Lincolnshire

SO Festival in Skegness 'a waste of money'

Pavement art at the 2010 SO Festival in Skegness
Image caption The council said last year's SO Festival attracted 160,000 people to the district

An arts festival in the Lincolnshire resort of Skegness has been labelled "a total waste of ratepayers' money".

East Lindsey District Council plans to spend about £350,000 on its events programme, which includes the So Festival.

The authority said it delivered direct economic benefit of over £1m to the area.

But Andrew Leonard, councillor in nearby Louth, said the event did not attract any new visitors.

'This isn't Glastonbury'

Mr Leonard said: "You've got to be realistic about this - if you look at an event like Glastonbury, it's pulling thousands of people into the area.

"This isn't Glastonbury - this is Skegness.

"The people who are going to the SO Festival are already in Skegness having a holiday - they are not coming from further afield."

He added: "If they want to stage it, make it self-sufficient and don't ask the ratepayers to cough up money to pay for it."

Mr Leonard also accused the council of overlooking places likes Louth and wasting money funding "nonentity" events as part of the festival.

'Great success'

He said: "You've got things like Wolds Words Festival - two or three people sat at these meetings - that doesn't justify big expenditure and it's an absolute waste of money."

East Lindsey District Council said the SO Festival was a district-wide event which provided a boost for the local economy and raised the area's profile as a visitor destination.

The authority said the money also supported a number of other events, including Wolds Words and Mablethorpe Illuminations.

The funding is part of the council's proposed budget, which has been approved for consultation by the executive board, and will be considered by council later this month.

ELDC needs to find £1.6m to balance its books in 2013-14.

This year's SO Festival is due to be held from 28 June to 7 July.

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