The Public’s fixtures and fittings go on sale

Fixtures, fittings and equipment from The Public have gone up for sale as the arts centre prepares to close.

The Public in West Bromwich which is to be transformed into a college
The Public in West Bromwich which is to be transformed into a college

The £72 million West Bromwich venue is inviting people to submit bids for cameras, laptops, computers, cabinets, and Christmas decorations.

The centre will close on November 16 after Sandwell Council pulled funding from the Sandwell Arts Trust, which runs the centre. It will reopen as a sixth form college next year in a deal with Sandwell College.

Ahead of the closure, Sandwell Arts Trust is now looking to offload some of its equipment.

Items up for grabs in the sale include two iPads, two Macbook Pros, five Flip HD video cameras and an internet radio. There are also two safes, a drill, a cash register, temporary walls and fittings, Christmas tree lights and even a large collection of soft toys and puppets available to buy.

A spokesman at The Public said: “As a result of ceasing to operate The Public, Sandwell Arts Trust now has a very small number of items for sale.

“These will be sold via a sealed bid process with all monies recovered going back to Sandwell Council.”

Items are for sale by sealed bids, which should be sent by email or post to Linda Saunders at The Public. To view any of the items available for sale email

Bids will be opened on Monday, November 11, and successful bidders must pay for and collect items during the week beginning November 18.

Last week, Sandwell council’s cabinet gave their approval for a deal between the authority and the college, the details of which are still being thrashed out.

The current programme of events will end with a planned Celebration Week, which will include live music, song and dance.

The building’s temporary closure will allow conversion work on all floors in time for a sixth form centre to open in September 2014.

Sandwell Council leader, Councillor Darren Cooper, has said the transformation of The Public would save taxpayers £37 million over the course of the building’s proposed lease, instead of the council maintaining its current annual subsidy of nearly £1.6m.

Businesses and community groups which are currently based at the building are being given help by the council to find new homes.

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Comments for: "The Public’s fixtures and fittings go on sale"


Another load of money down the drain, let's face it they are only going to get a fraction of what they cost, so they might raise a slap up meal for Mr Cooper and all his cronies, maybe ? Don't suppose we will find out how much they got for them unless we go on the freedom of accounts.

Martin Jones

Psst, mate, wanna buy a iPad? Given what's happened so far it shouldn't surprise us that the assets of a publicly owned trust should be hurriedly flogged off 'Arfur Daley'-style rather than be transferred to a needy not for profit organisation in Sandwell with similar artistic and cultural aims, of which there are many in the voluntary sector. They were bought to assist in delivering the arts to Sandwell people and they should continue to be used for that purpose. No doubt that clause was missed from the Trust's constitution under the 'dissolution' section.

Oh well, perhaps, then, Sandwell Council should follow their own example of setting up a bidding process when it comes to choosing the new tenants (and contractors for the conversion). The £39,000 JLL report the council commissioned at public expense hasn't (and never will) see the light of day. So we'll never know whether there were more appropriate options/usages than a college for the building.

And will we ever be told how the College intend to pay for the conversion? Just vague; 'college income' 'borrowing' (from whom?) and 'government grants'.

Rumours on Twitter indicate that a well known contractor has already been handed the conversion contract without entering a competitive bidding process. If so, how will they be paid? Is it in fact a 40 year, Private Finance Initiative, where they raise the capital from private investors and charge the council in a buildings maintenance/capital repayment/interest bundle? If so, may we know the total projected indebtedness at the end of the PFI term? Previous PFIs elsewhere suggest Sandwell ratepayers will paying many times the amount borrowed, in a PFI agreement stretching decades into the future.

By the way, how could Sandwell's Politburo (senior councillors) possibly rubber stamp a deal between the college and the council, the details of which, according to this article, are "still being thrashed out"?

Come back Derek Hatton, you couldn't be worse than this lot.

Martin Jones

"A large collection of soft toys and puppets" - that'd be Sandwell Council then.

The Public

As a result of ceasing to operate The Public, Sandwell Arts Trust now has a very small number of items for sale. These have been in regular use over the last 3/4 years. These will be sold via a sealed bid process with all monies recovered going back to Sandwell Council.

All of the theatre, gallery and conference equipment within the building belongs to Sandwell Council.

Please see for more information. Total for money raised will be published on website.

Martin Jones

How come these comments are only visible when you log in?

Todd Nash

Hi Martin,

These comments should be visible whether or not you are logged in. You cannot leave a comment unless you are logged in but you should be able to see them all.

If this is not the case for you, can you email some more details to and we'll look into the issue.


Martin Jones

These items were acquired by an arts trust ('trust' being the operative word) with public money for the purpose of developing the arts in Sandwell. On dissolution these assets should be transferred to an organisation or organisations that share the same aims, not flogged off to anybody for cash. If they don't know who to contact, Sandwell Council of Voluntary Services will be able to assist and arrange for these items to go to appropriate bodies in the area. This obscene fire sale should stop now.

do lallytap

Good Riddance to the lot of old tat

Martin Jones

"Sandwell Arts Trust now has a very small number of items for sale."

1 - Deposit Safe

1 - Safe

1 - Dewalt Drill, Battery and Charger (2013)

1 - Bedford Industrial bench (2009)

Asstd - Christmas Tree Lights/Decorations assorted

Asstd - Large collection of soft and sensory toys and puppets - will sell smaller sections

1 - Casio Cash Register (2012)

1 - DVD-PSYN4 (2012)

1 - DVD-PSYN4 (2012)

1 - 10 litre mixer (2010)

1 - Induction hob (2010)

1 - Cambro box plus (2010)

1 - Internet Radio (2011)

1 - Digital Radio (2012)

22 - Connect Exhibitions - temporary walls and fittings (2009)

2 - Glass topped cabinets - 10mm toughened glass, 900mm w x 2300mm l x 1000m h Base height 700mm 2013)

2 - ipads (first edition) (2010)

1 - imac 27 plus case (2010)

1 - Projector Panasonic PT-LV90NTEA Portable (2010)

1 - Sony UP-DR150 printer (2010)

3 - Canon G11 cameras (2010)

5 - Flip HD video cameras (2010)

2 - Macbook Pro 13" (2010)

A small number indeed - like Currys.

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