Concern at ‘belated’ theatre licence move

Elton John performs at the Scarborough Open Air Theatre.

Elton John performs at the Scarborough Open Air Theatre.

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SCARBOROUGH Council has been accused of “putting the cart before the horse” in a new Open Air Theatre row.

The council has applied for a new premises licence for the 6,500 seat venue, which would encompass sales of alcohol and the provision of entertainment throughout the summer.

However, an interested party has contacted the authority, claiming the move throws into doubt the council’s independence and loyalty to the theatre.

The licence covers regulated outdoor entertainment such as live music, plays, films and dance performances.

If passed by councillors, the entertainment licence would be enforced from 10am until 11pm from Monday to Sunday, with alcohol sales limited between 10am and 10.30pm each day.

However, the plan has come under criticism from one interested party, who claimed it was a “belated” move.

A report from Una Faithfull, licensing manager for the council, said: “The interested party raises concerns that the council who owns the site is now to be the operator.

“The council is also the authority overseeing the correct implementation of licensing conditions on behalf of the public.

“As such, the interested party is concerned at how there can be any truly independent scrutiny and control over events when the council will have divided loyalties.

“Furthermore, the interested party states every councillor is aware the council has booked acts, tickets have been sold and £500,000 has been agreed to purchase electronic equipment.

“The party asks with this knowledge has the council put the cart before the horse by belatedly acknowledging to apply for a licence?”

The report also revealed concerns over how the venue would cause a negative environment for residents.

It added: “As the Open Air Theatre is located alongside a resident area and the holiday accommodation proposed for the Kinderland and Atlantis site, there is concern about noise pollution.

“The attempt to increase operating hours of the Open Air Theatre is not in the interests of the amenity of the full-time residents.

“The council has a duty to protect the environment equally as much as pushing its new role as promoter of events at the theatre.”