Accusations that East Lindsey District Council is ‘throwing money’ at Skegness to fund ‘rubbish’ events have provoked angry opposition.
Councillor Andrew Leonard claimed East Lindsey District Council’s funding for the annual SO Festival represented ‘appalling’ business sense, an event he described as ‘absolute rubbish’, during a Louth Town Council debate on January 22.
During his attack on the authority’s spending, Coun Leonard said the SO Festival had cost £1 million and ‘they’re going to chuck in an other £350,000’, adding that Skegness was constantly having money pumped into a ‘dry well’.
But it has since emerged that ELDC’s entire budget for cultural events in 2012, of which the SO Festival was just one of many, was only £350,000 overall.
The quoted £1 million represented the event’s estimated economic benefit and not, as Coun Leonard had claimed, ELDC’s contribution to it.
External funding including £150,000 from Arts Council England was also secured thanks to the SO Festival along with ‘in-kind’ contributions valued at £585,000.
Louth residents did also benefit from the SO Festival, which last year featured events across the district including Louth and Mablethorpe.
Angry Skegness residents reacting to Coun Leonard’s accusation have also pointed to the vast contribution the resort’s tourism industry makes to the district’s overall economy.
Rob Curtis, commenting on the Facebook page of the Leader’s sister paper, the Skegness Standard, said: “If they don’t want to feed the cash cow then they can’t expect to get any milk from it, can they?”
Troy Reeson added: “If they have been throwing money at Skegness, they missed!”
Other commenters highlighted the £12 million Meridian Leisure Centre as an example of Louth receiving substantial investment from the district council.
ELDC spokesman James Gilbert said: “East Lindsey Live as a brand incorporated events that take place across the entire district.
“As a council we fund the Wolds Words festival in and around Louth as well as the SO Festival in towns throughout the district.
“We are committed to provide a festival programme to support the economy across the whole of East Lindsey.”
What do you think? Does Skegness get a fairer deal than Louth, or is Louth being dealt a fair hand? Email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet us or comment using the comment box below.