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£400,000 bill for Bradford's City Park events criticised
City Park events have cost taxpayers £400,000 since the flagship area opened in March, the Telegraph & Argus can exclusively reveal.
Since it opened on March 24, there have been 25 events, attracting 223,600 people to the park including the City Park launch which cost £76,500, the Garden of Light that cost £77,500, and the Christmas lights switch-on which cost £61,000.
The Council, depending on budget agreements, has earmarked £250,000 for City Park events for the next financial year starting in April.
The £400,000 is from March to December, 2012.
It comes days after the park picked up its seventh award for City Park.
The park, built at a cost of about £24 million, won Project of the Year at the Urban Design Group Awards in a ceremony at the Royal Overseas League in central London.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s executive member for culture, said that the £400,000 was value for money to the taxpayer because it showed investors the positive side of Bradford.
“It is a shop window for the city,” she said.
“When we are talking to investors we can show images. It is all part of economic development therefore it is an important investment.
“The BBC is staging a Bollywood event with their own money this year proving that partners are attracted to that space.
“It is to show Bradford to the best advantage.
“The Ice Sculpture trail generated positive national newspaper coverage with full colour pictures. And the Garden of Light, from an artistic company which works internationally, generated positive TV coverage for Bradford, not to mention the great pictures and coverage in the T&A. I’m really pleased with these figures from the first year of operation of events in City Park.
“It’s great that people have enjoyed the events that have been staged here but of course the real economic value for Bradford is the additional spend that the visitors bring in to the city centre when they come to an event.
“To pick just one of many the BBC’s Bollywood Carmen event on June 9 is going to be huge.”
But it has led to criticism from Idle Councillor, Jeanette Sunderland, (Lib Dem) who said that she believed £125,000 had been earmarked for events in the first year.
“At a time when people need help to get washed and dressed and are having their services threatened the Council need to watch every penny and every penny they spend counts,” she said.
“At this moment in time we have spent £28 million for not very much return. What we need to see is Westfield coming back to Bradford.”
“I think it is a lot of money and we need long-term fixes, not short-term ones that this Labour council is doing,” he said. “Austerity measures we find ourselves in after the last Government means reductions need to be made across the board.”