Planning permission was granted in 2006 with a budgeted cost of £25million which had risen to £47million by the time of opening in 2010.
The Council appointed Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) to manage the venue with an annual subsidy of £355,000, £1,000 per day raised via council tax from the 56,000 population of the town. ATG was going from strength to strength with profits of £2.3 million in 2009 which rose to £16.3 million in 2011, through the 39 venues it then operated.
In 2016 the Council negotiated a reduction in subsidy to be implemented over 5 years driven principally by their disappointment with the time to grow audiences.
- Expect the budgeted cost of a new venue to double.
- Ensure that a sound business case can be produced without the need for subsidy from the public purse.