Taxpayers’ cash wasted

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RE: BOROUGH Tax payers pay the Open Air Theatre price.

I refer to the letter from Cllr Tom Fox, Leader of the Council, January 14 headed, “Tax payers didn’t pay bill.

Cllr Fox said that in his view, my statement to full council last week saying that tax payers should not have had to pay the bill for the “white elephant”, that we know as the Open Air Theatre, was not correct, or in his words, that I misrepresented the facts.

The facts are that none of the Labour Group on the Scarborough Borough Council, now, and also when the decision was taken to use the £3.5 million to upgrade and refurbish the Open Air Theatre, sat on the Conservative/ Independent/Lib Dem ruling Cabinet in their rainbow coalition.

Our reasons for this was to provide the electorate of our Borough a true constructive opposition, and to take to task and question any decision made by this so called coalition cabinet, and the idea to spend millions of pounds on the upgrade of the Open Air Theatre, was just one such decision that we felt was the wrong thing to do.

The Labour Group did oppose the decision to use the £3.5 million pounds generated by the sale of the “Sands development”, and as it turned out the free hold of part of the land.

That land does, or should I say did belong to the Taxpayer of this Borough so it is fair to say that any money made from the sale of the land does belong to us as Taxpayers, and we have every right to question how the money is spent.

Also the fact that the Scarborough Borough Council had to borrow the £3.5 million pounds in the first place to get the Open Air Theatre up and running, in 2009/2010 because the operator had not got the cash, and only paid it up at the end of November 2011, was a risk to our Taxpayer.

If things had gone belly up we the Taxpayer would have been left holding the baby, as they say.

Also if the Open Air Theatre is not making any money, ( and clearly it is not) and the Council is paying Paul Greg of thousands pounds a year as a management fee, to run the Open Air Theatre to book artists as per his contract,

Surely, this money is being paid by the taxpayers.

(Unless of course, Cllr Fox is footing the bill himself, which somehow I doubt.).

So I can only reiterate what I said in public at full council last week, and that was the idea of trying to recreate the nostalgia of yester-year by having a white elephant, namely the Open Air Theatre stood dormant for around 345 days and nights of the year is a total waste of Taxpayers money.

Councillor Eric Broadbent

Leader of the Labour Group on Scarborough

Borough Council

Town Hall

Scarborough