Letter: Inaccuracy of figures brought to light

Futurist Theatre
Futurist Theatre
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Regarding your article headed ‘Futurist sums were wrong’ admits council’ and ‘Finance portfolio holder says figures incorrect’ concerning the inaccurate calculations which were used, at a full meeting of the council on January 9, to help sway the decision in favour of demolishing the Futurist theatre by a single vote.

If such untrue evidence had been used in a Court of Law and then found to be so wildly off the mark some months later, a re-trial or even an acquittal would have been likely if the defendant, in this case the Futurist, had been condemned, even partly as a result of this evidence being read out in court by a supposedly expert witness.

Cllr Helen Mallory, the council portfolio holder for finance, should have had her facts rights for that meeting at least but has since admitted that financial accuracy was far from the case.

Would this important error have ever come to light had she not been put under pressure, not by her own fellow council members but by a Scarborough resident?

The fact that such low confidence is apparent in the way the fate of the Futurist was dealt with by the council before, during and after that meeting should throw up some very severe warning signs when important and relevant figures come to light, only under public pressure.

The somewhat seemingly behind the scenes public sale of the Futurist Steinway grand piano is another point that comes to mind as each and every furtive sale, loss or degradation of the structure or contents of the Futurist make refurbishment more difficult, more expensive and less likely.

A 20-year spend on the theatre of £1.6 million plus expenses compared with the true figure over that period of a very reasonable £1.6 million including expenses, insurance and business rates, weighed against the estimated cost of £4.5 million to demolish it and the Futurist begins to look an absolute bargain. Especially when compared with the running costs/losses etc of some of the council run venues in the town.

Richard Ashley

South Cliff

Scarborough