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Big Weekend - is it a big letdown for Pontypridd?

July 18, 2013 6:30 PM

Pontypridd's 'Big Weekend' takes place again this Saturday and Sunday and already there are many disgruntled residents with a string of complaints about the organisation of the event and the effect on the town.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor for Trallwn Mike Powell says it is another example of the Council failing to listen to residents

"Year after year the same feedback has been given by the public to the Council but it seems they have yet again paid no attention.

"The park will be off limits to residents again for almost the whole weekend, whilst the paddling pool will not open at all - this in the middle of one of the hottest periods we have had for a very long time.

"Food and drink is not allowed in the concert area, which means that not only are visitors being potentially ripped off by high prices but the extra trade it could bring to local businesses is lost. The Council claim the event is beneficial to traders in the town but where is the real evidence of this?"

Councillor Powell has been pressing the Council to disclose how much involvement there is from local businesses. Despite several reminders a Freedom of Information request put in on 25th April asking which businesses have been awarded catering concessions and whether local businesses had been involved in the planning of the event has gone unanswered.

He says information from the Council in relation to the economic costs and benefits of the event has been "sketchy."

"In response to another Freedom of Information request the Council claimed that the local economy had benefited to the tune of £600,000 'in recent years.' They base this on the fact that hotels and B&Bs are fully booked and local traders tell them there has been an increase in business. Hardly an exact science.

"The figure was, they said, 'based on industry standard event criteria for the economic impact of events.' They do not appear to have taken into account the fact that many shoppers will stay away for fear of congestion, and the number of visitors that would visit the park anyway who will go elsewhere.

"35% of the costs of the event are covered by RCT whilst the rest are covered by Orchard Entertainment. When asked how much money was made the reply was that it is not a profit making event for the Council.

"It undoubtedly makes money for someone, so it can only be assumed that Orchard Entertainment are benefitting - as a commercial organisation they could certainly not be expected to do it for nothing. Why is this the case? It also attracts visitors to the town, but the longer term benefits of this are not apparent."

ENDS

From:

Mike Powell [mailto:mike.powell@rctlibdems.org.uk]
Sent: 25 April 2013 12:03
To: Gummer, Claire
Subject: FOI - financial benefits of Ponty's Big Weekend

Could you tell me please:

What was the estimated amount of income generated for local businesses / traders from the Big Weekend event last year.

In recent years the direct economic impact can be calculated in excess of £600,000. Ponty's Big Weekend has generated income for local businesses in various ways;

Hotels and B & B's report being fully booked over the period.

Local bars, restaurants, cafe's, takeaways, shops and taxi services amongst others report benefit from increased business as a result of the event.

Local businesses from RCT benefit directly as suppliers to the event, security, sound, AV services amongst others. Whilst not all suppliers are RCT based, a significant number are based in South Wales.

Tourism to the area as a result of the positive press, feel goof factor and image the event portrays for the town.


How was this figure calculated?

Our assumptions are based on industry standard event criteria for the economic impact of events.


What percentage of costs are covered by

(a) RCT Council

35%

(b) Orchard Entertainment

65%


What is the percentage split of profits between RCT Council and Orchard Entertainment?

This is not a profit making event for the Council.

Cllr Mike Powell

Welsh Liberal Democrat, Trallwn