Agenda item

Celebrate Woking 2022/2023 Review and Forward Plan OSC22-056

For the Committee to receive the latest review of Celebrate Woking and the Forward Plan.


Reporting Person: Riëtte Thomas


Riëtte Thomas, Business Liaison Officer, presented a review of the past year of the Celebrate Woking Programme and a draft of the proposed programme for Celebrate Woking 2023.

The Committee discussed the 2022 Summer in the Square programme and what improvements could be made if repeated in 2023.  There had been incidents of anti-social behaviour that had increased costs by £5,000 due to the need for additional security.  A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) had been in force in the Town Centre since February 2022 which granted specific powers for Surrey Police to tackle anti-social behaviour.  Whilst Members were mindful of the resource implications for Surrey Police, they were concerned that it had been necessary to employ private security rather than the Police respond to anti-social behaviour issues, especially in the Town Centre where the PSPO was fully operational.  Members recognised that Summer in the Square carried a monetary cost to the Council but noted the positive impact it had on the Town Centre and local businesses.

Members wished to know if there were any plans to hold events connected to the Football World Cup.  It was not possible to host such an event in Henry Plaza due to fire safety concerns: the glass roof prevented the installation of a sprinkler system and therefore limited what could be held in the space.  It was additionally noted by officers that the Police had advised hosting World Cup-related events required a significantly raised police presence.  Members commented that maybe the Council should be mindful that the lack of promotion of football events in comparison with, for example, Wimbledon as a part of Summer in the Square may promote a stereotypical image of football fans.  Officers noted Members’ observations about the promotion of football events and in particular the present World Cup.  However, due to the short period of time to organise an event for the World Cup, Officers recommended promoting local hospitality venues, a number of which were already showing the football matches.

Photos that had adorned Market Walk for a number of years had been removed and Officers undertook to establish further details and inform Members if and when they would be reinstalled.

In recognition of the Council’s budget constraints, it had been proposed that the events surrounding the Coronation of King Charles III in May 2023 be coordinated with a partner, Nova Cinema, which would reduce the cost to the Council.  On days around the Coronation, Community Centres were to host tea parties.  The previous Coronation had encouraged communities to produce artworks and photography and it had been proposed that this be emulated for the Coronation of King Charles III.  The Group shared concern that the simultaneous running of the May elections and Coronation events could put too much pressure on Council Officers.  However, it was anticipated that the partnership with Nova Cinema may assist to reduce the amount of council resources required for the Coronation.

Officers undertook to consider if there was appetite for a food festival as part of future Celebrate Woking Programmes following a request by Members.

The Committee enquired as to the possibility of buying a screen for Jubilee Square as opposed to continuing to hire.  Officers noted that the cost of hire included a support package provided by the contractor and the cost had not increased for several years.  It was suggested that a sponsor be sought for the screen.

In previous years local sports clubs had been included in Celebrate Woking, as part of Party in the Park.  However, Party in the Park was not scheduled to be held in 2023 and Members requested that alternative opportunities be considered for local clubs.

Members requested Italia Conti, and other local dance schools, be offered opportunity through Celebrate Woking.  Officers informed the Committee that Italia Conti had been given rehearsal space at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre for 32 weeks per year and alternative locations for other dance schools was being sought.

[Post-Meeting Note: The information provided by Officers at the meeting contained an error.  Italia Conti had a contractual agreement for 9-weeks rehearsal space at the Rhoda McGaw theatre per year, not 32 weeks.  Buzz Theatre rehearsal space continued to be available for hire throughout the year for any interested in hiring it.]

The Woking Jazz festival had relocated to Send due to the cost of hiring space in Woking.

The Committee expressed their wish that the Council continued to fund Celebrate Woking for 2023.


That the report be noted.

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