Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Lib Dems respond to Theatres announcement – Cllr David Chapman

Worthing Liberal Democrats have reacted with disappointment to yesterday’s (Friday) Worthing Borough Council press release on the future of the town’s theatres issued by the Tory controlled council. It is clear there is a glaring need for improved theatrical management competence as highlighted during the consultative and tendering process.  Our town rightly expects nothing less.

The Tory Cabinet has accepted the officers’ report to the theatre working group that none of the 17 bids put forward contained sufficient savings to justify the theatres not being kept in-house.  This is despite the fact according to Leader of the Council Paul Yallop the theatres currently lose £3,000 a day and his previously expressed view this was an unsustainable situation.  Worthing Liberal Democrats trust the decision to keep the theatres in-house will indeed ease the haemorrhaging of council tax payers’ money and the bleeding will eventually stop.  The fact that an in-house business plan has yet to be written does not inspire confidence especially as 17 business plans written by professionals have been summarily dismissed. The proof of the pudding will be well and truly in the eating – Worthing Liberal Democrats on behalf of the town’s council tax payers will be watching like hawks.

Worthing Lib Dem Group Leader Alan Rice said:
“For seven years Worthing’s Tories have dithered and delayed over the theatres while an annual sum of well in excess of a million pounds of council tax payers’ money has been lost year after year.  The one decision of the Budget Advisory Group when I was Chair was this situation could not go on and the nettle had to be grasped.  That is why the theatres were put out to tender and it was so refreshing to see so many others with confident business plans prepared to take on the task and revive our much loved theatres. The decision to remain in-house has yet to produce a business plan – we hope when it does come to fruition, for the sake of Worthing’s council tax payers, it’s a great deal better than any of the ones over the last seven years.”     
Liberal Democrat member of the theatres working group, David Chapman said:
“I was privileged to be on the theatre working group and looked forward to finding a solution to keep Worthing’s theatres open and them being a continuing benefit to the community. It is indeed disappointing the officers found none of the bids were considered good enough to meet that aim. I shall be keeping my eyes well and truly focussed on their new business plan.  We are keen to ensure this plan is as all singing and dancing as they promise as well as delivering the required economies.”