Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How much trouble is Liverpool 2008 in?

The crisis after crisis that has beset the planning for Liverpool's Capital of Culture year has resulted in a panicky change at the "Culture Company" overseeing the, uh, celebrations. Most notably, Phil Redmond and North West Development Agency chair Bryan Gray are now heading up a team of six, replacing the fourteen-strong board:

Phil Redmond will spearhead the artistic side of the 12-month cultural extravaganza, with NWDA chairman Bryan Gray in charge of the purse strings. Council leader Warren Bradley will be the link with the council and communities.

They're denying this is as a result of the embarrassing cock-up when the Mathew Street Festival was axed:
[...T]here were denials today the shake-up was the result of last month’s festival fiasco, with members saying there had always been plans to wind down the culture board when the full 2008 programme was announced.

Oh, really? If this a planned administrative change, then why is Liverpool Council's Warren Bradley going down to London next week to explain the DCMS about the changes? And why is Redmond effectively starting the planning all over again:
The former Brookside supremo will target greater community involvement and question the value of some setpiece events. He also wants a greater Liverpool “feel” to 08.

And what better time to start thinking about these issues after four years of burning through pots and pots of public cash, with just three months to go?

Oh, and:
Members have not ruled out reallocating money or finding cash to fund changes in the programme.

So, even if you think your event has been funded, the cash might be whipped away to fund something else. That's going to leave everyone able to finalise their plans, then.