Council insists stadium saga is in ‘final straight’

PRSA

PRSA

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The future of the Princess Royal Sports Arena has been decided – with the controversial facility set to stay open with extensive repairs made.

At a meeting of Boston Borough Council’s Cabinet, members decided not to mothball the site, which would cost £150,000 a year in business rates, insurance and security.

Instead, they chose to invest in its future, with the aim of achieving a ‘cost neutral position’ with the site.

Richard Harbord said at Wednesday’s meeting: “I hope we are now entering the final straight of this unfortunate episode. It has been a rather long saga.Consequently there is now alot of repair work that needs to be done. We need to spend £200,000 to bring it into good nick, possibly more.”

The building cost £2 million more than expected when it was developed in 1997.

The total direct cost to the taxpayer is now £6,259,298.

Members agreed to spend £88,000 from the 2013-14 budget to make repairs until proposed leases are signed with the Boston Sports Initiative group (BSI).

Describing the PRSA as ‘an enourmous white elephant’, Coun Stephen Woodliffe said the councillors reponsible for this at the time should be held accountable.

Coun Derek Richmond added: “We just can’t keep pumping money into a bottomless pit, but I do not think it is viable to close it down. Nobody is going to take a lease on if they have to pick up a backlog of repairs. It just seems to have been a right mess from the start.”

Coun Richard Austin said: “This was far too big a project for the council to swallow in the first place and we have been suffering massive indigestion from it since. Most people would like to see it continue at a minimal cost to the council.”

Coun Yvonne Gunter, portfolio holder for leisure, said at the meeting: “I’m very concerned about it, we have to go forward on this, we can’t close it as there are a lot of people who use it.”

Following the meeting the council confirmed it was looking into whether some of the repairs are covered by guarantees on the building and this will be in the next full report.