Councillors want review of decision to save Pyramids

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LABOUR councillors are demanding plans to hand over the reins of the Pyramids Centre to a new firm are reconsidered.

Portsmouth City Council has awarded a five-year contract to a firm for the management of the Pyramids.

But the city’s Labour group has called in the decision, meaning the council’s scrutiny panel must look at whether it should be reconsidered.

The council’s Labour leader, Councillor John Ferrett, says the fact the contract is only for the management of the facility means taxpayers must foot the bill for any maintenance.

But Cllr Lee Hunt, the Lib Dem in charge of leisure at the council, says it was the right choice.

Cllr Ferrett said: ‘We believe the decision has been made by the Lib Dem cabinet with inadequate information.

‘None of those bidding to run the Pyramids were prepared to sign a contract committing them to the ongoing maintenance of the facility.

‘Therefore, the burden of risk, should any maintenance be required over the next five years, will rest solely with the council and the taxpayers of Portsmouth.’

Cllr Ferrett says there should be no subsidy to the Pyramids, and if it cannot be run without then it should be demolished.

As reported in The News, the facility has needed £800,000 from Portsmouth City Council each year to keep things going.

While a subsidy will still be given to new operators – which the council will not name until contracts are signed – it will only need half that amount.

Cllr Hunt said: ‘More than 250,000 people visited the Pyramids last year, up from 184,000 a couple of years back and the cost of running it is going down. If they want to bulldoze it they are completely nuts.

‘If they don’t like council tax money being spent on the Pyramids then why aren’t they looking for closure of the Guildhall as well? Or the children’s centres and the Mountbatten Centre?

‘They are all getting contributions from council taxpayers, and if they didn’t, everything would shut down.

‘The Pyramids brings people in from all over the region.’