New hosts for 40s weekend after costs row

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WHITBY and District Tourism Association (WDTA) won’t be hosting the annual 40’s weekend this year after a row over costs with the borough council which threatened to end up in court.

The organisation was astounded when it got the bill from Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) after last year’s event held mid April to find the price had gone up since securing the booking.

When Harry Collett, chairman of WDTA, challenged the council about it he claims he was told if he wanted to do something about it he should take the case to court.

At this year’s WDTA annual general meeting the members decided they couldn’t afford to subsidise the weekend and wouldn’t hold it again this year.

Mr Collett said: “We have run it for the last six years but it cost us quite a bit of money. We asked the borough council for some financial assistance and they said they could come to some agreement about the proceeds of the bar and dance money and everything else.

“When we got the bill it was considerably more than I had anticipated. I asked why the increase and they said the price had gone up from April 1 but this had been booked the year before.

“If I didn’t like it they would take me to court, If you go to a hotel and have booked a year in advance you would expect that is the price to be paid.”

Mr Collett believes the Pavilion where much of the weekend’s activities are held made £12,000 over the course of the weekend and added that the event could be made a huge success.

He added: “I thought it was a good weekend and maybe we could come to some arrangement where we could make it pay or get to somewhere where we broke even with it.

“I honestly think SBC have been a bit short sighted in not capitalising on it.”

Sam Hoyle from Dark Daisy Promotions which runs fringe events during the Goth weekends is taking over the running of the 40s festival but he was unavailable for comment.

The Spirit of the 40s weekend was started on the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and carried on because it was so popular.

This year it has been scheduled to take place Friday 15 April to Sunday 17 April.

A spokesperson for SBC said there was a more structured system in place for charging for hire of the Pavilion and measures regular event holders were being considered and those with new bookings are being made aware of the price increase.