Answers are demanded

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SCARBOROUGH Council’s legal team will be taking a close look at its agreement with Apollo Leisure to operate the Open Air Theatre to see if it is being fulfilled.

The news came during yesterday’s debate at the full council when concerns were raised that the entertainments group had breached their contract.

Last week the Evening News revealed that not one single act was booked at the venue but it is understood that Apollo is set to unveil the new line-up by the end of the month.

In his statement Cllr Tom Fox, the council leader, said he was surprised when he read the headlines. “It’s no easy task for me to stand here and say to you and the community of the borough, that appears to be the case.”

He said that there was an agreed vision for the venue – which included providing significant productions as well as community-based uses. “I have a concern that what has been and may be offered does not reflect these objectives.”

He added that the council had been in continual talks with Apollo during recent months. “I have made clear my anger that there has again been incorrect information provided upon the programme for the venue, this time published through the Apollo website,” he said.

“Our discussions with Apollo in fact suggest they are planning a very limited number of major attractions for the 2012 season which is very disappointing.

“We have made it abundantly clear that the proposed outline programme and their delay in making announcements are not acceptable.”

Cllr Eric Broadbent joked about the possibility of the Open Air Theatre being sold off to Flamingo Land because he had heard bosses were looking for “white elephants”.

He added: “Can I remind the leader of the council that when the decision to reconstruct this expensive venue was taken many members of this council were against spending a vast fortune of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money in an attempt to try and create the nostalgia of another decade?”

Cllr Fox said: “I don’t think it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money.”

When several councillors – including Cllr Alf Abbott and Cllr Colin Haddington – raised concerns over possible breach of the contract he said that the contractual issues were very complex and he would arrange written answers.

He said: “At this moment in time they are not in breach of contract but I will ask Ian Anderson, the head of legal services, for more details.”