Culture, festivals and leisure set to be hived off
The York Council is to take on the liabilities of the Science City organisation and is breaking its partnership with the University of York.
Science City claims to have brought £30million in investment to the City over the last 14 years.
Now the Council is replacing it with a wholly local authority owned company on which it will have only two Board members.
Taxpayers will be expected to pay £710,000 plus set up costs to sustain the new company.
A less than convincing business plan suggests that most of its activities will be similar to those undertaken by the long defunct Inward Investment Board.
Other activities are intended to underpin the (generally successful) Visit York organisation which has been in existence for less than 3 years.
As well as the lack of transparency, taxpayers will worry about the City Centre/visitor bias of an organisation which also aspires to take over “cultural and leisure”activities.
The company owners (York taxpayers) will have little say over the objectives of the new company, its Board appointments or method of working.
It is likely to hold its meetings in private, further reducing local residents influence.
The targets of the new company refer entirely to the City centre. Neither Front Street (badly in need of regeneration) nor any other suburb centre gets even a passing a mention.
With the Labour administration on its last legs, the best interests of the City would be best served by trying to get a cross party consensus before entering into an arrangement which may only have a life of a few months.
The Council report fails to reveal the terms under which the City would acquire the Universities share of the Science City company.
NB. Last year the Council Leader actually welcomed a bid by Science City to manage all business grant investment decisions for the City.