Thursday, January 25, 2007

SEEDA - accountable to none.

'use the force Luke'

Over the last few years there has been a growing perception in certain quarters that Southampton as a city is losing its way. As its near rival Portsmouth has won new ship-building contracts at Southampton's expense, built the mast, spinnaker tower and developed Gunwharf Quays, Southampton has suffered from relative inertia. The perception of much of the local news media and political classes is that Southampton lack the 'WOW' factor.

The response from SEEDA, the ghastly unelected development quango which the Conservative's pledged to abolish at the last general election, is to fire lasers from the Civic centre clock tower.
Much has been made of the fact that Council Taxpayers won't have to pay for the scheme but of course cheerleaders for the project arn't too keen on mentioning that of course the scheme is being funded by public money. This project is being funded by SEEDA through the Southampton Partnership; the £249,000 funds are specifically to develop this iconic feature in the city centre and they emphasise that the money cannot be spent on other local government services. Actually I'm not so sure. A memorial to the Titanic, indeed a maritime heritage centre, a tribute to the Spitfire and the man that built it R J Mitchell or Ted Bates MBE would certainly be more popular. Come to think of it, even, a tribute to former Southampton residents Benny Hill or even Danny La Rue or Ken Russell would be more popular !
With virtually no consultation, they propose four lasers will be installed in the Clock Tower of the Civic Centre. They will emanate a 2.7mm diameter beam of light in an east-west and north-south orientation and be visible up to fifteen miles away. It is expected that the lasers will run from dusk to midnight, providing what SEEDA describes as a visual ‘welcome to Southampton’ for miles around. Leaving aside all the issues of the set up and running costs, light pollution, safety issues and whether it will even be attractive, I find it amazing that these sums of public money can be appropriated by bureaucrats in Guildford with zero input from residents in Southampton. As Simon Jenkin's once provocatively observed, they are 'accountable to none'...
The final decision to go ahead with the scheme will be taken at the city council's next Cabinet meeting on Monday, January 22.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what does SEEDA do except waste taxpayers money on crazy schemes like this and paying it's board members big money to attend the odd meeting here and there.

8:57 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot see how Seeda improves the lives of South East Residents sponsoring Airbourne in Eastbourne when true recipients are tourists and visitors who pay nothing to view the airshow.
Yet more money wasted and thrown down the never ending drain of public resources.

8:01 pm  

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