers, recently told a renewables conference that the transition was a “disaster” and “not thought through”. He explained that since 2011 the country had suffered repeated energy challenges, mostly caused by the inability of their grid to cope with wind power generation. Germany dumps 10 to 15% of wind power production every year to protect grid stability.
We already have the same problem here, even with only a fifth of Germany’s onshore wind capacity. In 2011, £24 million was paid to wind operators to ‘curtail’ output during periods of low demand and grid instability. Operators are being paid many times the normal wholesale price not to produce. We pay.
Contrary to the scare stories, coal causes many more deaths per TWh of power produced than nuclear has ever done or is ever likely to do.
As Mark Lynas, the environmental activist and author, says: “Germany’s ‘renewables revolution’ is at best making no difference to the country’s carbon emissions, and at worst pushing them marginally upwards. Thus, tens (or even hundreds, depending on who you believe) of billions of Euros are being spent on expensive solar PV and wind installations for no climatic benefit whatsoever.”
Lynas is not alone. Stephen Tindale, former director of Greenpeace , Chris Goodall, the Green Party activist, and even the Guardian’s George Monbiot have now recanted. They all recognise that nuclear power produces less CO2 per MWh than wind (full life-cycle figures) while providing large amounts of base load power.
Threatened by imminent power cuts, we need reliable, predictable, base load power which wind cannot provide. If not nuclear, what is the solution: a new ‘dash for gas’? Coal?
Northumberland has already done many times more than any other county in England to meet renewables targets. We will produce an equivalent of 160% of electricity consumption from wind alone by 2020. England’s largest turbine complex – twenty-eight 125m turbines – is now being built at Middlemoor/Wandylaw.
How many more 125m turbines does Ms Gubbins want in Northumberland?
Academy should be dishing out its money
BERWICK Academy is currently consulting the public on the proposed sale of some of its land for a new hospital. The school has extensive playing fields for its relatively small number of students and no longer requires as much land for this purpose as originally allocated.
I am greatly concerned that the school considers it fair to use the income from the sale for its own exclusive use. This would not have been the case before the school broke away from the local education authority.
The money would have gone into the county council coffers and would, it is to be hoped, have been used to benefit the wider community, in particular, needy schools.
I am shocked that governors of Berwick Academy are seeking to use the income for the exclusive benefit of their own institution. This is a poor example to set. This money derives from an asset which until recently belonged to the county council and therefore to the general public of the whole county. It should be used to improve facilities for many more children than will ever attend Berwick Academy. It is very disappointing to witness these negative aspects of academy status. Is this indicative of the much lauded “competitive spirit” of the new Academies promoted by the government?
It would be a positive gesture if the school in question reconsidered its intentions and decided to adopt a more generous attitude to other schools which have chosen to remain within the framework of the local authority and have demonstrated a greater spirit of partnership and co-operation amongst themselves. There are several alternative options for the use of income from the sale of the land. Perhaps other schools in North Northumberland can suggest a fairer and more equitable method of sharing the proceeds so that they, too, can share in what has hitherto been a public asset.
I find it strange that the public is being asked its views on the sale and proposed use of income without being given any idea of what this figure is likely to be. It is obvious the governors have a figure in mind otherwise they would not be able to formulate their future plans for the school.
May we have an approximate guide price?
How to annoy customers: a guide for restaurants
RESTAURANTS find various ways of making themselves unappealing. This is not a bad formula for some though.
Have a pointless debate between two waitresses as to where an entrant should sit when there are numerous unreserved tables.
Have a waitress rush up to the prospective diner the moment he is seated with a board showing specials and demand to know what he wants. On being asked for a little more time retire in a huff and studiously avoid that table for the next half hour.
Finally, produce such a ghastly, fatty meal that substantial quantities of beer and whisky fail to remove the unwanted tang. Indeed I’m aware of it a day later. I thought the days when it was seen as the customer’s place to satisfy an establishment had gone but some habits obviously die hard.
Why was Defence League group allowed to march?
PERHAPS Vera Baird, the police and crime commissioner, could answer a few questions that have been asked by Berwick residents concerning the recent march by the Scottish Defence League.
Firstly, why has Northumbria Police allowed this group to march through the town in the first place? As someone who helped organise the rally to support Berwick Maternity Unit, when it was proposed that we march down our own high street, Northumbria Police refused permission, on the grounds that we would be obstructing the highway. Why was this not the case for the SDL?
Secondly, who is footing the bill for the massive police presence in the town to control this unruly mob? I have a feeling it will be the taxpayer, so that helps to explain why the police precept element of the council tax is rising this year!
Finally, and most importantly, why were these people allowed to air their racist, anti-Islamic views in a public place? I personally heard one of their speakers saying, “We must rid our country of this Muslim scum.” I thought we had laws to prevent the incitement of racial hatred, but, apparently, Northumbria Police choose to allow this to happen.
Ms Baird, perhaps you should remind those who allowed this march to take place that they are there to uphold the laws of the land.
Priorities for use of police horses ‘all to pot’
IN recent years, as I understand it, Northumbria Police has failed to make the two police horses which used to attend, available in Berwick for riding the bounds on May 1.
This centuries-old tradition, is an asset to the town and should hopefully bring a little much-needed money into the town, as well as being a PR exercise for the police, helping out at such a happy occasion.
On Saturday, however, a few extremists who could go and get lost, as far as most of us I’m sure could care less, managed to bring four police horses to the town.
Would someone please tell Vera Baird that the police priorities are all to pot.
MICHAEL S ROSS
Osborne Road, Tweedmouth
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: North west