Committee chairman moves to cool theatre concerns

Reporter:

David Humphreys

A committee chairman has moved to allay fears a theatre could be under threat of closure.

Cllr Dave Mackie, a Theatr Clwyd board member and chairman of Flintshire Council’s organisational change overview and scrutiny committee, has quashed speculation that the popular arts location could be “unsustainable”.

An appendix to a report put to councillors during a special
committee meeting earlier this week, stated “future reductions on
spending are anticipated from the Arts Council for Wales and if the council took more efficiencies out this potentially makes the theatre unsustainable”.

The meeting was called to address the authority’s financial forecast and stage one of consultation over the council’s 2018-19 budget.

Cllr Mackie, of Ewloe, said: “This is looking at issues with the council's spending control and asking for members’ views.

“It doesn’t mean any particular item is under any pressure, it means officers and the council cabinet want to know what members’ views are on setting the budget.

“This is an unbelievably positive
step and is part of the process, it doesn’t mean anything is under
threat.”

The report appendix stated that across the last five years, the budget for leisure and libraries has been decreased by 39 per cent.

It added that a preferred employee-owned mutual business model could also be adopted to run Theatr Clwyd as Flintshire Council looks to plug a “budget gap” of £11.6 million.

But Cllr Mackie said that fears around the theatre could be allayed.

“I think the theatre is doing unbelievably well,” he said.

“Since Tamara Harvey (creative director) and Liam Evans-Ford (executive director) have taken over, it has been recognised that there’s a need for creative and management expertise together.

“The moves they are making now are with reduced funding.

“There’s not indication the theatre is under pressure.

“We've got the solutions we have because officers have looked outside the box and that’s how local government should operate.”

Email:

david.humphreys@nwn.co.uk

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