Regent loses £250k - and you pay

IPSWICH taxpayers are to foot the bill after the Regent Theatre reported losses of more than £250,000 despite bringing millions to the town, the Evening Star can today reveal.

James Marston

IPSWICH taxpayers are to foot the bill after the Regent Theatre reported losses of more than £250,000 despite bringing millions to the town, the Evening Star can today reveal.

The popular theatre in St Helen's Street cost Ipswich borough council more than £550,000 in subsidy - nearly £300,000 more than what was forecast for the financial year 2007-2008 - despite being worth up to £20million to the Ipswich economy.

Bosses have described the financial problems as a “blip” and have spoken of their determination to bring down the cost of the theatre to the taxpayer.


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Judy Terry, Ipswich Borough councillor with responsibility for the theatre said the Regent had been performing well and a subsidy running at almost £1million a year in 2004 had been reduced year on year to a low of £410,000 in 2006-2007.

She said: “We expected the subsidy for last year to be about £300,000 to £350,000 so it is a big disappointment this is not the case.

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“However, this is a blip. The overall trend has been good news for the Regent and the taxpayer as subsidy has been falling year on year in the last three and a half years.”

Mrs Terry said the theatre lost £139,000 on four different shows - which cannot be named for legal reasons - and experienced higher utility bills than expected as well as incurring £55,000 costs after a flood struck the venue.

She added: “The Regent theatre is a fabulous asset to Ipswich. Last year 1.85million seats were sold, bringing in up to £20million into the town's economy.

“I have total confidence in the Regent's management team. They have done a tremendous job in the last few years.”

The news, which has surprised observers, comes just a year after a major £500,000 refurbishment of the venue, a move which had proved extremely popular with customers.

Mrs Terry said new risk management systems and policies have already been put into place to avoid future losses. The money needed to make up the shortfall is expected to be drawn from council reserves.

Terry Hayward, director of culture and leisure, said: “A report detailing the situation will be presented to the executive and financial and audit committee on June 17.

“The committees will be asked to note the situation and make recommendations.”

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