Sound investment?

MORE than £250,000 in public money is expected to be spent on a big-screen TV and sound system for use at Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre.

Scarborough Council, which owns the venue, is already contractually obliged to provide the equipment for the Olly Murs, JLS and Dionne Warwick concerts, which it has booked for the summer.

And it is argued that buying the equipment permanently will prove more cost effective than renting it, while also allowing the council to stage screenings of free, community events.

The television, which will be second hand, will cost £108,872, while a sound system is predicted to cost a maximum of £150,000, not including VAT.

David Archer, the council’s strategic director, said: “The council has announced three major acts for this summer and more are expected.

“Not surprisingly, all of these acts require the provision of a big screen as a contractual requirement.

“A decision on the procurement of this equipment is needed urgently to allow it to be in place by the start of the summer’s programme in early June.”

In previous years, the Open Air Theatre’s operator, Apollo Resorts and Leisure, had hired a sound system and large screen TV.

However, the company have not yet announced a single act for the 2012 season, and the council have stepped in to book acts and provide equipment.

Mr Archer said Apollo had been informed of the council’s planned programme of events and intention to investigate providing a big screen.

It is hoped that the council-owned equipment would be hired by Apollo when the company stages its acts.

If the equipment is not purchased, it will have to be hired so the council’s contractual obligations are fulfilled.

A large screen TV typically costs £7,800 per night to hire, plus the cost of riggers and contractors.

The council’s cabinet will be asked to approve the purchase of the TV and sound system on Tuesday. The money will come out of the council’s Capital Development Reserve.

It is hoped that the equipment will be used for free screenings.

The council has already committed to providing a large screen for an Olympic celebration party, while football’s European Championships, the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and Wimbledon may also be shown.